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Watching John Murray on Lake Erie (content from By Deb Johnson

Aug 23, 2011

Bassmaster Elite Series pro John Murray was born and raised in Phoenix, Ariz.; he calls himself a “desert rat.” And that’s precisely why he’s competing this week in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open on Lake Erie out of
Sandusky, Ohio.

“I know to get out of Phoenix in the summer.”

Murray was joking, but it’s his Western roots that make him a serious threat on Lake Erie. He’s already proved he can parlay his experience on deep lakes like Mead and Roosevelt into success on Lake Erie. In Elite Series events there, he
finished third in 2007 and fourth in 2008. Last week, he landed a Top-10 finish in an FLW tournament on Erie out of Buffalo.

“I know what to look for on Erie. I feel at home out in the middle of any big lake, looking for open-water fish,” he said.

“But will I have enough time to find them? That’s what I’m hoping for,” he said Monday evening, just a few days away from the Thursday start of the second Northern Open of the season.

Murray was short on practice time because of supercharger trouble on the last day of the FLW tournament. After making the final-day cut in seventh place, the motor glitch rendered him dead in the water and he finished in 10th place. After
traveling west to Sandusky for the Bassmaster event, he had the problem fixed and was back in business Monday.

If the winds don’t kick up hard, he said, he’ll still have enough practice time. A productive practice depends on the wind — or, rather, lack of high winds.

His knowledge of Western reservoirs will help him in the clutch. But his time on Lake Erie near Buffalo will prove to be useless, if what the Ohio locals say is true.

“I’ve been on Erie for a week, but on the other end, and they say that’s not really going to help me. They say it’s a different lake, even though it’s just 165 miles away,” Murray said.

He is not letting such dock talk wear down his confidence. He’s at Sandusky only to win and claim what he regards as the tournament’s biggest prize: a 2012 Bassmaster Classic entry. He missed a Classic berth by 43 points in the 2011
Elite Series season, and the Open is a second chance.

Murray said he is breaking out of his normally conservative approach to
competition. That means all his eggs are in the “big ones” basket.

“The guy who is going to win here will have all big smallmouth. That’s what I’m
out for; I’m hunting the big ones.”

Elite Series Pro John Murray Joins River2sea (content from

(Richmond, CA – January 18, 2011) River2Sea, the manufacturer of premium fishing lures known throughout the world, has reached an endorsement agreement with Bassmaster Elite Series Pro John Murray from Phoenix, Ariz.

Murray, the 46-year-old pro has spent more than half of his life competing professionally in bass tournaments. His experience on the water helps him know what a quality product is, and before he joined the River2Sea pro staff, he was a user of the products.

“I became aware of River2Sea several years ago when we were using the Live Eye Bottom Walkers at Clear Lake,” said Murray, a six-time Bassmaster Classic Qualifier. “The Bottom Walker was the bait for that event, and it did so well, that I started checking out other products, and was impressed with the
completeness of the product line.”

K.K. Chan, president of River2Sea USA is equally excited about having Murray on his team. “John is an angler with an excellent record; his career has included much success all over the country,” said Chan. “His experience, and his position as one of the best anglers on the tournament trails is one that
we found very attractive for our team. He also has reputation for being very loyal and for being one of the truly good guys in the industry; he’s exactly the kind of angler we like to work with.”

Murray has been competing professionally for more than 30 years; his fishing career in the Western United States included the winning of 31 fully rigged bass boats in competition. He is a two-time winner on the B.A.S.S. National Tours and has another win in FLW Outdoors competition. Murray has earned more than $750,000 in his B.A.S.S. career and another $125,000 in FLW Tour Earnings. He is a two-time U.S. Open Champion and a multiple time Angler of the Year in regional tournament trails.

“I was really impressed with the Bully Wa 65, it was my first time fishing frogs for an extended time,” he said. “I know I wouldn’t have won that tournament with any other bait.”

