By Adam Sandor
Illinois Walleye Trail
On Sunday, Dec. 9, the family of Bruce and Kelly Merkel and Illinois Walleye Trail hosted a benefit tournament for Kelly Merkel. Kelly was diagnosed earlier this year with spinal cord lymphoma and the tournament proceeds were donated to the family to help her cause.
The bite is still not up to par on theIllinois, and teams struggled to find keeper-size fish for yet another event. Of the 18, teams only three of the teams weighed a six fish limit, while only twelve teams weighed a fish at all, said Illinois Walleye Trail director Adam Sandor.
Sandor said, “I would personally like to thank all eighteen teams that participated in this event as well as those of you who made generous contributions to the family, which includes the following: Hennepin Marine, Jerry and Lanae Reyburn, Bob and Linda Kidd, Bill Guerrini, Ken Tonelli, Mark Actis, Troy and Julie Nelson and Sue Rezin.
“Also I would like to thank Bill Guerrini and the Spring Valley Walleye Club for making the ‘Mule Barn’ and Barto landing available for this event.
“All total the event raised over $2,800 for the Merkel family and I am very grateful to be a part of this event. Best wishes and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Merkel family in hopes that Kelly makes a full recovery.”
The winning team of Chris Clemmons and Michael Downey weighed the heaviest bag of the event a six fish limit for 10.67 pounds earning them $500! Their winning catch also included the big fish of the event a 2.71 sauger worth $425. They focused their efforts atSawmillLakeandLakeSenachwine, pulling three-way rigs with tandem crankbaits, Sandor said.
“Most of their success came while pulling the baits up and down the steep breaks. Congratulations and job well done putting a limit together in these tough conditions,” said Sandor. “In addition to the entry fee, where 40 percent was donated to family, each team who cashed a check donated a portion if not all back to the family.”
2nd-Gary Merkel and Gary Merkel Jr. 6/8.58 $300
3rd-Mike Hanson and Matt Wohead 6/7.33 $200
4th-Tom Giachetto Sr. and Tom Giachetto Jr. 4/4.59 $80
5th-Max Actis and Mike Stuckert 3/3.89
6th Bruce Merkel and Wayne Merkel 3/3.76
7th-Dan Wrobleski and Jim Schneider 2/2.78
8th-Rocky Yanish and Monterastelli 2/2.48
9th-Scott Anzulas and Brian Mazur 2/2.27
10th-David Hall and Mark Mazur 1/1.81
11th-Ryan Vecchia and Bill Elliot 1/1.74
12th-John Mannerino and Bob Horvath 1/1.25
13th-Bob Jones and Steven Jones
13th-Steven Jones and Corey Jones
13th-B.J. Liebe and Dan Englehaupt
13th-Brad Moss and Roger Moss
13th-John Smith and Kevin Koeller
13th-Steve Sandor and Adam Sandor