Catching shad without a cast net is possible using alternative methods like a fishing rod and reel, dip net, or even a sabiki rig. Here’s how to catch shad without a cast net:
1. Fishing Rod and Reel:
- Fishing rod and reel (light to medium-light action)
- Monofilament or braided fishing line (4-8 lb test)
- Small bait hooks (size 4 to 8)
- Bait (dough balls, bread, small pieces of shrimp, or commercial fish bait)
- Small split shot sinkers
- Polarized sunglasses (to help spot shad in the water)
- Attach a small bait hook to your fishing line using a suitable knot (e.g., improved clinch knot).
- Add one or two small split shot sinkers about 12-18 inches above your hook. This helps your baited hook sink to the desired depth.
- Mold your chosen bait (e.g., dough balls) around the hook to cover it entirely.
- Cast your baited hook into the area where you’ve spotted shad or where you suspect they might be.
- Allow the baited hook to sink to the desired depth, which is usually near the surface.
- Slowly retrieve your bait while gently twitching the rod to mimic the movement of small particles in the water. This motion can attract shad.
2. Dip Net:
- Dip net with a long handle
- Position yourself near the edge of the water where shad are congregating.
- Hold the dip net by its handle and slowly lower it into the water.
- Move the dip net through the water, sweeping it gently from side to side in a scooping motion.
- As you scoop, lift the net out of the water and check for any shad you may have caught.
- If you catch shad, gently transfer them to a container or bait bucket with aerated water to keep them alive.
3. Sabiki Rig:
- Sabiki rig (a specialized multi-hook bait rig)
- Fishing rod and reel
- Attach a sabiki rig to your fishing line using a suitable knot or snap swivel.
- Cast the sabiki rig into the area where shad are present.
- Allow the sabiki rig to sink to the desired depth. Sabiki rigs typically have multiple hooks with small bait or lure imitations.
- Retrieve the rig slowly with a gentle up-and-down motion.
- As you reel in the sabiki rig, shad may be attracted to the small bait imitations and get hooked.
- When you feel a bite or see shad on the hooks, reel them in gently and transfer them to a container with aerated water.
Always check local fishing regulations and size limits for shad in your area, and practice ethical angling by releasing any fish you don’t plan to use as bait or keep for consumption. Additionally, be mindful of the specific gear regulations that may apply to catching shad in your region.