Top 10 Shad Spawn Baits

Top 10 Shad Spawn Baits

May 05, 2020

The shad spawn is a phenomenon that serious bass anglers look forward to as soon as it ends. The timing varies in each part of the country, but it usually happens around the time that the bass spawn in lakes that have a good shad population. This is just a top 10 list of baits and not a full explanation of the shad spawn.

I did a video explanation of that here:

Here is the list of my top 10 baits to throw during the shad spawn.

#1 – Spinnerbait

The spinnerbait is the best. For some reason, the shad will follow the blades. This is a tell-tale sign that the shad spawn is active where you are. If a cloud of bait is following your bait, it draws the attention of the bass. Something about that vibration gets the bass zeroed in on the bait too. The spinnerbait covers water fast and efficiently. It is by far the best during the shad spawn.

#2 – Swim Jig

I love a white swim jig here. The trailer also should be white. It is good because it causes those reaction bites when you pump the rod and get the skirt to flare out. The swim jig also is weedless so it can go over and around a lot of the shallow grass and bank debris that the shad spawn on. It can also be fished fast so that is the reason it is number 2 on this list.

#3 – Swimbait

This is a 4” to 7” size tail thumping swim bait. It can either be thrown weedless or on a jig head. The bigger swimbait can be fished pretty fast, has a good vibration so bass can track it, and can be power fished. My only drawback of the swimbait is that it does not have a twitch ability or trigger potential like the spinnerbait or swim jig. It is a great choice to go after only bigger bites.

#4 – Finesse Swim Bait

The smaller swimbait is the deal in clearer water. I throw the Missile Baits Shockwave 3.5 in a shad color (Frosted Purple and Fisholicious are my favs) on a 3/16 ounce ball jig head. Many times, the fish will just not hit a spinnerbait or bigger swimbait in the real clear water. The bass are still there waiting to find a shad slipping but are not fooled big bigger baits.

#5 – Hollow Frog

The hollow frog is like the SPRO Bronzeye frog. It is great around shallow grass where the shad spawn. I love a white or shad version here as you might imagine. The popping version of the SPRO Bronzeye is really tough to beat during this shad spawn.

#6 – Shallow Crankbait

Shallow cranks like square bills are also good during this time. It is hard for me to not throw the original SPRO Little John 50 in a shad pattern if I pick up the crankbait rod. The profile and vibration are keys and get bit around the shad spawn. My issue with cranks is they are not usually not best on bigger line and treble hooks are not as efficient in a frenzy fishing situation.

#7 – Buzzbait

This is the second topwater on the list. It is a good option for covering water fast and giving the fish something to key on. My only issue is that they have a tendency to miss it, even with a trailer hook. The strikes are a ton of fun when they do get it.

#8 – Chatterbait

Some people think the chatterbait and spinnerbait are interchangeable but that is not true. The chatterbait used to get little love from me during the shad spawn because I could not put down the spinnerbait. A white chatterbait, Z-Man Jack Hammer preferably, is a great option during this bite. I love that Missile Baits Shockwave 3.5 in a shad color on the back of it.

#9 – Whopper Plopper

I am a big fan of the Plopper. I have limited experience using it during the shad spawn but I know that I like how much water you can cover and how the bass smash it. My issue is throwing it so close to the bank leads to snagging it or picking up debris.

#10 – Toad

The old toad or kicking legs frog is a good option in some situations. You can cover water, make long casts, and work it fast. You can throw this bait over cover that you can’t get any other bait through. It is a must have for some shad spawn bites in grassy lakes. I have even caught fish on a toad in lakes on a bare bank too. It is similar to a buzzbait but doesn’t get hung on anything!