Last week was a big week in the tournament circuit for the Simms Professional Anglers. Multiple events, multiple trophies.
It’s been a big few weeks for the professional angler circuits. Because of the crazy start to 2020, fishing tours across the country are in full swing due to the delayed starts. From Walleye to Bass, professional anglers have been grinding away the summer doldrums, chasing trophies across the nation. For a few individuals, the chase was fruitful in the form of huge cash prizes and hoisting trophies on the big stage.
Bassmaster Elite is Back in NY, and Simms Pros take the top two spots
Entering the final day at Lake Champlain, the field was insanely tight. The top 10 anglers were separated by a meer 2lbs 12 oz., and the weather pattern that held for the first 3 days was finally breaking. Enter, Brandon Palaniuk.
Palaniuk went into the final day sitting in 5th, 1lb 1oz off the leader Jamie Hartman, but he was feeling good. A lot of Palaniuks practice fishing was done under similar windy, overcast conditions, so he knew leaving the dock he stood a chance, a real one.
“I had a really good practice and I felt like I could literally drive around, look at my (Humminbird) LakeMaster charts, pull up on a spot and catch big ones. I think the wind this morning helped push those baitfish up and it moved a lot of those fish up. Those fish aren’t resident fish; they chase schools of bait,” recounts Brandon after the final weigh in.
And boy did he catch the big ones- lots of them. Palaniuk finished the final day with the biggest bag of the entire tournament at 21lbs 6oz, earning him his first Bassmaster Elite Series trophy in over 3 years. When he went up on stage to collect his cup, he also collected a total prize purse of $100,000 dollars. I’m not a betting man, but I have a feeling that trophy felt priceless…
Not to be outdone, fellow simms pro Seth Feider put up a stellar performance at Lake Champlain, falling short of Palaniuks mark by 1lb 3ozs to claim the second spot. Feiders approach to the tournament was far more centered around flipping docks chasing largemouth in the early stages of the event until Sunday when he shifted his whole focus towards smallmouth. Feider kept himself in the running by scoring some monster fish, stating “I got really lucky and caught two great big ones that gave me a chance. It just wasn’t enough.”
While Feider couldn’t close the gap on the last day, he did go home with the Phoenix Boats Big Bass title, scoring a 6lb 6oz largemouth on day 2. Two anglers, two trophies, and a one, two finish- not a bad showing for the boys up in Champlain. Onto the next one.
Sprengel crushes the competition on Green Bay
Just like everything else in 2020, the start of the National Walleye Tour was off to a rocky. Originally scheduled for mid April, the anglers waited patiently for the revised start date- July 23rd. No one was more excited for the opener than Simms pro walleye angler Korey Sprengel, perennial Walleye champion. Since the National Walleye Tour’s inception, Sprengel has won 5 of 29 events, and has been in all of the top 10s of the Angler of the Year since 2013. 2019 was still a stellar year with a 4th place AOY finish, but his season’s success was overshadowed by a few other story lines, namely fellow Simms pro John Hoyer’s three tournament run of two first place and one second place finish.
As you could imagine, redemption was on Korey’s mind. And when he saw that the opening event was to be hosted on Green Bay, he knew only he could beat himself. Time to reclaim the unofficial title of the greatest walleye fisherman the tour has ever known.
And wouldn’t you know it, that is exactly what he did. Korey had a good grip on what to do in Green Bay, and his plan played out perfectly. “The whole key this week was my first bite on day one,” recalled Sprengel. “With the northeast wind, I knew it was going to be a needle in the haystack. But I also knew the recipe. I just needed to know if the recipe was going to work. That first fish bit twice, if not three times. It was only like a 20-incher, but I knew if they were going to bite multiple times, there was something to be had. From there, it was all about fine tuning it.”
After putting up a huge bag the first day with 5 fish to 42.13lbs and his closest competitor scoring 36.03lbs, he was in great standing for day 2. Come weigh in time on the last day, the victory was nothing short of comprehensive. Sprengel finished the tournament with 77.48 pounds, obliterating the rest of the field. His margin of victory was 17.17 pounds, the biggest margin in the tours history. With that win, Sprengel took home a purse of over 92K dollars. Not bad a few days work.
Welcome back to the top, Korey. Go get that throne.