Merkh scores victory on Table Rock Lake
ATHENS, Ala. – Tim Merkh jumped out in front early to win the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, Missouri Division 16 tournament, held April 21, 2012, on Table Rock Lake.
Running out of the Port of Kimberling Marina near the town of Kimberling, the Knob Noster, Mo., angler caught five bass weighing 17.72 pounds. He anchored his catch with a 4.22-pound kicker. He and his co-angler caught about 20 keepers.
“In practice, I couldn’t catch anything on the Alabama rig, so I had to come up with a backup plan,” Merkh said. “This morning, we started in a pocket and had a limit by 8 a.m. I lost a really good fish, one in the 7- to 8-pound category. I caught everything on a 3/4-ounce Hank Park Classic spinnerbait with double Colorado blades. The key was fishing around the bluff edges where it changed from the big rocks to the little rocks. The bass hit it within the first two cranks.”
In second for the boaters, Craig Shepherd landed a five-bass tournament limit of keepers weighing 17.15 pounds. The Junction City, Kan., angler capped his catch with a 4.14-pounder.
“After the front moved through, the fish went from about two to five feet deep to six to eight feet deep,” Shepherd advised. “I caught all my fish on a 1/2-ounce jig in peanut butter and jelly.”
James “J E” E. VanNatta of Billings, Mo., also landed a limit. His five bass weighed 16.35 pounds with a 5.01-pound kicker.
“I found some fish trying to come up on the beds,” VanNatta recalled. “They were in five to six feet of water. When the cold front came through, they backed off a bit. We threw jigs and shaky heads with green pumpkin trick worms all day long.”
Mark Martin of Ozark, Mo., and Larry F. Seger of Kimberling City, Mo., tied for fourth place. Each landed five bass weighing 15.71 pounds. Seger’s biggest fish weighed 5.33 pounds.
Anthony M. Ferranto of Bloomsdale, Mo., took sixth place with five bass at 15.19 pounds including a 3.24-pound kicker. Matthew S. Beckler of Strafford, Mo., set the division big bass standard with a 6.26-pounder.
In the Co-Angler Division, Pat Lesicko of Staunton, Ill., took top honors with three bass going 11.70 pounds. Fishing his second ABA tournament, he topped his bag with a 6.55-pounder that won tournament big bass honors.
“The big one was the first fish of the day,” Lesicko said. “I fished a shaky head with a green pumpkin craw tube. I threw it out into about eight feet of water next to a tree when it nailed it. I caught two other keepers on the Alabama rig. I just crawled it along, ticking the rocks.”
Terry A. Barnett of Tipton, Mo., finished in second for the co-anglers with three-bass division limit weighing 8.05 pounds.
“I started with a Pop-R and a spinnerbait, but switched to a tube,” Barnett said. “I caught one on a tube and switched to a shaky head. I caught the rest on a shaky head.”
The Aarons tied for third place among the co-anglers. Aaron L. Bradfield of Oronogon, Mo., and Aaron N. Lehnen of Middletown, Mo., each caught three bass going 8.03 pounds.
“I caught my fish on chartreuse and white spinnerbaits,” Bradfield said. “We fished the ends of bluffs and concentrated on the transitions.”
Bradfield’s biggest bass weighed 3.95 pounds. Lehnen’s biggest bass weighed 3.02 pounds.
“I caught my first fish on a tube and the rest on shaky heads,” Lehnen explained.
Brett M. Stearnes of Joplin, Mo., finished fifth for the co-anglers. He landed three keepers weighing 8.01 pounds.
For more information on this tournament, call Randy Sullivan at (256) 230-5633 or ABA at (888) 203-6222. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.com.