“Swab a Hog” is a collaborative research project between Auburn University’s School of Fisheries and Alabama’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). Support for the program comes from ADCNR license and tag sales and through private donations.
A “hog,” in the world of largemouth bass fishing, is a big fish.
The Swab a Hog program harnesses the enthusiasm of Alabama anglers for quality bass fishing to help collect genetic (DNA) samples from largemouth bass. DNA is collected with minimal or no stress to the animal. Anglers swab the tongue of the bass with a Puritan Medical Products swab prior to release.
Project managers had been distributing Puritan’s Histrobrush (SKU#25-2199) to anglers, and they wanted to try collecting samples with a flocked swab. This year, some anglers are swabbing with the HydraFlock Flocked Swabs (SKU#: 25-3506-H).
Large, trophy-size bass drive recreational and tournament anglers. But what makes for an exceptional bass? Genetics play a big role (alongside a productive environment).
Bass in Alabama lakes have a mixed ancestry from Northern largemouth bass and Florida bass. In addition, stocking of pure Florida bass in some lakes has shifted those populations toward a higher Florida-genetic composition associated with bigger, longer-living bass.
Information gained through this project helps researchers better understand the genetics of these trophy fish, and it helps them make better stocking and management decisions that will enhance the bass fishery and benefit anglers for years to come.
This year, Puritan South Region Sales Director Mat Archambeault offered to help swab bass. Archambeault’s brother, Chris, is something of a bass fisherman, and Mat joined him in April for a weekend tournament on Lake Sam Rayburn in Jasper, Texas.
Despite their good intentions, the brothers couldn’t contribute to the study after all. The smallest fish included in the study must weigh at least 4 pounds. The bass the Archambeaults caught tipped the scale at 3 pounds.
Oh well. As any true angler knows, there’s always next time!
To learn more about the Swab a Hog project, visit www.SwabaHog.org. If you’d like to see photos of some of the truly amazing fish that did contribute to the study, visit the group’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ALSWABAHOG/