Merkel, Smith Finish Second in Illinois Walleye Trail Tourney

Bob Hausler of Plano and fishing teammate Chris Clemmons of Aurora edged out Gary Merkel of Arlington and his fishing buddy John Smith for the 2018 title in the five-tournament Illinois Walleye Trail series.

Both teams finished near the top in each of the four qualifiers, including Saturday’s Hennepin Marine tournament and Sunday’s championship meet, both at Hennepin.

However, Hausler and Clemmons took first place in Saturday’s event. With the points tight on Sunday, Hausler’s team brought in 8.28 pounds of fish, and Merkel and Smith had a 7.27-pound total.

Adrian Cliffe and Brent Nix of the Quad Cities took first place and earned big-fish honors Sunday. It was their second win, as they also took first place and weighed the biggest fish on Oct. 21 at Barto Landing in Spring Valley.

Dave Puetz and Jason Thies took second on Sunday and Keith McAlpine and Tom Wagner secured the third spot, said tournament director Adam Sandor.

Cliffe and Nix won $1,550 for the event victory on Sunday and their 10.15-pound basket, plus $825 for the 4.54-pound fish. Puetz and Thies brought in a bag of fish weighing 9.84 pounds and McAlpine’s team had 9.78 pounds.

As Sunday was Veterans Day, IWT thanked veterans in the field for their service, including Bob Jones, David Hall, John Smith and David Gossar.

Source: News Tribune