Not even the cold of winter can cool down the hot largemouth bass fishing on Lake Murray. Andy Wicker, a largemouth bass tournament angler out of Pomaria, said that the bass fishing has been good but now is hot.

“I won a tournament at Murray in mid-January with a five-fish, 21-pounds-and-change catch, but now the fishing is even better,” Wicker said. “Right now, a lot of fishermen are bringing 20 pounds to weigh-ins, and I look for the fishing to get even better during the next few weeks.”

Wicker said the fishing is good thought the lake, but he has two basic patterns that are serving him extremely well for his tournament strategy.

“I’m catching numbers of fish in the keeper to 3-pound class fishing the mid-portion of the lake a bit above and below the Dreher Island area,” he said. “The area around Buffalo Creek has been very good. On this pattern, I’m primarily covering a lot of water fishing shallow objects usually less than 5 feet deep. I love the water color here with about 2 to 4 feet of visibility, but if you go way up lake, it’s still pretty dingy.

“I’m using a variety of crankbaits around rock banks and points, blowdowns and really almost any object in that depth of water; that’s why I stay on the move and hit as many targets as I can,” he said. “I’m also doing well with a spinner bait and jig in these same areas. I simply use the lures that suit the specific target best, with rocky area being good for any of these lures.”

Wicker said he’s also fishing the lower end of the lake primarily for big fish once he’s culling.

“The bite is definitely slower on the lower end but the average fish is much larger, usually a minimum of 4 pounds,” he said. “The visibility is about 5 feet or more the further down the lake I’m fishing, but the big fish are there and biting right now. Some really big bass are being caught on the lower end, and it’s worth the effort.”

Wicker said his primary tactic is to use either the Alabama rig or his favorite jigs.

“I prefer a ½-ounce True South Lures jig made by John Martin out of North Carolina,” Wicker said. “This is the basic jig I use most of the year, and typically, I use the brown color with a Zoom Super Chunk trailer. I am working a lot of docks on the lower end of the lake where the fish have cover and shade from the clear water. I’ll work both the Alabama rig and the jig around docks, fishing about 10 feet down, more or less, in water usually less than 15 feet deep. I don’t have to fish real deep, just where the lure is deep enough to be below the visibility depth. I still occasionally see a big bass when they bite. It’s exciting, and the potential to catch big fish is excellent.”

Wicker said from now though about mid-March is prime time for Lake Murray bass.

“Predictable patterns for largemouth means good bass fishing, and this is my favorite time of the year – until the bass start to spread out when they move shallow for spawning,” he said. “But right now and for the next few weeks, fishermen can expect to enjoy great fishing for largemouth on Lake Murray.”