Krugerfarms.com Fearless Contest with Jeremiah James Korfe

Facebook Fearless ContestAre you Fearless? Well prove it! Krugerfarms.com and Mountain Khakis love to see women show how they’re Fearless by getting involved in the hunting and fishing activities that can many times be dominated by men.  Help us prove that women can be Fearless too! The winner of this contest will appear in a music video for Jeremiah James Korfe’s “Fearless Gal!”

Here’s a preview of the song:
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/95539350″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

To enter, post your picture to our Facebook wall and tell us why you’re Fearless in the post. We’ll compile the submissions and post krugerfarms.com top ten picks for a vote.  Our fans will decide who will be our KF Fearless Star by voting for their top pick!

  • Winner receives:
    • Opportunity to appear in a music video with Jeremiah James Korfe! (Filming will most likely take place around July 25, 2013)
    • Travel accommodations to and from Kruger Farms in Starbuck, MN
    • Accommodations at the Farm
    • Photo submissions will be accepted June 1st, 2013 through June 14th, 2013 THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 11:59pm JUNE 16th, 2013
    • Top ten candidates will be selected at the discretion of judges selected by krugerfarms.com
    • Voting will take place 9:00am CT June 18th, 2013 through 9am CT June 28th, 2013
    • The candidate in the top ten with the most likes in the contest photo album will win
    • If winner is unavailable during filming date(s), an alternate winner will be selected
    • Submission to contest authorizes krugerfarms.com to use submission contents (photo, name, bio) for promotion of contest
    • Must be 21+ years old and a US resident
    • No purchase necessary

If you need help picturing yourself in a music video with Jeremiah James Korfe, check out the last video we created with him, “This Paige is You!”

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/40249419]

For a taste of what emmulates Fearless, check out Mel’s Fearless Story:

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/61302164]

We can’t wait to see everyone’s submissions!

Breaking Down a Texas Rig

Pro-staff Contributor: Rich Lindgren

Texas rigging worms and soft plastic baits is one of the oldest and time-tested methods for catching bass in just about any situation–including in and around thick cover.  The Texas rig is a pretty simple rig, in that it usually consists of sliding a traditional bullet weight onto your line before you tying on a standard or offset worm hook. The bait is set by rigging the hook into the head of the bait about a ¼”, poking it back out the side of the body, then turning it 180 degrees, and bringing the point of the hook back into the bait to make it weedless.20130528_221853

Beyond the very basic principle of Texas rigging, there are a lot of subtle differences and tweaks to make a tried-and-true fish catcher into something even better.  When you start to think about it, there are actually a lot of variables when you consider, rod, reel, line, weight and hooks for your setup.

I start almost every Texas rig with a rubber sinker stop threaded on my line before I select a sinker.  These little guys keep my weight next to my bait, make sure I keep contact with my bait at all times, and pull my bait through cover.  You can peg your sinker with a toothpick, but these stops are easier on your line and can be loosened to give your bait a little more freedom.  After the sinker peg, I select a tungsten sinker to match the size of plastic bait and rate of fall I desire for the conditions and application I am facing.  I may go as light as 1/16 oz or heavier than 1 oz, but for basic rigging I usually use 1/8-3/8 oz tungsten slip sinkers.  I always use tungsten weights for the enhanced feel of the bottom and bites; plus I feel the hook-up percentage is better and that they come through cover better than traditional lead sinkers.

Next, I tie on the hook. I typically attach hooks to my 12-17lb fluorocarbon line with a San Diego Jam Knot or Palomar knot.  I find that 2/0 to 4/0 hooks will cover the great majority of my needs for standard soft plastic baits.  I use two styles: Extra Wide Gap (EWG) and Straight Shank Flipping Hooks.  I use an EWG hook when I am casting and dragging tubes, brush hogs, and worms.  I pair a straight shank hook with a heavier sinker for creature baits, like the TriggerX Goo Bug and other bulkier offerings, when I am pitching into thicker cover and fishing the baits in a more vertical manner–I feel it has a more positive hook up in these conditions.

Texas RigsAs far as rod selection, I like 7’ to 7’4” rods that are medium to medium-heavy with moderately fast actions.  I will fish Texas rigs on multiple rods that I own: ranging from my Dobyns Savvy 703C, to my Champion 734C, up to my absolute favorite rod for Texas rigging, the Dobyns Champion Extreme DX744C.  There are a ton of great rods and different price points to choose from, but be sure to get a fairly long rod with good balance, moderate back bone, and good sensitivity.

