We sat down with Korey Sprengel after his second NWT tournament win in 2013 in Green Bay, WI.
What were your thoughts before going into the tournament?
I thought it was going to be a pretty good tournament for myself and our team. We had figured out a bite where we started concentrating on big fish. If we ended up getting about five or six big bites a day we could really do well in the tournament and land in the top of the pack. We had also figured out some areas near take-off that we could head to in the afternoon if we needed to quickly fill our limit with some small fish. It all came together during prefishing—we figured it out early and basically duplicated as many areas with big fish as we could.
How did day one go in the tournament?
Day one started off a little breezy in the morning. Basically, we were taking a 25-mile run north, so it took us a little over an hour to get to our location. I was boat number ten so I was quite a ways ahead of everyone else. So I had some time to do a little fishing by myself. I started out and with my first pass got nothing. Basically every pass that I was throwing afterwards, with gold and perch colored crawler harnesses and ½ oz weights, produced a fish. By 9:30am, I already had my five fish and by 11:30am I was bringing in my last fish. We’re only allowed six fish in the live well and no culling, so once the six fish are in the box we’re done.
I headed back in at 11:30am and I weighed in and won. I was the first boat to weigh in and everything went great—I got the bites that I wanted to. I kept a couple of smaller fish where I could have waited it out—but the fish in these tournaments are a lot of points too, and I wanted the Angler of the Year title, so I knew that I had to come out of the day with a limit. You can’t win the tournament on the first day, you can only lose it, so I knew I was going to be in a good position for day two.
Did you try anything that didn’t work?
I couldn’t get anything going in the morning—I never caught a fish during my first pass and had to keep bouncing around until I found an active spot of bigger fish to work over. Once I found that, my first spot didn’t work at all but I ended up pulling my last fish from there. It was just one of those things—once you find the fish you have to take what given to you. I found a very small spot where no one was fishing, so I had it completely to myself, and I plucked them out one at a time.
How did day two go—was it the same or did you do anything differently?
Day two started off windier than day one for take-off—it was rough out there, it was definitely a Ranger boat kind of day. It took quite a while to get to our spot—I’ve got to say about an hour and fifteen minutes. I took my time to get there, I didn’t want to beat myself up because it was my long day and I didn’t have to be in until 5 pm. By the time I got up there, the wind had actually laid down quite a bit so it was almost perfect fishing conditions.
I knew right away that the water temperature was a lot colder than it had been. I knew that it would affect the fish, but I didn’t know it would affect them to the extent that it did. You could see a lot of guys running around at first, which I knew wasn’t a good thing. I ended up catching one fish about an hour into day two and by about 11 am I still only had that one. I started checking water temperatures around there and knew it wasn’t right so I had to leave.
I had to search for warmer water and at about 12:30pm I found a couple of spots and one spot in particular had warmer water and the conditions were right. I knew fish lived there because I saw boulders and rocks where I knew they live. During my first pass I lost one and then again in my second pass. But then I started to get one fish per pass again. So by 2:30pm I had my six fish in the live well already. That was a good feeling—I knew that if I could get a limit on that last day it was going to be huge—it couldn’t have worked out any better.
So, you took first…what were your weights both days and what did you win for taking first place?
My weight the first day was 39.80 and my second day weight was 35.24. The check I won read $73,300—basically $18,000 in cash and a 620 Ranger.
Wow, that’s a lot of money! How does it feel to have your second NWT Tournament win this year?
It feels awesome—I mean, from what I’ve heard, there hasn’t really been anyone who’s won two tournaments in one season on the tour-level circuit. Green Bay is one of my home bodies of water and my favorite places to fish—to finally get a win there feels awesome. The biggest thing that I wanted to get out of this tournament was to stay on top for that Angler of the Year. That’s decided on Devil’s Lake in September but I’ve been working for points in that and that’s my goal this year—to win Angler of the Year. You know, I won another tournament along the way which is great, but my goal is that title.
So what happens if you win Angler of the Year? What’s the benefit of it, other than bragging rights?
Well, for one it means you’re the most consistent angler for the whole year. As far as the money aspect—you will get the entry fees for the entire next year paid and a trophy, ring, stuff like that. I guess the bragging rights is the biggest part of that…
How much does it cost to enter each tournament?
It’s $1,500 to enter each tournament and there’s a side pot deal where it’s an extra $300, so it comes to about $1800.
What upcoming tournaments do you have on the books?
I’ve got a tournament coming up in August—it’s the MWC National Team Championship in Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan. It’s on the Canadian border on St. Mary’s river. Then there’s the final NWT event on Devil’s Lake in September. Then in October I have the MWC Championship up in Michigan.
Is there anything else you want to share before we wrap up this interview?
I’d like to thank krugerfarms.com and the krugerfarms team. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it without Bill (Shimota) and Dusty (Minke) the whole year. Our team has worked great and basically everywhere we’ve gone we’ve been super competitive. It shows in our points that we’re always in the top. We just work very well together—breaking down a body of water and executing around tournament time. With Bill and Dusty, even if we have a bad day or don’t catch what we want, at the end of the day we’re back at the cabin laughing and smiling. That’s the biggest thing, to keep the flow going and to keep your spirits up. We kind of feed off each other and that keeps us all going.