Jones preps for Murray

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Alton Jones was pleased when he saw Lake Murray on the 2011 Elite Series schedule. He has fond memories on many of the lake’s creeks, pockets and points, each of which yielded key fish during a 2000 MegaBucks win and another B.A.S.S. event which he led for a day.

Jones spent most of Tuesday running points and tossing a variety of baits. He stated that his goal for the day was to cover as much water as he could while cutting back the number of rods on his deck.

He’s whittled his bait selection down to two -- possibly three -- and ran old patterns as well as new. His MegaBucks win in 2000 was a sight-fishing derby, which is unlikely for the Evan Williams Bourbon Carolina Clash. But, he hasn’t counted it out.

“When you come to a lake like this where you have a lot of history, you can’t help but run those old patterns,” he said. “I did that, and I’m glad I did -- for one reason or another.”

Jones was understandably tight-lipped about what his old and new patterns yielded. After all, he’s in the crosshairs of 98 other anglers in this event.

“Success in this tournament is going to be about location, location, location,” he said. “The more water that I can cover quickly, and effectively, the better off I’ll be. I don’t know what my boat number will be -- and obviously you want to be in the best spot -- but you’ve got to have several contingencies in case you get a bad draw.”

Bad draw or not, Jones is well aware of the competition hot on his heels. But, his focus remains laser-tight.

“You know, I try not to think of Kevin (VanDam) and Terry (Scroggins, both behind him in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race) during the day, because that will only distract me,” he said. “I think about that at night. Right now I’m trying to find as many fish as possible.”

Jones burned nearly $131 in gas on Tuesday, saying that he was looking for places off of the beaten path that others may not have found.

“Some of the stuff I’m looking at is a little bit out of the way and less obvious, and I found a couple of schools of fish that will maybe get overlooked,” he said. “Those can be critical if you either get a bad boat draw on the first day or if you’re fortunate enough, you can save them for later days.”

Check out the photo gallery from Jones’ day on the water.

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