Keep a few of these suggestions in mind when setting up your Texas rigs and it should help you get a few more fish in the boat!

Rich Lindgren is a tournament bass angler living in Lakeville, MN chasing bass all over Minnesota and its adjoining states. Bass blogger, podcaster and fishing promoter. You’ll see him fishing the Minnesota bass tournament scene representing krugerfarms.com and Dobyns Rods among others. You can follow him on Twitter (@HellaBass) and like him on Facebook (facebook.com/bassinblog).

Texas Rigs

Lake Eufaula FLW Tour Recap

Pro-staff Contributor: Jeff Gustafson

Stop four on the 2013 FLW Tour took place this past weekend at Alabama’s Lake Eufaula.  For me, this event was a humbling experience to say the least.

Gussy's dad, Jim Gustafson, with a nice largemouth from practice.

Gussy’s dad, Jim Gustafson, with a nice largemouth from practice.

My Dad was down with me for this event and fished his first tournament as a co-angler.  I did little research for this tournament prior to launching the boat on the first morning of practice.  My approach to fishing these new lakes is to get the boat in the water and try to break it down as quickly as possible to get some sort of pattern established.  Instead of doing a bunch of research like I usually do, I decided that for this one I would just try to fish the moment and figure it out as things were happening.  We basically launched the boat and started fishing: starting shallow, then trying some deeper water, then moving to shallow water again. We fished the main channel of the lake as well as several creek arms.

We caught a good number of fish on the first day of practice, including several in the two- to three- pound range by casting crankbaits on main lake points in three to six feet of water.  My best bait was a Jackall MC/60 MR crankbait in the Ghost Bluegill color.  My Dad was throwing this bait and was laying a beating on me so we quickly figured out that this was a lure that the fish wanted.  We probably caught twenty keepers that first day—which was a great start.

The second day of practice was tougher, we stayed with the same pattern and tried to cover a little more water in hopes of finding as many fishing spots as possible.  We didn’t catch nearly as many fish so I wasn’t sure if my pattern was dying or if I had just found a good area that first day.  I generally don’t like to fish the same places in practice because it’s so important to keep looking for new water all the time in order to find as many areas as possible.

On the last day of practice we went farther south on the lake and tried a large creek arm that I had not been into over the first couple days.  Almost immediately we started catching fish, including a couple of large four- and five- pounders.  Now I was getting excited!  I had a large area that had what seemed like good numbers of big fish in it so I was ready to get the tournament started.  We caught these fish on a wacky rigged Jackall Flick Shake 5.8″ worm.  They wanted a slow presentation and this worm was out-fishing everything else that we tried.

The first day of the tournament I caught a few fish on the Flick Shake worm in the morning and managed to catch a couple of big ones at the end of the day on a Jackall Iobee Frog.  I caught these fish during my last twenty minutes of fishing and they helped me out significantly.  My co-angler also caught a five pounder, which helped him land a tournament leading catch of 15-03 in his division.  My limit of 13-06 landed me in 38th place, which I was very happy with.  More importantly I felt like I had learned a lot heading into day two.  I was optimistic there were more big fish in the shallow grass area where we caught the big ones at the end of the day.

Day two turned out to be a nightmare.  The weather was not significantly different from day one—it was hot with a light breeze.  For whatever reason, the fish just didn’t bite. I caught a bunch of “short” fish (under 14”) and had two big blow ups on the frog which I didn’t connect with.  After a while I started running around to some of the places where I thought I could catch numbers and just couldn’t make it happen.  When you don’t have fish in your livewell the day goes by quickly, so before I knew it, it was time for weigh-in.  I fished my butt off all day long and just didn’t get the bites.

So, I’ve decided to absorb what I’ve learned here, move on to the next one and forget about this event.  Next stop on the schedule is Grand Lake, Oklahoma, June 6 – 9.

Jeff Gustafson is a professional angler living in Kenora, Ontario on the shores of Lake of the Woods. Outdoor writer, fishing promoter and host of “Fishing with Gussy.” You’ll see him fishing the Walmart FLW Tour representing krugerfarms.com and Lund boats among others. You can follow him on Twitter (@GussyOutdoors) and like him on Facebook (facebook.com/gussyoutdoors).

A line up of the Jackall Baits that Gussy caught fish on during the week at Eufaula.

