Big catches await anglers for Bassmaster Kayak Series event at Lake Murray

Lake Murray is set to host the 2024 Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series scored by TourneyX February 24-25.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — To kick off the 2024 season, the Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series scored by TourneyX will head to Lake Murray, one of the best bass lakes in the country. Just how good the lake will be depends on the weather, according to Bassmaster Kayak Series angler Barry Davis.

“The bass are going to start coming out of their winter patterns into their spring areas [most likely],” Davis said. “The weather is always iffy. There have been tournaments here this same time of year, and we have had some 100-inch bags per day to win. Some days, it is nowhere near that because of the weather.”

Tournament days are scheduled for Feb. 24-25 and will be the first opportunity for anglers to earn points toward the Dakota Lithium Bassmaster Kayak Series Angler of the Year title. Anglers will be able to launch from any of the published launches that will be released prior to the tournament. 

Over the past couple of years, anglers across the country have learned that impressive numbers of giant bass live in Lake Murray. That was proven several times just last year across multiple Bassmaster Tournament Trails. Kayak Bass Fishing visited the lake in late February 2023 for a pair of one-day events. The first day, it took 98.5 inches to win, and the second day, it was won with 97.5 inches.

There is also the potential to catch a 24- or 25-inch bass this time of year.

The massive reservoir in the middle of South Carolina provides opportunities for anglers to fish to their strengths. There is a large section of a more river-like environment, which has a history of producing big bags. Davis predicts that area will get the most attention. The bottom end of the lake is deep and wide, with a plethora of bass, stripers and blueback herring.

“The midlake area and up fishes more like a normal lake than a herring lake,” Davis said. “The lake is so deep on the bottom end that it doesn’t change a lot. The bass on the bottom end do a lot of the same stuff year-round except when they spawn.”

The weather in the Carolinas that time of year will be the biggest wild card in this event. There are some years where late February will still feel like winter, Davis said. Other years, like last year, warmer weather prevails and the bass will begin to head for the shallows. 

“If we have a couple of weeks where we get some warm days and not extremely cold nights, they will start to transition and move up onto some of the deeper docks and stuff like that,” Davis elaborated. “We are probably going to be about three weeks ahead of when they get really prespawn.”

For deeper-water scenarios — which likely will revolve around herring — brushpiles and rockpiles are key pieces of cover. A striper pattern could also unfold. 

“The offshore brush and rocks will still be in play,” he said. “The main forage in the lake is herring. They are going to chase the herring around, especially the spotted bass. The largemouth will have more of a home base. If people find them and the herring stay somewhat in the same area, I think it will play into it.

“The stripers will stay with them anyway, and a lot of people don’t realize bass are lazier than stripers. If you can get something through the stripers to the bottom, you can catch pretty decent bass under the stripers.”

In the shallows, there is a wide range of options including boat ramps, rock and docks. 

“Those concrete ramps will play because they draw heat. Red banks will play as well because they draw heat,” Davis said. “Anything that pulls heat will be key.”

A wide range of baits will likely play in this tournament. Crankbaits are a popular choice among anglers who regularly fish Lake Murray, as well as jigs. Several styles of worms will work, Davis said, including wacky rigs, Texas rigs and Carolina rigs. Crawfish presentations will also be key.

This week’s event is being hosted by Capital City Lake Murray Country.