Louisiana anglers find going tough on Day 1 of Bassmaster Classic

Hackney grinds it out for 8th place with four-fish, 14-pound, 15-ounce bag

Louisiana’s contingent of three bass fishermen was largely disappointed in their performance on Friday’s first day of the Bassmaster Classic on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell, but one of them is still definitely in the mix for the title.

Greg Hackney of Gonzales, the 2014 BASS Angler of the Year and host of Sportsman TV, was one fish short of a limit Friday, but his 14-pound, 15-ounce bag has him in the Top 10 in eighth place.

College champion Brett Preuett of Monroe lost a 3-pound fish he’d hooked 30 minutes into the day and only caught one 3-pounder the rest of the way, and Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part got only one bite to put a 2-pound, 12-ounce bass in the boat.

“It was a grind for me,” said Hackney, who didn’t have a fish until 11:45 a.m., and then had all six of the bites he got in the next hour, putting four fish in the boat. “I had that fifth bite, but I was fortunate to get what I got.

“I couldn’t get in any rhythm. I’d make three casts, then have to de-ice,” he said. “I went to one place I had, and the water temperature was 38 degrees. I made about 10 casts and rolled out of there.”

Hackney caught his fish at midday on a spot he’d visited earlier in the morning without success.

“The first time I went there, you couldn’t even tell there was a fish there,” he said. “I came back to ‘em later and caught ‘em.

Preuett, the Bassmaster College champion from the University of Louisiana-Monroe, had a big disappointment right off the bat, and his day didn’t get a lot better.

“I lost the very first bite I had, about a 3- or 4-pound spotted bass,” said Preuett, who wound up in 47th place after Friday’s initial day. “I saw him, and then he came off.”

Preuett only had two other bites, and one was a 3-pound spotted bass he got in the boat.

“About midday, I was thinking, ‘I don’t have a fish. Lord, please let me have a fish to bring in,” he said.

Crochet is in 49th place after Day 1. The ‘Cajun Baby’ said he planned to fish in relatively shallow water but the bite didn’t pan out Friday.

“My plan was to skip docks with a Chatterbait and crank steep banks,” he said. “I had one bite, and I caught a 2-12.”

He said the frigid weather put a kink in his plans.

“The cold front dropped the water temperature more than I thought. When we started a week ago, it was 50 to 51. It was 46 on Wednesday, and it was 39 this morning,” he said. “What threw me for a loop was, I had a little rocky point I was gonna fish, and when I pulled up, it was iced over.

“I’m gonna fish the same areas (Saturday),” he said. “I’ve seen some good ones in there, and it’s too late to scratch it.”