Cold water stress, sudden cold spells or prolonged periods of cold and ice can cause substantial shad winterkills. Every year is different based on the weather that winter brings, and the size of shad kill will be reflected by that. CatDaddy says with such a deep and prolonged cold across a good part of the country this year, chances are that anglers everywhere will have a good chance at cashing in on the die off. Why do you want a bucket of dead shad? Because the catfish love them! Shad is an effective bluecat and channel cat bait year-round and also speaks to flatheads. Any other time of year anglers would have to cast nets and catch their shad, however now is the time they come to you. CatDaddy says the best way to stock up is to determine the wind direction and then head to the bank opposite the wind direction. It’s here, CatDaddy says, that the shad will wash ashore and start to stack up on the banks and around icy edges. Using a long net or a pair of waders and a 5-gallon bucket get in there and scoop up the dead shad. Once you’ve stocked a mess of shad, you can make quick work of gutting and cutting them up and around where the center fin is on the gill plate all the way back to what CatDaddy calls the “yang hole”. From there, cut their heads off and then cut them up into manageable pieces for bait. It’s important to know and follow your local/state regulations. CatDaddy says for him the limit of shad you can have in your possession is about 300 per person. While several hundred seems like a lot, he says it’s doesn’t go as far as you would think explaining that he uses 200 - 300+ shad per week when fishing. Because the water is still icy and cold CatDaddy says the fishing action is slow right now, however once spring starts to warm things up a bit and the water temperatures hits 40 to 45 degrees that’s when you want to be on the water, the catfish will be hungry and looking to feed.
Outside of catfish, CatDaddy is also gearing up for some spring fishing action in Miami, Oklahoma. Beginning March 15, the spoonbill (paddlefish) season will be opening and come the first of April, CatDaddy says that’s where he will be, targeting the prehistoric monsters of the Oklahoma waters.
Listen in for tips on how to take advantage of the shad kill with CatDaddy.
Shad Guts & Monster Cats,