A line up of the Jackall Baits that Gussy caught fish on during the week at Eufaula.

How to Become a College Tournament Angler

Pro-staff Contributor: Michaela Anderson

There are many ways to get started fishing college tournaments. The best way is to start before you enter college by competing in small and local tournaments.  Your first tournaments should focus on lakes that you are already comfortable fishing and know well. This will allow you to remain confident while using your knowledge of different spots on the lake to adapt your strategy during the tournament—because the fish always seem to change their patterns on tournament days. Local clubs and youth programs are also a great way to start.

Michaela with her mentor, Mark Fisher.

Michaela with her mentor, Mark Fisher.

Youth & High School Fishing

For kids, youth programs offer an amazing learning experience. Now some states even have high school fishing as a varsity sport! There are a few different organizations that have state tournaments that provide kids with the opportunity to fish in regional and national tournaments in other states. The best way to find these organizations is to look for information on your DNR page, or the FLW and BASS pages, or of course you could just Google it! One other option you have is to email your local TBF contact to find out where the nearest youth club opportunities are located.

Youth tournaments provide a lot of opportunities such as college scholarships and experience traveling to fish in other states. During youth tournaments you do not need to provide your own boat—you just need to show up with a life jacket, rod and reel. The boaters become amazing mentors and help teach kids during the day out on the water. You are able to make many new friends and many connections for the future. Unfortunately, at 18 you become too old to fish the youth tournaments and you must move to adult and college tournaments.

Stepping up to College Tournament Angling

College tournaments provide a great opportunity to travel to many different lakes across the country and learn a lot about other types of fisheries. Many schools have clubs, which allow you to fish in the FLW, BASS, and Boat USA college tournaments. There are also a few schools that have bass fishing teams and some offer scholarships for fishing! Each tournament trail is run a little differently but the basic format is that you fish in the qualifying events in hopes of making it to the National Championship. These tournaments take your angling to a whole new level and test your skills on lakes across the country. It is a great way to make new friends and to establish a strong network.

Becoming a Professional

Once you graduate you have a few choices. In Minnesota, and most states I have traveled to, they have many local tournaments— you could fish a tournament every weekend if you wanted to. If you want to take a step up to another level, check out Rich Lindgren’s blog about getting started in the BASS and FLW leagues.  These tournaments will test your skills against some of the best anglers in the country—so it will give you a good idea of your competitive skill level.

One key reminder I would give you is that the best way to learn is to be out on the water. The more you get out fishing the more you will learn. Force yourself to learn new techniques and practice even the basic skills like casting. If you work hard at building your skill level, and take advantage of the resources and links I mentioned earlier—you can have a fun and rewarding experience as a college tournament angler like I have. It’s definitely worth the effort!

Michaela Anderson is a college angler fishing the FLW, B.A.S.S. College Circuits and select FLW Walmart Tour events representing krugerfarms.com, Trigger X and the University of St. Thomas. You can follow her on Twitter (@MichaelaFishing) and like her on Facebook (facebook.com/MichaelaAndersonFishing.

Michaela and her team mate, Brian, at the 2012 B.A.S.S. National Championship

Michaela and her teammate, Brian, at the 2012 B.A.S.S. National Championship

A Path to Professional Tournament Bass Angling

Pro-staff Contributor: Rich Lindgren

Many enthusiastic anglers often see professional anglers on television and are intrigued by the potential of fishing as a career path.  At the same time, most people have no idea what it takes to be a professional bass tournament angler.  Beyond the long hours and thousands of miles of travel every year, it is not the easiest profession to break into.  For the major circuits, like FLW Tour and Bassmasters Elite Series, there are qualification requirements.

Fish your Way to the Top

Rich at TBF Tournament

Rich at TBF Tournament

The most important step to take on your way to professional angling is to get out on the water. Along with doing this outside of tournaments, participating as a co-angler in the FLW EverStart, FLW Tour or Opens is a great way to get exposure to new lakes and different fishing techniques from extremely good anglers. But with the reward, you also run the risk of running into a boater that will back boat you—meaning they position the boat in a way that makes it impossible for you to cast to a spot. With this in mind, when you fish as a co-angler you need to go into the tournament just looking to learn something new rather than looking to get the biggest bite.

