Shad Species Used in Striped Bass Fishing

The two main shad species used for Striped Bass Fishing are the Gizzard and Threadfin Shad.

To distinguish between the Gizzard the Threadfin. Look at the lower Jaw.

The threadfin shad's lower jaw protrudes out farther than the top jaw. Also the threadfin will exhibit yellowing fins except for the dorsal .

Tredfin ShadGizzard Shad

Shad are usually found in large, constantly moving schools.
Shad are soft, elongated fish without sharp spines. They have a distinctive long threadlike last dorsal fin ray observed on the back of the fish.

Shad serve as the principal forage for Black bass, Striped bass, White Bass, Hybrids and Crappie.

The scales on both species are small and come off easily, and both species are relatively hard to keep alive in live-wells or tanks.

Both species have a bluish gray back and greenish or silver tinge overall, only threadfin have a yellow colored tail.

The upper and lower jaws of threadfin meet in a pointed snout.
The gizzard shad has a blunt snout with the lower jaw set behind the upper jaw.

Shad also differ in growth rates and maximum size with adult threadfin usually reaching five to seven inches, while adult gizzard shad can grow to well over 12 inches.

Gizzard and threadfin Shad start life together feeding on plankton in open surface water.
Threadfin remain in open water during their entire life, moving shallow to spawn or forced into shallow cover by predator attacks. The preferred escape mechanism for threadfin is schooling where protection for individual shad comes from hiding within the large school.

With time and growth, dietary needs change and gizzard shad seek the bottom. Gizzard shad mouthparts are best equipped for foraging and filter feeding on algae and disintegrated or eroded matter that is siphoned off the sandy bottom avoiding thick weeds. Shad move in and out of shallow coves in an unhurried peaceful search for food.

More on Thredfin ShadMore on Gizzard Shad

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