Posted on Monday Jul 22, 2013 at 9:16 AM
I've had shad die with an appearance somewhat like you describe. My shad tend to die with what I call red blotches in multiple places on their bodies. Some friends thought it was oxygen so I added another air pump; and after that I added yet another air pump. I think that helped some, but did not fix this problem. I think it's got something to do with not overcrowding during the transfer - and the water quality during the transfer / and possibly with a lack of fish hauling chemical. On a recent trip I got too many (put ~ 130 mid to larger shad in a 35 gal tank) and before I could get home the water quality became very bad and overwhelmed the filter - lots of scales in the water. Nearly all of them died within a two days. So, on the next trip I was careful to not overwhelm my transfer tank, and I treated them very delicately - not getting too many in the dip net and such. And my survival rate went up to 70%.
Chemicals: I have also not been using any chemical (shad saver / fish hauling stuff) in the water other than the salt. Now I'm wondering that during these hot days, that these chemicals might be more important because they might be adding an ingrediant to drug the shad into not being stressed. I'm not sure. All I've heard is that the toughest time to keep shad alive is during the heat of the summer - and thats what I'm finding. Sure wish I could find some chemical that doesn't break the bank to purchase, cause my first wife cut back on my fishing related allowance :-)
The more you practice, the luckier you get.