The best way to catch shad is with a cast net. Regulations on the size of cast nets vary by state. Some states allow up to 10-foot nets, while others allow only 3- or 4-foot nets.
Shad typically populate bays, marinas, creek mouths, bridge pilings, water discharges, pockets of rivers and eddys. In bays, shads can be found in the back, in shallow areas or feeders to lakes. Shads typically congregate in marinas because of the algae that grow on boats and docks. Creek mouths are a good place to look for shad as they often school there to escape heavy currents. Bridge pilings also attract shad because of algae growth. Water discharge areas are another place to find shad. This happens close to factories, where the water is drawn in to cool equipment and then discharged back out. Shad and other baitfish often cluster to this warm water, even in the winter.
Shad are thin, shiny forage fish that live in the American South and are a big food option for catfish. Using shad is a popular way to bait for catfish. Shad can be used dead and cut up or live to catch catfish. They are small, silvery fish with a prominent black dot behind their gills.