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.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pre trip report 04/23***Low water tactics***

Yes..That's right..I said pretrip report...I am sitting here brain storming on how I will handle some really tough fishing conditions tomorrow..Some of my fishing buddies hit the river today while I was at work since they all had Good Friday off. All are reporting that they had a pretty bad day due to the fact that the water was really low and super clear.I will be hitting the same water in the morning with my fishing buddy Bruiser..I have no choice but to go since I only have Saturday to fish this week because of Easter and its prime shoalie time so I have to go give it a shot..So what do you do when the water is super low and super clear and the fish seem to be  in the lock down I'm not biting kind of mood ? Well I have a theory and tomorrow I am putting it to the test.

This theory includes the following..A stealthy approach..Finesse type baits.As natural as possible looking baits and as much patients as I can possibly muster.
I will up date this report tomorrow night on my return and let you know how I do.Even though the river has dropped dramatically and conditions have changed I know the fish are still there and they have to eat some time.I am going to see if I can figure out how to get them to bite tomorrow..
Stay tuned.


The Results
I think I broke the record today..The record for the most times falling down in the river in one day that is. It was a major struggle to get up stream to the shoals with the low water conditions..The rocks were very exposed and very slick..Seemed lick every time i turned around I was taking another spill and by the time I finally reached me destination I was soaked from head to toe. On top of that it was fairly cool this morning with a lot of cloud cover and a mist in the air which made it very uncomfortable..I was cold to the bone for most of the morning to the point of shaking until around noon when the clouds finally broke and the sun came out..

The fishing tactics that I had planned to use in the low water conditions did not seem to pay off in the way they I had hoped.I threw worms, jigs swim baits and even tried a little top water action but could never really get into a groove or pattern that worked..I tried my best to stay in a stealth mode to keep from spooking the fish but that was tough with the slick rocks and my inability to stay on my feet.I did manage to catch a few fish  but most were small..My fishing partner Bruiser seemed to have his game on though catching three fish over four lbs early in the shoals..Not sure what he was doing different than I was but he had them dialed in for a little while.

Most of the fish I caught were around this size.

I managed to catch a total of maybe 10 fish for the day mostly on a green pumpkin Zoom Finesse worm and a couple on top water on a Hedon Torpedo..Once the sun finally came out and warmed things up including myself the bite pretty much died off for the rest of the day for me.

This was my best fish..Don't let the picture fool you..This fish only weighed around 3 lbs or so..I used the old fisherman's picture technique to make it look bigger than it really is..

The shoal bass is a tough fish to figure out..When will they spawn ? Where will they be? In the shoals ? In the slack water ? The river conditions are constantly changing and are influenced not only by the weather but you also have the dam up stream effecting the river levels..This make it very difficult to to figure out when to and where to go..So do I allow myself to be discouraged by this one bad day of fishing ?
I think not.
Two weeks ago I had one of the best days ever and last weekend was not so bad either so I cant let this one bad day discourage me from my quest.

I will be back out there next week I am sure trying to figure out this fish...Looking for that big one.
The World Record Shoal bass !!

Fish on my friends and have a Happy Easter !!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Trip report 04/16 **Big storms and high water**

I am hitting the river in the morning no matter what the conditions might be.Right now it is raining cats and dogs here at the house in Mcdonough but I don't think all the water will actually make it into the river system for 24 hrs or so..May stain it up a bit but that can be a good thing.I am going to visit an old friend that I have not fished in a while and if history holds true the big shoal bass should be up in the shoals.

I have been thinking about this all day planning where I will go and what pockets that I plan to fish..I am so freakin excited I know I will not be able to sleep tonight.Tomorrow could be the day..The day that the big girl shows up or at least a six or seven pounder could be caught..Who knows but I can tell you this ..I am going to fish it like i am fishing for the world record..Just like I have done every time I have been on the river this season..Maybe tomorrow night I will post the report of a life time maybe not but I can assure you that tomorrow come hell or high water that I will be out there fishing for the world record shoal bass.

Wish me luck !!

Well this trip turned out to be a good one over all but the big girl that I am looking for did not show up this time.I met up with my partners for the Glenn (RatherBfishing) Anderson and Sean (Bruiser) Brodie at the river around 07:00am.The dam operators decided to release I guess because of all the rain we had received the night before so the river was up and running at a pretty good clip. In addition to that we had planned to put in at our normal take out and paddle up to a set of shoals about a mile upstream that is known to be home to some big shoal bass this time of the year.

I have never paddled so hard in all of my kayak fishing days.It took every ounce of energy I had to even paddle enough to stay in the same spot let alone actually get up stream. There were several times when I just had to get out of the kayak and wade in water sometimes up to my chest to make any head way..It was absolutely exhausting but after a couple of hours I finally made it up to the shoals where I had planned to start fishing..RBF and Bruiser decided to take the high road and start at a spot farther up steam than I did.Once we split up I did not see those guys for several hours.

Once I got in the shoals it did not take long before I would hook into the biggest shoal bass that I would catch on this day.I got into position and made a couple of cast with a swim bait into a promising looking spot and on maybe the forth or fifth cast BLAMO...It was on ..A big shoalie smashed my swim bait and began a fight that would last two or three minutes in some really swift water..I was not sure if I would get this one in..She was using the high  swift water to her advantage and put up a hell of a fight but I finally got her in.
Here are the results..A nice 4 lb 11 oz shoal bass.It was a real struggle trying to take this picture in the swift water.

