What fuels Cherry's fire

Hank Cherry knew from a very early age that he wanted to be a professional bass angler.

On his website, hankcherry.com, he tells the story of how he was introduced to fishing at 3 years old while on a trip to the mountains with his father and grandfather. Spending time with two men who meant the world to him galvanized his passion. Soon, young Cherry was telling anyone who would listen that he was going to catch fish for a living.

A quarter century later, Cherry made right on his prediction when he fished his first professional events in the FLW Bass Fishing League. While competing on the FLW Tour he upped his game again in 2012 when he won the Bass Pro Shops Southern Open on Smith Lake. That win earned him a spot in the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2013, and he made the most of the opportunity by winning Rookie of the Year honors.

He almost won the first of his four Bassmaster Classic berths that year — he wound up third overall at Oklahoma’s Grand Lake.

Cherry, now 45, knows the chances of realizing his angling dreams are reduced if he didn’t go on that fishing trip with dad and grandpa back in the mid 1970s. In fact, it’s quite possible his dream, if he had one at all, would have been something completely different than being a pro bass angler.