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Tag Archives: Slam

I’ve wanted to make a shoal bass trip for a long time and this trip provided me the perfect opportunity to do so.  Once we finished the redeye slam I knew we would probably need at least one more bass species to close out the Georgia bass slam and I knew exactly which species I wanted to target.  Shoal bass are native to the Chattahoochee and Flint River basins, but have also been introduced in the Ocmulgee River.  The Upper Chattahoochee was en route to the cabin from where we camped so that’s where we headed.

shoal-bass

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Where we chose to fish the river there weren’t a ton of shoals, but it had some and they were close to an access point, plus there was a tributary we could fish as well.  We usually do better on smaller water so I figured this spot was our best shot at a shoal bass.

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I was able to catch a couple of juvenile 8″ fish that I think were shoal bass below and above this riffle.  Having never caught a shoal bass though I wasn’t 100% on the ID, I wanted to catch a no-doubter.

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Lucky for me I got a hold of a no-doubter.  As I floated the crawfish pattern through the tail end of a pool above the riffle and close to the shore I had a really good strike from a fish.  After a solid strip set I was into a good fight.  The fish made it easy on me and decided not to head downstream, instead heading further up into the pool.   I was able to corral the fish and grab it’s bottom lip.  Boom, shoal bass success!

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It may have only been a 13.5″ fish, but I’ve been wanting to catch that fish for a long time.  We kept fishing the rest of the shoals without any more luck so we hit the tributary stream.

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It was good looking water, but not very productive, I didn’t catch anything else and Blake wasn’t able to land a shoal bass.  Kind of a bummer that Blake wasn’t able to also get the Georgia bass slam, but we were looking forward to getting to the cabin and shifting our focus to trout.  Next time we fish for shoal bass we’ll have to find a nice big shoal complex which will probably mean making a float to put ourselves in more habitat for longer.

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Saturday

On day three of our trip we headed to my favorite creek in Georgia. This creek has wild rainbows, browns, and brookies, true slam water. In order to get a slam though we were going to have to cover a lot of ground – on foot and in the water. We parked where the creek emptied into some bigger water, then hiked up a mile or so, before dropping down into the creek. It didn’t take long to start catching rainbows. Nice fat, healthy ones at that.

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Then we got into the browns. In fact as we worked further upstream, they became more prevalent, to the point where there was a section that they were the dominant species we caught. Rainbows were definitely more numerous throughout the total stream though. Around this same time Blake got stung or bit by something right above his eye on the eyebrow. Best guess is yellow jacket, but throughout the rest of the day that eye started to swell up. He hung in there and fished on though, nothing we could really do about it, and he wasn’t having an allergic reaction. We documented the swelling with pictures. I must say, it is somewhat amusing to go through them almost a week later.

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We came to a nice big pool in the creek under a small set of falls, Blake made a drift to the left, toward the bank and caught a nice brown. I jump there while he is taking the fish off and make the same drift, bam, another brown on. Hardly ever see two browns living in the same spot. Blake makes a third drift through the spot, wham, another brown on. This one was the biggest. I still had mine in my hand, so we got a shot of the double. Three browns, one hole. Go figure.

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After the mother brownie hole it was on to catch the brookies. Blake had actually gotten a smaller one earlier that must have washed down, but we were still catching sporadic rainbows and it was getting late in the day, so we started bypassing some good water to gain elevation and get above the barrier falls. We weren’t that far below the barrier falls, so it wasn’t long before we were into the brookies. We didn’t stay in brookie country too long, just long enough to catch a handful each. The swelling around Blake’s eye had moved into his cheek and we faced a 2+ mile hike back to the truck.

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The hike out was nice, all downhill, the rhododendron were starting to bloom in the higher elevations. We even came upon a black bear as we were walking. It was a small one, off in the woods, I got a good glimpse of him before he scampered off. It marks only the second time I have seen one in the Georgia wilderness. He left me no time to get a picture. When we got back to the truck, we sat on the tailgate to cool off and have a beer. As we took our boots and gravel guards off one of noticed a tick, which prompted us to check the rest of our bodies. Well, between the two of us, we ended up pulling nine off of our legs. None were embedded, in fact a few were even crawling, we must have picked them up on the hike out. So watch out in North Georgia, it is tick season.

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