On the tournament trail between many of the pros exists an unspoken fellowship. Describing what that means is Hank Cherry.
“We are a brotherhood. On the water we might be fierce competitors, but off the water it’s like a family. We have each other’s back.”
Some backs are closer together than others.
On the tournament trail the miles stretch out far and wide from the comforts of home. To shorten the emotional distance friendships evolve on the road. Such is the case with the brotherhood.
Cherry is a polar opposite of Jacob Powroznik. They might be wired differently as individuals, yet their friendship epitomizes the deeper meaning of the brotherhood spoken of by Cherry.
“We are like each other’s family on the road,” explained Powroznik. The two also have the same primary sponsor in Livingston Lures.
Powroznik, 39, of Virginia, and Cherry, 44, of North Carolina are running mates on the Bassmaster Elite Series. Swapping tools and boat parts are givens. Sharing wisdom, constructive criticism and sometimes a tough love define their brotherhood. Talking about fishing is a superficial topic compared to how deep the friendships run.
For the brotherhood between Cherry and Powroznik these questions prove the point.
What makes your friend a competitor?
His passion. Hank’s had that since he played baseball, and he was a very good, focused baseball player. He gave it up for bass fishing and channels that competitive drive into this sport. Determination is one thing, but passion is about as deep as it comes when you measure a competitive person.
He is constantly focused and on top of his game. Jacob is the most intense person that I know of in the sport.
What’s he like when the game face comes off?
He’s like a brother. His little girl is probably the sweetest thing I’ve ever met. She calls me her boyfriend. I get along with Hank really well, and it extends to our families.
If you ever see him with my daughter then you’ll find out that he’s just a big teddy bear. He’s a lot of show, but he’s a very down to earth good guy.
What do you like about him?
I like his honesty, his brutal honesty at times. He will give you the shirt off his back. There’s no show, nothing fake about him. What you see is what you get.
I like his competitiveness. He won’t give me a chance to slip up. There is always some kind of competition with Jacob.
What don’t you like about him?
Hank loves throwing a jerkbait. I think if he’d be more open minded that maybe a little more versatile at times then it would make him even better than he is already.
Sometimes it’s easy for him to get down on himself, and he can get that way pretty fast. And that shows how hardcore of a competitor that he really is.
Recall a moment that defined your brotherhood.
We fished an FLW at Fort Loudon, and I barely knew him. He called me one morning and asked if I was on fish. I wasn’t. Hank gave me a jig, showed me what he was doing, and I finished 12th and he came in fifth. That was a standout moment, and we’ve been friends ever since.
A defining moment for me was when I went down to their beach house to spend a week with his dad. Jacob was fishing an Open. His dad was real sick and has since passed away. But Jacob counted on me to stay with him. At the time it was pretty special to be called out like that by a guy like him.