For each tour there are different levels to start out at, but let’s assume you are just getting started.  And for simplicity let’s focus on the FLW Tour side of the sport.  The first tournament stepping stones for the FLW Tour would be hosted by your local TBF Bass Club and the BFL that have divisions all over the United States.  These are for the most part single-day weekend events. These tournaments can qualify you for regional and national events—ultimately helping you build a name for yourself and win money to invest in larger tournaments.  As an alternative, BASS comparable events are the Bassmaster Weekend Series and BASS Nation tournaments.

Once you succeed in these events, the next level tournaments are the FLW Everstart Series and Bassmaster Opens—these are comparable to Triple A baseball leagues.  Once you succeed at these levels, you can move onto the Tour level or the Majors. This is where the money and time commitment increase, as well as the level of competition.  At the tour level, entry fees and travel expenses can easily exceed $50,000 every year just to play.  Very few anglers do this all with their own money or make a living off tournament winnings alone.

Gain Sponsorship

The second half of the tournament fishing equation is sponsorship and marketing.  To have a long successful career you must be talented and marketing savvy. By combining these assets with your angling skills you’ll be able to form mutually beneficial relationships with sponsoring companies that can assist with tournament entry fees and other expenses along the way.  As part of these sponsorships, when you’re not fishing, you will often write articles and blogs or spend time on the road fulfilling sponsor obligations at sport shows and speaking engagements.

It can be a great life—who wouldn’t want to fish for a living, right?  But behind the fishing tournaments that you see on the television on Sunday afternoon, there is a lot of work and commitment.  If you are passionate about being a tournament angler, my best advice is to start fishing as much as possible!

If you’re interested in becoming a college tournament angler be sure to check out Michaela Anderson’s blog on how to get into the tournament scene.

Rich Lindgren is a tournament bass angler living in Lakeville, MN chasing bass all over Minnesota and its adjoining states. Bass blogger, podcaster and fishing promoter. You’ll see him fishing the Minnesota bass tournament scene representing krugerfarms.com and Dobyns Rods among others. You can follow him on Twitter (@HellaBass) and like him on Facebook (facebook.com/bassinblog).

Rich at EverStart Central Division Tournament

Rich at EverStart Central Division Tournament

Three Ways to Remember Your Turkey Hunt

Pro-staff Contributor: Zach Raulie

Different memorabilia from hunts.

Different memorabilia from hunts.

Spring turkey season in the south has come to an end and in a few weeks most other states will close the books on their seasons.  It has been an unforgettable and very successful season in many different ways for my wife and me.  My wife got her first kill and I witnessed many great things in the woods while enjoying time with the new and veteran turkey hunters in my life.

The question then arises: now that we’ve harvested birds, and hopefully you have had success as well, what do we do with your trophy to preserve the memory?  Here are a few post season projects I enjoy working on.

1.      Photographs

This seems obvious but a single, well-shot photo can tell an amazing story of a successful hunt.  Digital photography is great, but I still like to print out the best photos and on the back of them write down the location, date and time of the hunt, conditions and bird’s measurements.  Maybe you guided someone to harvest their first bird or it was your child’s first hunt.  Encapsulate that memory with a framed photo for them as a reminder of a great experience with you.

2.      Preserve the Tail Feathers, Beards and Spurs

Preserved beards

Preserved beards

I love taxidermy and preserving the trophies of spring.  There are many mounts available out there by extraordinary artists.  But full-body turkey mounts aren’t for every hunter (or their spouse) or budget.  There are multiple ways you can preserve your trophy yourself with a little creativity.

Many turkey hunters keep the beards, spurs and shotgun shell from their harvest.  Don’t just toss those in a drawer once you clean them.  A friend of mine likes to write a quick description of the hunt and the bird’s measurements on a piece of paper, then roll it up and place it inside the shot shell to revisit those memories another day.  A lot of us emphasize the use of the shot shell and glue the beard to be displayed in it.  I have kept the beards and spurs from my successful spring hunts to hang for display.

Preserved spurs

Preserved spurs

I also keep every set of tail feathers, if in good condition, after a hunt.  I have some of the more memorable fans displayed in our home while others I save for use in next years decoys.  I am currently working on a framed shadowbox display of my wife’s first turkey (fan, spurs and beard).  I will blog about how to build one of these once I’ve completed the project.

3.      Wing-bone Turkey Call

Years ago, my Uncle David made my father a turkey call out of a wing bone from the turkey he had killed.  It wasn’t until last year that I attempted to make one of these.  Surprisingly it was fun and very simple to make!