In 2011, the Phoenix, Ariz. based Murray will be competing in the Bassmaster Elite Series, the Bassmaster Northern Opens, the PAA Series and some FLW Everstart Series events. River2Sea will be featured on his jersey and as a part of his boat wrap as well.

River2Sea USA manufactures products for both fresh and saltwater applications. The product line features the highest quality materials and workmanship available in the business today. Form the surface to the bottom, and in the tackle stores they make products that produce results, from River2Sea.

20 Questions with John Murray (content from

John Murray has been a constant player at the top level of tournament bass fishing, so much so that he’s been called a “lifer” by his friends. Changes in his personal life have thrown him a curve in his career, but he hopes to get back on track in 2011.

Here’s how Western legend John Murray answered our 20 Questions:

1. Where were you born and raised? Phoenix, Ariz.

2. How did you get started in bass fishing? My dad took me to a charity pro/am tournament when I was 13 years old. I caught three and my pro caught none, and I’ve fished pretty much since that day.

3. Who were some of your earliest fishing heroes? Rick Clunn, Gary Klein and a guy named Art Price, who is famous out here in the West. I admired Clunn because he was dominant at that time. I liked Gary because he was a young Western kid who went back East and fished, and Art Price taught me how to fish structure here on the West Coast. He’s a legend out here.

4. When did you realize you had made it in the bass fishing industry? You know, I fished a U.S. Open when I was 20 years old in 1985, and I came in third. I was in college then, so I finished my 2-year degree and went pro full-time from there.

5. What’s the biggest bass you’ve ever caught? 13-08. I caught it out of Lake Pleasant in Arizona. I caught it during a tournament, which I won by 18 pounds or so. That was in 1994.

6. What do you love most about bass fishing? The fact that you can never master it. Regardless of how many years you put in or how much effort you give it, there’s always something to improve on.

7. Where is your favorite place to fish for bass and why? I like Lake Erie a lot. I love fishing deep, and that’s one of the best deepwater smallmouth fisheries in the world.

8. What has been your greatest accomplishment in the fishing industry? Winning the first Busch Shootout in Virginia in 2004. That was the first one they had. It was one of those mystery lake situations, and there were 12 of us. We each took a few pounds of tackle. It was like one of the old Bassmaster Classics.

9. What goals have you yet to accomplish in your bass fishing career? The usual ones. I’ve never won an Elite Series event, and I also want to win Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year and have a shot at winning a Bassmaster Classic. I’ve got a lot to do!

10. What keeps you motivated to reach those goals? Skeet Reese calls me a lifer because I’m a tournament fisherman, and that’s what I’ve always been. I don’t get into the business side of it too much; I do it because I love tournament fishing. It’s easy for me to get motivated. I have a year-and-a-half-old son, and we’re going to go on the road next year, so I want to do really well next year.

11. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career? That’s been the past two years. I’ve gotten married and started a family, and I’ve never had distractions like that. They’re not really distractions, but tournament fishing has always been first and foremost for me, but in the past two years it’s been my son and my wife. It shows, too. Last year I had the worst year I’ve ever had, and I think it’s because I wasn’t focused 100 percent on fishing. I wanted to be back home with them. But since we’re all hitting the road this year, I’m hoping to have a better year.

12. What is your greatest strength as a professional angler?  Fishing deep water. Specifically, water deeper than 30 feet.

13. What is your greatest weakness as a professional angler? Probably crankbaits — especially shallow running crankbaits.

14. Do you have any fishing superstitions? Not anymore! We used to have Saturday tournaments, so I’d have to have clam chowder on Friday night. I’ve gotten away from that since we don’t have Saturday tournaments, though.

15. How big a part does luck play in tournament bass fishing? There are just inches between the top guys and the bottom guys. I roomed with Skeet last year and he had the best year he’s ever had, while I had one of my worst. We had the same information. It’s just the decisions you make. I don’t call it luck, just the confidence in the decisions you make.

16. When you’re not bass fishing, how do you like to spend your time? Right now, spending time with my son, watching him grow and playing with trains and reading books.

