Greg Hackney tops event with whopping wire-to-wire win - Outdoor Corner
On Thursday, the first day of the Bassmaster Elite Event in Orange, Texas, one Gonzales angler knocked it out of the park. Greg “Hack Attack” Hackney brought a 5-14 bass to the scales that anchored his 16-3 bag that gave him the lead on day 1.
“When the fishing’s this tough, catching a fish like that is almost like catching a whole limit on one bite,” said Hackney.
His hefty limit helped add to a sizable lead of almost 4 pounds over Alabama angler Matt Herren.
Two fellow Gonzales anglers shared the spotlight on day one. Robbie Latuso brought in an 11-06 limit to put him in 4th place, and Gerald Spohrer brought in 10-09 to take the 10th spot. These two Elite stars fell a little in the standings but Spohrer held on for a 21st place finish with 26-14 and pocketed $10,000 for his efforts. Latuso finished in 30th place with 25 pounds and brought home $10,000 as well.
On day two Hackney stayed consistent bringing in another limit that weighed 11 pounds, 15 ounces and upped his two-day weight to 28-2. Things were much tougher on Friday.
“I probably caught 20 keepers in there today, but I had to burn through them to catch what I weighed in,” said Hackney. “I think I could go back in there and catch another limit, maybe 6 pounds. But that’s not what I’m looking for. So, I’m going to move around a little bit tomorrow.”
Steve Kennedy upped his game considerably on the second day of competition. After catching just 7-5 during the opening round, Kennedy brought a tournament-best 16-5 to the scales and jumped from 65th place into second with 23-10. Hackney’s lead going into day three was 5-1/2 pounds.
Hackney caught five bass that weighed 12 pounds, 14 ounces during Saturday’s semifinal round and maintained the lead for a third straight day with 41-0. Alabama angler Keith Poche was nearly 7 1/2 pounds back in second with 32-9.
“Coming into the tournament, I felt like it would take 48 pounds to win,” said Hackney, a Gonzales, La., angler with five B.A.S.S. victories and the 2014 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title on his resume. “I thought if I could average 12 pounds a day, that would get the job done.”
Hackney caught most of his fish from one area Thursday and Friday. But with the fishing fading in that spot, he went with a new game plan for most of the next day.
“I caught three of my fish from new water,” he said. “I went back to the place where I fished the first two days, but I ended up weighing only two of the bass that I caught from there.”
Hackney had the biggest bass of Thursday’s opening round with a 5-14 largemouth, and he landed two more that weighed over 3 pounds Friday. Even with the fishing as tough as it was, he managed another larger-than-average Sabine River string.
The Hack Attack started day four with a sizable lead. With fishing as tough as it is, a 7-1/2 pound lead gave him a little room to breathe, but he was not taking anything for granted.
“I don’t have anything that hasn’t already been fished,” Hackney said. “If I did, I’d be fishing it. It’s not over by any stretch.”
On Championship Sunday, despite wearing out his best fishing areas the first three days and bringing in only 7 pounds, 5 ounces to the weigh-in stage, Greg Hackney claimed his sixth career B.A.S.S. victory in wire-to-wire fashion with a four-day total of 48-5. This victory was Hackney’s first win since 2016 and earned him $100,000 and pushed his career winnings with B.A.S.S. to $2,415,784.
“If we’d had to fish another day, I probably would have hunted and gone to some new water,” Hackney said. “I really don’t think all of the fish were gone. But we had all of that rain Saturday, and my best place had a couple of drains running into it. The water wasn’t dirty, but the water temperature dropped to 80 degrees after being in the 90s the first three days.”
Hackney fished secluded canals and backwaters all week and relied heavily on two topwater presentations around shallow cover — a 1/4-ounce black Hack Attack Select ToadBuzz rigged with a black plastic toad (no skirt) and a KVD Sexy Frog Stump Jumper.
The topwater bite slowed down. A change was in order, so out came the flipping stick. “But in the back of my mind, I knew I could pick up a flipping stick and catch a keeper anytime.”
His two best fish still came on the frog. But when he switched to flipping, he caught 10 keepers in 45 minutes.
“I probably should have done that sooner, but I just felt like I would have been punting,” he said. “Out of those 10 keepers I caught in the last 45 minutes flipping, they were all about 12 to 12 1/2 inches long.”
Along with the victory, the Hack Attack moved up in Angler of the Year standings to take over third place with 422. Brent Chapman, who finished 37th at the Sabine River event, has 456 points and the lead. Bradley Roy of Lancaster, Ky., is second with 427 points. Hackney won the Angler of the Year title in 2014.
A big shout out to our three Gonzales anglers that finished in the money.
Deborah and I wound up our 16 day, 4952 mile road trip in Breckenridge with our daughter, Gabrielle, and family. Gabby was born on my birthday so we got to celebrate the occasion on June 5.
Fishing is usually in order when we are there and this time was no different. On our first opportunity, Enoch and Eli caught three small brook trout on a pretty slow day. Our next opportunity came with a trip to Montgomery Reservoir. It was very successful. We used a combination of small spinners and night crawlers under a cork to keep our limit of 12 rainbow and brook trout. We caught over 30 fish on the trio.
I have a new perspective for the things we experienced. We travelled through some awesome scenery but also some not-so-awesome in the desert. Brown was the dominate color, and the wind blew every day, all day long. Fields of giant windmills dotted north Texas and New Mexico.
I have a new appreciation of the pioneers that travelled from the east coast to the west. I don’t know how they made it. We interacted and travelled through the Native American people and lands. They are some awesome folks. There was a lot of dust blowing around (lots of dust devils), and we saw our first wind and dust storm warning signs ever.
After seeing so much brown and being away for over two weeks, I never realized Louisiana was so green! It was a trip I’ll never forget.
Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you.
Lyle Johnson is President of the Louisiana Outdoors Writers Association.