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Shoal Bass the Aggressive Freshwater Cousin

January 14, 2020

Aggressive Cousin - Shoal Bass

The Shoal Bass is a freshwater perciform fish in the Centrarchidae family. One of several black bass that are native to subtropical water in Florida and Georgia. While, also found in rivers and streams in East Alabama, where it is declared endangered. Another name for the Shoal Bass is the "Shoalie".

Description of the Shoalie

Shoal Bass

Generally, olive green but may be very dark, nearly black along the back with dusky dark blotch almost the size of an eye on the back edge of the gill cover. While, three diagonal black lines radiate along the side of the head like war paint.

Further, ten to fifteen vertical blotches appear along their sides with tiger-stripes appearing between them. Generally, the belly is white or creamy with wavy lines. While, the dorsal, caudal and anal fins are dark olive green to grey black and the pelvic fins have a cream leading edge with dark spots.

Further, the base portion of the soft-rayed dorsal fins have scales. While, they first and second dorsal fins are clearly connected. Furthermore, the upper jawbone does not extend beyond the eyes.

While, their red-tinted eyes often get the them and the Redeye Bass confused. Meanwhile, the faint vertical stripes down their sides get them confused with the Smallmouth Bass.

Biology of the Shoal Bass

Unlike their cousins, the Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass, the Shoal Bass is very particular in their habitat. While, found only in a handful of cool, rocky southern rivers and streams.

Meanwhile, inhabit medium to strong currents, but are unable to tolerate the rushing waters the Smalllmouth inhabits. Further, do not like deep lakes like their cousin, the Largemouth Bass.

Conservation and Management

Due the Shoal Bass’ numbers decreasing drastically in their native habitats with the increase of non-native bass species and change of habitat affecting their spawning requirements, they are becoming vulnerable throughout their range. While, fishing still exists in Georgia’s Flint River, anglers are encouraged to practice catch and release techniques only. Further, anglers are encouraged to keep all Spotted Bass caught in the Flint River due to them competing with the Shoal Bass and even hybridizing with them.

Shoal Bass Recipe

Grilled Shoal Bass


4 Shoal Bass Fillets
2 Teaspoons Dried Parsley
¼ Teaspoon Paprika
Lemon Pepper (to taste)
¼ Teaspoon Onion Powder
Sea Salt (to taste)
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 ½ Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil


On high heat, pre-heat grill.
In a bowl, combine paprika, onion powder, lemon pepper, and sea salt.
Sprinkle the mixture over the bass fillets.
Melt butter and combine with parsley.
Lay the shoal bass fillets on a lightly oiled grill grate.
Cook each side for 7 minutes, brushing occasionally with butter mixture.
Grill until tender enough to pull apart with a fork.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serving.


Offer similar sporting quality to that of other black bass. However, gives a harder fight then their cousin, the Largemouth Bass and has more stamina. Generally, caught on worms, minnows, crayfish, small spinners and a wide variety of small surface lures. While, some specimens may reach more than eight pounds. Have a white flaky meat which tends to be drier than that of the largemouth or spotted bass. Further, a popular target to fly fishing anglers due to their preference to river environments. Furthermore, their preference for moderate to heavy currents encourages them to take crawdad patterns aggressively.

Filleting a Shoal Bass

I demonstrate how to fillet a bass like a pro with no gutting the bass. Step by Step instructions for boneless bass fillets.

Firstly, rinse the fish under cold water to remove any loose debris. Secondly, cut next to the pectoral fin down the length of the gill plate to the backbone with a filleting knife. Further, cut along the dorsal fin of the fish, from the head toward the tail, holding the blade edge tight against the backbone.

Now, just after the rib cage, behind the vent, use the curved point and slide the knife through until the knife cuts both sides of the fish until almost at the tail. Meanwhile, with a gentle pull slice the flesh away from the rib cage. Moreover, the flesh part of the fish fillet is now attached by the piece on the tail only.

Now, simply make and incision at the top of the flesh by the tail side and slide the knife down next to the skin. Therefore, removing the skin from the flesh and giving you a nice fillet. Next, turn the fish over and remove the fillet from the other side of the fish. Therefore, giving you two beautiful fillets of fish. Subsequently, discard the bones and carcass of the fish. Now, rinse the fillets until they are clean.



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