Wing-bone calls

Wing-bone calls

1. While cleaning the birds from our hunt, we remove the three wing-bones key to making this call.

2. Boil the bones and remove any excess meat from them.

3. Using a dremel tool or small saw, cut the pieces to the desired size.

4. Dry fit the pieces. Then use a 2-part epoxy to affix the bones together and let dry.

5. Sand the calls down to finish them off.  Date the call and location of hunt.

6. Finally, add several coats of high gloss to really finish the call off nicely.

I can’t say I use this call much for hunting, even though it can be surprisingly effective in the woods, but it serves as a great memory of the hunt! The project can also be a fun thing do with your kids. Don’t be afraid to experiment when you make these either—the first wing-bone call I made was a little crude—but after that prototype, the calls I’ve created for friends are much nicer.

I hope you enjoyed all of these ideas and try a few out!  These projects are a great way to extend your season and pay further respect to the bird you harvested.  As many have said, it’s not about the kill but preserving the memory of the hunt that is most important.

Zach Raulie is an avid hunter and amateur retriever trainer living outside of Jacksonville, Florida. He is a multi-year qualifier for the World’s Duck Calling Contest and is highly competitive in AKC and UKC sanctioned hunt tests. You’ll see Zach representing krugerfarms.com and Lodge Creek Calls in all of his endeavors each year. You can contact Zach at zraulie@gmail.com and find him on Facebook (facebook.com/zraulie).

Zach and Jen

Tournament Fishing: Does Prefishing Really Work?

Pro-staff Contributor: Michaela Anderson

This weekend I fished in the FLW Central Division Qualifier on Pickwick Lake (a part of the Tennessee River) in Alabama and it did not go like I planned at all! Because of this I had to wonder, is prefishing all its hyped up to be?

Fishing Pickwick Lake

Personally, I do not feel comfortable fishing a tournament on a lake I have never been on.  So before the tournament, I packed up the truck and boat and went down to Alabama for four days. The FLW restricts prefishing so that the lake is off-limits during the five days prior to competition. Therefore, the first day we practiced was over a week before the actual tournament—a lot can change in a week!

Michaela prefishing for FLW Pickwick Lake College Tournament

Michaela prefishing for FLW Pickwick Lake College Tournament

When we started fishing, the river was about three feet above average level and the water temps ranged from 62˚ to as high as 70˚. We caught at least 30 fish that day by flipping Trigger X Goo Bugs in the reeds, in cuts and coves along the shore, and close to the main river channel. However, in the following days they started pulling water in anticipation of storms that were rolling in so that our successful locations became depleted of all water.  We did not want to put all our effort into one pattern so we focused on finding deeper fish on Saturday and Sunday. With these efforts, we found fish in an area that had a slight drop off leading to a shell bed and an old river channel. There were fish stacked in this location so we thought that it would stay consistent even with the change in water levels.

After returning home, I watched the water levels and weather all week. Storms had gone through the area and the water levels were almost up to flood stage, which is 18 feet above normal! This worried me because I knew it meant that all of our grass was under water. By the time we arrived at the lake on Friday the water was about eight feet above normal.  That night a storm came through and there was a big temperature drop. We decided to follow our original game plan and start deep because we figured the fish would move out with the colder weather and if we didn’t catch fish that would mean they would probably be shallow so we would then go fish the weeds we had found earlier.

Finally it was time to launch—we were boat number 44 out of 50.  We had only seen one person in our planned area during prefishing so we were not concerned about others beating us to our spot.  When we finally arrived at our spot, which was about 20 minutes away, we were shocked to see about 10 other college teams in the same area. We caught short fish on Carolina rigs and shaky head jigs but could not catch any keepers. The rain had definitely cooled down the water because it was only 64˚. After about two hours we knew we had to change patterns. We started seeking out the areas with grass we had discovered during prefishing—ruling out areas that were now under water or had another tournament boat on them. Again we could only catch short fish. We finished up the day fishing by the dam in search of some of the large small mouth bass we had stumbled upon in practice…with no luck.

Pros and Cons of Prefishing

On the extremely long 15-hour ride back, I couldn’t get the tournament out of my head—I just kept thinking about how well we had done the weekend before. Then I thought back to the last FLW Qualifier on Lake of the Ozarks when the same thing had happened to us. That made me think: is it worth it to drive that far to prefish for a 6-hour tournament? If it was an 8- or 9- hour tournament, like most others, you have time to adjust and change patterns. But during a 6-hour tournament, it is extremely hard to make adjustments if your first pattern doesn’t work.

