5 Great Baits for Shad-Eating Bass

News & Tips: 5 Great Baits for Shad-Eating Bass

Largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass gorge on shad when available. When shad are abundant, these are five reliable fishing lures that will haul-in fish.

BaitsShadEatingBass SpinnerbaitSpinnerbait

Why it works:
The bulky skirt and flashing blades of a spinnerbait make it a good shad replica, especially with a white or other light-colored model.

How to fish it: A spinnerbait is versatile. Bulge it across the surface, work it along weed edges, or yo-yo it down a ledge. All work in the right conditions.

BaitsShadEatingBass JerkbaitHard Jerkbaits

Why they work:
The erratic action of a jerkbait is stellar for triggering reaction strikes from bass.

How to fish it: Go fast during warm water conditions, and slow down when things get cold. Pauses can be critical for triggering hits. Bone, Pearl, and Sexy Shad are good colors. The Lucky Craft Bevy Shad is a personal favorite when I need a bait with a small profile.

When bass want it bigger, it's tough to beat these jerkbaits I discussed in an earlier blog.

FlukesBaitsShadEatingBass Fluke

Why they work:
Also known as soft-jerkbaits, flukes shine in tough conditions.

How to fish it: Ultra-slow retrieves work when fish are fussy. I rig them Tex-posed on a wide-gap worm hook or on a 3/16 or 1/4-ounce jig head. A fluke is a great throw-back bait when a bass is interested but unwilling to hit a speedier lure.

Shad CranksBaitsShadEatingBass ShadCranks

Why they work:
Wide-bodied crankbaits are deadly. The balsa-wood, Rapala Shad Rap is a go-to of mine. Rapala has several "shad" paint patterns to choose from.

Why it works: It produces bass in a mix of shallow and mid-depth scenarios.

SpoonsBaitsShadEatingBass Spoon

Why they work:
The flash and wobble of a spoon is a great shad stand-in.

How to fish it: Use a jigging spoon to vertically jig over a pod of bass. Equally deadly is casting a big spoon, like a Strike King Sexy Spoon, to work ledges or fan cast flats.


The above lures catch bass in a range of conditions and at varying depths throughout the year. Try them the next time you're targeting shad-eating bass. You won't be disappointed.