The Shoal Bass is the seventh in the line of the nine Black Bass series and keeps anglers coming back for more. The Shoal Bass is often confused with smallmouth, retaining specific features that other species don’t have. Their unique black lines run vertically across their body often looking like tiger stripes. The black stripe around their eyes habitually looks like war paint. The Shoal Bass can weigh a whopping eight pounds, but a five-pound bass is considered a trophy fish.
Profile – (Micropterus Cataractae)
The Shoal Bass
As with other subspecies of the Black Bass family, the Shoal Bass has a place in the family tree for its own distinct reasons. In 1999 they were officially given their name. Before that, they were considered a subspecies of the Redeye Bass. The Shoal Bass were named because of their favorite location off the shoal. These powerful fish are much smaller than some of the others in the Black Bass family however, pound for pound they will fight with the toughest out there.
What does Shoal Bass eat?
In general, the shoal bass will eat just about anything they can fit in their mouths which is par for the Black Bass family. Nevertheless, they do have their favorites like insects, crayfish, and smaller fish. Don’t be mistaken though as the Shoal Bass will attempt to eat things that clearly won’t fit in their mouths.
Here is an area where the Shoal Bass stands out. They will spawn in the months of April to May and even June in waters that will range from sixty-four to seventy-degree waters. Shoal bass very much prefer to nest and spawn at the head of creeks and pools of slow-flowing waters. As with other basses, the male will make a nest to attract a female and will spend weeks guarding the young fry after they have been born
This species has a very limited range in certain areas. The Apalachicola downstream is growing increasingly sparse due to fewer shoals being available. Yet, there are areas like the Flint River where shoal bass thrive even with the possible threat of the Spotted Bass. To help protect the Shoal Bass, anglers are encouraged to catch and release all Shoal bass and on the contrary, they are stimulated to keep all spotted bass to help eliminate possible interbreeding.
Can you eat Shoal Bass?
Most anglers consider this bass species to be quite tasty with a firm dry texture to the meat. The meat of a shoal bass is low in the fishy flavor and has been reported to have a flaky texture.
Landing A Shoal Bass
Now that we have located and identified our tiger-striped target fish, we need to head to their most popular river where they are more abundant. The Flint River of the great state of Georgia. The river is chuck full of eddies fast and slow-moving water and rocky bottomed shoals for them to select from. Jumping into a kayak with a good friend and starting out upstreaming and moving with the current of the water. You can cast almost anything you catch a largemouth with and find success quickly. Once the water slows down towards the eddies of the river, land your boat on the shore, hook up a crayfish lure and start dragging them in.
Choosing your bait can be overwhelming but don’t be discouraged. As I had mentioned above, using almost any lure a largemouth would take is perfect for a Shoal Bass as well. This will include crankbaits, swimbaits, jerk baits, and so many more. But if you are looking for a sure shot lure stick with rubber worms and other lures that mimic their natural diet such as crayfish.
Rod and Reel choices
When choosing a rod and reel sticking to the basics is one of the best things you can do to ensure a successful day. Go to your local sporting goods store and pick up one of the best all-around fishing poles. Even the pros can’t deny having a place among their gear, the Ugly Stik! Its extremely versatility and toughness will keep you fishing all day with little to no issues at all. These rods are the best and require virtually no maintenance. The turbulent waters and heavily wooded riverbank edges will make you grateful for choosing such a durable rod. Don’t forget to pick up a name-brand line with an approximately eight-to-twelve-pound test.
What to look for
Shoal bass, although having a small natural habitat makes them easy to find. They aren’t named the Shoal Bass without reason. Most anglers hunting for this specific Black Bass will head straight to the Flint River where they are most copious. Look for rocky points and gravely fast-moving waters. You’ll find plenty of the best shoal bass making their way.