Fantasy Fishing: Which Murray will we see?

Lake Murray was voted as the best bass lake in the southeast and the fourth best bass lake in America for 2023. Last year, Elite anglers raved about not only the number of fish, but the number of giants that swim in this lake. However, like any lake, it can get stingy in the postspawn.

Last season we saw the herring spawn play a big role as anglers caught their fish running points with moving baits and chasing schooling fish. I know at some point, that bite fizzles out and Lake Murray can get tough. My question is, when will that happen?

Don’t get me wrong, I hope it’s a tournament filled with all-day fish catching and plenty big bass, but I can’t help but wonder when Lake Murray will start to get tough.

I based my picks on how I think guys will catch them and who the locals are that will use their experience to their advantage.

With that said, let’s get to it.


There are so many great picks in Bucket A, but I decided to go with a lower percentage pick. At only 3.6%, Stetson Blaylock is a story of consistency on the Elite Series. He missed his first 50-cut at the Harris Chain and will be coming back with a vengeance.

Not a bad backup: Jordan Lee probably isn’t going to lean off the gas anytime soon. You really cant go wrong with picking him.


I think it’d be foolish of me to not pick Patrick Walters. The South Carolina native has an abundance of experience on Murray and posted a Top 10 finish last year. He made several mentions last time around that he was careful to fish new water and history. I think that’s the best mindset for a local to have in this event.

Not a bad backup: Justin Atkins won the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup on Murray and has had a good start his 2024 season.


In an event where FFS will be a factor, I’ll put my money on a guy like Taku Ito that can trick intelligent largemouth. We saw Kyoya Fujita nearly win this event last year utilizing his electronics. With this year’s event being a little later, I can see it continuing to play and Taku being one of the guys that figures it out.

Not a bad backup: Shane Lehew finished 14th here last year and has as much local knowledge as the next guy.


Brandon Cobb’s Elite season hasn’t exactly gone the way he wanted it to. There is no better event for him to right the ship than one in his home state. Lake Murray is one of the many stops where Cobb landed in the Top 10 last season. Look for him near the top this week as well.

Not a bad backup: Jason Williamson is somehow one of the lower percentage picks in Bucket D. Williamson posted a Top 10 here last season and is a phenomenal angler at any lake in South Carolina.


Like Cobb, Matt Robertson hasn’t had the start to the 2024 season he wanted. After leading this event after Day 1 last season, Robertson ended the event with a Top 30 finish. He’ll be hungry to have a good tournament this time around.

Not a bad backup: Mike Iaconelli is one of the few current Elites that fished the Elite in 2023 and 2011, both of which he has had great success. The veteran pro has a knack for these herring-chasing fish and will be looking for a Top 10 finish.

Falcon Rods Bassmaster Drain the Lake Challenge

• Brandon Cobb
• Mike Iaconelli
• Tyler Rivet
• Kyle Patrick
• Bryant Smith
• Jason Williamson
• Clifford Pirch
• John Crews