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Shad -
Common Name: Shad
Other Names: Elf
Scientific Name: Pomatomus saltatrix

Size: Shad can grow to be 120 cm long with a weight of 14 kg. Shad of this size would be 10 to 15 years old - but with the intensity of fishing along our coastline few fish survive to attain this age. One year old shad are 25 to 30 cm long and at two years they are over 35 cm and are sexually mature.

Habitat: Shad are mainly found on sandy bottoms in clear water. They are also found close to reefs and rocky ledges where there is foamy water.

Distribution:  This fish occurs along the entire South Africa coastline. It is a migratory species with juveniles shoaling in the Western Cape and adults migrate to Kwazulu-Natal to spawn. Shad can also be found in Australia and along parts of the American coast.

Bait: Spinning is the usual way of catching shad when they are on the bite. Otherwise shore anglers can use a whole or cut sardine as bait. Karanteen is a good live bait to catch large shad with.

Fishing Strategy: They often tug at the bait which pulls the rod tip up, or on other occasions they might nibble on the bait and so careful judgement is need to consider when to strike.

Eating Quality: The fresh flesh of a shad is excellent to eat, but not after being frozen so only keep what you can eat.

  • Heavy tackle is not required
  • Standard beach rod
  • 6 - 8kg line
  • Hook sizes vary from 3/0 to about 6/0
  • Use a short (+-10cm) light steel trace on your hook as shad often bite off the hook

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