Get in on the Summertime Action with Tony Alexander on South Carolina’s Lake Murray
By Capt. Ted Lund
Summer isn’t the only thing heating up for anglers on Lake Murray, SC — home waters to one of the nation’s top boat manufacturers in the marine industry — Tidewater Boats.
Located just outside Columbia, SC, it has some of the best fishing for striped bass, white perch (crappie) and trophy catfish of almost any lake in the south.
“This is one of my favorite times of year here on the lake,” says Lake Murray legend and expert, Tony Alexander.
“We’re still getting water temperatures in the 70s on the surface, but night time our air temps are still dipping into the 40s,” says Alexander. “So it’s making it difficult for us to target (but not impossible) the world-class, 20-pound-plus stripers we are known for.”
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to fish for. Intact, as the water temperatures begin to rise, a Lake Murray specialty comes into play — shellcrackers.
“We get some big ones on the lake here,” says Alexander. “Sometimes up to five pounds. They are incredibly tough, and incredibly mean.”
Alexander prefers to target the bluegill hybrids on steroids by targeting secondary points featuring gravel, sand, rubble — and most importantly, no a lot of brush piles.
“The shellcrackers really like to bed in kind of open spaces without a lot of structure,” says Alexander. “But the biggest mistake a lot of anglers make, even though they are in the right spot, they want to fish nightcrawlers or red wigglers under floats or bobbers. If you really want to target them, especially the big ones, you really have to fish your bait, tight-line on the bottom.
Alexander prefers to set two or three rods out on the bottom with a small Carolina rig and the juiciest earthworm he can find,” he says. “Sometimes I’ll set as many 6 or 7 outfits, but when the bite is on, you just have to put them away It’s too many rods and too confusing. We’re hooking that many fish.”
This time of year, says Alexander, limits aren’t uncommon.
His go-to rod and reel combo?
“A lot of times you’ll hook a big catfish and even some larger stripers up to 20 pounds,” says Alexander. “I don’t like to take chances. I prefer a medium weight baitcasting outfit with 14-pound Berkley Big Game. It’s tough to beat especially when you hook that once in a lifetime striper or catfish.
As the water temperatures form and, herring, one of the top forage fish onLake Murray, begin congregating in deeper water to spawn. Predators like trophy stripers, big catfish and white perch follow the moveable feast all over the lake.
“We use a lot of the same tackle, but we’ll anchor on the primary point or try to schools of bait in deep water where you can see the stripers ganging up on them most of the time, if I am casting for them, I’ll use the same baitcasting outfits, but love to through artificial like zoom soft plastic or hardbody lures mimicking the shad “
“If we find them ganged up in deep water, I really like to locate the bait schools, then start vertical jigging with a one-ounce spoon. This is one of the most effective ways to catch not only the perch but catfish to 40 pounds and stripers to 20. Again, we like the heavier line on medium-heavy casting outfits for that little bit but extra muscle.”
To learn more about the excellent summertime fishing on Lake Murray, contact Capt. Tony at 803-727-5035 or Facebook
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Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com
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