Inside Elite Boats: Hank Cherry

Hank Cherry is only the fourth angler with back-to-back wins in the Bassmaster Classic (2020, 2021). The North Carolinian’s choice of boat is this 2023 Bass Cat Puma STS, with an overall length of 20 feet, 7 inches and beam of 96 inches that complements the model’s STS (Soft Touch Series) running surface for a soft, dry ride. 
The electronic components at the bow are all Garmin connected to maximize the technology between power, fish finding and then catching. 
That is possible with the Garmin Force trolling motor and two Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra 122sv units. The yellow stick on the trolling motor is called the C-Stic, designed to improve casting accuracy while using forward-facing sonar. C-Stic is a directional indicator for the transducer beam, allowing the angler to visually align the transducer with a casting target.
The Garmin Force comes with built-in sonar and can be wirelessly connected to a Garmin chartplotter.
An insertable cover can be added or removed for the trolling motor foot pedal recessed compartment. Cherry chose that option for added front bow space. 
The Power-Pole foot switches are easily accessible on the port side of the bow. 
Cherry uses one of the Garmin ECHOMAPs for Panoptix LiveScope and the other for mapping. 
Standard on all Bass Cat Premium models, the Battery Tender plug provides a secure connection for trolling motors with quick and easy connecting. 
Cherry chooses to use only one Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra 122sv at the console, with many of his peers using multiple units. 
“I only need one unit, and I can simply switch between mapping, SideVu Scanning, and chartplotting,” Cherry said. 
Removable, fold-flat compartment doors provide easy and full access to the rear compartment. 
Dakota Lithium 12V 100Ah Deep Cycle Batteries with Dakota Lithium’s LiFePO4 cells provide reliable power for the trolling motor and electronics. 
The Puma STS is powered by a Mercury Pro XS 250 designed with tournament performance in mind, including features like an alternator with net charging output of 20 amps at idle and 85 amps at wide open throttle for recharging low batteries. 
Power-Pole Blade 8-foot models with custom mounts are Cherry’s choice for shallow-water anchors. 
Cherry chooses a Bob’s Machine Shop 10-inch Action Series Jack Plate. 
At the starboard side is the Bass Cat retractable boarding ladder. 
Integrated into the back deck is this Bass Cat exclusive storage compartment. 
That provides convenient access to the Power-Pole Blade motor. 
Triangular livewells reduce fish stress and keep catches healthy on long days on the water. 
The Puma STS has a two-layered center storage between the passenger and driver seats. Cherry keeps quick-grab items in the top layer. 
A truck key and other assorted items.
Cherry carries this cross given to him by his stepmother in memory of her father. 
The bottom level of the storage is roomy enough for storing larger items. 
A family touch is added to the boat with the names of Cherry’s wife Jaclyn and daughter Bella and son Christian. 
These patent-pending latches are a new feature for Bass Cat. The design allows the latch to open the lid without turning, and locking it down in one, smooth close without having to turn the latch. 
The wide front deck configuration makes the most of available storage space with two rod lockers at port and starboard bracing a large center storage and two forward compartments for storing hard plastic utility boxes. 
Plenty of room to store a wide array of rods safely.
A wide view of the storage options.
Cherry uses this compartment for soft plastics, some stored in Plano Stowall bags. 
There is some organization with bait bundles.
This gallery was shot prior to the SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at Okeechobee, where Cherry intended to use Berkley PowerBait MaxScent soft plastics. “I store them on these closable rings for easier identification and quicker access,” he said.
No more digging through piles of loose packages.
On the opposite side are Plano EDGE specialty boxes for Berkley Stunna Jerkbaits and other hard baits. 
Graphics adorn the driver’s side.
The Puma STS rides on a custom trailer designed specifically for each model. The boarding steps provide safe, easy access to the boat. A hand brake is also standard equipment. 
The trailer comes standard with 15-inch aluminum wheels. 
Bass Cat logos are on this set of wheels.
“I’m a simple man, and how I choose to keep my boat that way reflects it,” Cherry said. Keeping it simple allows more time to concentrate on fishing, which is the end goal.