Winless No Longer, John Murray Brings It Home at Toledo Bend

John Murray wins Elite Series at Toledo BendMany, LA — 11 years is a really long time.

11 years is a really long time to pursue something.

11 years is a really long time to pursue something without the big payoff.

That is precisely what John Murray has been doing, and finally, he got to hoist the trophy and the big check. And just like he’s been doing for the past 11 years as a part of the Series, he had to fight for it. And he fought like hell.

At the end of Friday’s action, Murray was sitting in 34th place, and in distinct danger of missing the cut. He needed a monster Saturday to stay on the water. Instead of making a run to the South end of the lake, a spot holding some big but very stubborn fish, he decided to stay a bit closer to the launch site.

It’s a spot he’s known throughout the years, and on Saturday, a spot that would produce 23 pounds, 7 ounces. Throwing large jerkbaits and a crankbait to target active, feeding largemouth, Murray said, “I think the white bass were in there feeding on shad, and then the bigger bass were feeding on the white bass.”

That winning jerkbait was a Lucky Craft 128 Pointer which his buddy Skeet Reese gave him.

The spot would continue to produce on into Sunday, but only after a change in approach. Sunday was crankbait day.

With two bass in the live well both north of seven pounds, Murray nailed the strategy yet again. Changing over to the Strike King 5XD (also part of the winning quiver for Jordan Lee at the Classic), he would do all the work necessary that final day. Hauling a bag full of 24 pounds, 15 ounces to the scales Sunday, that would be all she wrote.

Fellow pros gathered round to see one of the original Elite Series anglers wrap his arms around his first trophy. In that moment, 11 years probably seemed worth the wait.



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