17. What has been the biggest change you’ve seen over the course of your career? The amount of knowledge that’s available on your boat. I mean, between the mapping and GPS coordinates, it’s much easier to find spots than it was just 10 years ago. When you have built-in mapping, you immediately know what the bottom is like.

18. What profession (other than your own) would you like to have tried? I think I would have been a teacher. Both of my parents were teachers, and I’ve taught bass fishing classes for years, so I’ve got a little experience in that. It was never anything I’d pursue, but that’s just a what-if.

19. What would you like to say to your fans? The only thing that I’d say is that I’ve always prided myself on being consistent, and I hope to get back to being consistent in the next couple of years. I feel like I’ve sort of slipped, and I want to get back to that.

20. When it’s all over, how do you want the bass fishing world to remember you? I want folks to know that this was my true passion. There is no other motive to fish bass tournaments than the competition. I’m a lifer!

Bassmaster Elite Fishing Trips with John Murray (content from

If you’ve ever dreamed of fishing with one of the world’s top Bass Master Elite Series pro’s that you see on ESPN every Saturday morning, this is your chance!

The Hook Up Outfitters is proud to announce this once in a lifetime opportunity to fish with a true western fishing legend, John Murray. John has won over two million dollars in his tournament career so far, including 2 Bass Master Events, 7 Won Bass Events, 2 U.S. Open Championships, 4 Daiwa Cups, has won over 30 bass boats, and has qualified for 5 Bass Master Classics. John competes on the Bass
Master Elite Tour, is a regular on ESPN’s Bassmaster Television show, and is the host of’s “Big Stick on Tour”. John is an Arizona resident, and has joined The Hook Up guide team during his tournament season and off season to create this one of a kind guiding opportunity.
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Bass Junkies… (content from

Murray needed to catch one fish at Toho to qualify for his 5th trip to the Bassmaster Classic, so he felt comfortable enough to fish a local team tournament Championship at Lake Pleasant, near his home in Phoenix on the Friday and Saturday before leaving for Toho. Murray and his partner Joe Wheeler finished the event in 7th place.

“I thought I would sleep on the flight from Phoenix to Birmingham, but I was too wound up,” Murray said. “I landed in Birmingham on Sunday [9/9] and drove to Orlando; it’s been non stop since.” Murray finished in the 53rd position at Lake Toho, only three ounces out of cashing a paycheck.

Murray hired a friend to fly to Orlando and pick up his truck and boat and drive it home to Phoenix. While his friend was driving, he spent Saturday night in Orlando at the party celebrating his roommate Skeet Reese’s Angler of the Year title. “I got a few hours of sleep before catching a 7:00 AM flight to
Portland Ore.     Read More….

Feeling Fin in Fourteenth! By Russ Bassdozer (content from

John, your awesome bass fishing legacy in the West has put you at the head of the winner’s line most of your life. You’ve won over one million dollars in tournaments including 30 boats and trucks. With this being your first Bass Masters Classic, did you think you would do as well as you did, John?

Based on what I was catching in my practice spots, I expected to place where I did, fourteenth, which is fine for me in my first Classic. I knew I would be consistent every day, and at the same time I knew I would probably not get any truly big fish out of my spots. I caught about the same fish every day of the Classic – 8.0, 9.07 and 8.11 for three days.

Russ, I feel I maximized the fish that I was on. I only lost a few, and I never lost a fish I needed all week. All the better ones I hooked, I put them all in the livewell.

Where were you fishing, John? Was it crowded? Was anyone else fishing your water?

