I have written blog posts about the Flint River and the Chattahoochee Rivers, therefore I decided to write about a fish that typically habits those rivers. I have heard it said…”They are tough and aggressive and if they weighed 10 pounds, they would break your arm”!
Range Map of Shoal Bass in Alabama and Georgia
The shoal bass (Micropterus cataractae) is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes. One of the black basses, it is native to subtropical waters Florida and Georgia. It is also found in Alabama. Of typical size for a black bass, M. cataractaereaches a maximum recorded length 24 inches. The World Record of 8 pounds 12 ounces was caught on October 23, 1977, in the Apalachicola River, Florida. They typically inhabit shallow rivers with shoals, usually an abundance of fast running water and rock outcrops.
You’ve probably heard about the Flint River shoal bass that have been helping bass tournament fishermen win money on Lake Seminole in recent years. The same fish also inhabit the Flint above Lake Blackshear, in the region of the state between Macon and Columbus. The shoal bass is common in the Apalachicola and Chipola Rivers where shoals exists. It is also known in the Chattahoochee and Flint river drainages. With the creation of the White Water Course in Columbus GA requiring the removal of several dams (longest urban white water course in the US) the shoal bass population is expected to increase. They inhabit rocky currents, they have a reputation as a tough fighter and in this part of the river you’re better off on foot than in a bass boat – making the upper Flint an excellent choice for a summer fishing trip.
Only described for the first time in 1999, the shoal bass remains poorly understood by ichthyologists. The shoal bass is often confused with the redeye bass, due to its red-tinted eyes. A good game fish and a scrappy fighter that can be fun to catch. They can be caught on worms, minnows, or crayfish as well as small spinners and a wide variety of small surface lures. Some have been known to reach more than eight pounds.
G. Kent Morris, RF, ALC
Accredited Land Consultant
Associate Broker, Bickerstaff Parham Land LLC