Hank Cherry dominates the shallow waters of Ray Roberts for second straight Classic victoryEvents . Featured Stories . News & Press Releases
FORT WORTH, Tx – Erratic weather and water conditions forced the bass of Ray Roberts Lake into the shallows.
Power-Pole angler Hank Cherry followed.
The North Carolina native never slipped out of the top five on the leaderboard at the 51st annual Bassmaster Classic, finishing the final day with a five-fish bag of 13-pounds, 1-ounce for a three-day total of 50-15. It was the second consecutive Classic win for Cherry, who joins fellow Power-Pole anglers Jordan Lee and Rick Clunn, and Kevin VanDam as the only anglers to win the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing” in back-to-back years.
By dominating the shallows, Cherry proved what became the theme of this year’s event for Power-Pole.
“When the anchors go down, the trophies go up,” he said alongside the Classic trophy after collecting his $300,000 first-place prize purse.
Because of unseasonable high rainfall, the water levels of Roberts was nearly five feet above normal levels and with a relentless mid-90s Texas heat bearing down, most of the lake’s largemouth bass sought refuge in the flooded grass treelines and newly submerged islands. Cherry quickly worked through these flooded areas by pitching crawdad and beavertail soft baits with his trolling motor on high speed until he found pockets and channels where he could Power-Pole down and pick those sections apart. To give his trolling motor batteries enough juice to continue that pattern throughout the day, he would periodically make a quick run across the lake to the dam to allow his Power-Pole CHARGE time to top off his batteries while also giving him an opportunity to change up his style by throwing jerk baits along the rocky ledge along the shore.
“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.”
A SHALLOW WATER SHOWDOWN
The high water levels that forced anglers to rethink their initial strategies wasn’t the only unpredictable condition of the tournament. High winds on Day 1 made fishing a grind after the early morning feeding frenzy caused by spawning shad shut down about two hours after launch.
“It was extremely rough,” Day 1 leader Steve Kennedy. “My core was hurting. There were times when I was on my tippy-toes and times when I was on my heels trying not to go over.
“I was headed to my other fish and taking waves over the bow. If I had gone all the way there, I might not have been able to stand up.”
The following day, a stormfront packing dangerous lightning, 30+MPH gusts and torrential rain pushed back the launch until 8:20, which caused the majority of anglers to miss out on the early bite.
Those who had that the combination of dual Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchors and CHARGE Power Management Station managed to catch the tail end of the morning bite and stay on top of the leaderboard. The entire Super Six finalists—Cherry, Matt Arey, Chris Johnston, Justin Kerr, Brock Mosely and Scott Canterbury — were all Power-Pole anglers. In fact, the top 16 finishers of the tournament all had boats equipped with dual Power-Pole anchors. Arey led briefly on the final day but couldn’t hang on to finish second with 49-1. Jones (45-9), Kerr (45-2) and Mosley (42-0) rounded out the top 5.
Power-Pole titled angler Cory Johnston placed at No. 11 after breaking through the bubble on elimination day to finish with 37-0 pounds. His brother Chris finished in eighth at 40-2, followed by Drew Cook at 38-7. After leading the fist day, Kennedy (35-8) slipped down over the next two days to finish at 13. To see the full leaderboard, click here: https://www.bassmaster.com/results/tournaments/2021-academy-sports-outdoors-bassmaster-classic/1
Did you miss any part of the weekend, relive the weekend with the Power-Pole media team’s archive of updates here:
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