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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
read about shoal bass for the first time a few months ago and had been trying to scratch out a couple of days to get down to the flint river in georgia to chase 'em. it's a five-hour drive from charlotte (south and a little west of atlanta), so it pretty much has to be a multiple-day trip. anyway, finally got down there this weekend. highly recommended.

as you can see from the pics, the shoal bass look kinda like a smallmouth (one of the local names apparently is "flint river smallmouth"), but they have a bigger mouth (still smaller than largemouth, though) and very cool tiger-like stripes/vertical bars. apparently they weren't officially recognized scientifically as a separate species until 1999. they fight like smallies, though (maybe better? i know, i know, that's borderline blasphemous). they just crush lures when they hit 'em and fight and jump like champions. that first pic is the first one i caught. thought it was a two-pounder until i actually saw it, and knew what i was in for if a little bugger that small fought like that. ha. the biggest one of the trip (second pic) weighed in at 1.4 on my scale and felt like a bruiser.

floated all day saturday, taking 10 hours to explore a five-mile section. bite was much better early and late, probably because the temps hit 95 in the middle of the day. i know certain people on this site will be happy to hear that the zoom speedcraw was a shoalie magnet (and i owe you guys thanks for convincing me to give 'em a try). caught maybe 70 percent of 'em on the speedcraw in the pic, the rest on a two-inch power grub (pumpkinseed w/ orange tail) or a 3-inch fat senko. they're exclusively current fish, usually holding tight to the shoals that dominate this river. didn't catch any shoalies in slack water. the thrill of hooking those fighters was so great that i was almost disappointed to catch largemouth, even though i got a couple pushing two pounds (which sounds absurd, i realize, but it is what it is).

next day searched google maps satellite view and found a promising section to wade. boy, the images didn't do that place justice. just an awesome section about a mile long and half-mile wide with dozens and dozens of pools and riffles and all of it wadeable (i'm not a fly-fishing guy, but that place would be perfect for that setup on non-windy days). plus, there were a couple dozen great egrets and snowy egrets stalking the shallows, which made for a stunning royal white contrast against the landscape. wish i woulda had more time there, but didn't find it until after noon, and i still had that long drive back to CLT in front of me.

anyway, good times. it's an effort to make it happen, but most good things in life are, eh?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
loved that blog post, Mack, especially this line: "Nothing huge but my goal fish wise was to catch just 1. I didn't care how little or big I just wanted 1." i know that feeling. got the first one within the first 15 minutes and was elated. also, that big shoalie you landed was awesome. great, great fish.

i did throw a black buzzer the last hour or so of the float. had a few short strikes that just didn't hook up, and one that did but my drag wasn't set correctly (complete operator error, unfortunately, on a new baitcaster. aargh) and it got away. tried a small buzzbait during the day, but all my bites were on the bottom in that heat, so didn't get anything on that.
 

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Funny how they do the species thing. Many years ago, I caught something I was told was an "Ichetucknee bass" in FL, but since then they have decided there is no such thing and it is actually a Suwanee bass; the colors just tend to look different when they live in the clear waters of the Ichetucknee (which flows into the Santa Fe, which flows into the Suwanee) instead of the tannin stained Suwanee.

I once canoed the Flint (Yellow Jacket Shoals section) but we were not fishing that day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I was gonna say that. Nice job there. Speedcraw with orange pincers, got to get some of those.
i like to think those orange pinchers mimic the tail of the redbreast sunfish in the rivers, especially when/if i try swimming it slowly back. and in the mildly dirty water, the flash of orange can't hurt, right? at least, that's my thinking.
 

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if i had to guess jerry it was made orange with dip it dye or something similar, dont believe they make that color off the shelf.

great post bud hopefully when work slows off we will get a chance to fish. ive had no luck since moving back to charlotte whatsoever
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
if i had to guess jerry it was made orange with dip it dye or something similar, dont believe they make that color off the shelf.

great post bud hopefully when work slows off we will get a chance to fish. ive had no luck since moving back to charlotte whatsoever
actually, that was off the shelf. got it at the Hwy 49 Sporting Goods store near Badin Lake. in retrospect, wish i had bought all the packs of that color combo. haven't seen it since.

and, yeah, definitely let me know when things slow down. i'm gonna be in missouri for pretty much all of august, but after that i'm in ...
 

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Next time you go bring back a cooler full and be careful not to spill them off a bridge into the Haw in the middle of the night ;)
 

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Why not smallies? :confused:

Ditto Another tragic accident on the Haw---hate when these spills happen---just hate it! During flood stage Smallies have been known to swim back and fourth from the Dan to the Haw oldtimers say.
 

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A couple of additional notes...

I didn't finish my tangent on Suwanee bass. They are quite similar, to the point that knowing the difference would mostly be because of what watershed you are fishing.

As far as smallies in the Piedmont, it's been tried and they just can't thrive here. People point to the Broad in SC, but that's a mountain river that flows into the Piedmont and while it has some high temp spikes in places during the summer, it doesn't get as warm for as long as the true Piedmont rivers do.
 
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