University of North Alabama brothers lead Bassmaster College Series event at Lake Murray

Jake and Walker Brown will be the first to tell you that using forward-facing sonar is not exactly their specialty just yet.

But the brothers from the University of North Alabama used it to perfection on Day 1 of the Strike King Bassmaster College Series at Lake Murray presented by Bass Pro Shops, catching 23 pounds, 14 ounces to lead the field of 244 teams.

They anchored their bag with a 7-14 lunker largemouth that leads the Big Bass of the Day standings.

Hailing from Pickwick Lake, Jake and Walker struggled throughout the majority of their practice and really had no idea what to expect when they launched from Dreher Island State Park.

“After they called our number, we fist-bumped and agreed things can only go up from here,” Jake said. “We went out there and kind of stumbled around and found ourselves five solid bass and maybe some stuff for tomorrow.”

The duo ran up the lake into dirtier water and targeted around 30 to 40 different ditches, revisiting several of those spots again later in the day. They caught bass as shallow as 4 feet and as deep as 30 with a blade bait. With their Garmin LiveScope, Jake believes they saw at least 300 bass, but they could only get a few to commit.

“It is definitely a mental game,” he said.

The morning started with two solid keepers, which settled them down and kept them moving in the right direction.

“It took us pretty much all day to fill our limit,” Walker said. “We had three at about 1 o’clock and made a couple of adjustments toward the end of the day to catch our last two.”

Their last bass of the day was their biggest one, and for a minute both anglers believed they had hooked one of the striped bass that Lake Murray is known for.

“I was reading my graph and saw several of them sitting there,” Walker said. “The first cast to them they all followed it up, and one of them finally got it. He immediately started pulling drag.”

Jake continued, “I’m sitting there with the net and he’s horsing it in and I was like, ‘I thought I saw a little green when it flashed.’ It came up and showed itself and we thought it was a 4- or 5-pounder. When we got it in the net, we freaked out for a little bit.”

Once they boated the lunker, the Browns began looking for new water to fish on Saturday and did not make another cast.

The anglers enjoyed cloudy, warm and calm conditions on Day 1. Day 2, however, is expected to be a soggy one, as showers and potential thunderstorms will move through the area.

The leaders aren’t sure what the potential system will do to their bite, but they feel like they’ve seen plenty of bass to have a shot at the win.

“We are going to hit as many spots as possible and try to be efficient,” Walker said. “We will probably have to find some new water tomorrow. That’s the fun in it. You never know what will happen in that new water.”

The University of Montevallo duo of Peyton Harris and Dalton Head are second with 23-2, followed by Purdue University’s Casey Cornelius and Zion Dunaway in third with 22-0. Elliot Wielgopolski and Aaron Jagdfeld from Adrian College are fourth with 21-8, and Bryce DiMauro and Tripp Berlinsky from Bryan College round out the Top 5 with 21-0.

The full field of teams will launch from Dreher Island State Park beginning at 7:10 a.m. ET Saturday and return for weigh-in at 3:10 p.m. The top 10% of the field will punch their ticket to the Strike King Bassmaster College National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops, details of which will be announced at a later date.

This week’s event is being hosted by Capital City Lake Murray County.