Open mind for Murray bass

Bass are willing players on Lake Murray this month, but anglers have to stay flexible in their tactics. (Picture by Brian Cope)

Stay flexible for Lake Murray’s spring bass

Anglers can expect to find Lake Murray’s largemouth bass in feeding mode this month, and a variety of lures can be effective.

Gettys Brannon of Columbia is a big fan of fishing Murray this time of year. He won the FLW College Fishing Championship on this lake in the spring of 2015.

Brannon said not only can a mixture of lures be effective, they are also mandatory, thanks to the fickle nature of the fish this month.

“You can catch them on jigs, swimbaits, really just about anything this time of year, depending on numerous factors. The bass are moving around a lot right now throughout the day, so anglers need to stay on the move and keep an open mind,” he said.

This may seem like a daunting task, but Brannon said it’s easy to find a starting point, especially if you begin fishing early.

“In the early morning, a little wind is usually pushing into Lake Murray’s coves. This pushes the baitfish along the shoreline’s banks and walls. So bass congregate in these areas, knowing they have a smorgasbord in front of them,” he said.

One of the biggest problems for anglers targeting bass is a fun one. Stripers are active and aggressive in the same areas bass are lurking. And bass anglers will catch numerous stripers before catching their first bass on many spring days.

Another problem arises when anglers get on the water with a certain mindset as to what the bass will be doing that day. Brannon said that’s understandable when the fish bit a certain way the day before, but this time of year, the bite changes dramatically within the same week, and even in the same day.

“You really have to be flexible and willing to fish multiple lures, locations, and tactics in the spring,” he said.

Good lure choices in the early morning include jerkbaits and topwater plugs. Skipping jigs under docks is another good tactic, especially on days with little to no wind.

And once the morning gives way to the sun, bass will key on docks, staying in the shade where they can ambush prey. Jigs are hot lures then, and Brannon said casting them as far under the docks as possible is the key to enticing bites from the biggest, most elusive bass.

Short-striking fish are common this month, but Brannon said anglers can catch those fish too.

“When you feel your lure getting swiped at, but the fish aren’t taking it, the trick is to cast a different lure right back to that spot. And if they swipe at, but miss, that lure too, then try another one,” he said.

This is also the case when Brannon sees a bass follow his lure, only to turn away at the last second.

“I do the same thing when that happens. I immediately cast a different lure, and usually a completely different type of lure, right back. It doesn’t work every single time, but it works often enough to know that you need to have multiple lures tied on to different rods, and have them on the deck and ready,” he said.

About Brian Cope 2762 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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