Lure of the night

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2001

A one-of-a-kind event will take place at Natchez State Park on Saturday.

The Kanahal Archery Club will sponsor the annual Moonlight Hawg Hunt at the park’s 250-acre lake from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. It’s the only night out of the year that the park is open for night fishing.

&uot;It’s a real good tournament to have out there,&uot; said Carroll Huff, who’s helping to coordinate the event with the park. &uot;Everybody enjoys it.&uot;

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Anglers love the event for many reasons. The weather is much cooler. The full moon illuminates the lake and makes for a beautiful and enjoyable night. And the lake is renowned for producing some of the biggest bass in the state.

The Mississippi state record bass was caught in 1992 and weighed 18 poiunds and two ounces.

&uot;It’s so hot to fish in the day time. It’s nice to fish at night,&uot; Huff said. &uot;(Fishermen) love to be out there at night and catch the big one.&uot;

Sue Powell, an office clerk at the park who will also participate in the tournament, said she likes the tranquil environment. &uot;It makes it kind of neat, kind of peaceful. It’s real peaceful to fish at night.&uot;

The other reason the tournament is held at night is biological. Most fish feed at night during full moons. So anglers can expect the bass to be biting, which is something Huff said he’s heard they weren’t doing as of late.

There isn’t much of a trick to fishing at night, say Huff and Powell. Huff said he just keeps a light in the boat. He doesn’t change lures that much, either. Powell said if it’s a clear night, the moon will pretty much give you all the light you need.

The event took a hiatus in 1999, but it resurfaced in 2000, with Kanahal archery as the sponsor. The event is a non-profit event for the club.

All proceeds from the event will go to the American Cancer Society.

Huff said he’d like to have another night tournament at the lake, possibly in the spring, if the main office of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks agrees.

&uot;If it comes out to be pretty good, we may think abour sponsoring abother on in the spring,&uot; Huff said. But he added, &uot;we want to get this one built up and then try it two times.&uot;

Powell said, sccording to park records, the most fish caught and weighed in a tournament were in 1996 and 1997. Fifty-one fish were weighed those years.

More than 30 fishermen have signed up for the event. The event can accomodate up to 75 boats. The entry fee is $50 per person.

Prizes will be awarded on an hourly basis for the three largest bass. First place receives $125, second place nets $75 and third place gets $50. Prize money is based on 75 entries. The angler who catches the largest bass of throughout the night will receive $1,000.

Powell said that, to her knowledge, it’s the only night tournament sponsored by a Mississippi state park.