Most anglers that have ever hung
into a good sized smallmouth bass would readily agree that pound
for pound, it's the strongest bass that
swims. Although smallmouth bass don't often get into the
double-digit size, their furious tenacity more than makes up for
We are really fortunate here in
Oklahoma to have some great smallmouth fishing opportunities.
Smallmouth are now found in several of our major lakes including;
Texoma, Keystone, Eufaula, Broken Bow, Tenkiller, and several
smaller reservoirs. Most of the larger lakes now have the
reservoir or lake smallmouth which grow much larger a lot quicker
than the stream strain. While the reservoir strain is much more
desirable, it has been my experience that they are also much
harder to pattern and catch.
The stream strain that we have in Lake Murray for example are home
bodies, that is you can catch them in the same areas of the lake
throughout the year while on the other hand the reservoir strain
found in most larger lakes are always on the move and in order to
catch them, you have to move around a lot.
Although we don't catch many really big smallmouth out of Lake
Murray, I don't think there's a lake in Oklahoma that produces the
number of brownies that this lake does.
It is one of the few lakes that you can go fish almost any month
the year and realistically expect to catch a limit on each and
The smallmouth at Murray are on the beds now and you can catch
them up shallow on almost any rock structure found on the south
end of the lake.
On a guide trip last week, myself and two other guide boats took
out six anglers for two consecutive days. On the first day between
the three boats, we had close to 150 smallmouth bass. The next day
even though the weather changed, we still managed to catch well
over 100 smallmouth. On recent trips we have been averaging 25-30
smallmouth per day and that's pretty fun fishing!
The key to catching smallmouth on Murray in the early spring, is
finding the right water temperature. When the surface temperature
reaches 60 + degrees, the brownies move up into the shallow water
in big numbers. The spawn should last up into the first week of
May and then when the bass finish the spawn, the main pattern will
be finesse worms fished in deeper water around mainlake points.
I would start out fishing the mainlake points, and work back
towards the end of major coves, concentrating on the areas that
have the most rock structure. There are rock ledges all over this
lake, especially on the south end. Some of the ledges in this lake
are not marked, so if you are not familiar with Murray, I suggest
you give all of the points a wide berth unless you want to lose a
During the first part of the month, smallmouth can be caught
shallow on the rock ledges by throwing jerkbaits. At times they
literally inhale a soft jerkbait, such as the Zoom Super Fluke. I
primarily use two colors, pearl or white ice, although at times I
done well with a bubble gum color on cloudy or rainy days.
Because smallmouth have an extremely tough mouth, you should use
super sharp hooks. I like the XPoint X Gap hooks in a 4/0 size for
the flukes. If the bass short strike the Super Flukes, try
switching over to a hard jerkbait like the Storm Jr. Thunderstick,
or Rapala Husky Jerk in Tenesse shad or shad colors.
A good place to start on Murray are the rocky points around the
quarter-mile dock area which is close to the Rock Tower
Campground. Another area you should try is the mainlake west bank
near Tipps Point.
On days when the wind is blowing to strong to fish jerkbaits or
plastic, I like to cover the water with either a crankbait or a
spinnerbait. When fishing a crankbait this time of the year my
favorite is a Bandit 100 series in either pearl/black back,
Louisiana Shad, or the rootbeer colors. Fish this shallow running
crankbait over the tops of rock ledges and around mainlake points.
Another good bait on Murray is the Terminator Tiny-T spinnerbait.
I like the Terminator in the white color and modify it by changing
out the blades. I use a copper kicker blade up front and a white
mag willow on the back. When they get on this little bait, it's
not uncommon to catch smallmouth the entire day by putting down
the trolling motor and covering lots of water.
After the smallmouth have spawned and have moved off the banks and
back into deeper water, my choice of lures is the Robo Worm. You
can fish this small finesse worm on either a drop-shot or
When fishing the Robo Worm the best colors on Murray are Aaron's
Magic, Fuschia Thunder, or Purple Weenie.
We don't catch a lot of trophy smallmouth out of Murray although
there have been several over five pounds taken in recent years.
The lake is more noted for its sheer numbers of brownies, and it's
not uncommon to catch between 25 and 30 a day. On a good day we
have caught between 50 and 70 numerous times.
If you haven't really tried fishing for smallmouth you need to
catch a few of these bronze battlers to get hooked on this ever
growing popular species.