How To Fish Shad Baits

How to fish shad baits to target summertime bass looking for an easy meal.


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What's up, guys? Travis here again with Lucky Tackle Box. As we move into summertime, these lakes get hot, really hot, and unfortunately for our little friend, the shad, they experience big die-offs in these extreme temperatures, but this is good news for the bass, however, because they get free meals dropped right into their lap. That's why I love realistic looking lures this time of the year that mimic these dying or wounded bait fish, like the Fishbelly Hawg Shad which we're gonna pair up with a jig head to target some of these summertime bass looking for an easy meal.
First, let's look at the bait itself. The attention to detail is fantastic, but its lifelike feel is what I like the most. Just holding this bait between your fingers, it's tough to make this bait stay still, which means in the water, it's gonna be giving you the action you want. For this setup, I just put it on a three-sixteenth to quarter-ounce jig head.


This is a finesse technique, so I use a lighter line like Seaguar's six- to eight-pound mono or fluorocarbon for lower visibility to the fish and for your action out of the bait. I spool up on a spinning outfit like Daiwa Ballistics 2500 Series spinning reel, and pair that up with a moderate, fast-action spinning rod. The bites can be very subtle, so you want a soft tip, but you need some backbone for hook sets on longer casts or in that deeper water.
Next, we'll talk about retrieval. Basically, you just wanna cast and work this bait along the bottom, but oftentimes, this bait will get hit as it sinks or right when it hits the bottom, so you've got to be watching that line for any kind of jumps as it sinks, which will indicate that it just got bit.
Once this bait hits the bottom, I like to use one of two retrieves. The first retrieve is to keep the rod tip up and make little hops with that bait along the bottom. This mimics bait fish that's dying down there, but it's trying to make little last attempts to swim off, and bass know this is an easy meal. The second is to make long, sweeping actions with the rod tip pointed down. This will make that bait scurry along the bottom, mimicking shad feeding along the bottom. Although this isn't imitating dying bait fish, it does, however, trigger strikes from bass as this thing comes scurrying by. A lot of times, I switch back and forth between these two different retrieves until I figure out what's working best that day.
When talking about where to use this technique, it's important to understand what summertime bass are doing. Whether you're fishing a small, shallow pond or a large, deep reservoir, as that water temp heats up, a large population of bass head for deep water. That deeper water offers them cooler temps and is also where a lot of bait fish are gonna be. Areas that have shallow water close to deep water are often the best places, and a perfect example of that are points. On points, bass are able to move up and down the point until they find the water depth and temperature they're looking for.
A quick tip to fishing points is finding what top fishermen refer to as the spot on the spot. Oftentimes on a point or any other area holding fish, there's a specific spot that the fish tend to hold on the most, whether it's a small rock pond on one side of the point or a big stump on that very end. Always be watching your graph or feeling the bottom for your retrieve for anything different. Anytime you get a bite, take note of the exact position and try to cast that same area. This isn't always the case, but if you find a great point and then find that spot on that point, you could pull fish out like you never thought possible.
Now get your flippy-floppies on, lather up some sunscreen, and go chase some of those summertime bass by mimicking some of their warm water favorites with Fishbelly's Hawg Shad.
Once again, I'm Travis with Lucky Tackle Box. If you enjoyed the video, throw us a thumbs-up, leave a comment below, and for any details on the equipment or tackle we used in this video, check the description box below.

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