Live Blog: May 23 & 24 – Practice Days

Monday, May 24, 2021 – 9:55 PM

In a recent episode of the Rapala #WeAreCollegiateBass Podcast, we continue to preview Lake Murray and the fishing conditions out on the playing field for the upcoming BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops. Host Kyle Curry is joined by special guest Robert Wise from Clemson University. Robert is a local to the area and claims Lake Murray as his home lake. Tune in as Robert answers a wide range of questions about the fishing conditions out on Lake Murray!

Listen now:

This will be the final post in today’s blog.  We will start a new blog page tomorrow for Tuesday’s coverage.  Thanks for following along and we will be back bright and early tomorrow with more coverage from Lake Murray and the 2021 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.

Monday, May 24, 2021 -9:10 PM

Following the conclusion of tournament competition on Thursday afternoon, a winner will be crowned Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.  The University of Montevallo enters this event with command lead, and has been in that number one spot since November of 2020.  Can Montevallo hold off two-time defending winners McKendree University to claim its first-ever School of the Year title?  We will find out in just a few days!

View the complete rankings.

Monday, May 24, 2021 -8:50 PM

Reminder to all anglers: Registration and sponsor meet & greet will begin at 1:00 PM tomorrow afternoon at Dreher Island State Park and run until 6:00 PM.  Be sure to bring your student ID, a reel to spool up with Sunline, and last but not least…an appetite, as there will be bbq on hand for anglers to eat!  Anglers will be able to meet various sponsors, participate in the Abu Garcia casting contest, and receive a rules briefing regarding the tournament.  We look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

All anglers are required to be off of the water by 3:00 PM tomorrow.

Monday, May 24, 2021 -7:55 PM

Yamaha is in the house!  Be on the lookout for Yamaha throughout the week.  Representatives will be on-site tomorrow showcasing products, signing up anglers for Yamaha Power Pay and much more!  The service trailer will also be on-site to assist participants that may be having any issues with their motor.

Monday, May 24, 2021 – 5:15 PM

Here are a few quick statistics about Lake Murray in our Garmin Lake Preview:

Current Water Temperature: 74-78 Degrees

Surface Acres: Approximately 50,000 acres

650 miles of shoreline

Impounded in the late 1920’s

Home to over 12 different species of fish

Monday, May 24, 2021 – 4:25 PM

Watch as Samuel Climer and Kayden Tanner from 11th ranked Tarleton State University talk about their practice at Lake Murray for the 2021 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.

Monday, May 24, 2021 – 4:05 PM

The weigh-in site is starting to come together here at Dreher Island State Park.  We look forward to seeing all of the anglers here tomorrow afternoon!

Monday, May 24, 2021 – 3:10 PM

Lake Murray is a vast body of water that offers a variety of cover and baitfish for these anglers to target this week to get bites.  So, just exactly where might the winning stringer be caught?  We asked Berkley/Abu Garcia pro Anthony Gagliardi this exact question.

Q: Lake Murray is a vast body of water with approximately 50,000 surface acres of water.  Is there a particular section of the lake that could really show out the most, or could the entire lake be in play?

A: Quite honestly, the whole entire lake could be in play, which is great, cause it’s a big lake and it just lets everybody spread out. The fish won’t feel as much pressure from that event.  It’ll make for a better event.  I kind of see it probably playing out about similar to the way ours did.  There will be some herring fish caught.  There will be some fish caught shallow up the lake. I think it will be a shallow event still. It’s going to be a shallow water tournament, just a matter of whether or not they try to target the herring fish or just go up to the dirty water and fish.

Monday, May 24, 2021 – 2:50 PM


Be on the lookout for the Berkley Bait Barge tomorrow during official practice!  The boat will be out on the water tomorrow morning starting at 7:45 AM and coming off of the water around noon. The Berkley Team will be on Lake Murray handing out Berkley Cane Walkers – a MUST HAVE bait on Murray this time of year and giving anglers tips on how to have the most successful tournament on a body of water where blueback herring are present. They will also have Gatorades and waters to hand out.  Anglers should feel free to approach the Berkley Bait Barge and/or expect the barge to approach them during practice for free baits and fishing tips.

Monday, May 24, 2021 – 1:20 PM

Cole Breeden and Cameron Smith from 7th ranked Drury University checked in today with several quality largemouth that they’ve caught throughout practice.  As the anglers have been sending in images, we’ve seen a good amount of fish in the 2.5-4 lb. class range.

Monday, May 24, 2021 – 12:10 PM

ACA staff have spent the morning filling up snack bags for the anglers to have during tournament competition.  A portion of the snack bags are brought to you by Garmin.  Special thanks to Garmin for the support they provide to these college anglers!

Monday, May 24, 2021 – 11:45 AM

Here is a brief look at the schedule of events for the week.  Anglers will practice until sundown this evening.  We will have some fish catch updates from practice today as the afternoon progresses.

To view the complete angler packet, click here.

Monday, May 24, 2021 – 9:45 AM

Troy Harris shared a picture of this nice largemouth yesterday during the second full day of official practice.  The caption he included in the IG story sounds hopeful that they’re starting to put together a bit of a gameplan!

Monday, May 24, 2021 – 7:35 AM

Good morning from Day 3 of Official Practice for the 2021 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.  Today we will continue to provide updates from practice, set up at Dreher Island State Park, and much more!

Sunday, May 23, 2021 – 8:40 PM

This will mark the final blog post of the evening.  The live blog will crank back up bright and early tomorrow morning for the third day of official practice.

