It hurts so good

Hank Cherry came off Chickamauga Lake yesterday with some battle scars. The 10-pound, 11-ounce bass he caught at 2:50 p.m. Thursday left a mark. Twice Cherry had his right hand in the fish's mouth and it pulled away. When Cherry got a third chance, he used both hands to lift the big female largemouth in the boat. Cherry was still shaking after weighing-in yesterday, and it wasn't because of his scraped up right hand.


"I just bear-hugged that sucker," Cherry said of the biggest bass he's ever caught in his life. "I'll never forget it."


There was another reason that fish will stay fresh in Cherry's mind for a long time: It came off a spawning bed on June 12th.


Cherry spotted some good fish in the area during practice. He thought the bass were feeding on bluegill that were bedding on the full moon. It wasn't until yesterday afternoon that Cherry realized the big girl was on a bed of her own.


Cherry's bass is now the biggest caught on the Elite Series this year, topping the 10-10 that Bernie Schultz caught at Lake Seminole and the 10-10 that Greg Hackney caught at the St. Johns River.

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