That’s A Mighty Big Bait


Anglers who fish bait for landlocked striped bass or catfish are likely familiar with big gizzard shad. These stinky shad make great live and cut bait, and they grow quite large, but we’ve never seen a gizzard shad as big as this one.

On Jan. 31, Sam Gilkerson speared an enormous 4-pound, 15-ounce gizzard shad from South Dakota’s Lake Sharpe. The fish is a new South Dakota state record, and as far as we can tell, it might be the largest gizzard shad ever caught… anywhere.

Gizzard shad are a species of herring widespread across the eastern half of the United States. They are not much of a gamefish, as they feed on zooplankton and sediment detritus, but they do make up the primary forage base for predatory species in many fisheries.

Gizzard shad are known to grow longer than 18 inches and regularly reach weights heavier than 2 pounds. The IGFA all-tackle world record caught on rod and reel weighed 4 pounds, 6 ounces. It was caught from Lake Michigan in 1996.

Gizzards are the primary forage species in Lake Sharpe. They support an excellent walleye fishery on this 56,884-acre impoundment of the Missouri River in central South Dakota.
We’d love to see the walleye large enough to swallow this monster baitfish.

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