Where Shad Spawn
Shad are a common baitfish and they spawn in very shallow water on hard surfaces. They especially like rocks, wood and metal but will spawn on clay and plants, too. The best spots are near deep water. So bridge riprap and pilings, seawalls and bulkheads on points and even grassy points are good places to find them spawning.
Watch for shad rippling the water right where the water meets the edge of the hard surface. You will usually see shad jumping completely out of the water onto the bank when they spawn. The school of shad run down the bank and the females lay eggs that stick to the rocks and other hard surfaces. The male are running with them and releasing sperm that fertilizes the eggs.
How To Fish The Shad Spawn
A spinnerbait is the best bait for catching bass during the shad spawn. Silver willowleaf #4 or #5 blades with a white skirt imitates the shad. Use a light one, 1/4 or 3/8 ounce, since you will be fishing very shallow.
Get your boat in close to the bank and parallel the bank. Try to position your boat behind the shad so you won't spook them. See which way they are moving and get in close. Cast your spinnerbait right on the rocks or against the sea wall. Bass will be amazingly shallow and will be looking for shad almost out of the water. You can't cast too shallow.
Start your retrieve as soon as your bait hits the water and be ready to set the hook immediately. Bass will often hit as soon as the bait hits the water.
Topwater baits like buzzbaits and poppers work well, too. A buzzbait will often excite the bass even more and a popper can be worked very slowly over shallow cover. Try topwater if the spinnerbait is not working.
After The Activity Stops
You will often see swirls of bass as they eat the shad so cast to them, too. When the surface activity stops the fishing can get very tough. Try to slow roll your spinnerbait on the rocks, working from very shallow out to about six feet deep. If you see shad following your bait you know they are still in the area and bass should be nearby.
Find the shad spawn on your lake and you can be in for some fast bass action.