Double-digit largemouth bagged at Lake Murray

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“HOTTRODD” WALKER with his 12.3-pound Lake Murray largemouth and guide Andre Casey.
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BY MIKE STEVENS

LA MESA— Winter fishing at Lake Murray was uncharacteristically sluggish, but things picked up on the bass scene a couple weeks ago when respectable numbers of 2- to 4-pound largemouth started biting in shallower, 62-degree water. Most of those biters powering the resurgence were in 10 to 15 feet of water, and the upgraded fishing was highlighted by news of a 7-pound, 12-ounce largemouth caught on a 4-inch slug on a leadhead. The fishing only got better since then, and as it turns out, that fish won’t even stand as the big bass of March out of Murray.

The activity at Murray was enough to draw San Diego-area guide Andre Casey (AndreCaseyFishing.com) away from his usual haunts with Murad “Hottrodd” Walker, and the change of venue paid off in the form of a double-digit largemouth.

“We started the day around 10 a.m. to look for suspended fish on bait out deep,” Casey told Western Outdoor News. “After about an hour of not seeing many active fish, I decided to to move up to points to locate potential staging fish. I could see a lot of fish moving around in shallower water which gave me the idea to fish a finesse approach with a drop-shot and Neko. We began to notice a lot of fish staging in 8 to 20 feet, so this was the zone we focused on.”

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Casey said he kept an eye on his Lowrance Active Target to kept spotting a hump with a big fish marking near the top of the hump, but it was very tight to the bottom making it hard to keep a read on.

“I mentioned to my partner that this was a potential bed because of how stationary these fish seemed to be holding onto this specific area,” said Casey.  “I threw in a drop-shot and landed right on the spot. This quickly resulted in a small fish that I put in the well as I did not want to release just yet to not disturb the big one which i was still marking. It was such a big mark on the screen.”


LAKE MURRAY produced this 12.3-pound largemouth for Murad “Hottrodd” Walker who was fishing with San Diego-based guide Andre Casey. PHOTO COURTESY AndreCaseyFishing.com

Casey made another pitch on the spot and was bit as soon as the bait hit bottom, and the tiny size 4 Neko hook quickly bent, and the fish came unbuttoned. He was fishing 7-pound fluoro, so he had Walker work the spot with a 7-inch worm drop-shotted on 10-pound mono with a 2/0 hook while Casey re-rigged.

“The moment I stood up after retying, he says ‘I got her!’  and the battle was intense,” said Casey. “It was fast, and what was maybe 45 seconds felt like 2 minutes. When she initially broke the surface, we both thought ‘easy 15 pounds.’  The mouth and head were enormous! She dove down so aggressively after that jump and ripped a perfectly set drag down about 10 feet. The next time she came up to jump I was able to put the net under her. Both of our jaws on the floor, hardest hugs we ever gave anyone. She was 12.3 pounds on the scale.”

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