Cherry Puts Finishing Touches On Second-Straight Bassmaster Classic Win At Ray Roberts

FORT WORTH, Texas, June 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Hank Cherry now occupies some rare air in the sport of professional bass…

FORT WORTH, Texas, June 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Hank Cherry now occupies some rare air in the sport of professional bass fishing, and he has the bank statements to prove it.

Cherry earned another of the iconic Bassmaster Classic trophies and his second $300,000 check in 18 months.

The Lincolnton, N.C., pro, caught five bass Sunday that weighed 13 pounds, 1 ounce and won the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk with a three-day total of 50 pounds, 15 ounces.

He is only the fourth angler in the 51-year history of the Super Bowl of Professional Bass Fishing to win the event in back-to-back years. He earned another of the iconic Classic trophies and his second $300,000 check in 18 months.

Another North Carolina pro, Matt Arey, finished second with 49-1 and lost at least one big bass on Championship Sunday that might have put him over the top.

«I feel bad for Matt, and I told him I’ve been where he was,» Cherry said. «I had the same thing happen to me and mine happened a lot closer to the boat.»

«I’m not giving it back — not apologizing for it. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.»

Cherry, a nine-year veteran of the Bassmaster Elite Series, finished third in his first Classic back in 2013 on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. Like Arey, he lost a crucial fish in that event that would have given him the trophy.

He went through a tough stretch in the Classic after that, finishing no higher than 27th in three tries. But then he put the bad memories of 2013 behind him last year on Lake Guntersville when he caught 29-3 on the first day and rode that mammoth bag to a wire-to-wire victory.

He didn’t quite go wire-to-wire this year, starting in third place on the first day with a limit of 20-4. But as suffocating heat moved into the area, the fishing got tougher and Cherry remained consistent enough to stay on top with a Day 2 catch of 17-10 and a final-round bag of 13-1 that was just enough.

He caught the bulk of his weight during the week flipping flooded bushes along the shoreline and throwing a jerkbait around riprap along the dam.

«The bite in the bushes is going away,» Cherry said. «It’s so hot out there right now. The water temperature was 71 degrees when we got here for practice, and I saw it as high as 87 today. A lot of those bushes are starting to break down, and those fish just don’t want to be there.»

«I was fortunate to get enough out of them to win.»

For flipping the bushes, Cherry used a 3/4-ounce tungsten weight with a 4/0 flipping hook and a variety of soft-plastic baits, including a Berkley Pit Boss, a craw lure and a beaver-style bait.

«I would just alternate between five or six baits, back and forth,» he said. «That probably wasn’t as much for the fish as it was for me. Whatever I was using, I was doing the same thing. But it felt like I was doing something different.»

When the bass got extremely lethargic in the 99-degree heat Sunday, Cherry did actually make a change to his flipping setup, switching to a 1/4-ounce tungsten weight with a 3/0 hook. He had two fish in his livewell at the time but caught three bass to fill his limit within 30 minutes after making the switch.

«I caught maybe the dumbest bass in the lake,» Cherry said. «I flipped into a bush and instead of going into the bush, that lighter bait kind of ricocheted off of it. The bass actually swam out of the bush to get the bait and swam back in with it.»

That fish weighed almost 4 1/2 pounds and helped Cherry recharge on a day when he said sweat was constantly rolling into his eyes and blinding him.

When Cherry fished the rocks along the dam, he used a new jerkbait called a Berkley Stunna in the stealth shad color. He believes he caught the tail end of the jerkbait bite, just as he did with the flipping bite.

«The bushes I was fishing, if the lake was at normal pool, they wouldn’t even be in the water,» Cherry said. «So, you know the fish are probably itching to move away from there and go offshore.

«I think the same is true around those rocks. The heat is just radiating off those things — and if it makes us miserable, you know it probably makes them miserable, too.»

Cherry joins Rick Clunn (1976-77), Kevin VanDam (2010-11) and Jordan Lee (2017-18) as the only back-to-back Classic winners. This marks his fourth victory with B.A.S.S., including last year’s Classic, an Opens win on Smith Lake in 2012 and an Elite Series victory on Muskegon and White Lakes in 2013. He was the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie of the Year.

Cherry said he enjoyed his reign as the 2020 Classic champion even though the year was marred by the COVID-19 pandemic and many of the personal appearances he might have made as Classic champ didn’t happen.

Whether this next reign will be different, he couldn’t say for sure.

«I don’t know what to expect, I really don’t,» Cherry said. «I’ll just take it as it comes — and I’ll never doubt just how blessed I am.»

Frank Talley of Temple, Texas, took home Berkley Big Bass honors and an additional $2,500 for his 8-3 caught on Day 1. 

As part of the Yamaha Power Pay program, sixth-place finisher Scott Canterbury of Odenville, Ala., earned a $20,000 bonus.

