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Shad or elf is one of the best bait fish I have ever used for raggies, diamonds, honeycomb rays, Natal sandies and kob, and is probably one of the most popular bait fish along our coast for non edible fishing.’

A properly-presented shad head can produce some winning results in competition fishing. The fillets work fantastically well for most fish as well. 

How to prepare the bait

Step 1


Start from the tail and cut the two side fillets off, then trim the center bone out.

Step 2


Slice some foam rubber, position it under the fillets and cotton them closed to help float the head. By doing this you will achieve a much higher bite. Use  latex/cotton to tie the fillets around the foam, giving you a neat streamlined bait.

Step 3


Insert the first hook, starting behind the nose and pushing it towards the back of the shad head, leaving a slight gap to insert the second hook through the lips.

Step 4



Insert a pin or toothpick in the eye of the first hook to hold the hook in an upright position. This will also stop the hook from twisting in the bait and give you a better hooking potential. Then cut the toothpick .

Step 5



Position your hooks facing in different directions to allow a better hook rate. I use a cable tie to secure the hook. Having a sliding hook will allow you to position your hook according to the different sizes of bait fish you use. Some anglers tie the second hook.   

Fisherman’s tip

Fresh bait makes all the difference between you catching a fish or not, when fishing in a group or alone. Always try and use fresh shad or shad on ice for best results.