After catching that fish I thought to myself..Alright it is on now..Today just might be my day..Today might be the day that I catch that fish of a life time..I continued to fish may way upstream moving from pocket to pocket looking for deep holes in between the rock and shelves that might hold fish..Each time I would come to a likely spot I would catch a small fish or two out of each one but nothing bigger than 2 lbs or so but by the time I had reached the top I had caught over 15 decent fish..Needless to say I was having fun.

Later in the day I finally met back up with RBF and Bruiser and they reported that they had caught a few with RBF landing the biggest with a 3 lb 3 oz spotted bass.We continued on fishing together for the rest of the day but the bite had seemed to slow down a bit..The fish were just not as active as they had been earlier in the day...I did manage to catch another nice shoal bass and a decent spotted bass before we were done.

I think I ended up catching a couple of more small fish before making it back to that take out but that was pretty much the end of my day..Not to bad over all..Total fish caught was some where around 20 to 25 with that 4-11 being the biggest..I'll take a day like that anytime.

One more thing I would like to mention that happened to me on this trip..Early that morning after I had split up from RBF and Bruiser I had a bad experience that reminded me that I should not have strayed away from the company of my partners.I had come to a narrow section of river where the current was very swift and there was a small water fall that I needed to get over..There was no way to go around and my only choice was to climb the middle which was a three to four foot drop.As I was climbing the fall and dragging my kayak behind me the water formed a suction and pulled my kayak in under the fall and swamped my boat.It immediately flipped the boat and dumped every thing in it including my tackle box.

I was quickly able to flip the boat back over and grab my rods but I looked up and saw my tackle box headed down stream fast. My tackle box not only had all of my tackle in it but I had also stowed my wallet and truck keys in a side pocket. I immediately jumped in the kayak and and started paddling after it..I had to get to it as soon as possible because there was a fallen tree that was across the river about 45 yards down stream..My heart was racing and I was scared to death..Well I caught it just in the nick of time but then had to stop my self before hitting the tree in my kayak which could have turned deadly.

After this ordeal was over I stood there in the middle of the river holding on to my kayak and tackle box shaking uncontrollably until I regained my composure.It was at that moment that I realized that I had done something that no one should ever do when kayaking or any other out door sport like it..
NEVER GO ALONE..If something would have happened to me there would have been no one around to help me and Bruiser and RBF would have never known that  I was in trouble.In addition to that I did not have my gear properly stored or I would not have found myself in that position in the first place.

So there you go folks..No fish in the world is worth risking your life over not even the world record.
I almost started to say that I learned my lesson on that one but that is a lesson that I should already know.
Fish on my fellow riverbassers..Stay safe out there and go catch a big one.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trip report 04/08/11**New Personal best and a all around big fish kind of day

Below is the is the post I made on Riverbassin.com the night I returned from one of the best trips I had been on in quite some time.I was so excited to finally have a good day on the water that I just had to get some pictures up for everyone to see.My week of vacation that I took primarily to fish for the record had been uneventful up until friday 04/08 so you can imagine how excited I was to finally get into some big fish.

Even though the river was still to high to fish I had to go give it a try anyway as my vacation time was quickly running out.

Here is the post I made in riverbassin.com

I took a entire week off of work this week in order to get in on some spring time shoal bass action.
With all the recent rains and high and muddy river contions all over the state I have only been able to get out on the river twice since last saturday.Even though we knew the river would still be high again today we took a stab at it but at least this time we found some clear water.Today was just one of those days
when you just happen to be in the right place at the right time under the right conditions with the river gods on your side.

Today I caught my personal best shoal bass and my second best shoal bass and a few other nice bass to boot.Swim baits worms and finesse jigs seem to be the pay off baits.I broke a rod got hung up in the trees
run most of the line off of one of my reels lost a few baits as my gift to the gods but they rewarded me for my losses.Please excuse the the poor picture quality and multiple pics of the same fish..I forgot that my flash was off and took some dark pics but I tried to lighten them up a bit.

My new personal best Shoal bass....5-6 caught on a swim bait.

Another shot of the same fish..Sweet huh ?

Nice 3 something shoal bass...Did not weigh this one.
I would have been happy to call it a day at this point.
But then just a few minutes later I caught this fish out of the same spot..Holy cow I could not believe what was happening..I just caught this big girl.
My second best shoal bass..4-15 nailed a finesse jig..two pics.

This was incredible..Not only had I caught my personal best Shoal bass over 5 lbs but I had also
caught my second best Shoal bass in a matter of minutes apart and another nice fish to boot..I could have left and went home a happy man and not made another cast but no.. I still had one more kicker fish to come.
We had headed down stream after a while of fishing the same hole and getting no more bites when I hooked into this one very near the boat ramp where we had put in..

A 5-5 Large mouth...This girl was spawned out..Long skinny with a big head.She may have went over
six prespawn..

In addition to that I had caught this largemouth a few minutes earlier..
No weight on this one but no dought a nice fish.

After several trips previous to this one that were far less productive and a few where I did not catch anything at all you have to know that this was a major confidence booster..Breaking two personal records in one day just minutes apart was incredible and put me up on cloud nine..But I soon realized that although I had caught some really nice fish that I had come no where near my goal of catching the world record.. I would need to catch a shoal bass that was more than 3 lbs heavier than the biggest fish I caught on this day..That is a huge leap...I cant even imagine what it would be like to fight a shoal bass of that size but I sure would like to know.

So my quest to catch the world record shoal bass continues although for one day I did have a few minutes of glory I still have along way to go.
Who knows..The very next cast I make may be the one that catches the record.

Stay safe out there folks and fish hard.