Kerr wins U.S. Open to edge all-time tourney leader Dobyns

LAS VEGAS, NV. — First-time pro John Kerr of Ramona parlayed three 9-pound limits and then held on to outlast 10-time WON BASS winner Gary Dobyns, in capturing the Miller High Life U.S. Open on Wednesday and a $118,000in cash and merchandise at Lake Mead.

Kerr, the model of consistency, brought in bags weighing 9.29, 9.05 and 9.17 pounds while fishing Zara Spooks in the Temple Bar area for a total of 27.51 pounds, enough to edge Dobyns, who finished with 26.15 pounds. The Yuba City pro, who reported carrying “eight rods with reaction baits” closed the gap on the second day with a 10.01 sack, but could get no closer than 1.36 pounds. He took home $15,000 for his efforts.

Third place went to local angler and two-time former Open champion Byron Velvick of Boulder City, who finished with 23.59 pounds ($12,500) while Kota Kiriyama, a Japanese touring pro now living in Alabama, took fourth with 22.82 pounds ($10,000). Neither was ever really in contention for the top spot, but moved up when first and second day leader Clifford Pirch of Payson, Arizona could only bring in two bass on the final round and dropped to fifth spot with 22.15, good for $8,000.

Kerr’s top prize included a Ford F150 pick-up and fully rigged Ranger bass boat and trailer with Mercury outboard, MotorGuide trolling motor, Trojan batteries and Lowrance electronics, presented in the awards ceremonies Wednesday night at the host Sunset Station hotel and casino in Henderson.

In the AAA division, Edward Gavin II of St. George, UT, took the top spot and $10,000 for his three-day total of 23.91 pounds. He was followed in the standings by Jun Yada of San Diego with 23.57 pounds and Ben Andreas of Las Vegas with 23 pounds even. The latter won $4,000 and $3,000 respectively.

Rounding out the top five in the AAA division were Dr. Randy Estrada of Corona in fourth with 22.09 pounds, good for $2,500 while Jack Kirts of Anthem, AZ was fifth with 20.20 pounds, good for $2,000.

The 133 boat U.S. Open field, launched out of Callville Bay and endured high winds and rough conditions for the first two days of competition, but also enjoyed better action with the stiff breezes. Randall Bruce, a AAA competitor, caught a 3.96-pound largemouth on the first day, the largest of the tournament, and won a $20,000 package that included a Ranger 175VS with 90-hp. Mercury outboard, Lowrance electronics, MotorGuide trolling motor and Trojan batteries.

WON BASS Miller High Life tournaments are sponsored by Ranger boats and trailers, Mercury outboards, Daiwa rods and reels, Miller Brewing Co., Quantum rods and reels, MotorGuide trolling motors, Ford Dealers of Southern California, El Cajon Ford, Kelly Tires, Berkley Trilene line and Frenzy lures, Lowrance Electronics, Trojan batteries, Luhr-Jensen lures, Owner Hooks/Cultiva Lures, Bass Weekly Radio KRLA 590AM, Lucky Craft lures, Angler’s Advantage Insurance Program, Plano Outdoor Products, Costa del Mar sunglasses, Leatherman tools, Matzuo lures, Kinami Baits, Mad Man lures, Banana Boat suncare products, Cargobat storage systems, Prolong Lubricants, Anglers Marine boat/tackle sales, The Outdoor Channel television network, Zeiss binoculars, Water Gremlin sinkers,, Zipper Worms, Extra Edge Products, Yamamoto Custom Baits, Mojo Lure Co., Strike Pro USA, Rebel lures, Heddon lures, Bomber lures and Excalibur lures.

Complete standings for both Pro and AAA anglers are listed on the Internet at or contact WON BASS, P.O. Box 73370, 185 Avenida La Pata, San Clemente, CA 92673; (949) 366-0030, ext. 38.