The first day of pre fishing has always been our best and I started wondering, why? I came to the conclusion that our success was slightly due to the fact that we had no preconceived ideas or patterns. We had done research online but had no clear idea of where to start, so we just started by fishing with the best methods we knew and went from there. On both Lake of the Ozarks and Pickwick we had a solid pattern on the first day and just tried to expand and build on it during the following days.

Another shot from prefishing on Lake Pickwick.

Another shot from prefishing on Lake Pickwick.

The benefit to prefishing was that we knew where to find different structures and did not waste any time looking around. The disadvantage to pre fishing was that we thought we knew the spots that had fish.  Then when we were only catching short fish, we started to panic and fish faster than we should have so that we could try to hit all of our spots in the short 6-hour time period.

So, Will I Prefish Again?

I still think you should prefish before a tournament—otherwise you wouldn’t know what the lake looks like, where you can and can’t drive, or where to find different types of structures. When you cannot prefish immediately before the tournament, I think your prefishing should be more focused on covering water and finding as many different types of spots as possible. I think our mistake was that we focused too much on actually catching fish and not on finding a wide variety of spots. So much can change in a week, so you need to have a lot of variety to work with. Another thing I’ve taken away is that I need to go into tournaments with an open mind and to remember to fish with my tried-and-true methods.

Even after the last two tournaments, I truly believe that if you put in the effort and work hard you will be rewarded. I have learned more than I can include in two short blogs from these last two tournaments, even though we didn’t finish where we had hoped. I am very lucky to be able to do what I am doing and have these experiences—but I’m not ruling out getting a lucky rabbit’s foot, horseshoe, or four-leaf clover to help catch keepers in the future!

Michaela Anderson is a college angler fishing the FLW, B.A.S.S. College Circuits and select FLW Walmart Tour events representing krugerfarms.com, Trigger X and the University of St. Thomas. You can follow her on Twitter (@MichaelaFishing) and like her on Facebook (facebook.com/MichaelaAndersonFishing).

Boat Prefishing

Spring Turkey Hunting: Is it Easy to Punch Your Tag?

Pro-staff Contributor: Brian Cote

Whenever I have conversations with others about turkey hunting, they constantly say, “How hard could it be? Turkeys are dumb.” In some cases this holds true, but in reality many pieces of the puzzle have to fall into place to make it seem as though turkeys require little-to-no effort to punch your tag.  I myself don’t believe in a “dumb” turkey. While hunting the Midwest region, I’ve learned that many gobblers will do things you’ve never heard of before.

Two weeks ago, we targeted an area in Wisconsin that had not been hunted for many years—the scouting reports looked great. When getting set up under the cover of darkness, multiple toms broke the morning silence and let us know they were awake. Turkey DashWe were set up no more than 100 yards from their roost and I was optimistic. As the day became brighter and many more critters were making their presence known, the birds continued to gobble and the hens began yelping and clucking. But even though the gobblers were responding quite often to our calls, around an hour after daybreak, it was quiet throughout the woods. We made a game plan to get mobile and try to find them again.

After some searching we heard the birds gobble once more and eased closer. Then to our amazement, we spotted the group of birds walking across a bog, headed towards some thick tamarack swamp area. My good friend and I stood and stared at each other in awe trying to figure out why they were there.  What would cause them to cross a creek and head towards some of the thickest swamp around? We couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t go to open timber or nearby cornfields. As we headed back to the truck we talked about our game plan for the next day.

Day two started off a lot quieter than day one. As we were trying to decide where to set up, I noticed a big black object in the top of a Tamarack tree, out in the middle of the bog. I thought to myself, “Could that be a turkey?” Then the object began to move and a thunderous gobble lit up the swamp. Again, this bird threw us for a loop. Why was this tom all by himself in the middle of a bog? Could it be he knew that most of the predators that prey on him would not be able to reach him there? Did he know that he was being pressured by us? For birds that are rumored to be an easy kill—this flock was putting up a challenge!

DecoyWith this odd behavior, we were unsure of where we should set, so we decided it’d be safe to set up near the place we saw the birds on the previous day.  We set out our Avian X LCD Jake Quarter Strut along with the Avian X LCD Lookout Hen to try to pull a gobbler into shooting range. As the morning went on, the sounds of distant gobblers kept us optimistic. Then I glanced to the left of our set and noticed a bird working our way. It was a tom, and he came in without making a sound. I let my buddy know and he called softly and the bird let out a gobble that shook the woods. I was ready for the shot when the bird started walking out of range. He snuck away to some private property just as quietly as he came!

