Finally got my new 17 gallon Grayline bait tank. I guess my journey from fishing lures is now complete. Just like one of my friends said, using live shad is like cheating. Had some challenges getting it set up mostly because I was unaware that it used a water spray to aerate.
I quickly caught a net full of shad in Neely slough. I dropped them into 5 gallon bucket and counted out three dozen shad as best I could. I forgot my minnow net so had to dip everything with my hands. I'll need to get one of those bigger bait nets at Academy because these shad stay very lively in the bait tank and are hard to catch especially by hand.
Those lively shad did the trick as I quickly caught a limit in about two and a half hours. I caught four fish in one location quickly and stayed there another 30 minutes without a bite because I could see the fish on my fish finder but they had enough of me. Crossed over to the other side and quickly limited out.
All day, I could barely get two poles in the water before the first pole had a striper on it. I've been using a small number 8 Gamakatsu octopus hook that I stick in the shads mouth as he gasps and down through the bottom lip. They stay real lively that way and the stripers almost always hook themselves as they swallow the shad. I have my drag on my spinning reels initially set very loose so they act like a baitcaster. That way the fish can take the bait with zero resistance and I set the hook usually in the top of their mouth as they run with it. I can adjust the drag up after they complete the first big run. With the drag real loose they pull a ton of line but cannot get that little hook out. These shad in the bait tank are very different from the red nose guys I've fished with using my 5 gallon bucket. I could tell when I was going to get a bite, as the tip of my pole would go nuts as the shad tried to avoid the striper. I could even tell my shad was there and lively as the tip wiggled constantly, as the shad were not happy being so close to a big school of stripers.
These stripers I kept ranged from 19-28 inches. I also caught a 17 inch Hybrid that I released along with several smaller stripers. PK is loaded with 18-22 inch fish right now. Bigger ones are more rare but they are there. Still catching a few 14 - 17 inch fish but not in the numbers I saw last year. Water is very clear in the lower third of the lake. As I pulled in my fifth striper to make a limit, My second pole bent double and I caught another legal fish that I released.
PK is fishing really well right now if you use live bait. As for the bait tank, Looks like I need to get some foam off, as the tank did develop a lot of foam after a few hours. I didn't use any salt or Hydrogen peroxide, as I wanted to just see how they would do with just the tank. The shad stayed very lively and I think the tank will help me allot in the summer. In fact, I had a heck of a time catching the remaining shad when I emptied the tank. ( I really need that tank net) I dipped most of the water out in a small bucket then chased those little rascals around that tank to release them. Grayline says you can put 50 shad in this tank but I doubt I need more than 2-3 dozen, as they stay alive in the tank and the stripers take them fast once you get them on top of them.