April 29, 2014 by Jeff Samsel
Editor's note: Veteran outdoor writer Jeff Samsel lives just a short drive from Lake Murray and spent his college years at the University of South Carolina, studying Murray's bass population in lieu of his textbooks. He'll be tracking lake trends and gathering local updates from Murray in the weeks leading up to the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Capital City Lake Murray Country Aug. 14-17. You can contact him with updates at email@example.com. "Normally they're pretty much done spawning by now," said Andy Wicker of Pomaria, S.C., which is just east of Murray's upper end. Wicker, who with a Clemson University teammate finished second in the 2012 FLW College Fishing Championship on Lake Murray, fished a local tournament recently and found that there were still large numbers of bass on the beds. Wicker typically targets postspawn fish that are relating to blueback herring and feeding on the surface in the lake's clear low end during the second half of April, but those fish were nowhere to be found. A very cold and rainy winter caused water temperatures to dip extra low and stay there much later than normal this winter, and everything has been behind schedule. Water temperatures had finally climbed to the upper 60s in some areas early two weeks ago after a spell of spring-like weather. However, a few more cold nights through the middle part of that week pushed the temperature down a few degrees. The cooling trend made the fish a little finicky for spring on Lake Murray - but "a little finicky" is relative. A 40-boat tournament still yielded a handful of 20-pound-plus bags.