Cherry took home an additional $7,500 for being the highest-placing entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program, and Chris Jones of Bokoshe, Okla., earned $2,500 for being the second-highest placing entrant.

The Bassmaster Classic was hosted by the Fort Worth Sports Commission and Visit Fort Worth.

Finish

Name

Hometown

Total lbs-oz

Earnings

1

Hank Cherry

Lincolnton, NC

50-15

$300,000

2

Matt Arey

Shelby, NC

49-01

$50,000

3

Chris Jones

Bokoshe, OK

45-09

$40,000

4

Justin Kerr

Lake Havasu, AZ

45-02

$30,000

5

Brock Mosley

Collinsville, MS

42-00

$25,000

6

Scott Canterbury

Odenville, AL

41-06

$22,000

7

Matt Robertson

Kuttawa, KY

40-03

$21,500

8

Chris Johnston 

Ontonabee, Ontario, Canada

40-02

$21,000

9

Drew Cook

Cairo, GA

38-07

$20,500

10

Patrick Walters

Summerville, SC

38-01

$20,000

11

Cory Johnston            

Cavan, Ontario, Canada

37-00

$15,000

12

Ed Loughran III

Richmond, VA

36-07

$15,000

13

Steve Kennedy

Auburn, AL

35-08

$15,000

14

Todd Auten            

Lake Wylie, SC

34-04

$15,000

15

Matt Herren

Ashville, AL

33-11

$15,000

16

Kyle Welcher

Opelika, AL

33-03

$13,000

17

Brandon Palaniuk            

Rathdrum, ID

32-00

$13,000

18

Jamie Hartman        

Newport, NY

31-09

$13,000

19

Cody Bird            

Granbury, TX

29-15

$14,000

20

Paul Mueller

Naugatuck, CT

29-02

$13,000

21

Jeff Gustafson

Keewatin Ontario Canada

28-07

$13,000

22

Frank Talley

Temple. TX

27-13

$15,500

23

Clark Wendlandt

Leader, TX

27-12

$13,000

24

Chad Pipkens

Dewitt, MI

27-02

$13,000

25

Seth Feider

New Market, MN

26-09

$13,000

26

Hunter Shryock

Ooltewah, TN

20-13

$10,000

27

Drew Benton

Blakely, GA

20-10

$10,000

28

Luke Palmer

Coalgate, OK

20-10

$10,000

29

Clent Davis        

Montevallo, AL

20-00

$10,000

30

Jordan Wiggins

Cullman, AL

19-13

$10,000

31

Trevor McKinney

Benton, IL

19-09

$10,000

32

Brandon Cobb

Greenwood, SC

19-00

$10,000

33

John Cox

DeBary, FL

17-09

$10,000

34

Bryan New

Belmont, NC

17-02

$10,000

35

Brandon Lester

Fayetteville, TN

16-04

$10,000

36

Chad Morgenthaler

Reeds Spring, MO

15-14

$10,000

37

Jason Williamson        

Wagener, SC

15-01

$10,000

38

Chris Zaldain

Fort Worth, TX

15-00

$10,000

39

Austin Felix

Eden Prairie, MN

15-00

$10,000

40

Brandon Card          

Salisbury, NC

15-00

$10,000

41

Taku Ito

Chiba, Japan

14-10

$10,000

42

Ray Masayuki Matsushita              

Tokoname-Shi Japan

14-01

$10,000

43

Bill Lowen

Brookville, IN

13-15

$10,000

44

Brad Whatley

Bivins. TX

13-12

$10,000

45

Pat Schlapper

Eleva, WI

13-10

$10,000

46

Jake Whitaker

Fairview, NC

13-05

$10,000

47

David Mullins            

Mt Carmel. TN

13-03

$10,000

48

Stetson Blaylock

Benton, AR

12-13

$10,000

49

Keith Carson            

DeBary, FL

12-06

$10,000

50

Tommy Williams      

Shepherdsville, KY

11-14

$10,000

51

Micah Frazier

Newnan, GA

11-11

$10,000

52

Buddy Gross

Chickamauga, GA

11-05

$10,000

53

Shane LeHew

Catawba, NC

10-11

$10,000

54

Blake Sylvester

Plaquemine, LA

6-04

$10,000

2021 Bassmaster Classic Title Sponsor: Academy Sports + Outdoors

2021 Bassmaster Classic Presenting Sponsor: Huk Performance Fishing Apparel

2021 Bassmaster Classic Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2021 Bassmaster Classic Premier Sponsors: Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha

2021 Bassmaster Classic Local Sponsors: Anderson Merchandisers, T-Mobile, TNT Fireworks

Media Contact: Emily Harley, B.A.S.S. Communications Manager, 205-313-0945, eharley@bassmaster.com

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SOURCE B.A.S.S.