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I was at Pickwick Monday late in the afternoon and everywhere we went there were large shad (gizzard shad I'm guessing) exploding on top of the water. At first I thought it was bass feeding on top, but it seemed to be hundreds of shad jumping out of the water. They would do it right against the side of the boat. If you threw a lure, they would swirl around it but never actually grab it. 

 

I have never in 40+ years of fishing seen this happen at the scale it was happening. Literally, at the back of a large creek, the entire width of the water was exploding with shad. Any ideas what this is all about? Just curious what the cause might be.

 

Thanks in advance. 

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Not certain, but I'd be pulling spinnerbaits and crankbaits underneath....may not be true, but I always convince myself that baitfish breaking the surface are fleeing from predators.  Especially in the back of bays/creeks -- I've watched big bass herd and feed -- crazy sight.  Unfortunately, too often it seems that so much good food available makes my offerings go unnoticed

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Thanks for the reply. I agree with your comment. I threw a swim jig and a weightless senko in shad color probably 100 casts and never got touched. It was truly an unbelievable sight. We moved down lake and they were doing it there too. I did catch a 3-4 pounder near where they were after we moved but it wasn't right where they were breaking the surface. It was maybe 150 feet away. I'm going back tomorrow. We'll see if there are any active again. If so, I will throw a spinnerbait and crankbait as you have suggested. 

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Silver Carp aka Flying Carp one of two species of Asian carp that are making their way up the Tennessee River.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Don Harris said:

I was at Pickwick Monday late in the afternoon and everywhere we went there were large shad (gizzard shad I'm guessing) exploding on top of the water. At first I thought it was bass feeding on top, but it seemed to be hundreds of shad jumping out of the water. They would do it right against the side of the boat. If you threw a lure, they would swirl around it but never actually grab it. 

 

I have never in 40+ years of fishing seen this happen at the scale it was happening. Literally, at the back of a large creek, the entire width of the water was exploding with shad. Any ideas what this is all about? Just curious what the cause might be.

 

Thanks in advance. 

Only since moving to TN about 8 years ago have I seen this.

 

The first time was a few years ago in the fall I pulled into a creek and the last 200 yards of the creek 20 yards wide was packed solid from side to side with shad. Not big ones like you saw but millions of 1/2 to 1 inch shad. It seemed like every square inch of water was covered with shad. I did not get a bite.

 

Now I have encountered this large shad party on several occasions, never as many as that first time but still more than I ever thought to be conceivable. We only catch the fish that are moving in or out of the creeks packed with the shad. If we're in the midst of all the bait we cant buy a bite. Working areas such as the points leading into the creek channel and breaks in the channel before it gets back to where all the shad are have worked best for us.

 

Good luck!!

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1 hour ago, bagofdonuts said:

Sure it wasn't bighead carp?

Yep. I'm sure. We got a very close look at them. It was a large shad species.

10 minutes ago, BassNJake said:

Only since moving to TN about 8 years ago have I seen this.

 

The first time was a few years ago in the fall I pulled into a creek and the last 200 yards of the creek 20 yards wide was packed solid from side to side with shad. Not big ones like you saw but millions of 1/2 to 1 inch shad. It seemed like every square inch of water was covered with shad. I did not get a bite.

 

Now I have encountered this large shad party on several occasions, never as many as that first time but still more than I ever thought to be conceivable. We only catch the fish that are moving in or out of the creeks packed with the shad. If we're in the midst of all the bait we cant buy a bite. Working areas such as the points leading into the creek channel and breaks in the channel before it gets back to where all the shad are have worked best for us.

 

Good luck!!

Thanks for your input. Sounds like a plan!

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Shad spawns are going on in a lot of places across the central portions of the country right now. Big gizzard shad will thrash around violently in the shallows, along docks and weedlines, and even chase baits during this time. Possible that's what you were seeing. 

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Whenever I see the shad busting on the surface I start throwing a mostly white buzzbait, specifically my Strike King Banshee in the Sexy Shad color. That's been my most productive bait for the past month.

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5 hours ago, Bluebasser86 said:

Shad spawns are going on in a lot of places across the central portions of the country right now. Big gizzard shad will thrash around violently in the shallows, along docks and weedlines, and even chase baits during this time. Possible that's what you were seeing. 

That may be it. I wondered about shad spawning. Thanks.

3 hours ago, Koz said:

Whenever I see the shad busting on the surface I start throwing a mostly white buzzbait, specifically my Strike King Banshee in the Sexy Shad color. That's been my most productive bait for the past month.

Thanks for the tip!

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When shad are spawning they cause a ruckus close to the bank in early morning. Shad spawn when the water temperature is in the high 60s. Around here that’s in April. 

 

What you are describing is very common on Kentucky lake.   I would be willing to bet it’s Asian carp.  Sounds like they had a successful spawn on Pickwick this year.   If you watched the video I posted,  they look a lot like shad when they are small.  

 

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6 hours ago, Tennessee Boy said:

When shad are spawning they cause a ruckus close to the bank in early morning. Shad spawn when the water temperature is in the high 60s. Around here that’s in April. 

 

What you are describing is very common on Kentucky lake.   I would be willing to bet it’s Asian carp.  Sounds like they had a successful spawn on Pickwick this year.   If you watched the video I posted,  they look a lot like shad when they are small.  

 

Sorry. I didn't even notice the video. I guess my eyes told me it was an ad or something. I just watched it. That may be what it was. Thanks for the information!

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