Maiden bass pro Cherry caps rookie season with BASS win
Tour rookie outlasts VanDam to win All-Star week event
Hank Cherry of Maiden capped the BASS All-Star Week by winning his first BASS Elite tournament.
Maiden’s Hank Cherry won the Sept. 27-29 BASS Evan Williams Bourbon Championship on Michigan’s Muskegon Lake, with a 5-fish catch of smallmouth bass weighing 17-8 to beat out Michigan bass whiz Kevin VanDam, who had 14-14.
Cherry banked $51,000 and a $1,000 bonus from Power Pole; VanDam received $12,000.
The tournament was part of the BASS Elite Series’ All-Star Week. The top 14 in points on the circuit fished for two days, and the top four after two days had their totals zeroed and fished the final day. Cherry led the field with 30-5 at the cut. VanDam tied Edwin Evers of Oklahoma with 26-6, and Mississippi’s Cliff Pace was third with 26-5.
On the final day, Pace took third with 11-6, winning $11,500 and the big-fish award of $1,000 with a 4-pound, 14-ounce smallmouth.
Evers finished fourth with 10-15 and collected $8,000.
Cherry’s overnight success story began in 2011 when he turned pro and fished BASS Open events. He earned a spot in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic and on the 2013 Elite Series with a win in an Open event on Smith Lake, Ala., and he promptly won BASS Rookie of the Year honors, finishing 14th in the points standings. The Muskegon win was his first BASS Elite win.
Like most overnight success stories, Cherry’s success was years in the making as he honed his skills in local tournaments and in FLW competition.
“It took a lot of hard work to get where I am,” said Cherry, who fished the now defunct J & J Spring and Winter Bass Trails on Lake Norman and FLW tournaments starting in 2001.
Cherry said his fishing days at Norman paid off big dividends.
“Norman’s not an easy lake to fish,” said Cherry. “If you can catch fish there, you can catch fish almost anywhere.”
Cherry said fishing against the BASS. pros “is a whole different ballgame” from fishing against local competition and credits his years fishing the FLW circuit for helping him get over his jitters while competing against seasoned fishermen.
Cherry has fished 74 FLW events since 2001, winning four tournaments and placing in the top 10 16 times.
His “rookie” year in B.A.S.S. was akin to a ballplayer who spends 10 long years in the minor leagues, yet becomes a designated rookie when he arrives in the big leagues.
Cherry believes his long road to overnight success will prevent him from experiencing any sophomore slump.
“In one way, I didn’t expect to be where I am,” said Cherry, “but in another way, I knew I had put in the time to be a successful fishing pro.”
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No one, including Howell really thought he had a shot.
“I didn’t expect to have the chance to win after the first day, and especially after yesterday,” Howell said.
But he whacked the bass today, putting 29 pounds, 2 ounces on the scales to seal the 2014 Bassmaster Classic championship and pocketing the $300,000 first-place prize.">Howell changes fishing area, claims 2014 Bassmaster Classic
Posted on February 23 at 8:45 pm by
“I went to cranking rocks this afternoon,” Cherry said.
That strategy yielded quick results, and the Bassmaster Elite Series pro built a 17-pound, 7 ounce stringer.
But it wasn’t enough to make the cut: Cherry wrapped up the tournament in 27th place, only two places out of the cut.">Cherry improves weight, misses Bassmaster Classic cut
Posted on February 22 at 8:47 pm by
Emcee Dave Mercer announced Evers needed 20 pounds, 9 ounces to claim the lead, and that’s exactly what the scales read.
The stringer brought Ever’s two-day weight to 47 pounds, 6 ounces.">Evers edges out Tharp for Day 2 lead in Bassmaster Classic
Posted on February 22 at 8:12 pm by
“The fish are in some places I haven’t seen them in five to seven years,” the Florida pro said. “Every time I fish a tournament here this time of year, I make a point to check these places — and the fish haven’t been there in years.”">Tharp leads after first day of Bassmaster Classic
Posted on February 21 at 8:45 pm by
“I had one pretty good day, and then I had two not-so-good ones,” Cherry said after leaving the weigh-in stage. “But after Wednesday I thought I was going to kill it;it was that good.”
Unfortunately, he was thrown a curve ball when a severe storm system rolled through the area and dumped inches of rain and kicked up high winds — a combination that turned all of Cherry’s spots to mud pits.">Cherry has tough day on Bassmaster Classic’s first day
Posted on February 21 at 7:28 pm by
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