I wanted to take a moment to profile one of the more unique fish found in Southeast Louisiana – the shadow bass (Ambloplites ariommus). In Louisiana they are only found in the sandy creeks that drain the Florida parishes – you won’t find them anywhere else in the state.
I’ve caught maybe a handful in my life as by-catch while fishing for spotted bass or longear sunnies. They hold real close to cover and don’t stray far from their hiding place to strike a bait. I’ve caught them on poppers and subsurface nymphs so they are fairly aggressive eaters, like their sunfish cousins. They are very closely related to rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris) and resemble them in appearance. Their black-and-white mottled pattern makes them fairly easy to ID, especially when they are the only Ambloplites in the watershed like the ones here in Louisiana. The pattern can be well defined or somewhat faint, but combined with the big dark red eye they are hard to mistake for anything else.
They don’t get very big, a record was established in Georgia at 10 ounces, 9.25″, and I’d venture to guess that is about as big as they’ll get around here as well.
Keep an eye out for them if you do any fishing on rivers and creeks on the Northshore. If you spend enough time on the water between Baton Rouge and Slidell I’d imagine you’ll run into one one day and now that you’ve read this post you’ll know what it is.