How to Rig a Shad

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Shad rigs are effective for catching bass and other large fish in shad rich areas. Shad travel in schools and are targeted by predatory species. Rigging and fishing a live or dead shad is easy. The natural movements and smell are unmatched by plastic imitations. Striped bass are among the most common shad predators. Trolling or casting a shad rig imitates a wounded and vulnerable food source for the fish.

Slide a slip weight on the end of the line. Use a 1 oz. sinker for fishing near the surface and a 3 oz. sinker for fishing deep water.

Tie the end of the line to the loop end of a clip swivel. Use a clinch knot to connect the line to the swivel. Slide the line through the swivel loop and twist the swivel seven times. Slide the end of the line through the loop created at the bottom of the wraps. Pull the line to tighten the knot.

Pinch the swivel to open the clip. Slide a leader on the clip and pinch again to lock the clip. Tie the end of the leader to a single bait hook with a clinch knot.

Locate the spine on the shad and position the hook point on one side of the spin. Hook the meat along the spine to secure the shad on the hook. The hook position doesn't kill the shad and the hook will remain embedded until a fish is caught.

Use the rig for trolling or casting. Use a smaller weight and a bobber for stationary, passive fishing.


  • The shad may also be hooked through the lip. The lip position is less secure but the fish lives longer and is more active.


About the Author

Zach Lazzari is a freelance outdoor writer specializing in hunting, fly fishing and the general outdoors. He guided fly fishing trips for 10 years in Colorado, Alaska, Montana and Patagonia-Chile. Zach lives in Montana and splits time between the river and keyboard.

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