"I just didn't get any bites," Hackney said. "I think the weather got too nice. I ain't making any excuses, but something just changed."
That might sound like a strange statement, but Hackney said his best fishing came during the first days of practice when the weather was simply horrendous with snow, wind, clouds and frigid water temperatures.
"The first day of practice I caught 25 pounds," he said.
Today, the day dawned blue-bird and much warmer, and Hackney's area refused to give up any fish until 10:36 a.m. But he didn't worry.
"Honestly, I had only caught one fish before 10 o'clock during practice," Hackney said. "So it didn't really bother me this morning.
"When I caught that fish at 10:30, I thought it was par for the course."
He was fishing a jig, making long casts shoreline grass and working it along the bottom to the first ledge.
But he didn't get another bite the rest of the day.
"I thought when that sun got bright they'd pull up in (the grass), but I think they just suspended," Hackney said.
The big weights that have come to the scales have all come from the creek in which anglers launched, Hackney said.
"Where they're catching those fish at is text-book pre-spawn bass," he explained. "Most of the bass wee caught in grass on lipless crankbaits."
His second-day strategy depends upon if any clouds move in.
"I found some grass in another creek, and if it's clear I'm going to go there and throw a lipless crankbait on the grass, " Hackney said. "If it's cloudy, I'm going back to where I was today."
Although he finished the day 16 pounds, 3 ounces behind leader Kevin Van Dam, Hackney said he was still confident.
"I would think I have a better than average chance of making the top-25 cut," Hackney said. "It might take 15 pounds to make the cut."
The field is cut to 25 after tomorrow's weigh-in.
Hackney also said there is a positive about the top weights coming from one creek.
"There's a bunch of them fishing in there," Hackney said. "That could keep the weights down."
Although he's planning to adjust according to the weather conditions, Hackney said he wouldn't be doing anything crazy.
"I'm just going out fishing tomorrow," he said. "I'm going to do what I think my chances are to make the top 25.
"I really don't want to (miss the cut and) work that (outdoor) show. I'm going do my damnedest to make the top 25."