Hank Cherry became the third North Carolina angler to win the Bassmaster Classic when he led from start to finish on Alabama’s Guntersville Lake the first weekend in March.
Cherry, from Lincolton, N.C., won $307,500 for a three-day catch of 15 bass that weighed 65 pounds, 5 ounces. He took the lead with an opening day catch of 29 pounds, 3 ounces, added 16-10 the second day and closed out the tournament with a 19 1/2-pound limit. He relied on just a few lures: a Z-Man Jack Hammer Chatterbait, a Megabass jerkbait and a Picasso jig.
Cherry, 46, is the first Classic winner from North Carolina since David Fritts of Lexington won in 1993. Hank Parker of Denver won Classics in 1979 and 1989.
Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., made it a one-two finish from the Carolinas, taking second and $54,500 with a three-day total of 58-10. He weighed in limits at 20-0, 18-0 and 20-10 and caught the biggest fish in the tournament, a 7-pound, 9-ounce bass.
Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., finished third with 58-1, earning $40,000. Minnesota angler Seth Felder finished fourth place with 54-0 and won $30,000. Michael Frazier of Newnan, Ga., was fifth with 54-0, winning $25,000.
John Crews Jr. of Salem, Va., owner of Missile Baits, took sixth with 53-13 and carried home $22,500.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
- Brandon Lester of Fayetteville, Tenn., with 53-9, worth $21,500;
- Lee Livesay of Lonview, Tex., with 52-12, good for $21,000
- Brandon Card of Knoxville, Tenn., with 50-4, worth $20,500;
- Matt Herren of Asheville, Ala., with 49-5, worth $20,000.