OUTDOOR CORNER: The “Hack Attack” rocks at Three Rivers

Lyle Johnson
Pro winner Greg Hackney of Gonzales holds up his biggest bass from day four on the Three Rivers where he captured the 2009 Forest Wood Championship and a check for $500,000.

I can remember back when the first Bassmasters Classic took place in 1971. Ray Scott, founder of the fledgling Bass Angler’s Sportsman’s Society, came up with the concept to hold a year’s end tournament to determine the best bass fisherman in the world that year.

The location was held secret and only revealed while the plane full of anglers were underway. The location was Lake Mead in Nevada and Bobby Murray took home the $10,000 first place money.

In 1996, another professional bass fishing circuit came on the scene. Irwin Jacobs founded FLW Outdoors and established another tournament trail that allowed even more anglers with bass in their blood to compete for another national, professional bass fishing title; the Forest Wood Cup.

Boy have things changed since that first Classic, but what hasn’t changed is the dream of every young bass angler (and some old) of fishing for a national championship someday and beating the best of the best. Greg Hackney has been blessed to live that dream.

On July 30, Hackney put a five bass limit on the scales that weighed 5-06 to add with his previous day’s weight of 4-03 for a total of 9-09. That nine pounds and twelve ounces of brown, smallmouth bass topped Mike Iaconelli’s 9-06 and he captured the 2009 Forest Wood Championship and a check for $500,000. That’s right. Three ounces for a half million dollars.

Greg “The Hack Attack” was born in southeast Arkansas. The family then moved to Oak Ridge. His dad was in the logging business so Greg fell right into the tree cutting and hauling operation. But his dad also loved something called bass fishing and made the mistake of bringing his son to a Bassmaster’s Classic in 1984 when he was 11 yearrs old. As a kid Greg dreamed about fishing and winning a Bassmaster’s Classic. This is where his professional bass fishing story was born.

Hackney loved the outdoors and had a friend that was in vet school at LSU who had invited him deer hunting. That’s when he met a young lady from New Orleans, an aspiring vet herself named Julie. She caught his eye more than the deer he was interested in hunting and the rest is history. She caught him. Greg was on his quest to earning his living fishing when he and Julie got married and then had their first son Andrew.

Julie finished veterinary school and planned to go into practice with a friend from Baton Rouge. Her parents live in New Orleans and Baton Rouge was too much city for Greg, so they chose in between, Gonzales. They’ve since added a daughter, Hanna and another son, Luke and have really enjoyed the move to our community.

So just how does if feel to win the Forest Wood Cup and a half million bucks, I asked? “Man, I’m still just soaking it in,” stated Hackney. Then I asked him how he felt about his career at this point. “You know, if it had to stop right now, I’d be really satisfied,” but the fire in his eyes told it all; “But I ain’t ready to quit.”

The “Hack”, as he’s affectionately known on the tour for his tenacity for power fishing, fished Three Rivers in the 2005 Bassmaster Classic and finished at the bottom. Asked what he changed this time around, “Lyle, I was fishing for the wrong sized fish. I thought I could catch two pounders and they just don’t have that many of them there. I downsized all my lures and line and just fished for 12 inch bass. I knew if I could catch a limit, a win might be possible.”

On day one Hackney caught only three keepers for 3-01 and 35th place but on day two things came together and he whacked a five-bass limit for 11-12 and climbed all the way to the top. On day three all the weights are zeroed and Hack had to start over and just fished what had paid off before and finished in fifth. His 5-06 day four-catch put on the top again for the victory.

About the future, “I’ll still fish the Elite Series on the Bassmaster Trail but my opportunities to fish the FLW Series will be available and I’d like a shot at a repeat championship win!” Wow. Gonzales’ own, a world champion professional bass fishing champion. Is that cool or what. Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you.