Photo Essay: Shoalies

Smaller than smallmouths but full of fight, shoal bass are native only to a handful of streams in the Southeast.

 

Quite literally, there’s no other fish like the shoal bass, a species of Micropterus that has the profile of a largemouth, the markings of a smallmouth, and the pugnacity of the spotted. And there’s no other angler who pursues shoalies with more passion than Georgia’s Kent Edmonds. He knows the river is full of hellgrammites, and an imitation such as a Rubber-Legged Dragon often proves too much for a shoal bass to ignore.

Shoal bass can be found only in a few flows of the Chattahoochee River drainage in western Georgia, eastern Alabama, and northern Florida. One of the best shoalie waters is Georgia’s Flint River, which springs forth between hangars and runways at the world’s busiest airport, then tumbles through a picturesque corridor that gives a mountain feel to this Piedmont watershed.

Kent’s passion for catching shoalies is contagious. And no wonder—the world record weighed only eight pounds, but even a two-pounder will burn both your drag and forearm.