With the shad they will work as a backup plan but there good for only one time, they get real mushy if you thaw and refreeze, so I just put a couple of dozen of the smaller ones in a bag, pat them dry put them in the bag and put them in the freezer, do the same with Skipjacks but they hold up much better after thawing and refreezing than the Shad do and they seem to work better after a few thaws, they will get mushy after a while but the scales will hold the bait to the hook.
We have caught some nice Flatheads early in the season on frozen Shad, I have very little trouble finding fresh Shad CJ Brown is loaded with them along with Clark lake, both places have already had a couple of Spawns, generally they will go 6 times a season, Shad are as active as rabbits
Make sure you use the head section as the spine retains a large amount of blood and it will ooze out as the bait thaws in the water, I try to keep the frozen Shad as cold as possible because I want those juices to flow in the river and not in the bag. So I will ice down the frozen stuff...........Doc
We have just been freezing them just like the other posts said, but my fishing experience has been totally different. On every trip to the river except the last I had fresh shad. I did catch a lot of flatheads, but no channel cats at all. The last time out I used only frozen and finally got into the channel cats. Another difference is that I can not buy a bite on the head section. I can not tell you how many time this year I have taken off a head section and changed to a middle section only to be rewarded with a fish. I have tried over and over to force the fish to take a head section with no luck(one smalllllllll channel). Now I am cutting the head section right behind the eyes and outfishing the head itself by 100 fish to 1.
Dad and I already talked about our experiment for the next trip to the river. It is going to be a fresh vs frozen shad with a couple more variables thrown in just to take care of my scientific side.
Just my 2 cents worth, but I was never one to follow the rules with sucess!!!
Interesting viewpoints, thanks for all the info guys, hey Rob, we have been catching Channels on big heads, the last tournament Lynn was using large Shad heads the body sections wouldn't produce a bite, she normally doesn't like to use the head, eyes looking back at her and I was using heads also but they didn't want mine ...............Doc
I remember when dad was on the phone with you that night and you weren't all that far away producing with the heads. I had been using them all night too with no luck. I tried even harder the next time out by refusing to take them off of one pole until a fish took it. The thing was I would have that pole sit there while catching 4 or 5 on the other line. Late in the day I finally gave in and used all heads as chum and just caught fish on both lines. I can not explain anything that goes threw a fish's brain. Heck I can't explain most of what goes threw mine!
I chuckled when I saw what you wrote about Lynn, but being able to suck it up and adapt is why she outfishes us stubborn men so often.
I freeze all my bait shad and skips in the smae water I catch them in not tap water . Tap water seems to make them soft and turn black river water does not it must be the chemicals. I just put about a dozen shad in a plastic bag with the mouth open dunk it in a 5 gallon bucket of river water and zip it while its under water(poor mans vacuum sealer).