Pro Picks: Lake Murray - Major League Fishing

Pro Picks: Lake Murray

February 3, 2006 • MLF • Archives

Tournament site

Lake Murray should be a big-fish fest, depending on the conditions. The big South Carolina bass are still in prespawn mode in relatively uncluttered water. So this one is shaping up into a shallow-water crankbaiter’s dream, which leaves the door open for a lot of pros we’ve heard from before. Locals might have an advantage, but they have yet to win an FLW Lake Murray event. Mike Wurm (1999), Clark Wendlandt (2000) and Chris Elliott (2003) all hail from out-of-state. It might be wise, for insurance purposes, to throw an Anthony Gagliardi or Ricky Shumpert into your picks, but don’t be so sure they’ll take victory. The winner’s money for this one, the Chevy Open, is $200,000. That tends to motivate the all top pros from Clewiston to Tokyo and everywhere in between to be their best.


Wal-Mart FLW Tour stop No. 2

Chevy Open

Lake Murray, Columbia, S.C.

Feb. 8-11

Carl Svebek
FLW pro
Siloam Springs, Ark.

Record: 1-0
Points: 715

FLW pro Carl Svebek III
FLW pro Dave Lefebre Dave Lefebre
FLW pro
Erie, Pa.

Record: 0-1
Points: 403

1) LARRY NIXON.Yep, I’m choosing Larry again. The man is a legend. He finished 16th in Florida and is cruising for a top-10. Murray might be the place for him.
2) DAVID FRITTS.The cranking king, he finished fifth in Florida and, with momentum on his side, I’d be foolish to not put him in my top five for Murray. With weather and water conditions just right, he may end up No. 1 in this one.
3) CLARK WENDLANDT.Not such a stellar performance in Florida, but I know he has it in him to come right back with a top-10. He doesn’t like being in 101st place. The world just isn’t right if Clean Shoes isn’t in one of the top slots. So look for some heavy weights from Wendlandt.
4) CHRIS MCCALL.Last chance for McCall on my list. He can catch them, but if he doesn’t show it on Murray, then he’s not making my list again. Seriously, Chris has focused on Murray, got a lot of good fishing practice in after Okeechobee and is ready to go. I look for big things out of the little guy.
5) TAKAHIRO OMORI.He’s been consistent on tour over the past few years, and you can’t go wrong with a guy like him. I look for him to have a solid finish. A top-10 would be icing on the cake.
1) TOSHINARI NAMIKI.Murray is just the type of water that Namiki likes. He never seems to do poorly in consecutive tournaments and he had a bad one at Okeechobee. I look for him to make a strong showing here.
2) ANTHONY GAGLIARDI.This one is a no-brainer. He is a local and knows this water as well as anyone. He should finish in the top 10.
3) DAVID FRITTS.Could it be two top-10 finishes in a row? I think so. Murray is a known crankbait lake. Need I say more?
4) MATT HERREN.Undoubtedly one of the best fishermen in the country, Matt should do well with the forecasted conditions at Murray. I look for his 55th at Okeechobee to be his worst finish of the season.
5) DAVE LEFEBRE.My northern-love pick on the Big O was my best finisher (which isn’t saying much), so I am it for Murray. I haven’t felt this good going into a tournament since Old Hickory in 2003. If the conditions stay with the forecast, this could be a good one.
Clark Wendlandt
FLW pro
Cedar Park, Texas

Record: 1-0
Points: 696

FLW pro Clark Wendlandt
FLW pro Randy Blaukat Randy Blaukat
FLW pro
Lamar, Mo.

Record: 0-1
Points: 514

1) BRENT CHAPMAN.Probably one of the hottest fishermen in the world right now, he understands coldwater cranking.
2) CLARK WENDLANDT.I’ve been looking forward to coming back to Murray since we fished there last time.
3) DAVE LEFEBRE.Dave had a bad tournament at the Big O, but I look for him to rebound here.
4) ANTHONY GAGLIARDI.I’m sure this will be a popular pick, but I can’t stay away from him at Lake Murray.
5) MARK DAVIS.Mark finished second at the last FLW event that he fished at Lake Murray. He likes cold water, and I look for him to do well here.
1) JOEL RICHARDSON.Joel is way overdue for a win or high finish. He has a lot of experience on these area lakes and spends a lot of time fishing this part of the country this time of year. He is an expert Carolina-rigger, and with the water low at Murray, this will be a top technique.
2) CLARK WENDLANDT.Clark is cranky right now, and for good reason. He is one of the top pros in the world, but for some cosmic or karmic reason, he has not been at the right place at the right time for a while. It just isn’t fair. I have a feeling Murray will mark the start of Clark finding his pace again.
3) RANDY BLAUKAT.After my last practice day at Okeechobee I thought I was going to win that event, but finished a ridiculous 130th. There are just no guarantees in this sport. I love Murray and love fishing it during cold weather, so I am really excited about this event.
4) AARON MARTENS.I’ve had the chance to spend a lot of time with Aaron this past year. Whether it was watching Napoleon Dynamite or fishing in Cabo with him, I can tell you one thing: He understands the energy of the bass and can communicate with them in a real way. After finishing near the bottom of the pack at Moonshine Lake (They should drain the remainder of the thousands of acres of chocolate milk formerly known as Lake Okeechobee and let nature reclaim it), look for him to be in one of the top 10 boats at Murray.
5) TOSHINARI NAMIKI.Like a lot of top pros, Toshi had a rough time in Florida. Toshi is still on a mental roll from all his top-10s last year, and I look for him to have a strong event at Murray. He fishes slow, and that will be a big key to fishing Murray in February.
David Dudley
FLW pro
Lynchburg, Va.

Record: 1-0
Points: 517

FLW pro David Dudley
FLW pro Art Berry Art Berry
FLW pro
Hemet, Calif.

Record: 0-1
Points: 567

1) ANTHONY GAGLIARDI.This man will come to the top at this tournament. He is the hottest angler in any tour and is going to his home lake, where he will show his true potential.
2) DARREL ROBERTSON.This man’s confidence on this lake is crazy. I think he could catch them on any lure, anyplace, at any time.
3) STEVE KENNEDY.This man is a quiet fisherman, but one of the most hardworking fishermen I know. He will figure them out and read them like a children’s storybook.
4) MARK DAVIS.This man I just cannot not pick. Since there will be both a deep and a shallow bite, he will be one tough contender. Oh yeah, did I forget to say he is one the best crankbait fisherman in the world?
5) SHINICHI FUKAE.This man is an emotional man. If things are going his way, he is tough as nails. But if things aren’t, he is like a twig that is easy to break. After the last tournament, I think he is at the nail stage right now.
1) DAVID FRITTS.With crankbaits playing a key role here, there’s really nobody better. He’s already off to a good start, and he’s hot right now.
2) ANTHONY GAGLIARDI.At least one local will make the top 10, and it will probably be him. He’s a great fisherman, especially at home.
3) RICKY SHUMPERT.Another local shallow-water expert in his backyard lake. Tough to reckon with here.
4) AARON MARTENS.In my opinion, the best pound-for-pound prespawn structure fisherman alive. With big females lurking near the bottom, he could be deadly. Real potential for giant sacks.
5) SHINICHI FUKAE.With confidence, superior discipline and lots of practice comes great rewards. Lookout, Shin could go back-to-back.


Staff Picks

Destination: Lake Murray

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