UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Weather Woes Greet College Anglers

Dreary, drizzly conditions might have knocked back the bass and blueback spawns on Lake Murray.

It was supposed to be a shallow-water bassfest, with largemouths and spots roaming Lake Murray’s shoreline to feast on spawning blueback herring. That still might happen as the FLW College Fishing National Championship plays out the next three days here, but the fishing is more likely to be ad lib than follow any script.

The dreary, damp weather that settled over the region Wednesday during the last day of practice is the culprit. Not only did it hamper the efforts of contestants looking for the last bedding fish of the season, but also those depending on a consistent blueback herring bite to gin up the action. Still, the consensus of opinion is that one pattern or the other will prevail, and settle the question of college bragging rights for the next year as well as send the winning team to the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in August.

“The weather has hurt the fishing, but it might just be a temporary thing,” says Joe Ellis of Tennessee Tech. “Because it was cloudy and rained most of the day, the surface temperature has dropped a couple of degrees. If the sun doesn’t come out, that’s also likely to keep the bluebacks down for awhile. But having said that, I think it’s still going to depend on the blueback pattern and being in the right place at the right time. They’ve got to spawn when they’ve got to spawn.”

Gettys Brannon of the hometown favorite University of South Carolina, who predicts that it will take an average of 17 pounds a day to win, notes that in a local tournament held on Lake Murray Saturday, it took almost 25 pounds to claim the top prize. Anglers in that tournament weighed four bass that weighed more than 7 pounds apiece. However, the weather was sunny and bright then. The wind and rain that characterized Wednesday’s weather could be repeated today, with cloudy conditions prevailing Friday. Saturday, in the championship round when the top 10 finalists vie for the title, the forecast calls for air temperatures in the 80s under partly cloudy skies. That’s similar to practice-day weather Tuesday when many of the competitors caught or shook off hefty keepers, and when sight-fishing was more of a viable option.

“We had a pretty good practice until today,” notes Ryan Gilbert of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. “As a whole the fish seem to be transitioning between spawning and postspawn. We found some beds with buck bass on them, but the biggest were in the 2- to 3-pound range. We didn’t see any of the big females. So what we’re probably going to do is try to catch a limit early and then go looking for one or two of those big females we’ve been hearing about.”

Tanner Masters and his teammate, Wyatt Ryan, of East Central University in Ada, Okla., “burned a lot of gas” and looked the lake over from its lower end to up the Saluda River. Masters reports that when they fished the lake during their school’s spring break a few weeks ago, they caught fish on drop-shot rigs, but that pattern seems to have dissipated. Now they plan to power-fish along the shoreline with topwater lures, swimbaits and square-bill crankbaits at the ready, with hopes that random herring spawns will generate at least a temporary feeding frenzy among the gluttonous bass shadowing the forage.

Walmart FLW Tour pro Troy Morrow, who lives on Lake Hartwell, another “blueback herring lake,” spoke to the 100 anglers and their guests at a registration and welcome dinner hosted by Capital City/Lake Murray Country and cautioned the anglers not to give up too easily if they don’t spot feeding activity.

“The blueback herring will spawn around points and humps in fairly shallow water. This tournament is likely to be won in 4 or 5 feet of water,” says Morrow. “Even if you don’t have any indication that you’re around herring or bass, throw Fluke-type baits and shaky heads and keep your eyes open. There are a lot of fish roaming the banks and gorging on blueback herring. Whether you see them or not isn’t as important as fishing carefully.”     

 

Conditions

Weather: a 60 percent chance of rain Thursday; mostly cloudy Friday with 20 percent chance of rain; a 30 percent chance of showers Saturday

Air temperature: lows in the mid- to high 50s on Thursday; highs in the mid-70s on Friday, rising to the mid-80s on Saturday

Water temperature: low 70s

Moon phase: new

Predominant lake features: Main-lake and secondary points, docks, shallow shorelines, riprap jetties

 

Tournament Details

Date: April 16-18

Host: Capital City Lake Murray Country

Takeoff location: Dreher Shoals Dam, 2101 N. Lake Drive, Columbia, S.C.

Takeoff time: 7 a.m. ET

Weigh-in: Carolina Baseball Stadium, Williams and Wheat Streets, Columbia, S.C.

Weigh-in time days 1 and 2: 5 p.m. ET

Weigh-in time day 3: 4 p.m. ET

Tags: college-fishing  lake-murray  colin-moore  morning-story  2015-04-16-national-championship-lake-murray 

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