Ryan McMurtury Begins Season With ABA Win

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Tournament winner Ryan McMurtury
ABA

Less than three weeks before his Bassmaster Classic debut, Ryan McMurtury won the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, South Carolina Division 9 opener, held Jan. 29, 2011, on Lake Murray.


The Abbeville angler earned his trip to the 2011 Bassmaster Classic by winning the 2010 Toyota Tundra BWS national championship tournament on Lake Guntersville, Ala. In the Lake Murray event, he won the Boater Division with four bass weighing 16.53 pounds to collect $2,745. He anchored his bag with the 6.70-pound tournament lunker.

?I caught my fish on small, flat-sided crankbaits,? McMurtury said. ?I stayed in about seven feet of water and threw into two feet of water. Every cast, I had to slap the grass off the bait. I was bumping the bottom hard. About 30 minutes before I had to come in, I caught my fourth fish, a 4-pounder that hit a deep-diving crankbait out of a brush pile in about 15 feet of water.?

The anglers ran out of Dreher Island State Recreation Area in Prosperity. About 30 miles from downtown Columbia, Lake Murray covers about 50,000 acres. One of the oldest reservoirs in South Carolina, Lake Murray dates to the late 1920s. Fed by the Saluda River, the lake offers anglers more than 525 miles of shorelines. It stretches about 41 miles long by 14 miles at its widest point.


Placing second among the boaters, Chuck Howard of Elloree landed four bass going 15.33 pounds with a 5.48-pound kicker. He went home with a check for $1,373.

?All my fish hit a shad-colored suspending jerkbait in really clear water at the lower end of the lake,? Howard said. ?I was keeping the boat in about 30 feet of water and the fish were coming out of 10 to 20 feet of water. I had four bites and caught four fish.?

Keith Ashley of Greenwood followed in third with a tournament limit of five bass going 13.53 pounds fishing shallow water with crankbaits.


?The boat was in eight feet of water, but the fish were in about four feet of water,? Ashley said. ?Three or four boats fished that same creek. There was about a two-mile stretch of the creek that was loaded with fish.?

In fourth, Steve Lowder of Lynchburg brought in four keepers for 13.10 pounds including one 4.98-pounder. Rounding out the top five boaters, Rodney Cromer of Pomaria caught a five-bass limit going 12.52 pounds with one 3.56-pounder.

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Co-angler winner Ed Parker
ABA

In the Co-Angler Division, Ed Parker of Lake Wiley anchored his 10.99-pound winning bag with a 6.31-pound bucketmouth that took division big bass honors. He pocketed $1,251 for the win and a bonus for catching the lunker. He brought in a division limit of three keepers with a little help from his friend.

?We caught our fish cranking,? Parker said. ?I broke my lure, but my partner let me use one of his perch-colored deep divers. About five casts later, I caught the big one. It hit right at the boat as I was fixing to pick it out of the water. We fished in about seven feet of water at the back of a creek.?

In second for the co-anglers, Brian Hudson of Lexington came to the scales with three bass going 9.78 pounds with a 3.79-pound kicker. He won $626.

?I caught all my fish on a spoon in about 40 feet of water,? he said. ?We fished a creek channel just below Dreher lsland.?

Mark Wingate of Columbia caught three keepers for 8.96 pounds with one 4.74-pounder to take third place and $417. Fishing a mid-lake creek, he tempted his bass with crankbaits worked through about eight to 10 feet of water.

Keeping the competition in the family, Samuel Freeman of Irmo landed in fourth with three bass for 6.71 pounds. He edged out his father, Sammy Freeman, also of Irmo, who took fifth with two bass weighing 5.51 pounds, but the elder Freeman caught a 3.88-pounder.

For more information, call ABA at (888) 203-6222. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.com.

For more tournament news, click here.

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