Hamner Clinches Victory at 2024 Bassmaster Classic in Oklahoma; Win Reignites Debate on Tech in Fishing

Hamner Clinches Victory at 2024 Bassmaster Classic in Oklahoma; Win Reignites Debate on Tech in Fishing

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Justin Hamner won the Bassmaster Classic on Sunday, claiming victory in the prestigious fishing tournament just three days after his 33rd birthday. The Alabama native finished with a total weight of 58 pounds, 3 ounces, after making the cut from a field of 56 Bassmaster Elite anglers down to 25 after Day 2.

On the final day, Hamner caught five bass weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces, securing his victory. He used a combination of techniques, including forward-facing sonar technology to locate fish and well-placed casts to entice them to bite. This strategic approach proved effective in helping him outperform his competitors.

Hamner's win was notable as he became only the 10th angler in the 54-year history of the event to lead all three days of the tournament. Despite challenging conditions during practice, where his best catch was a 3-pounder, Hamner's instincts and adaptability allowed him to make the necessary adjustments to maintain his lead.

On Day 1, Hamner used a shad-colored, deep-diving jerkbait to catch a limit weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces, giving him the early lead. When conditions changed on Day 2, he shifted to using forward-facing sonar to target largemouth bass in brushpiles, catching two 5-pounders that helped him maintain his position.

Hamner's success can be attributed to his understanding of the lake's dynamics and his ability to make timely adjustments. He employed various techniques, including modifying his jerkbait with specific treble hooks to help it sink deeper and applying scent to attract hesitant fish.

Hamner, who joined the Elite circuit in 2021, displayed emotion as he stood on stage at the BOK Center, holding his world championship trophy. He acknowledged that winning the tournament had been a dream since he was 8 years old.

Four years ago, Hamner was working in concrete pouring and lawn care to fund his professional fishing pursuits and support his family. The $300,000 grand prize, three times the amount of a typical Bassmaster Elite Series tournament win, will significantly impact his life and career.

The use of forward-facing sonar has become increasingly common in professional bass fishing, with many top anglers relying on the technology to locate fish quickly. However, the technology has also sparked a debate within the fishing community, with some arguing that it provides an unfair advantage and detracts from the traditional skills required for success.

Despite the ongoing discussion surrounding the use of technology in the sport, the Bassmaster Classic continues to attract a growing audience and generate significant economic impact for host cities like Tulsa. The tournament's popularity highlights the enduring appeal of professional fishing and the dedication of its athletes.

Stay informed about the latest developments in the world of fishing by visiting Baitium's Fishing News page.

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