As today winds down, we encourage you to check out EP. 111 of the Rapala #WeAreCollegiateBass Podcast.  During this episode, we talk with Whit Edmonds from Lander University.  Whit is registered to compete in the upcoming Championship and has a great deal of experience out on Lake Murray.  Tune in to listen to what he has to say about the fishing conditions and much more!

Listen here:

Sunday, May 23, 2021 – 6:50 PM

The host for this week’s event is Capital City/Lake Murray Country.  The lake and the surrounding area offer plenty of things to do including attractions and dining options.  Visit the Capital City/Lake Murray Country website to plan your itinerary while you are here during Championship Week.

Sunday, May 23, 2021 – 6:10 PM

The presenting sponsor for this portion of the blog is Garmin.  Garmin has long been a strong supporter of collegiate anglers and that support continues today through a variety of initiatives.  One of those initiatives is the Garmin Tournament Rewards program.  The highest-finishing Garmin user at this event will earn $500.  To find out more about this contingency program from Garmin, follow this link. 

Sunday, May 23, 2021 – 5:40 PM

During the recent Q&A with Anthony Gagliardi, we asked him about which baits from Berkley could factor in this week.  One of the baits he mentioned was the Drift Walker (pictured above).  View his full response below:

Q:  What particular baits from Berkley do you think could be in play during this Championship event?

A: When it comes to the herring spawn stuff, obviously the Berkley topwaters are really good.  The Cane Walker is good when it’s windy and when you’ve got overcast conditions.  I like that one, and I like the Drift Walker.  If it gets calm and it starts to slick off, when they’re biting a topwater bait…I’ll throw the Drift Walker.  If they’re not wanting the topwater bait, then the Power® Jerk Shad is one of the first things I’ll pick up.  I almost won that tournament on the Power® Swimmer.  That’s not normally something I’ll throw for those fish on that bite.  I’ve just been catching so many fish on it this year that when that bite started in that tournament a couple weeks ago, it really worked for me.  That’s really the only baits you’re going to need for that herring spawn.  If that bite’s starting to fall off, a lot of times you can catch them on some type of worm.  The MaxScent Hit Worm on a shaky head, something like that could be good.  Just fish along those same points that those fish have been schooling on.

As far as your river type stuff, obviously your frogs, toads, buzzbaits, and things like that could come into play.  Maybe somebody flips some creature bait or something like that up in the dirty water.

Read the full interview here.

Sunday, May 23, 2021 – 4:20 PM

Jacob Autry from 3rd ranked Murray State shared this content on his Instagram story late yesterday afternoon.  It looks like he found a quality largemouth bass during his practice on Saturday!

Sunday, May 23, 2021 – 2:05 PM

Leading up to the 2021 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops, we had the opportunity to speak with Berkley/Abu Garcia pro Anthony Gagliardi.  Gagliardi is an accomplished tournament angler that won a major Championship event at Lake Murray a few years back.  Through the course of this afternoon we will share segments from that interview.  Here is the first one:

Q: Given the timing of this particular event, how do you think the herring/herring spawn will factor into the fishing conditions at Lake Murray?

A: It’ll probably be really good for some people. I think that there’s still going to be some good fish caught, and guys are probably going to really catch them well.  It just may not be a situation where the whole field smashes them, which could happen sometimes during that bite. But I think it’s going to be a little bit tougher in that regard as there will still be some really good weights caught, but I don’t think that everybody will smash them. There’s going to be some guys that are going to find a little deal and get on them, but some other guys may struggle a little bit if they pursue that bite.

Read the full interview here.


Sunday, May 23, 2021 – 1:30 PM

It is a beautiful afternoon here in South Carolina.  Summer temperatures will begin to set in later this week.  Bright sunshine could help the bite out on Lake Murray during competition days.

Check back to the blog later this afternoon as we provide insight from professional angler Anthony Gagliardi breaking down how the lake is currently setting up.

Sunday, May 23, 2021 – 12:45 PM

Bobby Beck checked in with a good keeper size largemouth on the first official day of practice yesterday.

Several game changer fish like this one will go a long way for teams to separate from the rest of the pack.

Here is the caption that accompanied this post on Instagram: “Day 1 here on Lake Murray for the Collegiate Bass Championship and she is fishing tricky.  Eventually ran into a few green fish and a couple different species.”

Sunday, May 23, 2021 – 11:55AM

National Safe Boating Week began yesterday and will run through May 28th.  Our partners at BoatUS have put together a week long campaign to promote boating safety and educate anglers and boaters.  Here are some notes from BoatUS on life jackets and requirements.

Did You Know The Requirements for Life Jackets

There must be a properly fitting life jacket for each and every person aboard a recreational vessel. Life jackets must be Coast Guard-approved, in serviceable condition and the appropriate size for the intended user. Obviously, they are most effective when worn and in all ACA fishing events it’s a rule as well that when the big motor is on you have it buttoned/zipped up.

Also as you travel the nation keep in mind that each state may have additional life jacket wear requirements, such as for water skiing, personal watercraft operation, white water boating activities and during certain cool-weather months. Additionally, a boat 16’ in length or greater, except canoes and kayaks) must have a throwable flotation device.

For more information on life jackets and safe boating

Sunday, May 23, 2021 – 11:00AM

The trailer is in place here at Dreher Island State Park.  The State Park will be the site of all events this week, including registration on Tuesday night.  We look forward to seeing everyone here soon!

Sunday, May 23, 2021 – 9:20AM

Good morning and welcome in to our live blog coverage for the 2021 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops!  Official practice began yesterday for the anglers and will run through early Tuesday afternoon.  We are already beginning to receive updates from the anglers following the first day of official practice and are expecting to see more of the same today.  Stay tuned to the live blog for all of those photos and much more over the course of the next few days.