Hank Cherry Leads Day One of 2020 Bassmaster Classic

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2020 Bassmaster Classic Day One Leader Hank Cherry – photo by Micah Goosby

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Halfway through Day 1 of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, North Carolina pro Hank Cherry fell and injured his right arm.


For a moment, he thought it might even be broken.

But Cherry powered through the pain — and with only one good arm, he caught five bass that weighed 29 pounds, 3 ounces to take the lead at the 50th edition of the Super Bowl of Professional Bass Fishing. Competition is taking place on Lake Guntersville with weigh-ins at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

Cherry said his injury, which occurred as he was reaching down to grab a fish, would likely require a visit to a local doctor — but it wouldn’t keep him from fishing Saturday morning.

“I didn’t expect to catch them like this at all,” Cherry said. “What I caught my fish on was actually plan B. But it’s plan A now, for sure.”

Believing the location and structure he was fishing were the real key to his success, Cherry made no secret of the bait he was using. He said he started with a lipless crankbait, but the high winds kept a loop in his line and made it hard for him to maintain proper contact with the bait.

“That’s why I switched to a bladed jig,” he said. “It just made more sense for the conditions we were fishing, and it turned out to be the perfect choice.”

Cherry, who’s previous highest finish in a Classic was a third-place showing at the 2013 event on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake, said his injury won’t affect him — and he believes the area where he caught his bass could continue producing big bags the rest of the event.

“I think the area where I caught them, historically, has shown the potential to reproduce,” he said. “The fish are coming in there. There were none in there in practice until Wednesday. That’s when I started getting a hint they might be coming.

“I’ve still got one good arm, and I think the fish will keep coming.”

As Classic leads go, Cherry has a good one with his closest competition almost 8 pounds back. Virginia pro John Crews is tied with Alabama angler and Lake Guntersville veteran Clent Davis.

They both have 21-8, but they told vastly different stories about their Friday surroundings.

Davis, who has fished Guntersville all of his life, caught the bulk of his weight on a spot he hadn’t done well on since at least 2006. The spot was good to him, but it was crowded.

“There’s a lot of boat traffic in the area I’m fishing,” Davis said. “I wasn’t even the first one to fish the spot Friday morning. There were boats sitting everywhere when I got there.

“With tomorrow being Saturday, it could be even more crowded. Who knows? It is what it is.”

Crews, on the other hand, said he caught his limit quickly fishing one small sweet spot on a long stretch of grass.

“It’s like a mile-square grass flat, and I never saw anybody out there,” Crews said. “It’s like a needle in a haystack, the spot where I caught them. It’s not obvious. There’s no point or anything. I was just fan casting like an idiot in practice and caught two in two casts and got out of there.

“There’s something special about it, but I don’t know exactly what.”

Even on a tough, blustery day, Lake Guntersville produced six bags of 20 pounds or more and numerous bass in the 7-pound range. Cherry’s bag was anchored by two 7-2 largemouth, but South Carolina pro Todd Auten took the lead in the race for Berkley Big Bass of the week with a 7-9.

The tournament resumes Saturday with the full field of 53 anglers taking off at 7 a.m. CT from Civitan Park in Guntersville. Only the Top 25 remaining anglers after Saturday’s semifinal round will compete on Championship Sunday for the grand prize of $300,000.

Weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday 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.SS. Life and B.A.S.S. Nation members and 3:15 p.m. for general public.

The Classic Outdoor Expo, which features nearly 200 exhibitors from around the world, will be open Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Get Hooked on Fishing attraction will be open Saturday and Sunday 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.