Unfortunately, we concluded the weekend without success.  But we did take home a few lessons.  I learned that swamp turkeys are very unpredictable and by far the hardest type of birds I have ever tried to bag.  Even when you think you know their roost patterns, they can change overnight.  I also learned to always scan the woods for silent birds that may sneak in under your radar.  No matter what anyone says about turkey hunting I think that every bird has its own personality and will react differently from another. For that reason, I don’t think any turkey is dumb, just unique.

Brian Cote is a website administrator at krugerfarms.com and a devoted outdoorsman.  He’s eager to take up any opportunity to hunt waterfowl, deer and turkeys in the Midwest region. You can follow him on Twitter (@BrianJr22) and find him on Facebook (facebook.com/brian.cote.148).

Brian Aiming

Interviews from the Mississippi River National Walleye Tournament

The team after the NWT event!

The team after the NWT event!

We had an awesome team of anglers on the Mississippi River this weekend for the National Walleye Tour—including the tournament winner, Korey Sprengel, as well as Dusty Minke and Bill Shimota! With each angler bringing his own experience and expertise, we wanted to give you a taste of what they all had to share about the event. We’re hoping this will give you an idea of the life of a tournament angler—be sure to leave a comment and let us know if there is anything else you’d like us to ask!

 Have you all been fishing together in the past?

Korey – Dusty, Bill and I have been teamed up for three years. It has been working very well because we all have something different to bring to the table which makes us a very well rounded team.

Dusty – We work together as a team. In this way, we can dissect water and patterns in a short period of time. We started hanging out a few years ago and started the krugerfarms.com team last year on Bay De Noc in MI. Korey won that event and Bill and I both landed in the top 10. I guess it’s no surprise that during this first 2013 tournament Korey won again—I’m very proud of him and excited to be able to fish together.

How much experience have you had in tournament fishing and/or fishing this specific location?

Dusty at weigh-in. Photo courtesy of Bear Solis.

Dusty at weigh-in. Photo courtesy of Bear Solis Outdoors.

Korey – I have been fishing walleye tournaments for seven years. My first time fishing a tournament in Red Wing, MN was in 2011.

Bill – I consider this stretch of the Mississippi River my home waters and have had several top ten finishes here including a couple tournament wins.

Dusty – I have fished the Mississippi River in Red Wing a lot over the years – it is a very challenging place to fish but it also can be a lot of fun because I prefer a tough bite. I have probably fished ten big tournaments on this body of water over the years—it offers a good challenge every time.

What were your thoughts going into the tournament?

Dusty – Going into the tournament, I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous! The bite on the river had changed a lot during prefishing. Originally, there were lots of fish in certain areas by the dam. Then they opened the gates at the dam, creating a different flow and the water temp went from 38 to 44 degrees in less than 4 days. This caused a lot of the fish to move down stream and the fisherman who figured that out did the best! I was confident I could get some fish but getting the big bite was what a guy needed! I guess we didn’t have much a game plan but we did find some key areas that ended up getting Korey the win!

Korey – Going into the first day, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, because as Dusty said, prefishing was tough and the river was changing every day. I wasn’t sure if I could catch a limit each day.

Bill – Pretty much what Dusty said, I figured we could catch a small limit every day and hoped to get a couple of lucky big bites. This was hands-down the toughest bite I’ve ever seen in April on pool four—the late spring has the fish very confused.

It sounds like the water temps changed quite a bit between prefishing and the tournament. That was due to the dam and the weather, right?

Korey – The weather went from highs in the 30’s with a couple inches of snow during prefishing to sunny and highs in the 70’s by tournament day. With the warmer days leading to the tournament the water temp started to rise and with it the activity started to grow. By tournament day, the water temps got to 42-45 degrees and the bite seemed to pick up by the afternoon.

How did you approach day one and day two? Did you change any of your tactics or stick with what you had previous success with?

Bill at the event. Photo courtesy of Bear Solis Outdoors.

Bill at the event. Photo courtesy of Bear Solis Outdoors.

Bill – Day one was very frustrating for me; I tried to play it safe and just catch a limit. All I could come up with was one 19″ walleye and a few that were too short to keep. I was pretty bummed about going in with one fish until I found out that there were 52 guys that had zeroed and most guys had only taken 1-3 fish. That gave me some hope for day two.

