FLIPPIN, Ark. Ranger Boats Pro Korey Sprengel of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, weighed a total of 35.33 pounds of walleye to win the season-opening event of the 2018 Cabela’s National Walleye Tour (NWT) on Lake Winnebago, May 11. Thanks to Ranger Cup contingency Sprengel walked away with a brand-new Ranger 620FS plus a Mercury outboard, $15,000 and $2,635 in Anglers Advantage cash for a total of $82,635 in winnings.
The original location for the season-opener was set for the Mississippi River at Red Wing, Minnesota, but heavy spring snows and additional forecasted rains led to the venue change to ensure angler safety. This late change left anglers scrambling to get in practice on the newly announced lake.
“The two systems are actually very similar for the equipment that you need,” said Sprengel. “Winnebago has a bunch of rivers that flow into it and has a lot of current just like the Mississippi. I was running behind on my tackle so being close to home was nice in case I forgot something.”
Without much time to prepare for the event, Sprengel went into the event without any solid plans.
“I just went out fishing,” said Sprengel. “I wanted to focus on going after big fish for the majority of the time but I also knew how critical filling a limit would be in this tournament.”
During both days of competition, the angler opted to forego the abundance of bites found in Winnebago for quality bites in the Fox River and Upper Lakes. The angler felt his best chances were finding the heavier fish.
“A lot of those fish out in the lake were skinny,” said Sprengel. “We had a lot of rain, which created current flow even in the middle of the lakes. There were seams coming off of weed beds and shallow rock humps, which are usually not ever there. The fish that were set up on those areas were feeding well and didn’t have to do a lot of work so they, on average, were heavier.”
Sprengel did most of his damage with a Berkley Cutter Shallow 90 in shallow waters and a Berkley Digger 8.5 in the deeper waters of the river, both in chameleon pearl. He finished each day trolling leadcore and was able to increase his overall weight with some last-minute bites.
Sprengel brought in 17.35 pounds in day one, just a few ounces behind day-one leader Dusty Minke. A change in weather and an east wind on day two didn’t deter Sprengel as he stuck with his plan and finished on day two with 17.98 pounds to take the top spot.
“It was all about keeping moving and not getting stuck on whatever happened in practice or the past,” said Sprengel. “Just treat every day different and go out fishing. That was the key to this one. I caught walleyes in spots I have never caught them before.”
Running and gunning in his Ranger helped bring home the victory and Sprengel knows how important having the right boat is to his tournament success.
“Boat control is huge,” said Sprengel. “No matter whether you are fishing big water or small water. All the anglers are good these days so it comes down to being able to fish the way you want and present that bait the way you want. A Ranger tracks so well, it doesn’t matter if you have a crosswind or current.”
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