Freshwater Fish Species
The black bass family of the sunfish species
Saltwater Fish Species
Shoal Bass Fish Identification, its habitats, characteristics, fishing methods.
The Shoal Bass is one of the scrappy fighters that hit hard and don't stop fighting that make them one of the toughest fighting fish for their size. They also highly considered on the dinner table with their white, flaky meat a little drier than of a largemouth. The very basic pole with worm are extremely effective. To do well in bass fishing, the best way is to study the creature, where it lives, what environment and water temperatures they prefer, what type of bait or lure better to use.
The Shoal Bass feed on worms, minnows, or crayfish. It can be caught on all types of artificial baits, from under water spinners and spoons to top water lures. Bass loves to be over sheltered areas where old trees are under the water are used by smaller fish as a cover. More knowledge about the Shoal Bass can surely help you to increase your catch. Better knowing and understanding the bass feeding and spawning habits will make you a more successful angler and will help to catch them considerably.
The shoal bass - Micropterus cataractae is a species of freshwater fish in the
Sunfish family. One of the
Black basses, closely related to
Smallmouth bass and
Spotted bass, it is native to subtropical waters in Florida and Georgia, also they are common to the Apalachicola River drainage in Alabama.
The Shoal bass and the
Redeye bass are easily confused. The red eyes associate Shoal bass with the Redeye bass and
Suwannee bass, but it is more closely related to the Spotted bass. The Shoal bass does not have white margins on the upper and lower edges of the caudal fin that Redeye bass have. They do not have teeth on the tongue, while redeye bass have. The shoal bass has scales on the base of the soft-rayed dorsal fins. The lover lateral line has from 70 to 79 scales (Redeye bass have 64 to 73), and 29 to 34 scale rows around the caudal peduncle (Redeye bass have 26 to 30). Their first and second dorsal fins are clearly connected. An upper jaw bone does not extend below the eyes.
Adult shoal bass are olive green to nearly black along the back and creamy or white on the belly. Several rows of dark scales form different parallel lines next to the lower sides of the body. Small fish have 10-15 vertical dark blotches along their sides with tiger-stripes in between that become lighter with age. The wavy lines may appear a little above the white or creamy belly on both sides. The dorsal, caudal and anal fins are dark olive green to grayish black. Pelvic fins may have a cream colored leading edge with dark spots. A dusky dark blotch about 50-67 percent of the size of the eye occurs on the back edge of the gill cover. Three diagonal black lines radiate along the side of the head looking like war paint.
The Shoal bass reaches a maximum length of 24 in (61 cm) and a maximum weight of about 9 lbs., usual size is 12 to 18 in (30 to 46 cm). Shoal bass feed mostly on aquatic and terrestrial insects on the surface, but also feed on larval insects, crayfish and small fishes. Shoal bass grow much faster than redeye bass.
Habitat and Habits
Shoal bass inhabit shoals and riffles of small to moderate fast-flowing streams and apparently avoid reservoirs. They are closely associated with rock shoals and are uncommon in other habitats. The river is shallow and full of rocks, and it is cool standing waist deep in the water in the middle of the summer. They prefer swifter water near the banks, usually near the larger snags.
Shoal bass spawn in coarse gravel at the heads of creek pools in April and May, to early June. They never spawn in ponds or lakes. Redeye prefers spawning temperature from 64 to 73 degrees. They build nests in hard-bottom areas next to shallow shorelines or in protected areas such as canals and heavy aquatic vegetation coves. The male builds saucer-shaped nests 20 to 30 inches in diameter by placing its lower jaw near the bottom and rotating around this central location.
After spawning from 5 to 10 days, the male guards the nest and eggs. The female bass usually stays near the nest sometimes swim a short distance for food. After hatching, the fry swim in tight schools like largemouth.
Fishing Methods are spin-casting, still fishing, Bait-casting and pole fishing. They are a good game fish and a scrappy fighter that is often difficult to catch. They can be caught on worms, minnows, or crayfish, hand-tied flies and poppers as well as small spinners and a wide variety of small surface lures. They also fight harder than largemouth, and use the current to their advantage. They hit like they're out for revenge, they don't stop fighting, and if you are playing with the fish you just give it more time to throw the hook. You either drag them or net them but donít play with them. Shoal bass have the muscle to chase fleeing crawfish and minnows in the heaviest part of the current. That makes them one of the toughest fighting fish for their size that you'll ever catch.
Artificial baits on a spinning rod and 6-lb. test line is a good choice for the shoals. Fish have good Eating Quality with white, flaky meat a little drier than of a largemouth. Shallow running crank baits with matching the color to the waters, black/blue and green pumpkin jigs/tubes are also worked great. In order do not spook the fish stay about 20 feet off the shoal because they are shallow.
Shoal bass are considered the signature species of the river and current size structure of the population indicates good fishing for the next couple of years. Fish in the 11 to 15-inch range are most abundant, but larger fish in the 14 to 20-inch range are common. Always be prepared for the occasional 18 to 22-inch fish. Best fishing for shoal bass is in May and June and again from September through November.
Preferred spinning gear is light to medium and a variety of lures are effective. Try small swimming minnows, spinner baits, top water poppers and Texas-rigged worms and lizards. When fly-fishing, wade the shoals with a 6-8 weight bass or trout rod and plenty of wooly buggers and poppers.
Great rods for Shoal bass fishing are:
24ft Telescopic Fishing Pole
21ft Fishing Pole made of 99% Carbon
18ft Telescopic Carbon Pole
12ft Telescopic Fishing Hera Rod
18ft Telescopic Spinning Rod
12ft Telescopic Spinning Rod
12ft Telescopic Casting Light Rod