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2012-03-25 06:13:35

Beckler wins season opener on Table Rock

ATHENS, Ala. – Matthew S. Beckler won it all during the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, Missouri Division 16 season opener, held March 24, 2012, on Table Rock Lake.

Running out of Port of Kimberling Landing near Kimberling City, the Strafford, Mo., angler caught five bass weighing 16.47 pounds. He anchored his bag with a 4.90-pounder, the biggest bass caught in the Boater Division.

“I thought my best chance was to stay down by the dam and target pre-spawn fish,” Beckler said. “I hit a lot of gravel points. The fish were suspended. I caught my fish on a homemade umbrella rig in eight to 10 feet of water. My big one hit at about 2 p.m.”

In second for the boaters, Tim Merkh of Knob Noster, Mo., brought in a five-bass tournament limit for 15.76 pounds. He anchored his bag with a 3.91-pound kicker, winning $813.

“I had a limit by 11 a.m. and caught eight keepers all day,” Merkh said. “I culled one good fish at about noon. I threw an Alabama rig in eight to 10 feet of water with flukes. I only fished two coves.”
Hometown hero Larry F. Seger of Kimberling City, Mo., took third with five bass and 15.64 pounds. He capped his catch with a 4.27-pounder, earning $541.

“I used a Bass Pro Shops umbrella rig with prototype baits made by Chompers,” Seger said. “It’s a bigger bait and I’ve been catching a lot of fish on it. I had eight keepers and lost a big smallmouth that would have helped. I fished all over. The smallmouth were suspended in more than 30 feet of water. The black bass were in the pockets, but they are moving every day.”

Mike Marfell of Alton, Ill., landed in fourth place with four keepers going 13.88 pounds including a 4.24-pound kicker. Rounding out the top five boaters, William P. Fortel of Chesterfield, Mo., brought in five bass for 13.79 pounds.

In the Co-Angler Division, Mark E. Landis of Ballwin, Mo., made a big score. He landed three keepers for 11.08 pounds. One of his fish, a 5.85-pounder, set the tournament big bass standard. For the victory, Landis collected $813, plus another $72 for the big bass.

“I caught five keepers,” Landis said. “The big bass was my third fish of the day. It hit at about 9:35 a.m. I threw an Alabama rig with three three-inch silver Mann minnows and two with white and black speckled grubs. They never hit the grubs, only the silver minnows. I cast it up to rocky banks not far from the main points.”

Right behind in second for the co-anglers, Mike J. Youngblood of St Louis, Mo., landed a three-bass division limit going 10.52 pounds. He earned $406.59 for the effort. “I threw an Alabama rig with pearl baits all day,” Youngblood said. “The fish were in about five to eight feet of water.”

Thomas E. Lloyd Jr. of Springfield, Mo., finished third with three bass and 9.50 pounds. Making his first top three finish in two years on the BWS circuit, he anchored his catch with a 4.13-pounder to pocket $270.

“Early, I caught fish on a green Wiggle Wart around chunk rock,” Lloyd explained. “I also caught one on an Alabama rig.”

Jin Q. Nguyen of Kansas City, Mo., placed fourth with three bass at 9.38 pounds including a 3.60-pounder. In fifth place for the co-anglers, Aaron N. Lehnen of Middletown, Mo., landed three bass going 9.36 pounds.

For more information on this tournament, call Randy Sullivan, tournament manager, at (256) 230-5633 or ABA at (888) 203-6222. On line, see

-- John N. Felsher
About American Bass Anglers: The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series provides weekend anglers a professionally operated competitive tour with a path the world championship of bass fishing the Bassmaster Classic. American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers and the American Fishing Tour, The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series or the American Couples Series, visit

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