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Ranger Pro John Murray Wins Bassmaster Elite Series Event on Toledo Bend
Angler rallies with two 23-plus-pound bags on final two daysFLIPPIN, ARK. (April 11, 2017) Ranger Boats Pro John Murray brought in a total of 77 pounds, 10 ounces to win the Bassmaster Elite Series event at Toledo Bend on April 9. The victory marks Murray's first Elite Series win along with the $100,000 first-place prize money.
Murray has experienced success on Toledo Bend before with a Bassmaster Open Championship win on the same lake in 2003.
"I have a lot of confidence on this lake," said Murray. "I love it. It's big enough that you can spread out and it's got a lot of techniques. I have caught them drop-shotting at 30 feet deep all the way to catching them on top-water here."
Murray primarily fished with a Strike King 5XD crankbait and a jerkbait. With the long runs from south to north, Murray cited his Ranger 521C as being critical in his first Elite Series win.
"This is a long, big lake and the waves get big but I know I am fine in my Ranger," said Murray. "You have to run boat lanes on Toledo, so sometimes you have to run an angle you don't want to. It's nice to have a big Ranger so you don't have those worries."
Murray had two spots in mind. Unfortunately, one was at the south end of the lake and the other at the north end.
"The plan was to go south and get a limit then run up north to try to get a big one," Murray said.
Murray weighed 17 pounds, 13 ounces on day one. Day two, the angler's run to the south end only produced one keeper. Murray ran the length of the lake to put together a limit to make the top-50 cut.
"When I ran up north, I didn't have much," said Murray. "I didn't catch anything on my spot up there so I hit the banks and struggled up a limit. I caught my fish to make the cut with 10 minutes left."
Murray was plagued with losing fish for the first two days and lost a near six-pounder right at the boat on his final cast of day two.
"I just got in a rush, a total rookie mistake," said Murray. "I should have been in the top five or 10 after the first two days. It was just bad execution."
Murray's day-two total of 11 pounds, 7 ounces left him in 34th place, nearly 10 pounds off the lead.
"The third day, I decided that I was not going south," said Murray. "I am going to spend all my time where I catch my biggest ones."
Murray's decision to forego the south end paid dividends with a day-three stringer of 23 pounds, 7 ounces, vaulting him into third place with a good opportunity to win. Day four brought another heavy bag pulled from the north end of the lake. Murray's final-day weight of 24 pounds, 15 ounces gave the angler the win by almost five pounds.
"I have tried so long to get one of these," said Murray. "As good as our tour has gotten with all the young guys and the guys coming from other circuits, I was thinking it was never going to happen. To finally do it is kind of surreal. I was in a daze and not believing it was me they were giving the trophy."
About Ranger Boats
Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation's premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, with acclaimed models and series in the bass, multi-species, fish 'n play, saltwater, waterfowl utility and pontoon boat segments. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to RangerBoats.com, RangerAluminum.com or RangerPontoons.com.