On Thursday morning, Greg Hackney will blast off on Beaver Lake in Rogers, Ark. at the FLW Tour stop and participate in his sixth consecutive bass tournament dating back to March 6.
He’s racked up more than $80,000 in winnings so far this year, and is in 6th place in Angler of the Year points for Bassmaster, and currently ranks 21st overall in the FLW.
“I should have done this last year,” Hackney said. “I’m one of those people who doesn’t need any idle time. When the weather is right in the spring, I need to be fishing.
“So I chose this year to fish both tours.”
Since the first weekend of March, his fishing itinerary has included stops at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina, Lake Seminole in Georgia, St. John’s River in Florida, Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas and Table Rock Lake in Missouri.
“I fished three weeks straight before, but this is the first time I’ve fished this many weeks. It’s grueling,” Hackney said. “It’s been a marathon for me the last six weeks, but I think being on the water every day helps me.
“Now I can see the end. I’m going home next week and I’m going to lay on my back for about three days if my wife and kids will let me.”
Momentum swung his way on the second day at Lake Seminole on the first Elite stop of the year, and he’s been riding a wave of confidence ever since.
“I had a bad Day 1 and I was really beat down after the first day at Seminole, but I came back and caught the second-biggest bag of the day on Day 2 and jumped back up there, and it lit a fire,” he said. “It felt like everything was working.”
The following week on the St. John’s River, his confidence grew when he caught a 10-plus-pounder and finished 16th, then he followed that up with the impressive 3rd-place finishes at both Sam Rayburn and Table Rock.
Being on the water regularly and fishing in places where he’s had past success is proving to be a great combination this year.
“I’m fishing every day and that’s helping me, and then we’re going to places that I like at the right times,” Hackney said. “But it’s fishing. I don’t try to analyze it too much — I just roll with it.”
At Table Rock in Branson, Mo. last week, he made the Top 12 and fished on Sunday, winding up with more than 60 pounds over the four days to finish in 3rd place, only 1 pound away from victory.
“I really thought I had a legitimate shot at winning,” Hackney said. “I could feel it. I pushed as hard as I could, but you can’t catch them all.
“I fished a pretty clean week. I thought I made the right decisions, and moved when I needed to move. I don’t have any complaints. It’s very hard to win a four-day tournament, to get all the variables to line up for you four days in a row.”
After a couple of weeks of much needed rest, the host of Sportsman TV will return to Toledo Bend for the Elite series stop there the first weekend in May.
“Toledo’s been pretty good to me, but it’s not my favorite time to be there,” he said. “Not because the fishing is bad, it’s just hard to catch those big ones.
“If it was June, I could tell you how I was going to catch them. But we’re going to be there when those fish are still in transition just like right now. They’re still moving. They haven’t gotten to where they’re going to summer at yet.”
Like at every tour stop, Hackney plans on arriving at the Bend with an open mind.
“Things change so much. One thing I’ve learned in this deal is you cannot have any preconceived notions,” he said. “None.
“Because that never works out. The deal is you have to let the fish tell you what they want.”
What Hackney wants now though, after hopefully another successful finish on Beaver Lake this weekend, is some time off to return home to his family and friends in Gonzales.
“I’m ready for a break, but I don’t want to be off much,” he said. “I don’t want to get stale.
“I want to keep rolling.”