How to identify a Shoal Bass
Long confused with the redeye bass, the shoal bass was considered the same species (although a different race) before being reclassified in 1999. The red color of the eyes associates this species with the redeye and Suwannee bass at first glance however morphologically, it is more closely related to the spotted bass. The shoal bass differs from the spotted bass by the absence of teeth on its tongue. The shoal bass also has more lateral line scales (usually 67-81), more rows of scales above (usually 8-10) and below (usually 15-21) the lateral line, and more caudal peduncle scales than the spotted bass. The color pattern of adult shoal bass is characterized by the presence of 10-15 midlateral and 6 to 8 supralateral dark vertical bars along the sides. These bars, which are also present in juveniles, easily distinguish the shoal bass from spotted bass. The redeye bass has an oval to rectangular patch of teeth on the tongue, fewer lateral line scales and fewer scale rows above and below the lateral line.The coloration of the shoal bass is olive green to dark olive to almost black. A dusky to black blotch is present on the posterior portion of the opercula and another one right before the tail. Three diagonal dark lines are present laterally on the head. The iris is typically bright red. Some have been known to reach more than eight pounds with the average size typically ranging around one to three pounds.
Where to catch Shoal Bass
The shoal bass occurs in the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint River drainages of Alabama, Florida and Georgia. It has been introduced and is now established in the Altamaha River drainages in central Georgia. This species most commonly inhabits shoal areas of rivers and large creeks throughout its range. The following list includes additional details on where to catch this fish: