By Raymond Partsch III
Written for the LSWA
Jack Hains became Louisiana’s first Bassmaster Classic champion by taking a gamble.
Hains entered the final day of the 1975 Classic in Currituck Sound, North Carolina in fifth place on the leaderboard.
If the crop duster from Rayne was going to reel in the most prestigious title and largest purse in all of professional fishing, he was going to have to take a big chance on the last day of the three-day competition — a day which featured frigid 40-mph winds and rough swells.
The then-25-year-old rookie caught a total of 18 fish (weighing 45 pounds and 4 ounces) for the tournament to defeat 29 other anglers, including future longtime ESPN host Jimmy Houston, to become the first Louisiana fisherman to win a Bassmaster Classic.
Hains would go on to qualify for seven more Bassmaster Classic tournaments, fished on the Walmart Fishing League Worldwide Tour, competed in 152 career tournaments, finished in the Top 10 a total of 24 times, finished in the Top 20 a total of 35 times and earned more than $300,000 in prize winnings.
It only seems fitting Hains would be enshrined among the state’s sporting greats, and only the third outdoorsman to be enshrined following Grits Gresham and Dr. L.J. Mayeux, when the 2018 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame class is inducted Saturday, June 30, at the Natchitoches Events Center.
“It is extremely humbling to say the least,” Hains said. “I am excited but I question being selected because of all the great people in the hall. I am humbled by the honor.”
These days Hains spends his days serving as the Recreation Director for the Broussard Sports Complex but he still finds plenty of time for a little fishing from time to time and has valuable advice for any up-and-coming pro angler.
“I had been so close to winning other tournaments,” Hains said. “I had it won and the fish comes off. I had it won and my line breaks. It makes you realize that everything has to be perfect. After you fish in a couple of tournaments you learn you have to make the most of every minute you have out there on the water.”