Bassmaster Classic 2021 – Highlights

Published on 05/15/2023 · 4 min readFishing expert Brayden Sharp covers the tournaments' biggest moments, its top rankings, and how winner Hank Cherry secured his 50lb win.
Brayden Sharp, Fishing Expert
By Fishing Expert Brayden Sharp

Photo by Michael McCarthy

The 2021 Bassmaster Classic, presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, stretched across a hot June weekend at Lake Ray Roberts in Fort Worth, TX. For the second year in a row, the win went to Hank Cherry.

Read on to relive the best catches of the tournament and to find out what gear helped Cherry with his epic back-to-back win.

Everything is Bigger in Texas

Whenever you go down to Texas, you have the chance to catch the biggest bass of your life. Going into the tournament, everyone knows the sky is the limit, and the talk pre-tournament revealed that the fishermen needed to catch at least seventeen pounds a day in order to have a shot on Sunday. The predicted winning weights were upwards of fifty pounds for the three days on the water.

For the second year in a row, the Bassmaster Classic ends with a Cherry on top.

The legendary Hank Cherry defends his title to win back-to-back Classic championships. Topping Matt Arey by just one pound, Hank Cherry becomes only the third angler to ever achieve this, joining Rick Clunn (1976/1977) and Kevin VanDam (2010/2011).

Friday, Day 1

Leader: Steve Kennedy

Recap: Steve Kennedy got off to a hot start by doing what he does best—flipping a white swim jig in the morning during the shad spawn. When shad spawn, they swim up tight to the bank and lay their eggs on the cover. Since the shad hang in a big school, they become an easy target for hungry bass, which Kennedy took advantage of.

Saturday, Day 2

Leader: Hank Cherry

Recap: Hank Cherry took the lead, catching a solid 17lb 12oz bag which put his total at 38lb for the event. On Saturday, Cherry caught his fish in a mix of areas, using the bait he’s most known for, a jerkbait by Berkley. But, like Kennedy, he found the greatest success by shallowly fishing a vibrating jig around the shad spawn. Cherry felt like the key to his big bag was the cadence he was using when fishing his jerkbait. It was very slow, but he knew he was doing what was needed to get those fish to bite.

Sunday, Day 3

Leader: Hank Cherry

Recap: As the temperatures continued to climb, the bass became more and more lethargic. Cherry was flipping bushes (fishing amongst flooded bushes) and caught two bass early in the day, but the bite seemed to shut off as the sun got high in the sky. So, Cherry made the decision to switch from the heavy flipping setup he had been using and change to a 1/4oz tungsten weight with a 3/0 hook for a smaller and slower presentation. Within 30 minutes, he had filled his bag.

Cherry said at the weigh-in, “I might have found the dumbest bass in Texas. I flipped way off from my target like three to four feet off of the bush. I turned to fix my poles, when I picked up my line, I could see my line swimming off so I quickly set the hook.” That was his final fish of the day to seal his five-fish limit and help him go on to win the Classic.

Top 10 Rankings

  1. Hank Cherry: 50lb 15oz
  2. Matt Arey: 49lb 1oz
  3. Chris Jones: 45lb 9oz
  4. Justin Kerr: 45lb 2oz
  5. Brock Mosley: 42lb 0oz
  6. Scott Canterbury: 41lb 6oz
  7. Matt Robertson: 40lb 3oz
  8. Chris Johnston: 40lb 2oz
  9. Drew Cook: 38lb 7oz
  10. Patrick Walters: 38lb 1oz

Hank Cherry’s Winning Gear - Jerkbait

Abu Garcia STX Casting Reel - (7.3:1)

Abu Garcia Veracity Casting Rod

Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon Line


The 2021 Bassmaster Classic was an exciting tournament all around. The Texas Park Commission had the area looking amazing and the lake fishing turned out to be very good for a mid-June tournament. The spectators were not only able to come and enjoy thousands of booths in the Dickies Arena but were also able to follow the anglers out on the water. Several of the anglers commented on just how nice the hospitality is down in Texas. Overall, it was a great tournament and Cherry’s back-to-back win blew everyone away.

Check out the Expert Journal here on Curated for more Fishing content and stay tuned for more major Curated coverage in the future!

Read next

New and Noteworthy