Photo courtesy of Texas ShareLunker/Facebook.
A new term is spreading like wildfire: “Hawg Wallows”
A new term is being thrown around in the bass fishing world today, and it is spreading like wildfire. This term is “hawg wallows.” It describes a concentrated area where a school of mature female largemouths settle to the bottom. Each individual selects a spot to rest and relax while staying in close proximity to all other fish in the same school.
While lying almost motionless with tail, anal fins and pectorals moving slightly to maintain balance and stability, silt is gently removed. This action creates a small crater, very similar to a shellcracker bed, only much larger in individual size. It is not unusual to detect 50 or more wallows in an area about the size of a two-car garage, or 300 to 500 square feet, which in turn indicates 50 or more bass. Yes, 50!
This pattern is not a shallow-water anomaly. Actually, it is more likely to be found in deeper water, from 15 to 25 feet, near separated contour lines that identify gradual depth changes. Don’t look for hawg wallows on sharp ledges or rocky outcrops. They will usually be along sloping ravines where there is a soft bottom.
I think these schools of bass are prespawn fish biding time for egg development or waiting for conducive water temperatures and weather patterns to migrate up to the spawning grounds. On the other hand, the wallows I found in February last year emptied out only to refill throughout the early summer.
Now, let’s get down to the brass tacks on how to detect these hawg wallows and determine which fields of wallows are active versus those that are abandoned. Using side scan only on your Humminbird, adjust to 75 feet on either side with contours showing. Investigate the areas in your lake that match my description of likely locations. Look closely for multiple large indentions near the suggested depth. When spotted, move your curser to hover over the targeted area and zoom in. Mark the spot, especially if a white streak or multiple streaks are detected in or near the selected crater. Then mark a GPS location and toss a buoy marker.
Back off to casting distance, put your Minn Kota on spot lock, pull a Big Bite Fighting Frog into the chaos and hold on. Repeat. With the newest side-imaging technology, Humminbird and Minn Kota with the spot-lock feature have just changed the face of bass fishing forever. Try it. You’ll like it.
During the last weekend of February on Lake Eufaula, a bass tournament was won using this method with a total weight of 34 pounds for the best five and a total of 40 bass caught by two anglers in three hours. With the win assured, these anglers departed to look for more wallows and future success.
P.S. In the Deep South, we might just call them “wallers.”
By Billy Darby
Billy Darby is a retired professional guide on Lake Eufaula.
He can be reached at [email protected] or 229-768-2369.