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Shoal Bass Shoal bass are found in the Apalachicola River drainage and tributaries of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Introductions have been made in the Altamaha River drainage in central Georgia.
These bass have a strong preference for shoal and riffle areas of rivers and large creeks throughout its range. It does not do well in reservoirs and has been lost in areas where the river habitat has been destroyed by impoundments and dredging.
Shoal bass are moderate sized fish, adults typically running from 12 to 18 inches. Fish over seven pounds have been recorded. While their body shape is similar to largemouth, the shoal bass’s first and second dorsal fins are clearly connected, and its upper jaw does not extend past the eye. Further their color is more brownish with vertical stripes above the midline of the body resembling tiger stripes. Shoal’s eyes are typically red. While shoal bass can be confused with the redeye bass, anglers should bear in mind where they are fishing as the two species ranges do not overlapping ranges.
Spawning occurs when water temperatures reach 64 to 73 degrees. They have a preference for coarse gravel sites at the heads of creek pools. Like the black bass, males prepare the nest and guard the eggs and fry.
Shoal bass prefer to eat crayfish, but also consume a variety of fish and insects.
Shoal Bass in Florida
The following is courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
Appearance: 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.
Habitat: 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 River.
Behavior: 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 the shoals.
State Record: 7.8. lbs. Big Catch: 16 inches or 2 lbs.