Multispecies and Size with Small Shad Bodies

It has often been said that, no matter what type of lure, the larger sizes should be used for larger fish. That is true in many situations, but not always. After all, small shad bodies often produce many different species and sizes of fish.

 

With the right combination of jig head and techniques, a shad/minnow body like Natural Forage Baits’ T-Shad, and Berkley’s 2-inchPower Minnow and 1-1/2-inch Gulp Alive Minnow, can be a dynamite producer. All three of the these lures can be used with the same sort of jig heads and techniques. However, the only one that I’ve used ice fishing is the Gulp Alive Minnow.

 

The jig heads I use are a variety of smaller B-Fish-N H20 Precision jigs, Berkley Round Heads and Road Runner heads. The H20 and Road Runners tend to catch most of the larger fish, and are easier to land, since they have a slightly larger hook.

 

With the Road Runner heads, the bodies are used like a spinnerbait with a steady retrieve, or a pumping action imparted by your wrist. The smallest panfish size can also be used under a float. Pulling the float about 3 feet, then pause to let the lure drop back down. Add some Kick’N Bass attractant, especially the Crappie scent, if fishing for panfish.

 

The other jig heads are used with a pump, hop or my frequently mentioned, “finger jigging” technique. The finger jigging seems to produce the biggest fish in all species, including some 10-pound catfish on a T-Shad.

 

If these jig heads are used under a float, which I often do, using wave action to drift the lure over weed beds and brush piles. Then I tip them with a Crappie Nibble for all species. In fact, the aforementioned 10-pound catfish was caught with this sort of setup, as were a couple of others on that day.

 

I’ll use the float system quite often, especially if there is wind and wave action. I also like using it when there is open water available during cold weather times, when we would normally be ice fishing. This allows the lure to sit over a spot longer, with a little action applied, much like fishing through a hole in the ice.

 

Note that all of the shad bodies described here already have scent in them. Berkley has the Power and Gulp series, while Natural Forage Baits has Kick’N Bass in several different varieties, but mainly Anise Shad in the T-Shad.

 

Everyone always asks me for a color selection on whatever I talk about. I simply go with something “shady.” (Make that “shaddy!”) I like Toledo Shad, Shad and Baby Bass in the T-Shad; and Shad and Emerald Shiner in the Power and Gulp minnows.

 

Any rod/reel combination can be used, but I prefer a 7-foot ultralight to light spinning rod for casting and working the lure with various techniques; and a 9- to 10-foot, Berkley C-Series spinning rod with an ultralight reel when using a float. Both combinations are mostly used with 6- to 8-pound test Nanofil, occasionally switching to 10-pound test, as needed.

 

That these are multi-species “ fish catchers,” with the primary focus being panfish. I have caught bluegills, crappies, bass, catfish, walleyes, yellow perch and the off chance carp. The bluegills that hit these lures tend to be larger, while bass have the largest size range, from 6 to 23 inches. Just remember to play the big ones carefully, as none of these are huge hooks. It was almost pure luck to land the larger catfish, and without my Frabill Trophy Haul net, they would probably not have been landed.

 

These jig heads and bodies can easily be stored in a single Plano Wrap, Rustrictor/Edge Stowaway and Weekender. Any of these make it easy to pick up and go in a small boat, kayak, from shore, or even to throw into a storage area on a larger boat. Plus, the Rustrictor and Edge boxes will take care of any dampness and water problems from rain, which may occur.

 

Grab a selection of small minnow bodies and matching jig heads, and you may find a selection that you will never want to go fishing without them for multi-species and sizes.