After completing the Mobile Basin redeye slam back in May, Blake and I knew we wanted to make another trip later in the summer and complete the seven species redeye slam by catching our Chattahoochee, Altamaha, and Bartram’s bass in Georgia. I’ve spent plenty of time fishing for wild trout in North Georgia, but I’ve never really sought the native basses in the state. Last year the Georgia WRD introduced a bass slam of their own and have put in a lot of work creating a website that really provides a great starting point to planning a trip to target any or all of the ten black bass species found in the state. Check out the nifty ArcGIS web mapping application they’ve built below:
With the help of the Georgia WRD online resources and the help of a few other friends we set off early last Wednesday to camp and fish our way across the state, starting on a tributary to the Chattahoochee to target the aptly named Chattahoochee Bass.
As you can tell from the Joseph Tomelleri illustration above these bass differ from other bass species because their second dorsal, caudal, and anal fins have bright orange to red coloration on the outer portions.
After about a 7.5 hour drive we arrived at our destination around lunch time and hiked down to where we wanted to start fishing. It did not take long to start catching fish. They weren’t the target species, but Blake began wearing out the redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus) in the first spot we tried. I joined in on the fun with a healthy bluegill on a hopper.
After a few bream we began working our way upstream. We each caught a bass or two that looked like a spotted bass, or hybrids, before we got into the redeye. One good thing about the Chattahoochee bass is their bright red fins make it hard to mistake them for anything else.
We eventually got into our target fish and we each caught a few around 8-9″. After trying a hopper/dropper early I switched to a crawfish pattern Blake tied and that’s when I really started to catch them, swimming it slowly through good looking water.
My best Chattahoochee bass was a 9″ football who didn’t miss a meal. I also managed to catch a nice 12.5″ spotted bass in a slower bend of the stream. We may have been targeting redeyes, but I wasn’t against the bycatch, especially if I wanted to complete the Georgia bass slam too.
We packed up shortly after that. It was after 5pm and we still needed to drive another 2.5 hours east to set up camp, closer to where we planned to fish the next morning for Altamaha bass. It was a great start to the trip though.