Search
Monday, July 22nd, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Monday, July 22nd, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Alabama angler Justin Hamner goes wire-to-wire to win Bassmaster Classic

Tulsa, Okla. — When most anglers win the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing, they at least pretend like it came as the biggest surprise of their lives.

But not Justin Hamner.

The fourth-year Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Northport, Ala., said openly that he “just had a feeling” coming into this year’s Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Classic presented by Jockey Outdoors that he was going to win — and in three days on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in Oklahoma, he turned that feeling into a hard-core reality.

Hamner completed an assault on B.A.S.S. history with a Championship Sunday limit of five bass that weighed 15 pounds, 13 ounces, and pushed his three-day total to 58-3. He became only the tenth angler in the 54-year history of the event to lead all three days.

“I have no idea what’s been going on, but this past month has been pretty dang good,” said Hamner, who earned $300,000 and the coveted Ray Scott trophy. “I can’t explain it, but I really did feel like I had a good chance to win.”

MORE BASS COVERAGE FROM OUTDOOR NEWS:

Top strategies for catching bass in the shallows

Illinois’ Trey McKinney makes history at Bassmaster Elite

Previewing the nation’s top bass fishing tournaments in 2024

That feeling wasn’t exactly reinforced during a tough practice when Hamner said the best bass he caught was a 3-pounder. But he started the tournament on the spot where he caught that fish and used a shad-colored, deep-diving jerkbait to put together a limit that weighed 22-6 and gave him the Day 1 lead.

He went back there for Day 2. But, just like in practice, he couldn’t replicate a pattern and was forced to redirect.

“The wind was blowing a ton of bait into the pocket I was fishing,” he said. “When all of that bait got in there, those fish were keyed in on the bait and they wouldn’t bite my jerkbait. I couldn’t make them bite it, and I still can’t really explain it.”

That’s when Hamner relocated again and started using Garmin LiveScope to target largemouth in brushpiles. He quickly caught two 5-pounders that pushed him to a 20-pound limit and helped him maintain the lead going into the final day.

Despite being in the most visible spot a professional angler can hold, Hamner said he never got nervous until around 1 p.m. on Championship Sunday. At that point, he said he lost four big bass, but he couldn’t say if nerves caused him to lose the fish or if losing the fish caused the nerves.

“The first two didn’t bother me at all,” he said. “I still had that calm feeling. But around 1 o’clock, the fish changed and wouldn’t even react. I don’t know what caused what. There’s just no telling what was going through my mind because the pressure was finally starting to get to me.”

Despite his troubles, Hamner’s limit of 15-13 helped him hold off Wisconsin angler Adam Rasmussen who made a hard charge with 18-5 on the final day but finished almost 3 pounds back with 55-4.

Share on Social

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Hand-Picked For You

Related Articles

For a limited time, you can get full access to breaking news, all original Outdoor News stories and updates from the entire Great Lakes Region and beyond, the most up-to-date fishing & hunting reports, lake maps, photo & video galleries, the latest gear, wild game cooking tips and recipes, fishing & hunting tips from pros and experts, bonus web content and much, much more, all on your smartphone, tablet or desktop For just a buck per month!

Some restrictions apply. Not valid with other promotions. $1 per month for 6 months (you will be billed $6) and then your subscription will renew at standard subscription rates. For more information see Terms and Conditions. This offer only applies to OutdoorNews.com and not for any Outdoor News print subscriptions. Offer valid thru 3/31/23.

Already a subscriber to OutdoorNews.com? Click here to login.

Before you go... Get the latest outdoor news sent to your inbox.


Sign up for our free newsletter.

Email Address(Required)
Name
What outdoor activities interest you?