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I have been seeing a TON of shad in my local fisheries.(Alabama) Some of the shad are deeper, 10-30 feet, and I can see them with my graphs. Some are shallow in the backs of the creeks. We can see big bass constantly feeding on the shad in the backs of the creeks, but we are not able to get any of them to bite anything. Has anyone figured out any tricks to catching bass that already have millions of real shad to eat? Im open to all ideas or tricks to getting them to bite. I would also like some input on catching bass suspended around bait balls. Thanks!

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When bass are chasing shad in the shallows, I usually try a bait that is larger than the prey.

I also try to make it look injured. I want it to stand out from the other baitfish.

If they are on the surface, a super fluke erratically jerked on the surface will often get violent strikes.

A  hard jerkbait ripped through the fish also works.

If neither of those get a strike, I will pump a  lipless crankbait off the bottom. 

If none of those work, I look for other fish.

 

For me suspended fish are the hardest to catch. I usually look elsewhere.

The jerkbait, or lipless crankbait, can still work. A diving crankbait also works, if you can get it down to the depth of the fish.

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If the shad are backed up in a creek, I fish "outside" in the mouth of the creek and especially adjoining

points. On deeper structure focus on the angle of presentation. For example, if there is current cast upstream

and retrieve with the flow.

 

:fishing-026: 

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Like everything else in fishing, there are no simple answers, and certainly not one correct answer. From the biology side of things, if you subscribe to Optimal Foraging Theory (OFT), when prey is heavily abundant, predators have the luxury of being incredibly selective. This would suggest that "matching the hatch" is the best option. The tricky part is figuring out what attributes the bass might be keying on, such as size, color, flash, markings, etc. to trigger the bite. For example, late summer around here finds lots of bass feeding on abundant juvenile shad just an inch or so long and schooling near the surface. One of the better baits we use in those instances to get bit is a small, clear crankbait with a mirror insert...it seems to mimic the flash and profile of the tiny baitfish while camouflaging its true size.

 

For suspended bass around bait balls, a few of the better options are A-rigs and Damiki rigs. Occasionally, going vertical through the school to predators lurking underneath can be successful using jigging spoons and blade baits.

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Welcome aboard guys!

 

Good topic, paying attention, too.

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As mentioned above, vertical jigging beside or through big schools of shad with blade baits, or spoons can produce fish, often on the fall, so staying in contact with the bait and being aware of the vibration it produces when falling can help you put a few in the boat.

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When bass are feeding on shad in the back of a creek, I always throw a top water. A Super Fluke Jr. or Torpedo has worked really well for me in Alabama waters. Both baits mimic an injured bait fish trying to escape. If that doesn't produce, a small Rapala Scatter Rap crank worked erratically near the bait ball seems to work.

 

 

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My first choice is a Yamamoto DShad either walking it near the surface or in a dead fall mimicking an injured shad.  First choice in color is to match the shad but if that doesn't work, I'll put on a color that is in contrast to the shad.  The contrasting color gives them something to key on besides the massive school of bait.  That usually works when they are actively feeding.  If you have ever thrown an A-Rig, most put 1 bait that is a different color on the spread and that bait many times is the one that will get hit.  

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21 hours ago, roadwarrior said:

If the shad are backed up in a creek, I fish "outside" in the mouth of the creek and especially adjoining

points. On deeper structure focus on the angle of presentation. For example, if there is current cast upstream

and retrieve with the flow.

 

:fishing-026: 

This ^^^

 

When the backs of the creeks are jammed with shad( the OP stated a TON and millions of shad), you're not going to get bit fishing in the midst of that shad buffet.

 

I come across these situations almost every fall where one of the creek arms I am in have millions of shad packed into the last 25 yards of the creek arm. You can't throw a bait that has a treble hook, as soon as it hits the water you'll have shad snagged on each hook point. I wasted a lot of time fishing these areas that are packed full of shad with nothing to show for it.

 

I began treating these area like I would a prespawn spot. I focus on the mouth where the bigger bass will be making their way towards the back of the creek but have not been to the buffet yet. So I'll hit the points and drop offs leading towards the back off the creek and have had a lot better success. I often try to match the hatch but one of my best days were when I was tossing a black weightless senko.

 

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A chrome lipless crankbait worked with a stop and go retrieve to imitate a injured shad sometimes works for me when there's tons of shad jumping around in the creeks. I haven't had much luck when the shad are deep though. 

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When my dad and I started bass fishing, it was with a friend of my dad's who knew much more than we did at the time. We had been mostly crappie fishing. That guy would always use a T rigged worm in that situation and it often worked. He said the bigger bass would be near the bottom mopping up, letting the dinks do the chasing. This is quite a challenge sometimes. I've thrown the kitchen sink before and never caught one..

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