Welcome to the quest.
The world record shoal bass is 8 lbs and 12 ozs and was caught on October 27 1977 in the Apalachicola River Florida. It has only been in the past few years that it has been targeted specifically by river fisherman with the rising popularity of kayak fishing.
A few years ago I discovered kayak fishing and decided to make the shoal bass my my main focus. It was even more recently that I was approached by a fellow kayak angler that was interested in making a film about the hunt for the world record shoal bass which sparked my interest greatly and spawned the creation of this blog. The hunt for this record fish has since become the focus of all of my fishing activities. I now target the shoal bass exclusively. I was recently asked by a fellow angler if I thought I really had a chance at catching a world record ? My reply.. Well my chances are are as good as yours or any body else but if I do YOU are damn sure gonna hear about it. I would like to dedicate this blog and my efforts to Philip (Swampthang) Mays who is the first person to ever take me on a kayak trip down the river for shoal bass and started this addiction that I love so much. Phil left this world recently for a better place. He was a true sportsman and will be deeply missed. Thank you Phil.
Monday, January 24, 2011
So what is a shoal bass anyway ?
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 in Florida and Georgia. It is also found in Alabama. Of typical size for a black bass, M. cataractae reaches a maximum recorded length of 61 cm (24 in) and a maximum published weight of 8 pounds and 12 ounces.
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.
Until October 1999, this species was variously considered to be a redeye bass or subspecies of the redeye bass. James Williams and George Burgess published the official description of the new species in Volume 42, No. 2 of the "Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History," which was printed on October 8, 1999.
The red color of eyes associates this species with the redeye and Suwannee bass at first glance. However, it is more closely related to the spotted bass morphologically. Shoal bass generally are olive green to nearly black along the back. 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. 10-15 vertical blotches appear along the sides with tiger-stripes often appearing in between.
The belly is creamy or white and wavy lines may appear slightly above the white belly on the 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.
The shoal bass has scales on the base portion of the soft-rayed dorsal fins, clearly connected first and second dorsal fins, and an upper jaw bone that does not extend beyond the eyes.
Subspecies - No known subspecies. Until October 1999 this species was considered to have been a subspecies of the redeye bass.
Shoal bass are now a species of special concern.
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. As a sport fish, specific bag and size limit regulations apply, and you can register a qualifying catch as part of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's "Big Catch" program.
World Record - 8 pounds, 12 ounces. The fish was caught on October 23, 1977, in the Apalachicola River, Florida. This bass was a shoal bass, but originally reported as the Apalachicola form of redeye bass.