Catching bait in winter is much more difficult than the rest of the year. When the water temps get down into the forties or lower the Shad go deep. This effects not only where you look for them but the equipment needed. To start with you need a good Sonar unit to find the bait. Then you need a heavier net than you used in the spring and summer. I also use a “Taped” net. That is, a net with 2″ wide tape added to the entire length of the circumference of the net just above the lead line. This tape helps to keep the net from collapsing as it sinks too the bottom.
So here is the process along with a few pictures to help with the explanation. First locate the Shad on your sonar. In my boat I have a Sonar transducer mounted on the bottom of my trolling motor and the deck I stand on to throw my net is very close to my trolling motor. So I can see whats on the bottom right where I’m throwing my net. When the Shad are right under my feet I throw the net and let it sink all the way to the bottom. In the fourth pic you can see the net sinking on the Sonar screen. When the net hits bottom bring it in and hopefully your net will look like mine did in the last pic.