HERMITAGE, Mo. — A former Junior Bassmasters state champion and his dad won the Missouri B.A.S.S. Federation Nation's 19th annual Spring Fling April 6 at Pomme de Terre Lake.
Fishing in their first tournament together, St. Louis Area Junior Bassmasters club member Brian Pahl and his dad Larry Pahl won the Spring Fling with four bass weighing 15.10 pounds. Brian is the 2006 Missouri Junior Bassmasters state champion in the 11-14 age group, and his dad is a member of the St. Louis Area Bassmasters club.
The younger Pahl led the father-son duo by catching the two biggest fish, including the tournament's big bass weighing 6.30 pounds. "At the ripe old age of 13, Brian showed that the youth we are bringing up in this sport are very talented and hold a bright future," said Jim Zieger, Missouri BASS Federation (MOBASS) president. "At the state board meeting the previous day, Missouri BASS Youth Director Gil Kauffmann made the comment that he would put his current juniors up against any of the adults. How prophetic was it that the very next day one of his Junior Bassmasters members rose to the occasion."
The Pahls nudged out the second-place team of Don Thrall and Glen Becker by less than 1 pound. Thrall and Becker weighed in a five-fish limit totaling 14.40 pounds. High water and cold water temperatures made fishing tough as only 29 bass weighing 85 1/2 pounds were brought to the scales.
The event usually draws 50 or more boats each year, but 47 teams participated in this year's tournament. "I attributed that to the high water and cold temperatures," said Zieger. "The water was cold and muddy and 13 feet high. We couldn't even get to the courtesy dock because it was out in the water."
Dave Mungenast Motorsports sponsored the tournament and furnished the weigh-in trailer and fish tanks. Members of the St. Louis Area Bassmasters club helped run the tournament along with the following volunteers: Randy James, MOBASS tournament director; Glen Roe, MOBASS state treasurer; Jeanine Lewis, Tony Lewis, Bruce Simpson, Jimmy Zieger and Kathy Blankenbeker.
The Spring Fling is an open buddy tournament that receives about 60 percent participation from Federation Nation members. The tournament pays back 80 percent and the rest of the proceeds go into the MOBASS general funds.
Zieger and former MOBASS president Brad Moore are credited with starting the Spring Fling tournaments. "Back in the old days when I took over as treasurer and Brad was president, we were broke so we started the Spring Fling and the Fall Classic," recalled Zieger. "We had the Spring Flings at Lake of the Ozarks, and they used to be pretty big. But as all tournaments go, if you don't have some huge prize to give away, it's tough to get the participation."