Karenteen must be one of the single best bait types
for shad, kob, black cracker, raggedtooth sharks and blue rays. Mixed with a bit of sardine for extra flavour,
it becomes the number one shad bait on the coast.
I have grown up using karenteen from a young age, before I was able to use a cast
net to catch live mullet. I would arrive at my fishing spot and catch a small pool full
of karenteen (streepies or golden stripies, as they are known on the border coast.)
As the sun went down, I would start catching shad, throw after throw. There is something about a karenteen that puts shad into a feeding frenzy. Besides being firm-fleshed fish that stay on the hook a little longer than a sardine, they also contain a rich fish oil in their flesh and work exceptionally well for most predatory fish. There is nothing like a fresh streepy fillet to lure a good-sized black cracker onto your bait when fishing in deeper water. Whenever I know they are around, I try and make sure I collect a few
to catch the bigger shad. Unfortunately, they don’t freeze very well, so it’s best to use them fresh.
Start by scaling the bait fish and, using a sharp bait knife, fillet it while it is still fresh to make sure that it still contains a lot of blood. Remove the bones in the ribcage to leave you with a boneless fillet.
Using a 5/0 or 6/0 79568 Mustad, thread the fillet onto the hook, making sure that the barb stands proud. Rub the fillet on the carcass of the karenteen to get extra blood onto the bait for added smell.
Cut out a sardine belly and split it open. Cotton the fillet onto the hook with some ghost cotton, then top it with a sardine belly turned inside out. Use a lynx bait float with a toothpick pushed into the float to prevent it from sliding up the line. The bait float presents the bait in mid-water and shad much prefer floating bait. Use a hook trace of up to 1m in length when fishing for shad. The longer the trace the better – I found this out the hard way when living in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
All the shad anglers use a red-wine cork and up to a 1.5m hook trace. I stood in a shad run using a short trace as I had grown up doing and couldn’t manage a bite in amongst a group of guys pulling in fish after fish with a longer hook length. As soon as I changed the length of my trace, I started catching fish. If you are battling to raise a bite, try changing the length of your trace – it could make all the difference.