Hackney competing in seventh straight Bassmaster Classic along Red River

Staff reports
Greg Hackney at the 2008 Bassmaster Classic in Greenville, S.C. He finished fifth, his highest Classic finish.

BOSSIER?CITY?– Gonzales’ Greg Hackney hasn’t missed qualifying for a Bassmaster Classic since he burst onto the national scene. That streak, which spanned the six Classics from 2003 through 2008, was in jeopardy until cut day at Lake Oneida in August. On the strength of a 30th place finish, he snuck into the field as the 36th place finisher in the Angler of the Year Standings.

“Someone asked me would you rather win a tournament or make the Classic,” Hackney said after the event. “And the answer is absolutely make the Classic. If I never won another tournament but I made the Classic every year, that would be fine with me. As an angler, that’s what you strive for.”

With a field of 51 of the world’s most accomplished anglers, this weekend’s Bassmaster Classic out of Shreveport-Bossier City, comes with only one guarantee. Three days of drama as the competitors battle for the coveted Classic crown and $500,000 first-place prize.

The competition water is the Red River, known as a challenging fishery full of bass.

 The field is diverse with 50 men, one woman, six past Classic champions, 12 Classic rookiessss,  nine with at least one Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title to their names and representatives of 23 states, with Alabama topping the list with nine anglers.

 Each competitor possesses fishing skills and accomplishments that make him or her unique, yet several stand out for possessing traits no other 2009 Classic contender can claim. Hackney, a native of Oak Grove, is the only compeitor from Louisiana.

“I don’t think that really gives me an advantage, but I am a river fisherman — I grew up fishing the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers,” Hackney said. “The Red River is my favorite body of water in the state of Louisiana. It changes daily, there’s plenty of water for anglers to fish and there are a lot of variables.

“For many reasons, the Classic is different than any other tournament. It should be the easiest tournament to win. It only lasts for three days, there are only 51 competitors, but for some reason it’s the hardest.”

The public is invited to daily launches presented by the Red River Waterway Commission at 7:15 a.m., Feb. 20-22, at the Red River South Marina, Highway 71 South in Bossier City. Also free and open to the public, the daily weigh-ins will be at the CenturyTel Center, 2000 CenturyTel Center Drive, Bossier City. Doors will open each day at 3:30 p.m.