How to catch a Shad?
How to catch a shad: Shad, also known as Elf in the Western Cape is an inshore sporting fish that frequents most of the South Africa coast with the exception of the cold west-coast.
They vary in size from a few centimeters to over 10kg in weight. We have a size limit of 30cm, a bag limit of no more than four shad per person per day, and a closed season from 1 Oct to 30 Nov.
Shad, especially the smaller fish swim in shoals and when they move into bays they can be easy to catch on light tackle.
They are excellent eating fish!
Shad also make excellent bait for other large predators such as Kob, Garrick and Couta and one might be tempted to take more than the four fish limit! However, please don’t! Let’s keep some for our children and grandchildren…
We prefer catching them on lures, flies, and if it has to on drift sardine. That is not to say that fishing with a heavy surf rod and fixed bait won’t be successful.
I would suggest a light, fast action spinning rod between seven and 11ft matched with a 3000 to 5000 sized spinning reel and a good quality braid between 10 and 30lb.
Shad will eat most lures when they are on the bite, but of late we have found Rapala style jerk baits especially effective. I would strongly suggest changing the standard treble hooks to in-line single hooks.
This aids with better hook-ups and makes it easier to release them.
Simply cast the Rapala out and slowly twitch it back as you would for bass. This imitates an injured baitfish that the shad can not resist!
Sometimes you will struggle for distance with these light lures, this will be a good time to consider a spoon like the white metal V-back or Toby style spoon.
Wind the spoon back at different speeds until you feel the spoon working…
We never use steel trace and find that you very seldomly get bitten off!
A top tip: Slow the lure right down as you reach the shore…
This often gets a following shad to commit!
At Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria, we love to talk about anything and everything fishing! Drop-in any time for any advice on all things fishing!
Check out this short video of Johan catching a shad on a Rapala Shadow Rap during the sardine run at the Sandspit, Port Shepstone.
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