Get Out Your Shad and Hooks,


Bait-Hooking 101

4 ways to hook a shad everyone SHOULD know

Since becoming a guide and devoting much of my time to this website and helping others become better striper fishermen, the issue of how, where, when, what hook, when to fish it, what it does, why it does it, how you can fix it, why am I missing fish, etc etc etc.....has come up quite often. I am attempting to answer the prayers of many live bait fishermen who may be overwhelmed or just plain perplexed about where to hook a shad and when to do it. I hope this helps.

You can help me by asking more questions so that I can work on completing this page. Let me know about important issues I've missed or things you may think need improvement. Photos, descriptions, even other pointers you'd like to know.....and on and on.....Together we can help many more fishermen achieve rockfishing Karma.

Threadfin Shad

The best way I've found to hook a threadfin

shad is upwards through both lower and upper

lips. The trick here is penetrating directly inbetween

the shad's nostrils through a relatively tough, bony

plate. You can cast them fairly well with this hook

placement, but it is most ideal for trolling.

Threadfin Shad, vertical lip hook.

Method also useful in alewives,

bluebacks, shiners.


Gizzard Shad

This is a vertical lip hook on

a gizzard shad. Notice the open

mouth so as not to hook through

the bottom lip. Gizzards have a

bony nose which will take hooking

very well.

Gizzard shad, vertical lip hook.



This is a horizontal nostril hook on a gizzard shad. This is a very

strong way to hook a gizzard. They can be cast or lobbed very

well without being flung from the hook. The biggest drawback

to this method is the tendency of the hook point to "turn back"

into the bait; causing a large number of missed hookups.

Gizzard shad, horizontal nostril hook.

Other species: threadfins, alewives, bluebacks, mooneye.


Any Bait-Behind the Head

The behind the head hook is primarily for casting

and lobbing. It holds the bait the best of any hooking

method, and allows the bait more freedom (better

leverage on the hook). It is not recommended for trolling.

This method is also susceptible to hook point "turn back."

Gizzard Shad, behind the head hook.

Other species: ALL BAIT, the only way to hook a 12" or larger skipjack.