Getting bait shad in winter is not as hard some think. So you can get bait easily for those big Blue Cats that are coming shallow to feed during the winter. Why are the catfish so shallow in the winter you ask? When a cold front comes through, the shad that are caught in the shallow water die and the catfish are there as the clean up crew. Find windblown banks in the winter and you will find some huge cats lurking around.
Just look to the creeks to fill a cooler of fresh bait. Shad have a death sentence on their heads in the winter. Around 41-42 degrees, their bodies start shutting down and they start to die off if they are are caught shallow. Most of the shad this time of year go deep, or, they swim up creeks. Creeks are shallow, full of people, dark clay mud, rocks and concrete. Therefore retaining heat better than deeper water. The creek can be up to 10-15 degrees warmer than the main lake. The shad feel and sense the warmth and swim up the creeks by the millions. With such big schools moving up the mouths of the creeks and swimming very far upstream, the game fish will follow.
Shad dont do well as frozen bait and turn mushy. So go to the creek and harvest what you need for the next 2 days. The shad will be in the same spots all winter. No need to freeze anything! You have free bait shops all over the place!
Here’s a short video of shad balled up in a creek. Look close ( Sorry about the surface glare. My camera guy was not with me and my camera does not have a polarized filter on it).
Here is another video of cast-netting for the shad. I looks easy because it is.
Behind me in the video, is a deeper pool. Below is what Tiffany caught out of that pool. We are at White Rock Lake Creek in the heart of Downtown Dallas. You can hear the cars above me on Mockingbird Lane.