I pretty much hand-lined for most of the tournament. It’s a technique I am very confident in and with a tough bite I figured I could catch enough doing it. I started the morning of day two looking to get a big bite but after a couple of hours, with nothing to show, I went back to hand-lining. I picked up one here and there. Then, at about 1:00pm, I ran to a spot that really turned on. We started catching them pretty quickly until the boat traffic got so bad that I decided to leave. I saw several more fish caught on Day 2 across the board, but was surprised to find out Korey and I had two of only a handful of limits caught.

Dusty – I started each day 3-way rigging with a Northland Slurp Jig and Trigger-X Walleye Fishing Grub back to a live bait rig with a minnow–this is how I caught the four fish I brought to weigh-in. I fished some areas that had heavy pressure by the dam and an area called Hay Creek—it was spitting out some good fish but unfortunately our boat never got the big bite we needed!

Korey – When I started the tournament, my first tactic was pitching Berkley Rib worms with 1/4 oz jigs against rip rap shorelines. I spent the first few hours pitching for big bites, and after I got one bite I moved to hand-lining Rapala Original Floaters to try and put a limit in the boat. After a few hours, and only one fish in the boat, I went back to pitching rib worms and pulled into a spot where four out of six pitches landed three fish ranging from 3-5 lbs to finish my limit.

I started day two in fourth place and decided to start where I caught my big fish on day one. I was going to spend most the day there and wait them out, but by about noon I only had two fish. I switched to hand-lining to try to get a limit and in an hour I caught the three fish needed to finish my limit. I then made the decision that I could upgrade by ounces there or go for big fish and upgrade by pounds—so I went back to pitching…with no prevail.

So, how’d you finish?

Dusty – I landed right out of the money, in 46th place. On day one I weighed in two fish at 3.37 pounds. On day two I had three fish at 4.85—making my total weight 8.22 pounds.

Bill – I took 19th place with a $5780 pay out. I ended day one with one fish at 2.36 pounds and day two with a five fish limit at 12.08—for a total of 14.44 pounds.

Korey – I won the tournament with a total of 26.81 pounds. I took in 16.69 pounds on the first day and 10.12 on the second. For winning the National Walleye Tour at Red Wing, I received a Ranger 620 boat and $16,000.

NWT winner Korey Sprengel

Korey with his massive trophy.

When are your next tournaments?

Dusty – My next tournament is the Sturgeon Bay Bass Open with Dave Bennet on May 17-18th.

Bill – My next stop is the National Walleye Tour event on Lake Erie, June 14-15th.

Korey – My next tournament will be the Masters Walleye Circuit event at Oconto, WI on Green Bay, May 31st – June 1st. Then I’ll be joining Bill and Dusty at the next NWT event on Lake Erie.

Any parting thoughts?

Bill – I’m pretty satisfied with the way this one turned out. There were miserable weather conditions during practice and about the toughest bite we could’ve faced. However, as always, we all worked extremely hard on and off the water to put enough together to get the job done. I’m looking forward to the next one!

Dusty – It was a great way to kick off the NWT tournaments. The organization and planning worked great! Our new tournament directors and crew are top notch. I also had a blast helping out the NPAA—getting the kids set up with new rods and tackle. I bet we gave out more than 100 rods! Nothing is better than seeing a kid smile and introducing them to the best sport ever! A big thanks to the town of Red Wing for hosting the event –it’s a great town with awesome people. Also, I couldn’t do this without my sponsors (Krugerfarms.com, Crown Royal, ICP, Ranger, Evinrude, Minn Kota, Humminbird, SPY, Arctic Ice, Rapala, MK, Under Armour, Optima Batteries, Formula Propeller , Northland)—thank you all.

Korey – It feels great to win—I wasn’t expecting it! I just never got the big bites I wanted to get but couldn’t be happier! I’d like to thank my sponsors Ranger, Mercury, KrugerFarms.com, Lowrance, Berkley, Offshore Tackle, M-W Marine, Federal Mogul, and most of all my family, I couldn’t do it without all of them.

 We’ll be checking back with these guys throughout the season, but if you want to see more updates be sure to connect with them on social media. You can like Dusty on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. You can also connect with Korey and Bill on Facebook.  We’re also providing tournament updates and news about our anglers on the krugerfarms.com Twitter and Facebook accounts—come join us!