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Sunday, 15 September 2013 19:15

Kayak fishing for shoal bass

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Many kayak anglers head to the Gulf Coast through Alabama or Georgia, and never realize what a special fishery they are passing through. One of the greatest bass species that can tighten a line is only found in the Southeast. The shoal bass, called “shoalies” by those who love them, are beautiful brown bass that will leave an angler weak in the knees.

The shoalie loves moving water, and can be found in a foot of water or less much of the time. Rapids do not bother them, and the haunts they frequent would make a rainbow trout proud. They are opportunistic feeders that are considered crawfish eaters, but they are more than happy to strike swim baits or other shad/bream imitations. A topwater bait can be fished all day long as well; buzzbaits or noisy walk-the-dog type lures will call fish up no matter how high the sun is.

shoal bass

Fly fishermen particularly love the shoal bass, and with good reason. These super-strong brown bass will strike hard and give an aerial performance that will make memories. Streamer and crawfish patterns work well for shoalies, as do topwater flies in gurgler styles or poppers. Floating weight forward lines are fine as most of the places you will fish are shallow. A 5wt or 6wt rod will be plenty for most of the fish, but a shoal bass in the 3lb and up range has the potential to humble even the most proficient fly angler.

In my experience, the Flint River is probably the best known shoal bass fishery in the area. Beautiful shallow runs with plenty of rocks make perfect shoalie habitat. Other popular areas to chase the shoal bass include the Chattahoochee River from below Atlanta to Columbus, GA, and the Ocmulgee River. The Ocmulgee is well known for its population of large shoal bass that inhabit the shallow rocky runs.

fishing for shoal bass

The shoal bass is pound-for-pound one of the strongest fish in the Southeast. A savage strike and a brilliant fight make them a fish any angler would hope to tangle with. If you get the chance to test your skills against them, please get a great picture then release them back to the river. A fish that special deserves the chance to fight again!

Read 12546 times Last modified on Sunday, 15 September 2013 19:28
Chris Funk

Chris Funk is an avid outdoorsman and rabid photographer. He tells folks his life revolves around 6 "F"s, his Faith,Family,Fur,Fins,Feathers and Fotography. He paddles all over the Southeast with his bride Angie and son Ethan. They fish for any critter that will tighten a line and it doesn't matter if it is with conventional gear, fly gear or bowfishing gear. He and his son are on the Jackson kayak fishing team and the whole family helps with an awesome group called Paddle4Tomorrow that gets people with special needs out for a day of paddling.


+1 # Irish Fly 2013-09-16 01:31
I had never heard of a shoal bass. Thanks for a great article - did a little google on them. Cool fish!
# FERAL ONE 2013-09-16 01:36
Quoting Irish Fly:
I had never heard of a shoal bass. Thanks for a great article - did a little google on them. Cool fish!

Irish Fly, if you are ever down in this area, hit one of the southeastern folks up. i would be proud to show you a shoalie in person ! we are blessed with multiple black bass species within a days drive, largemouth, smallmouth, redeye,spotted bass, bartrams,shoal bass and suwanees. even a new one this year called the choctaw. i have yet to catch a bartrams or choctaw but i hope to !
# Kayakjak 2013-09-16 22:36
Awesome article and pics! Great information!
# Grandbuddy 2013-10-17 10:59
Hi Chris,
New to this sport and really like your articles. Would like to be your friend on YA.
# JohnYaksJax 2014-01-31 10:21
Hey Chris....Great article and pix on the Shoal Bass and I have been fortunate enough to catch them in all three of those rivers you mentioned on trips with the GKF and GRF crews. I had good success with the little Rapala J5 or J7 jointed minnows in the FireTiger color scheme. Congrats also for assisting with P4T...a really great group of giving people. Take care....John
PS: I just realized that my avatar is me "kissing" a Shoalie!! LOL!!
# BassTrYaker 2014-02-04 07:46
Feral One, nice write up. I have recently been introduced to Shaolies on the Flint. Lots of fun. My brother and I are lookin to do a trip to the Ocmulgee River this spring. Can you recommend any kayak guides? Haven't had a lot of luck online. Thanks
+1 # BassTrYaker 2014-02-06 18:09
Nice article Feral One. I have recently been introduced to Shaolies on the Flint. My brother and I are hoping to plan a spring trip to the Ocmulgee River. Can you recommend any kayak guides? I can seem to find much online. Thanks!
# FERAL ONE 2014-02-09 14:57
yes sir, Henry Jackson or Randy Vining are outstanding guys and can really give you a great trip. I know they guide the flint and I will check with them on the Ocmulgee. I know 2 things about that river, the fish are huge and the rocks eat kayaks ! some things are worth the risk though :lol:
# Riverpirate 2014-02-09 19:36
I can take you on the Ocmulgee. Georgiariverpir ate.com

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