Choose Another Bait Fish
Bream, perch, suckers, carp or anything that can be use as bait, find and use those sources instead. Bream, bluegill, sunfish and shellcrackers are a easy to catch on my home waters. If you live where Asian carp have taken over, use them. A lot of people use skipjack as primary blue catfish bait. They’ll use shad as a secondary. If skipjack is your primary, replace shad with skipjack.
Be sure to obey whatever laws your department of conversation and natural resources have laid down.
Look in Your Freezer
Two principles of conversation: Use less than you have, always acquire more. When shad is plentiful, and you have far more than you need, take some of these and cure them in pickling salts. Put them in the freezer for future use during times when shad are hard to come by.
Fresh is better, but frozen it better than nothing.
Use Fish Oil from a Trapping Supply Company
In addition to pickling salts mentioned above. Consider buying a gallon of fish oil from a trapping supply company. Catfish love oils. If you have to use frozen bait, dip them in fish oil before casting out. Carp fishermen would call this a glug or dipping sauce. I plan to use it extensively for channel catfish this year as an edition to my paste bait. I’ll let you know more about this method as time goes on.
If you’re looking for a good book of catching shad, I bought Chad Ferguson’s “Catching Shad” e-book. I don’t receive kick backs, affiliate commissions or anything of the kind for mentioning it here. I’m trying to put together a top ten catfish book blog post, and most any category of catfish angling Chad’s e-books come up top. I bought and read this book about last year this time.
Good times, tight lines