"Hawg haulin" is what is happening at Lake Anna southwest of Fredericksburg. For those fisherpersons not familiar with bassin' talk, "hawgs" are nature's version of a nulcear submarine. They're big largemouth bass.
Right now big largemouth bass are falling prey to experienced anglers who know Lake Anna. This year Anna will probably be the best place in the area to look for trophy largemouths. "We've had numerous fish over seven pounds come in during the past two weeks," says Rosamond Edenton, who runs the Sturgeon Creek Marina with her husband.
The big bass started coming into the shallows at Anna early this year. On April 6 Edenton weighed in two bass over nine pounds, one taken by Al Plummer of Falls Church. Another fisherman checked in three bass over eight pounds last Friday, and Saturday Elwood Lamb of Manasses weighed in 45 pounds of bass he kept after releasing five other fish not big enough to make the boat.
"Most of these fish are being taken by the experts," says Joe Boggs, who runs the Lake Anna Marina, farther up the lake. "The novices aren't getting them. The water temperature is in the low 50s; we need eight to 10 days of continuous warm weather before the novices can come down here and start picking up good bass."
That shouldn't be far off: Bass prefer water temperatures between 68 and 73 degrees and feed best when the water is between 70 and 73. Though a cold front slowed the fishing early this week, the bass stayed in three to six feet of water, according to Edenton. She recommends fishing the backs of the coves with aqua Speed Shad, Balsa Bees and Big Os.
Your rod should be stiff but have a sensitive tip so you immediately feel a bass when he sucks in your lure. Use 20-pound test line, and strike hard enough to cross a "hawg's" eyeballs. Bass have a lot of cartilage in their mouths. When using a plastic worm you need to strike harder, by yanking the rod over your head, because the hook must first emerge from the soft plastic.
The Sturgeon Creek Marina will hold an open bass tournament Sunday starting at 6 a.m. The rules are team fishing with two persons per boat. Entry fee is $10 per person, and 80 percent of the fees will be returned as prize money.