By MLF Communications Staff
The third event on the 2021 MLF Pro Circuit schedule will play out this week at Lake Murray in South Carolina. It'll mark the eighth time that the tour has visited the Palmetto State fishery.
Most of the MLF history on Lake Murray has taken place in the summertime, when the fishing is somewhat tough, with the most recent being Justin Atkins’ win in 2017. However, this week’s event will be a true testament of what Lake Murray really has to offer with pre-spawn, post-spawn and spawning fish up for grabs.
Prior to Atkins’ win, Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., won the FLW Cup in 2014, tallying 51-02 to win by 1 ounce in front of his hometown fans. Gagliardi had a previous win on Lake Murray in February 2006 when he hauled in 89-02 over four days, with a 26-pound bag on day 1 and a 28-pound limit on the final day.
“Lake Murray has been really good to me over the years, but I won’t have an advantage this time of year,” said Gagliardi. “With it being spawning season, the fish will be more accessible and that really levels the playing field.”
Gagliardi said he expects to see guys throwing a little bit of everything at this event, from pitching and flipping wacky-rigged worms and creature baits like the Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Hit Worm and a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent The General Worm in stained water to throwing topwater buzzbaits and popper baits.
“Anything goes this time of year and you can find fish just about any way you like to catch them,” said Gagliardi. “If we get a lot of sun and no wind, the sight-fishing might play a little more into it, but if it’s cloudy and overcast, we’ll probably have to do a little more strategic fishing.
“If it gets real slick and sunny, the weights will also fall off a bit, but they should be up more if we have some inclement weather roll in towards the end of the event.”
Gagliardi said as far as winning weights go, again, this time of year makes things a bit tricky to predict.
“I’ve thought a lot about what kind of weight it’s going to take to win this tournament and it’s really hard to know until I get out there and fish. If an angler can average 18 pounds a day over four days, he’d be positioned pretty well for the win,” continued Gagliardi. “I think it will take slightly under 80 pounds to win, but it will be close. I don’t foresee much separation between the weights at the top of the scoreboard.”
Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. ET, Thursday through Sunday, from Dreher Island State Park, located at 3677 State Park Road in Prosperity. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park daily at 3 p.m. Attendance is limited to competing anglers, family, essential staff and media covering the event. Fans are encouraged to follow the action online through the MLF NOW! live stream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The full field of 163 anglers will compete in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The Top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advance to Saturday. Only the Top 10 pros continue competition on Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
The event will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, July 25 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall. Weigh-ins will be streamed daily and fans can catch live action all day Saturday and Sunday on MLF NOW! beginning at 7 a.m. ET at MajorLeagueFishing.com.