Steve Gildersleeve, Logan Spanel & Jeff Synak
Intro: The pre-fish for the 2018 MWC at Big Mac was anything but easy or consistent. Wild swings in weather patterns and wind directions led to fishing that was tough and made little sense. Fish would turn on and off without much reason, but we did manage a few. Steve and Jeff found fish in different locations. Jeff’s pre-fish consisted of pitching shallow structure. Steve concentrated more on trolling deeper structure and tree-tops. Both patterns produced big fish and both teams planned on catching their slot fish on live bait in community spots.
Steve: Wade and I caught a few fish at some different spots on the lake on a few presentations. Fishing was very hit and miss and we planned on tough conditions for the majority of the field. We planned on just going out to a couple of spots and pulling live bait to put 5 quality fish in the box and bank on the majority of teams striking out chasing big fish. The first day we ran to the south shore to a spot that produced the last day of pre-fish. The wind wasn’t quite right and it was evident after 45 minutes of fishing as the fish didn’t fire. We picked up and ran back to the north side. After one drift we seemingly had the line dialed in. We boxed 3 fish between 18 and 20” on our first drift and 2 on the second. The third drift we boxed a fish that was right at 21” and decided to leave and try our deeper spot for a big fish. We had a decent limit in about 20 mins of fishing. With a cameraman on board, we headed across the lake. Hours of trolling produced no more fish. The fish were there but just didn’t want to cooperate. After day 1 we sat in 21st place with just under 13 pounds.
Day 2 was much less eventful and had much less strategy. We decided to head straight to Sand Point and grind out another 5 fish. The wind had picked up and switched to the north-west and fishing was much slower. It wasn’t until 3:10 that we boxed our fifth and final fish. It was a total relief to see that fish. When all was said and done we ended up placing 12th and getting a check from the tourney and the option pot. We weighed just over 25#. Not a bad little weekend! Most fish were caught drifting leeches on a 7’4” Tuned Up Custom Rods Apex Pro.
Jeff/Logan: Logan and I had a big fish bite going pitching into the shallows pre-fishing. Since the bite across the lake was sporadic and would fire up as quickly as it would turn off, we decided to take a more conservative approach to ensure we got our 5 on day one. Day one we headed to a spot that was holding better fish than a couple of our other spots. As we fished a good portion of the morning we found out that the fish we caught pre-fishing was inactive, to say the least. Logan and I decided to hit our number two spot only to find out that the bite was hot and by the time we arrived we were on the tail end of it. Day one we only managed two fish for 6lbs and some change.
Day 2 we headed out to find the water at one of our better spots had dropped over 10 degrees. After fishing the area for about a half an hour we decided to pick up and move. After finding warmer water and doing a little spot hopping we were able to put a few fish in the box. Day two we were able to jump from 54th to finish in 27th. This wasn’t the finish we had in mind but it did feel good climbing up the ladder day two for an ok finish.
Final thoughts: As we stated above, the bite was hit and miss, to say the least. Water temps, patterns, and wind directions made this a difficult tournament to fish. Big Mac is definitely wind driven. It seemed like the wind needed to be working in a spot to get the fish to fire. Many of the fish we caught this week were LOADED with alewife. I think the abundance of baitfish and other food sources contributed to the fish being extra finicky. Both teams put together decent game plans that lead to respectable finishes and valuable points in Jeff and Logan’s case. We want to thank all of our sponsors, the MWC for coming to Nebraska and putting on a first-class tournament, and most of all our families for allowing us to do what we love and supporting us all the way. Next time!
Steve, Logan, & Jeff.