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Last Saturday I was blessed enough to catch 3 shoalies that went 4 pounds and above. Nothing monstrous, but not bad, especially in a day or half day. This weekend I went after those shoalies again on the river, but I didn’t manage anything in the 4 pound range. Sometimes that’s good and sometimes that’s bad.

Well, this weekend just happened to be one of those good times. I went fishing both Saturday and Sunday. The fishing was tough on both days. Not many fish were landed. Heck, not many fish even bit. On Saturday I managed to land around 10-12 fish, all shoalies. Sunday wasn’t better and I think I only boated 7-8 shoalies. I probably could have caught more on each day had I switched to soft plastics earlier on.

I don’t like fishing soft plastics, though. Sure they have their day and time, but this weekend I wasn’t feeling it. While I did switch to soft plastics later on in the day, earlier I was slinging a swimbait, hoping to catch a few nice shoal bass.

All my fish on soft plastics were small this weekend. I have caught nice fish on soft plastics, but this weekend wasn’t one of them. This weekend all my nice fish came on a swimbait.

On Saturday I got on the river around 8:00 A.M. It was later than I wanted to, but hey, I was on the river! There was a lot of steam and fog rising from the river which made the early morning conditions a little overcast. I don’t mind those conditions when river fishing one bit. It sometimes brings out a topwater bite and I tied on a topwater lure just in case.

I started out on a Zara Super Spook and hooked up with a fish here and there. I also had a few fish roll on it as I made it dance across the sweet river top. It’s always a nice gesture when the fish acknowledge you are there, even if you don’t catch them.

I fished the Spook for a little while and then finally switched over to my bread and butter, the swimbait. I worked it and worked it to no avail. I was hitting all the likely fish holding locations, but was still left with a goose egg. Not good.

I kept throwing the swimbait because I knew if fish were going to hit a Spook, they’ll definitely hit a swimbait too. I was confident I’d hook up on the swimbait. I kept telling myself with each cast into the river that this was going to be go to lure.

I’m glad I kept tossing the swimbait, because I managed to land this nice 5-8 lb shoalie short time later.

River fishing for shoal bass

Shortly thereafter I broke my paddle. I let it hang of the side of my kayak and the river’s current proved too much. SNAP! The break echoed over the roar of the river’s shoals. The paddle broke right at the blade. A perfect break. Great I thought. What am I going to do now?

There was no way I was going to stop river fishing now, especially just after landing that 5 pound shoalie. I decided to rock on. People paddle canoes all the time with only one blade. Surely I could do the same.

River Fishing

I paddled on and fished on and caught a few fish here and there, but nothing worth calling home on or taking a picture of. I later decided to pack it up for the day and head to the house. I was exhausted and I was going to need all the rest I could get because I was headed back to the river the next day.

6:30 A.M. came WAY too early today. It wasn’t easy getting my sore and aching muscles up and out the bed. I wanted to get on the river earlier than I was able to yesterday because I figured there would be an early morning bite just like yesterday. However, it didn’t look like that was going to happen. After one cup of coffee to get me going, I managed to get on the river around the same time as yesterday.

I started out throwing Spook again and managed to land a few shoalies. No size, but still fun and a good warm up for what was to happen later on.

Once again the Spook stopped working it’s magic so I switched to a swimbait, otherwise known as the money maker. I threw it into likely fish holding pools, but just like yesterday, nada. Stilling gleaming from yesterday’s 5-8 shoalie, I kept at it.

Concentrating, making those perfect casts, working the lure to the fullest and not letting up for a single second. It paid off and in a BIG way! It was just that time when I felt a BOOM travel down my fishing rod.

Fish on and a good one too! What a feeling! After a short battle I was able to bring this nice 3-12 shoalie to hand. It doesn’t look like much, but that tends to happen when you catch a couple of 5 lbers. A couple? Gotta love river fishing!

Shoal bass while river fishing

Not a bad way to start things off, but it still wasn’t going to cut it, regardless of it being almost 4 pounds. I was here for something much bigger.

Just about that time my rod doubled over and I knew I had a big fish on. It fought, making numerous runs towards cover, but I resisted. It tried going down some swift water, but I slid on down with it. It made numerous tail walks across the top of the river, but I was still able to finally lip it and bring it to glory!

A 5-3 lb shoalie!

Nice river shoal bass

Right after landing that 5-3 lb shoalie the sun starting rising higher in the sky and the shoalie party basically stopped for the rest of the day. I didn’t take the time to start fishing soft plastics to pick up a dink here or there. I was there for the big girls so I kept on with the swimbait. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch any more big girls and the fishing basically shut down for the rest of the day.

It didn’t bother me much. I had my fun for the weekend. Two 5 lb plus shoalies in river fishing one weekend isn’t anything to complain about. Once I got back home and unloaded the truck I started to think about this past weekend and how blessed I was.

There are people elsewhere in the south that are hurting. My heart goes out to them. The big storm system that recently swept across the south took the lives of over 300 people. Georgia wasn’t immune to that storm system and on the way to the river I was met with a ghostly reminder of how close to home things sometimes hit.



Mother nature sometimes giveth, and mother nature sometimes takes it away. Unfortunately, she took a lot from the south this past week. God bless to everyone affected by those storms.