I’m headed to the American Fishing Tour National Championship tournament on Lake Murray in South Carolina. Now What? The things I know right off are the tournament is in late October and the predominant bait fish is blue back herring.
I know that bass will be transitioning, from summer to fall patterns. This means they will be moving from deep summer points and drop offs towards the shallower flat points and coves to feed on the herring. I need to spend some time researching the habits of this herring as I have only fished waters with gizzard and threadfin shad. Bass movements are predictable at this time of the year, but those movements will be guided by the predominant bait fish.
Learning the lake will be another obstacle. Living in the state of Louisiana, it’s not going to be that simple to go ‘fish’ and ‘drive’ it. With gas prices the way they are it’s going to be very expensive to try and make a trip before cut-off. Until that decision is made, I’m going to have to use Google Earth and purchase a topography map of the lake along with purchase the chip for my boats electronics so that I can study the layout of the lake.
I have already been online looking for fishing reports and digging through tournament circuits records that fish Lake Murray. A strange note is that, in August it takes 20 pounds to win a tournament, but in October, it drops to 12-13 pounds. This can be typical in the fall as fish move from tight schools on off shore structure to the banks and scatter. This takes away the home field advantage in my opinion, as the local guys won’t be able to sit on a secret brush pile and stroke them. This is a great confidence booster for me.
I also have friends in the area that are going to help me once I get deep in my research. Knowing the movements of the bass, learning the bait fish habits, and studying a map will help me eliminate water before I get there.
I’m hoping for a great top water bite, one that may last all day. There will also probably be a swim bait bite. Additionally, in a quick search, it’s obvious there are a lot of docks on the lake. I have two lakes near me that fit this description in general, other than the bait fish. I will be spending a lot of time on them trying to establish effective patterns. I will be using electronics trying to learn how to effectively and quickly eliminate unproductive water without picking up a rod.
Stay tuned to this blog as I will be updating my concerns, advances, and practice as I head down this adventure!
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