Shoal bass are similar in body shape to largemouth bass, but
unlike the largemouth, the shoal bass has scales on the base
portion of the second dorsal fin; their first and second dorsal
fins are clearly connected, and its upper jaw does not extend past
the eye. Shoal bass also lack the dark lateral (down the side) band
that largemouth have. Shoal bass have vertical stripes above the
midline of the body which resemble tiger stripes.
Although historically found in the Apalachicola River, habitat
degradation has all but eliminated shoal bass from the river
proper. Very limited numbers of
shoal bass can be found just downstream from Jim Woodruff Dam,
where a few "shoal" type habitats still remain. The best
destination to catch shoal bass in Florida is the Chipola
Shoal bass primarily eat crustaceans (crayfish) but will also
eat a variety of fish and insects. Shoal bass are primarily found
among river shoals (shallow, fast moving riffles and runs
containing limestone) but larger shoal bass can often be found in
the deeper pools containing limestone formations above and below
7.8. lbs. Big Catch: 16 inches or 2 lbs.
Fishing Tips and Facts:
To catch shoal bass, fish near the "shoal" areas using medium action tackle with 8 to 12 pound test line. Soft plastic crawfish imitation lures and grubs are good choices. Spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and small crankbaits also work well. Spring and Fall are the best times to fish for shoal bass, but fishing can also be good throughout the summer months. Although not as popular as its largemouth cousin, shoal bass are pound-for-pound one of the top fighters in the black bass family. Checking "Florida Fishing Weekly" is a great way to learn about the full array of techniques available to bass anglers as well as specific details about different bass fisheries around the state.
Image Credit: Duane Raver, Jr.