2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk 3/6-3/8
Lake Guntersville, Birmingham  AL.
(ANGLER) Standings Day 1

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           5  29-03    0
Day 1: 5   29-03
2.  John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  21-08    0
Day 1: 5   21-08
2.  Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  21-08    0
Day 1: 5   21-08
4.  Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  20-15    0
Day 1: 5   20-15
5.  Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC           5  20-00    0
Day 1: 5   20-00
5.  Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  20-00    0
Day 1: 5   20-00
7.  Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            5  19-11    0
Day 1: 5   19-11
8.  Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             5  18-12    0
Day 1: 5   18-12
9.  David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  18-08    0
Day 1: 5   18-08
10. Hunter Shryock         Newcomerstown, OH        5  18-06    0
Day 1: 5   18-06
11. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               5  18-05    0
Day 1: 5   18-05
12. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              5  18-03    0
Day 1: 5   18-03
13. Brandon Card           Knoxville, TN            5  17-11    0
Day 1: 5   17-11
14. Seth Feider            New Market, MN           5  16-10    0
Day 1: 5   16-10
15. Jake Whitaker          Fairview, NC             5  16-05    0
Day 1: 5   16-05
16. Drew Cook              Midway, FL               5  15-06    0
Day 1: 5   15-06
17. Drew Benton            Blakely, GA              5  15-03    0
Day 1: 5   15-03
18. Greg DiPalma           Millville, NJ            4  15-03    0
Day 1: 4   15-03
19. John Cox               Debary, FL               5  15-02    0
Day 1: 5   15-02
20. Bob Downey             Hudson, WI               5  14-12    0
Day 1: 5   14-12
21. Luke Palmer            Coalgate, OK             5  14-09    0
Day 1: 5   14-09
21. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  14-09    0
Day 1: 5   14-09
23. Darold Gleason         Many, LA                 5  14-04    0
Day 1: 5   14-04
24. Scott Canterbury       Odenville, AL            5  14-02    0
Day 1: 5   14-02
24. Lee Livesay            Gladewater, TX           5  14-02    0
Day 1: 5   14-02
24. Whitney Stephens       Waverly, OH              5  14-02    0
Day 1: 5   14-02
27. Caleb Kuphall          Mukwonago, WI            4  14-01    0
Day 1: 4   14-01
28. Matt Arey              Shelby, NC               5  14-00    0
Day 1: 5   14-00
29. Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              5  13-15    0
Day 1: 5   13-15
30. Grae Buck              Green Lane, PA           2  13-06    0
Day 1: 2   13-06
31. Cody Huff              Ava, MO                  4  12-13    0
Day 1: 4   12-13
32. Jeff Gustafson         Keewatin Ontario CANADA  5  12-12    0
Day 1: 5   12-12
33. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              4  12-10    0
Day 1: 4   12-10
34. Patrick Walters        Summerville, SC          5  11-12    0
Day 1: 5   11-12
35. Shane LeHew            Catawba, NC              5  11-10    0
Day 1: 5   11-10
36. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           3  11-10    0
Day 1: 3   11-10
37. Chris Zaldain          Fort Worth, TX           5  10-08    0
Day 1: 5   10-08
38. Chris Johnston         Peterborough Ontario CA  4  09-14    0
Day 1: 4   09-14
39. Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA           3  09-09    0
Day 1: 3   09-09
40. Taylor Smith           Spokane Valley, WA       4  08-12    0
Day 1: 4   08-12
41. Ray Hanselman Jr       Del Rio, TX              4  08-01    0
Day 1: 4   08-01
42. Mike Huff              Corbin, KY               3  07-13    0
Day 1: 3   07-13
43. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           3  07-12    0
Day 1: 3   07-12
44. Cody Hollen            Beaverton, OR            2  05-05    0
Day 1: 2   05-05
45. Cory Johnston          Cavan CANADA             2  04-10    0
Day 1: 2   04-10
46. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              2  04-05    0
Day 1: 2   04-05
47. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              1  03-04    0
Day 1: 1   03-04
47. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               1  03-04    0
Day 1: 1   03-04
49. Brandon Cobb           Greenwood, SC            1  02-08    0
Day 1: 1   02-08
49. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            1  02-08    0
Day 1: 1   02-08
51. Josh Busby             Rogersville, MO          1  02-03    0
Day 1: 1   02-03
52. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         1  01-10    0
Day 1: 1   01-10
53. Cam Sterritt           Newfields, NH            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        31       209       677-06
———————————-
31       209       677-06