HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE CLASSICS? DUSTING OFF 1975
Updated: Feb 18
He was a crop duster from Rayne Louisiana who had a dream of catching for the NY Yankees. Jack Hains told anyone who would listen that he wanted to be the next Yogi Berra, but he also grew up in Rayne and fell in love with fishing, catching bream and bass in the family's farm pond. After high school, it was not fishing or baseball that grabbed Hains' attention. He dropped out of both McNeese State University and the University of Southwestern Louisiana to chase his desire to soar above the fields of Acadia Parish- he want to just go fly airplanes. So Jack got his pilot’s license to fly as a crop duster for his father, but during his down time he had a rod and reel in his hand on lakes like Toledo Bend.
Missing the thrill of competition he had developed playing sports, he soon began fishing local and regional tournaments, entering his first B.A.S.S. sanctioned events in 1975- the year he won the Bassmaster Classic. There he was, sitting in 5th place on the final day of the premier bass tournament in the country, on the Currituck Sound in NC. The wind was howling and it was biting cold. But as they launched, the wind started to die down. the wind had blown a lot of water out of the sound and it was a lot shallower than the day before and a number of his spots were dry or too shallow to access. He oushed across some rough water to get to a spot he thought might work. The motor in his flat-bottom bass boat started hitting bottom and shuddered to a stop, stuck on a sandbar less than 100 yards away from a pier he had successfully fished during the practice. The 25 year-old had no choice but to strip down, get out and push. He got back in his boat, put on a snowmobile suit to stay warm, and motored to the spot where he boated three more fish.
Hains caught 18 fish weighing 45-4 defeating 29 other anglers to become Louisiana's first Bassmaster Classic winner.
He went on to qualify for seven more Classics, fish the Walmart Fishing League Worldwide Tour, and fish a total of 152 career tournaments, finishing in the Top 10 a total of 24 times.
Hains kept crop dusting when he wasn’t fishing up until 1980 because he enjoyed flying and, in those days, the payouts were not very big- such as only $15,950 for the '75 Classic. He even briefly left competitive fishing in to pursue business interests in the oil field, but when the oil crunch of the 1980’s put many out of work, Hains returned to competitive fishing for the next two decades before retiring from the sport in the early 2000’s. These days he still finds plenty of time for a little fishing and offer valuable advice for any up-and-coming pro angler who asks. Photos provided by BASS