ABT Bassmaster Team Championship Team Profile
Rusty Strickland and Charles Hemm
by Dan O’Sullivan
Our next ABT Bassmaster Team Championship profile features a team that came one dead fish penalty away from winning the Northern Division points championship. The team of Rusty Strickland and Charles Hemm fished their first tournament together in 2007, and continue to enjoy competing together today.
Strickland said that they first won a bass tournament together at the Fishing for Fisher Hemophiliac benefit event on Wheeler Lake in 2007, and they set goals to match that performance each time they go out. “We set our goals high,” said Strickland. “We go out there fishing to win every tournament we enter, and Angler of the Year is something we shoot for too; we fell a little short this year.”
The pair works together to establish a plan for each tournament that revolves around trust in each other. “We each carry our own boats to the tournaments and practice opposite ends of the lake,” he said. “After practice, we compare notes, and go with the one who has the best plan.”
That trust allows them to go forward with the plan because they know how each other fishes, and what they can do once they come together. “We’re both strongest in our power fishing – Flippin’ and Pitchin’ skills,” he SAID. “But Chuck is better with a spinning rod from being from Wisconsin originally, so we decide how we’ll do things after we compare notes, and make something happen together on tournament day.”
In regard to the upcoming Bassmaster Team Championship, they are setting their sights high. “We are looking to win the thing for sure,” said Strickland. “We will do everything we can to try and be in position to be there on the final day, then each of us will try to win the event and make it to the Classic.
We’re each other’s biggest fans, and want the other one to do well, he said with a chuckle. “We just hope that the other one is one spot behind the other. Honestly, once we get there, we’ll both be just as happy for the other one as long as one of us gets to the Bassmaster Classic.”
The sponsors of the 2015 Alabama Bass Trail include: Bill Penney Toyota, the Alabama Tourism Department, Phoenix Bass Boats, Inc., Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, T-H Marine Supplies, Inc., Alabama Power Company, Buffalo Rock, Inc., Jet-Pep, Inc., Tennessee Valley Authority, and Frogg Toggs, Inc., HydroWaveTM, Alabama Foundation Specialist, Boat U.S., LEER, Vicious Fishing, E3 Sports, Inc., Costa Del Mar, Frogg Toggs, Inc., Power-Pole, Window World and Yeti Coolers.