Gonzales man qualifies for 2011 Bassmaster Classic

Staff reports

One angler from Louisiana has qualified to compete in the 2011 Bassmaster Classic, slated for Feb. 18-20 in the Louisiana Delta outside of New Orleans.

The Louisiana qualifier is Greg Hackney of Gonzales.

This will be the first Classic in the Louisiana Delta waters since Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The fishery is reportedly in excellent condition, but adapting to the impacts of those events presents additional challenges for the competitors.

Alabama leads all states with 10 residents in the 50-angler field. Oklahoma and Texas each have five, Arkansas four, and Florida and South Carolina each have three.

One of the qualifying fishermen is not an American: Morizo Shimizu of Osaka, Japan.

Leading the field is reigning Bassmaster Classic and Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year champion Kevin VanDam.

The Kalamazoo, Mich., fisherman won his first Bassmaster Classic in 2001 on the Louisiana Delta, and is only the second angler in B.A.S.S. history to hold both the Classic and Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles simultaneously. He now owns three Classic and six AOY titles.