Congratulation to Brock Taylor of Pendleton, winner of the first ABA Weekend Series SC Division event of 2015 on Lake Murray. Brock had 19.12 pounds (5 fish).
Second place went to Sean Anderson of Leesville with 18.78 pounds (5).
Third place went to Todd Pearson of Anderson with 16.28 pounds (5).
Fourth place went to Randy C. Huffman of Charleston, WV with 16.14 pounds (5).
Fifth place went to Reinaldo “Ray” V. Heredia of Sumter with 15.97 pounds (4).
Sixth place went to Bo Price of Westminster with 14.18 pounds (5).
The big fish on the boater side weighed 6.52 pounds and was caught by Harvey Price of Seneca.
The second big fish on the boater side was caught by Beau Dixon of Leesville and weighed 6.49 pounds.
On the co-angler side Christopher L. Chavis of Rincon, GA won with three bass weighing 12.08 pounds.
Bryan Barker of Seneca had the big fish at 5.26 pounds.
Winner Brock Taylor reports that he caught three fish early on a deep drop where the depth changes from about 25-35 feet. He has been fishing a jig in this area with success this winter, but Saturday was so windy that vertically jigging a spoon was more effective – especially since with the extreme cold it was necessary to fish slowly. After that bite fell off he moved up and caught a couple of fish on a jig around docks, and his biggest fish came at about 2:30 on a Knight’s Custom Baits hand-painted Wiggle Wart crankbait in crawfish color. The fish was in about 6-8 feet of water around rocks, probably seeking out warmer water where the rocks had heated up, and the crankbait was digging into the bottom.
Before the rains Brock reports that he was spending more time fishing mid-lake and up the lake, but after the rains muddied up the water he moved down the lake more. However, if he were fishing Lake Murray in a week or two Brock says he might head back up the lake as the dirty water will likely warm up first. For now, however, Brock believes that fish are still in a straight winter pattern. While some fish live shallow and will never leave, he thinks the majority of fish are still a long way off from moving up. With water temperatures in the mid-40s Brock believes it will a take a week of sun for that to change very much.
Guide Kyle Giella, winner of the February 14 BFL on Lake Murray with 25 pounds 8 ounces, fished the event and had two good fish by 8:00 – including the 6.04 pound fish pictured below. Both of those came on a Shad Rap and at that point he was expecting an “off the charts, blow it open” day. It was windy, although not quite as windy as the BFL, but he expected the wind would help. However, after that second fish the bite shut down for Kyle – which was consistent with reports from other anglers that the bite got tough after 9:00. He did hook another good fish about 9:45 which broke off on a metal pole by a dock, but that was it.
Kyle saw water temperatures early in the 45-46 degree range, and surface temperatures warming up to 47.5 or 48 degrees by the end of the day. He concurs that fish are still in a straight winter pattern, but he believes with the days getting longer that fish are anxious to move up. They are desperate for spring, but the weather is just not cooperating. The big one he caught Saturday did provide a glimmer of hope that spring is ahead, as the fish came out of a foot of water on a mud bank and jumped 4 or 5 times – almost like a summertime fish and not a winter largemouth bass.
Overall, veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown notes that not a lot of fish are being caught right now, but clearly some quality bass are coming to the scales. Still, the weights in this event showed the consequences of anglers not being allowed to fish Alabama rigs in the event. When the water is very cold there are obviously times when fish are more willing to attack a school of bait than a single fish, and that showed in the [relatively] low weights compared to other statewide events and even the Fishers of Men on Lake Murray. It appears that most of the fish in this tournament were caught on crankbaits and jerkbaits.
Another notable phenomenon continues to be that the best bite is coming early. Doug says this is typical of herring lakes where bluebacks move up at night and bass position around them, and anglers talked about the same thing in the Classic on Lake Hartwell. Anglers can catch fish early, but then there is often a lull from about 8:30 to 11:00. After 11:00 a few fish will pull up and get in the shade around docks, as counter-intuitively the shade around docks will often be the warmest water on very cold days (because of heat transfer from the dock). Additionally, fish can see better from the shade – the difference between sitting on a porch with the light on versus off and trying to look out. While dock fishing is not great right now, Doug expects that in a couple of weeks it will get very strong as everything is running about two weeks behind this year.
More information to follow. Full results can be found at: http://www.americanbassanglers.com/BWS/results/8613.pdf
Don’t forget to visit SCFishingTackle.com for the lowest prices available on Buckeye Lures, with free shipping on all orders over $25.00.
Finally, congratulations to J Sturkie, winner of the Week 1 Pick ‘Em competition! He guessed a 19.2 ounce big bag – less than a tenth of a pound off the actual winning weight! Additionally, he was within 2/10 of a pound from guessing the big fish (his guess 6.3; actual 6.52)! J Sturkie wins a $20.00 gift certificate to SCFishingTackle.com for his prediction.