I fished down towards the dam – the lower dam. As I understand it, most of the larger bags came from the upper dam, where current was pulling. Down at the lower dam, current was mild and not always detectable to me. During the week, I passed by Larry Nixon, Gary Yamamoto, Davey Hite as I relocated from one spot to another. But when we were fishing, we were spread out pretty far away and I had my spots practically to myself.
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Searching with a Drop-Shot (content from

What are the ideal conditions for the drop shot? Ask a hundred anglers and you’ll get a hundred different answers, some might even say never. In my many years of experience I have fished all types of waters, in all types of conditions and I’m hard pressed to find a time when the drop shot cannot be used effectively in some way. The problem comes when anglers choose to narrow down the uses of the drop shot and ignore the versatility of the technique. I love making long casts and fishing deep, but most drop shot rods on the market were unable to suit my needs. I worked with Powell rods to design a drop shot rod to
be as versatile as the technique itself. We came up with a 7’3” spinning rod with the extra length needed to make further casts and get a better hookset on deep fish, but still provides the lightweight and sensitivity for which Powell rods are known for.

As we approach the fall season, I like to use the drop shot as I would use a crankbait. It becomes a search bait to find active fish that have seen all the other hard moving baits and are unaccustomed to seeing my presentation. I will line up on a structure that would normally be a crankbait situation, but instead
make a long cast with the drop shot and work it slowly back to the boat. Forget the limitations of the depth of a crankbait; the drop shot can fish all depths.
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Battle on the Border: Q&A with John Murray (content from

John Murray of Phoenix, Ariz., had his last victory at the Elite level in 2004 at the Busch Shootout, and he sits tied for eighth place going into Sunday’s championship round at Lake Amistad. He gave us five minutes on Saturday to talk about his chances in this tournament and life in general on tour. Here’s
the Q and A:

John Murray talks about hair, superstitions and bass fishing.

You sit 13 pounds back of the leader, Derek Remitz. What’s it going to take for you to pull off the win?

Well, after seeing some of the bags (Saturday), I do think that it’s possible. Problem is that most of my places are played out. My game plan is all about burning my fish as hard as I can to make the 50 cut, then worry about the rest of it later. But I’m just going to head to some new areas, fish a pattern and see what happens. I’ve certainly got some techniques going that will catch big fish, if I can just get around them.
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John Murray won $100,000 in the Busch Shootout on a “mystery lake” location this past weekend (October 30, 2004). I caught up with John today for this interview. (content from

Life must be good for you lately, John Murray. I remember we talked a couple years ago in 2002 after your first Classic appearance. You said you were in a winning groove then. You talked about angler performance moving in cycles (good, fair, and poor cycles). At that time, you felt you were moving toward a peak in your fishing cycle – and you still are. For several years now, you’ve maintained a peak performance level, consistently placing highly in most events. How are you doing it? How are you keeping at your peak?

It’s hard to tell why that is, but I am glad it is happening. One thing, I am deliberately simplifying my fishing in recent years. After twenty years at it, I can look at a lake, pick out what I like about it, what parts of it fit my techniques, and have confidence that I am in my niche, my groove. You need to find your place on a lake, where you have confidence. I trust my confidence, not what anyone else is doing or saying. I am increasingly less and less affected these days by outside influences. Confidence in what you are doing is the key factor above all else. Maybe the only factor.

We can all practice, perfect our skills, strive to learn a lake, but how does a guy get that vital ingredient, the confidence you are talking about, John?

Let’s use as example a guy who has a favorite lake versus a lake on which he has not done well. Confidence is directly proportional to how many fish he has caught on that lake. The more fish you catch there, the more confidence that you will catch fish there. It’s in your mind.
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Arizona’s John Murray Wins Inaugural Busch Shootout (content from

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – John Murray waited longer than anyone else to compete in the inaugural Busch Shootout, having qualified by catching the heaviest single-day stringer at the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship nearly a year ago, months before the next qualifier was named.

And it was worth the wait.

Murray, of Phoenix, Ariz., caught three bass in Saturday afternoon’s final round for a total of 9 pounds, 9 ounces, and a $100,000 payday, the biggest of his BASS career.

“I guess I’ve been amped up since I first found out about the Shootout,” said Murray, who won the Open Championship in December. “The concept of just showing up with no prefishing was just killing me. I’ve been excited for a year to go to a tournament where you just launch and fish.
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