The Shoal Bass
The Shoal Bass (Micropterus Cataractae), like many so called bass are not actually a bass, but are a member of the sunfish family (Centrarchidae). The Shoal bass is not well understood.
Until recently, the Shoal Bass was considered to be a member, or sub-species, of the redeye bass. It was not until 1999 that is was classified as a separate species in the publication, "Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History," which was co-published by James Williams and George Burgess in October, 1999.
However, as early as 1940, the redeye bass was recognized as a separate species by a man named Dr. Carl Hubbs, but Mr Hubbs failed to do all his homework and the redeye bass was never that big of a concern as it is limited in its range to a few states in the south-east United States - more on this in our distribution section above.
Taking the time out to reclassify the Redeye bass is not likely to get anyone fame or fortune but requires just as much work as any other species.
The Redeye Bass still remains poorly understood by most anglers mistaking identifying it as a redeye bass. But with only a decade since it was reclassified, there is no wonder that there is confusion, after all, how many of us read bulletins put out by museums?
The name Micropterus is Latin for small fin and Cataractae is Latin for waterfalls, which references the Shoal Bass' shoal habitat, which includes slow to moderate moving waters and riffles. The Shoal Bass is a member of the Black Bass family, which includes seven sub-species.
However, Shoal Bass are the rarest of the species due many to river obstructions built up likes dams, which have decreased their habitat.
Like the Redeye Bass, the Shoal Bass also has red eyes, which explains why it was often mistakenly viewed as the redeye bass. Shoal Bass also grow much quicker than Redeye Bass. And, Shoal Bass have less red colouring in their fins.
As far as table fair goes, the meat of the Shoal Bass is white and flaky, but drier than that of the Largemouth Bass and not a good choice for dinner with friends, but palatable for camping trips. We recommend bringing along a few lemons to help improve the taste.
What's In a Name?
The Shoal Bass did not officially have a name. While doing the necessary homework to have the Shoal Bass reclassified, Burgess and Williams found that it had locally been called the Shoal Bass since the 1970s so they adopted this name for the fish.