Winning Baits

How Patrick Walters won the Murray Elite

Patrick Walters just won his 2nd Elite in 9 months. The last one was smallmouth water in NY, this time it was largemouth water in SC. Murray is a lake he’s fished a bunch because he went to college at the U of SC, so he knows the lake – but more importantly he likes it. Here’s how this win went down.

Going in and practice

> “Going into the tournament I was thinking the fish were still doing a lot of things. Spawning fish, the herring deal was going to be the deal – I thought I’d be running points like normal.

> “I thought it would be better than it was in practice. Practice was really tough…the fish were really broken up and it was hard to find them. I couldn’t find the [better] spots…the water was dirty and the fish were broken up. I could use FFS…but it wasn’t really that good.

> “I was going to look for fry-guarders and bedders at one point, and I do not like that all.

> “It completely changed by tournament time. They gave us a day off [weather-delayed day 1] which I think helped the fish get back into position.

> “I think I do bond with the lake…really well because you can never fish too fast. You can move around and do a bunch of different things. It’s kind of like Lake Fork [where he won in 2020] – they’re always biting somewhere, you just have to find ’em.

> “My plan going in [was] I found a couple schools, points with schools on them. Practice was pretty tough so I was willing to camp out on them. They were so pressured you couldn’t call ’em up. You had to really wait on them to school.”


> “…really every day I just went fishing…new spots and new areas. …history, knowing where they would get and why they get where they get.”

> Day 1: “I ended up catching 6 fish there [his starting point], only caught 1 good one. The bait wasn’t there, it wasn’t right. It wasn’t as good as it should’ve been. I was willing to spend half my day there, but I only spent like an hour. …you know what, I’m gonna run around. And you know what, that was the best decision I made.

> “We had good conditions – it was cloudy – and every move I made I just caught fish. I caught a good one on a squarebill, a Rapala Rocco. I caught a good one that day on the Darter [glide bait] just fishing down the bank.

> “That first day I had 25 lbs and my goal was to catch 20 lbs a day. I knew the 80-lb mark was the mark you needed to be around. When I caught 25 I was like, that gives us some cusion if we have a slow day….

> “I knew day 2 was gonna be the hardest day of the tournament. It was Saturday in the South, good weather conditions…sunny, no wind, slick. A local tournament was going on so it was hard to get on a lot of spots. On Saturdays those fish don’t bite – they know the weekend schedule….

> “…if I got past that day I’d be fine. I started on a spot that was like my 4th or 5th spot from day 1, that had a lot of fish…fresh fish, it was kind of like a sneakier spot…. I knew I could catch a limit there pretty quick. I knew I only had an hour or so to catch ’em and then it was just gonna shut off.

> “…caught a limit in no time. Then I went to my next spot and caught some fish. That quick start made the day. I ended up with 19 lbs that day, my lowest bag. It was a very tough day.”

> “Day 3…I started on some fish but they were all small. The group had left. So I went to another spot and they were just going bananas.

> “Every time I moved it was like I was moving at the right time…. I’d catch 1-2 or catch a limit, and they’d still be schooling. A lot of people would sit there and stay on ’em, but I was like, You know what it’s time to move. I’m going to go to another spot. And I’d pull up to the next spot and I’d make a couple key culls. So I was leaving fish to go catch other stuff.

> “Day 4…I need to get to 17 or 20…. I pulled up to my main spot and it had good ones on it. The first one was a 5-lbers. The 2nd one was a 4-lber. I was like, No way – it’s gonna go down.

> “I caught 3 fish right after that in 20 minutes, but they were small ones. There were a couple other good ones there….

> “I went to another point and they come up schooling, but I didn’t really like it – they were schooling too much. I know that sounds weird but I just didn’t like how they set up.

> “…I knew the 3rd spot had the quality I wanted. If I got 3 of those fish, it was…game over. I pull up, catch a small one and it culls. Then they come back up and I catch a 4-lber, then two 3.75s – and I’m like, It’s done. I left that spot with 21 lbs at 8:30….

> “I high-5ed Justin [Hamner] who was out there following me around…got a fist bump from my dad. That’s when I just went for the home run. I ran down lake and it was one of the craziest days I’ve ever had. Every move I made, I caught ’em.”


> “I varied the rotation…. Mostly the Fluke [also the] Rapala Jowler and the Clutch Darter. But the bread and butter was the Zoom Super Fluke.

> “I also caught a good one each day on a Carolina rig with a Brush Hog. I just ran that through there. I wouldn’t leave a spot without chunking that rig in there one time.”

> Zoom Fluke (mostly “crazy chrome” but also “glimmer blue” and “pearl white”), #1 VMC Neko Hook, 8-lb new/not out yet Sufix Revolve Braid (“you can cast it extremely far”) to 12-lb Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon, Daiwa Tatula MQ Reel (4000), 7′ 6″ ML Daiwa Steez Rod.

> Topwater: New/not yet out 5″ Rapala PXR Jowler 127 (chrome with stock #3 VMC RedLine 1X Trebles), 30-lb Sufix 832 Braid, Daiwa Tatula SVTW Reel (8:1), 7′ 4″ MH Daiwa Tatula Topwater Rod.

> Clutch Darter glide bait (bronzeback foil – color already sold out on TW – stock hooks), 20-lb Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon, Daiwa Tatula 300 Reel (8:1 – “I really like those bigger reels for those glide baits”), 7′ 6″ MHF Daiwa Tatula Big Worm Rod.

> C-rig: Zoom Midsize Brush Hog (watermelon candy), 4/0 VMC RedLine Hybrid Wide Gap Hook, swivel + bead + 3/4-oz VMC Tungsten Flippin Weight, 20-lb Sufix Advance Fluoro (17-lb for the leader), Daiwa Tatula SVTW Reel (8:1), 7′ 6″ MHF Daiwa Tatula Big Worm Rod.


> Garmin LiveScope – he runs the screen “hot” gain-wise – all graphs with a SonarPros setup.

> “I mainly was just looking for groups of fish and where they were setting up. I was catching the majority of fish schooling so I was mainly looking for the bait…to see what the activity of the bait was. But I could only really catch them when they were actively schooling.

> “…Power-Poles more than anything. I’d sit there and wait, and they’d come up and I’d catch one.”


> “Falcon Bass Boats. It was nice [to win there because] Lake Murray is the home lake for Falcon Bass Boats.

> “Yamaha outboards, it performed flawlessly. SonarPros, Rapala is really stepping their game up on baits, VMC and everything….

> “All my family, my wife, my dad, my mom for being there – you gotta have that support. It was also pretty nice to have Justin Hamner [out there with him] the final day…my camera guy, shoutout to Tanner. The first 3 days…I’m just doing my thing and nobody’s talking. The 4th day everybody was whooping and hollering – it’s just good when you get that positive in you.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Gitcha Bassin' Fix

To Top