The Largemouth Bass on Lake Murray have transitioned into their winter patterns, schooling on Herring, shad and feeding on crayfish and bluegill in the upper section of the lake and mid-lake with the lower than usual water an color change, and schooling on herring, shad and feeding on white perch on the lower section of the lake. Largemouth Bass have shifted toward deeper banks and ditches on the upper end of the lake, and are positioned around deeper docks with brush, and points on the lower end of the lake. Fishing techniques for Largemouth Bass will differ depending on which end of the lake you are fishing. Look for Largemouth lake-wide to be positioned on main lake points and humps, as well as becoming more active in the creeks and in the river on the coming weeks.
On the upper reaches (from Dreher Island up river) of the lake where the water has more color, look for fish to be adjacent to deeper water, at times positioned shallower around rock, wood or docks during times of a warming trend or multiple days of cloudy weather. Lures of choice are the Ima Shaker, Greenfish 1/2oz flipping Jigs in Green Pumpkin; 1/4oz swim jigs in Green Pumpkin or Black/blue; Greenfish Michael Murphy Signature High Class Spinnerbaits; the Ima suspending Rock N Vibe in Black and Chrome; soft plastics or finesse worms, creature baits, tubes and beaver type baits, such as the Reins Punchin’ Predator, Craw Tube, C-pod rigged on a Jika Rig, Texas Rigged 1/4oz Paddle Tail Worm, and Swamp Mover in a natural or green pumpkin color. Be sure to look for areas with a hard bottom and visible cover in the form of laydowns or docks adjacent to deeper water. Look for areas with a hard bottom and visible cover in the form of laydowns or docks. Target moving baits during cloudy or windy conditions, switching to areas of shade around laydowns, docks, and overhanging trees as the day gets brighter. Focus on slower techniques in the same areas when fish are not as aggressive at times with lack of wind and abundant sunlight.
On the lower end of the lake (from Dreher Island to the Dam), focus on deeper docks with brush and points adjacent to deep water. When sunny and calm, focus on slower techniques and a jig, shakey head, the New Reins Palpuntin jigging spoon, or a dropshot. Dropshot or shakey head worms of choice is the Reins Bubbling Shaker in a Green Pumpkin or Margarita Mutilator. During conditions with wind, focus on suspending and moving baits like the IMA Flit, Ima Pinjack 200, The Ima Deep Fry 95 or Sinking 125mm Glide Fluke. Look for fish to be positioned on primary points or humps closer to the mouths of spawning pockets. This time of year on the lower end of the lake, boat positioning can be very important, with the boat positioned over water as deep as 30-40 feet, casting toward the point. Using a LakeMaster chip in your graph and setting the shaded depth on your Humminbird (Press Menu twice, under Chart), to 30 feet, can be extremely helpful in locating ideal humps and points. Also important is the wind. Follow the wind from day to day, fishing points that have the most direct wind blowing on them, paying attention to the wind can be the difference between a successful day and a difficult one this time of year.
Over the next month bass will continue to transition into their wintering areas, feeding on crayfish and shad in the river and targeting white perch, shad and blueback herring on the lower end of the lake. In the river and in the backs of creeks and coves, where resident fish are more prevalent, fish could be as shallow as a couple feet. On the Lower end of the lake, where Bass are set up slightly deeper, look for them to be positioned on deeper docks and main lake points and humps in 25-35 feet adjacent to spawning coves.
A great way to get out, enjoy the outdoors, and do a little fishing is to book a trip with one of the Lake Murray area guides. I am a certified Fisheries Biologist, United States Coast Guard Approved, full-time Largemouth Bass guide, have fished full-time and competitively for the past 13 years across the country on both the BASS and FLW trails, and have a lifetime of fishing experience. I offer a learning experience on multiple techniques of your choice, tournament preparation, and/or electronics education. I would love to share my knowledge with you on the water and enjoy a day of fishing.
-Michael Murphy, USCG Approved, Merchant Mariner Licensed
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