Shad 101 -
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:12 AM   #1
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Question Shad 101

Can I get some direction with what to do with these little guys? We went out a couple times and caught 15-20 but we released them all since we didnt know what to do with them. This is my first season targeting shad and I am completely in the dark.

We were thinking about keeping some for sturgeon fishing, but didnt know what to do. Do we gill the shad once they are in the boat? Just throw into a bucket? Do we fillet them in prep for using as bait? what size chunks do we cut them in? Do people brine/marinade them?

Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 07-10-2019, 09:44 AM   #2
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Default Re: Shad 101

Most people freeze them after cutting them into bait box sized pieces to use for crab bait.
I have seen them cut into strips and used behind a hoochie in the ocean for coho.

I actually have had them smoked and canned in the past and they are quite tasty. The canning process softens the bones so they are easily eaten like sardines.

Many people like eating the roe.

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Old 07-10-2019, 09:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: Shad 101

Frozen shad are mediocre sturgeon bait at best. Fresh shad work very well for oversize fishing if you are into that sort of thing, shad gills tied to a hook probably the best for that.

As SandySteel mentioned, smoked and canned is popular, pickling is another common method of preservation. If you are saving shad for human consumption, bleed/gut/gill/ice them. If you are saving them for bait, leave them as is. All of mine are cut into bait box/bag sized pieces and frozen in ice bags.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Shad 101

Cut in to small pieces and fertilize your garden.
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:07 PM   #5
Don G Baldi
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Default Re: Shad 101

Best use is to turn them into crab or halibut. I just bag them by 3 and freeze them whole. Some folks eat them, check youtube for "shad fingers" if you want boneless. And as already mentioned, for consumption, bleed, gut and ice immediately.
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Old 07-10-2019, 04:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Shad 101

OK thanks for the feedback - catch and release it is! For some reason I thought it worked great as sturgeon bait in general, glad I got that cleared up.
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Old 07-10-2019, 05:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Shad 101

I have used a good amount of mine as fertilizer for my garden. The tomatoes have really taken off in the last 2 weeks As for the rest, they will magica6turn into crab bait. Next year, I'm going to try canning and smoking some. I swear.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Shad 101

I freeze them whole for crab bait and pack them into the bait boxes. Can leave them out all day as seals generally don’t mess with them.

Do the same for sturgeon. Hook through the gills for the over size. Chunks or fillets for the smaller sturgeon.
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: Shad 101

Crab and sturgeon bait .
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:40 AM   #10
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Default Re: Shad 101

As others have said, use them for bait. They make good bait for crab, halibut, sturgeon, and channel cats.

We usually put 6 in a bag and freeze them whole since crab bait is probably our most common use for them and we generally drop 3 pots with 2 shad per pot whenever we fish the ocean.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: Shad 101

I clean and cook them like a trout on the BBQ. They taste better than a trout and similar to eating a trout picking through the tiny bones.

I smoked a bunch this year and they were better then smoked trout or steelhead. Like smoked trout you learn how to eat around the bones.

I fried up the roe for the first time this year and it was awesome fried in butter and garlic. It was like eating sausage but with a quinoa texture.

I've been studying up on the shad boning youtube videos and next year I plan on figuring out how to debone a shad.
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