Hank Cherry Maintains Solid Lead At Bassmaster Classic On Lake Guntersville

Category: article

 Mar 7th, 2020 by Keith Worrall 

Modified Mar 7th, 2020 at 9:57 PM

Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.

Hank Cherry, of Lincolnton, N.C., is leading after Day 2 of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk with 45 pounds, 13 ounces.

March 7, 2020

Hank Cherry Maintains Solid Lead At Bassmaster Classic On Lake Guntersville

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — If Hank Cherry’s arm is bothering him, it certainly doesn’t show.

The North Carolina veteran pro, who fell and injured his arm in his boat Friday, played through the pain Saturday to catch five bass that weighed 16 pounds, 10 ounces. Added to the 29-3 he caught Friday, it gives him a two-day total of 45-13 that leads the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.

Competition is taking place at Lake Guntersville, and weigh-ins are being held at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. Cherry’s solid Saturday catch gave him a lead of 4-13 going into Championship Sunday with a $300,000 first-place prize on the line.

“I’m gonna do what I’ve got to do to get this done,” Cherry said. “New fish are still moving into my area. I’ve just got to relax — and if it’s my time, it’s my time.”

Cherry fished the same three baits Saturday that he used to catch his massive bag Friday — a bladed jig, a jerkbait and his own Hank Cherry Signature Series Jig from Picasso. He’s fishing one small area with a causeway and a flat, and he’s done so little running that he hasn’t even had to buy gas for his boat this week.

Now, it’s just a matter of settling down and finishing the job.

“My last thoughts before I go to bed tonight will just be to thank the good Lord for putting me in this position,” said Cherry, who finished third in the 2013 Classic at Grand Lake in Oklahoma. “Then I’ll just get up in the morning ready to go.

“I have to stay relaxed. I have to get that first one in the boat. The first one’s always the roughest one. After that, they start coming.”

The angler closest to Cherry going into the final day is Fayetteville, Tenn., pro Brandon Lester, who caught 20-1 Saturday and jumped from fourth place into second with a two-day mark of 41-0.

Lester started his day with a lipless crankbait and caught a limit early. But since he didn’t have the quality of fish he knew he’d need to win, he made a drastic change.

“There’s this one stretch of boat docks where I’ve caught them before,” Lester said. “I just had a hunch they would be there, so I went there and fished a jig.

“I thought they’d be there, but I didn’t know they would be that big.”

Lester’s catch was anchored by a 6-7 largemouth, as he managed to cull all but one of the original five bass he caught early on the crankbait.

He said plan B has now officially become plan A.

“I didn’t fish that stretch of docks at all (Friday),” Lester said. “I saved it as a backup plan, and I’m glad I did.

“Today, the way the wind was blowing in there, straight out of the north, I could really only fish the back sides of the docks. Hopefully tomorrow, if that wind will kind of lay, I can pick some more off.”

Virginia pro John Crews will start Championship Sunday in third place after catching 16-11 Saturday and pushing his total to 38-3.

“I had to change gears today,” Crews said. “The first few areas I went to where I caught some (Friday) … they just weren’t there. I don’t know if it was the wrong time or whatever, but I didn’t have a bite.

“I just kept moving, kept fishing — and luckily, I was able to put together a decent limit.”

Crews said he his game plan for Sunday would likely be a last-minute thing.

“I honestly don’t have any idea what I’m going to do tomorrow,” he said. “There are parts about that I like and parts about that I don’t like.

“I’m not married to any certain spot. That might be good because I’ll just be fishing.”

The angler who made the biggest move on Day 2 was Texas pro Keith Combs. With the day’s biggest bag of 23-10, he jumped from 43rd place into 13th. Canadian pro Jeff Gustafson earned Berkley Big Bass honors for the day with a 7-3 largemouth, but South Carolina angler Todd Auten still holds the lead for big bass of the week with the 7-9 he caught Friday.

The tournament concludes Sunday with the Top 25 remaining anglers taking off at 7 a.m. CT from Civitan Park in Guntersville. Fans planning to attend the takeoff should make note of the time change for Daylight savings time.

The final weigh-in will be held at Legacy Arena, which is part of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. Doors will open at 3 p.m. for credentialed B.A.S.S. Life and B.A.S.S. Nation members and 3:15 p.m. for the general public.

The Classic Outdoor Expo, which features nearly 200 exhibitors from around the world, will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Get Hooked on Fishing attraction will be open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Piazza in the BJCC. Free activities for children will include a Kids Fishing Pond, giveaways and more.

2020 Bassmaster Classic Title Sponsor: Academy Sports + Outdoors

2020 Bassmaster Classic Presenting Sponsor: Huk Performance Fishing Apparel

2020 Bassmaster Classic Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2020 Bassmaster Classic Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Yamaha

2020 Bassmaster Classic Local Partners: Alabama Power, Black Rifle Coffee, Books-A-Million, Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Jack’s Family Restaurants, Thompson Tractor, TNT Fireworks, TVA, Wind Creek Casino

2020 Bassmaster Classic Hosts: Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, Alabama Tourism Department and Marshall County Convention & Visitors Bureau

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2 and The Pursuit Channel), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship, new Huk Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX presented by Abu Garcia and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.

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