The Shoal Bass
No Deep Water Fishing?
There are no "deep-water" techniques for catching Shoal Bass as their habitat is limited to rather shallow river systems. In most deep water fishing events, careful consideration is given to the colour of the lures. Not only is there less light as one goes deeper, but more colours are filtered out the deeper the lure goes.
To some, deep water is where fish go during the winter or when the surface temperature reaches above their Shoal Bass's ideal temperature range. Often, anglers will refer to this as going deep. And, it is this approach that we will take here with Shaol Bass. Fishing techniques on this page will focus on fishing for Shoal Bass when they spend their time near the bottom of the river ecosystem.
We have received much email on the topic of deep water. With each species, we tend to focus on the deep aspects of their habitat in which they dwell. We do not deny that the techniques used for river fishing are quite different than those used in lakes and oceans. We do not have a cut off or a specific depth that define deep water from non-deep water.
Moreover, they do not take well to slack water with the fisheries department having tried to introduce them to reservoirs only to see their numbers drop immediately thereafter.
While they can be found as deep as ten feet, the Shoal Bass prefer shoals and riffles that vary in depth depending on which river they are found. Pay careful attention to the water temperature in relation to the depth that they prefer to run at. When they are running deep, avoid the shallow riffles and pools.
Shoal Bass rarely travels far from their home habitat, rarely going further than 1/2 a mile in their lifetime. Changing water conditions and the location of prey are two changes in their location that will cause them to move. And, should the water climb much above 75°F/24°C, they move deeper, preferring a water temperature of between 68°F and 73°F/20°C and 23°C.
Deep Water Techniques
Good lures to try include the Wooly Bugger and Harry Fodder. The Harry Fodder fly uses a 60 degree jig hook with a micro rattle wrapped under the rabbit strip 1/0. As with the Wooly Bugger, this fly can be successfully used with other bass but for the Shoal Bass should be fished sub surface.
A slow sinking line is sufficient on an ultra light weight rod. For the reel, any smooth drag reel will work fine. As far as leaders go, some argue that a long leader is require to fish deep, but keep in mind that deep for Shoal Bass rarely runs deeper than 10 feet so avoid long leaders. Weighting the fly should be done with small weights otherwise you might as well use casting gear.