tyes of fish that are chasing shad

Chasing Bass That Are Chasing Shad by John Liechty


Summer 2019

pulled off the bank and are holding in a deeper water column. Once again if they are in a solid ball, the fish are usually under them waiting. If there are streaks blasting through and around, then there are actively feeding fish to be caught.


Targeting bass that are chasing bait can be difficult to duplicate from one day to the next. The shad have a way of being there one day and gone the next. This is typically affected by changing weather conditions or the time of day (light penetration).

If the wind blows into a point, bank or cove for an extended period of time, the shad will either be pushed into

these areas or move into these

areas to feed on aquatic

vegetation. If and when

the wind direction

changes, they may

relocate in minutes.

Also, they tend

to hold in shaded

and low light areas

in the mornings

and evenings and

move into open

water during

the day. So, the

combination of

factors keeps

us as anglers

on our toes.


I remember last year finding the most insane mega- school of shad. There were hundreds of bass pushing them onto the bank and into the back of a pocket. As the shad would flop on dry land back into the water the bass would charge again. They had them pinned, and for hours we were catching fish cast-after-cast.

My friend had a tournament the following day and started in this spot where we watched the sun go down and the moonrise, still catching.

That following morning, nothing, not a bite. In the dark hours of the night they had escaped, vacated the area (or all got eaten) and the bass were gone too.


A top, middle and bottom approach is a great way to dissect the ranging water depths, and in that order.

First and foremost, I will start by drawing fish up to the surface, then fishing subsurface with reaction baits and finally settling for a finesse presentation fished on the bottom.

When choosing a topwater or surface bait, there are three styles of baits that I will rotate using throughout the day. And, it all depends on the size of the forage and the aggression of the bass.


Slower: When the fish want a slower start/stop presentation, I will tie on a popper. This allows me to create surface disturbance, but also leave the bait in one place for a longer period of time.

Chasin’: As the fish begin to want to chase more, a walk- the-dog type bait is hard to beat. It can be fished in bursts with occasional pauses or just walked at a steady pace back to the boat.

Aggressive: Finally, once the fish are grabby, I will use a plopping-bait to cover water and fish fast.


After the fish decide to stop blasting the surface, it is time to switch it up and go down to the depth they are most comfortable holding. At this point there are many of options that will work; but to keep it simple, I will use two soft baits and two hard baits.

Soft: The first soft bait would be a fluke, fished either weight-less or on a weighed belly hook. The second soft bait would be a small swimbait fished on a ball head or dart head jig. Either one can be fished at various speeds and depths.

page 49