Greg Hackney was really looking forward to this Bassmaster Classic after having really had a great practice.
“I’ll be honest, it was one of the best practices I’ve had for the Classics, period,” the Gonzales pro said.
The event turned sour on him right from the start, however, as he struggled to land only a single fish yesterday and followed that up with a zero today.
He admitted he didn’t catch a lot of fish during practice, but he never landed one weighing less than 3 pounds. The horrid, frigid weather of the two weeks leading up to the Classic was a boon for Hackney.
When the weather broke several days ago and temperatures started warming up, that apparently ruined Hackney’s chances.
“I thought it would get better on everybody (when the weather turned fair), but it didn’t,” he said. “It got worse on ¾ of the field.”
Hackney said he tried adjusting today, running new water and working coontail mats with a lipless crankbait – which is the tactic the very top of the field has been using.
“I cranked a lot,” he said. “I had a 5-pounder on at 9 a.m. that got off. That’s the only bite I got.”
The only regret he had for the tournament was not going back where he had pinpointed fish during practice and finishing out there.
“I regret what I did today, but I don’t regret what I did the first day,” Hackney said. “I fished what I thought was the best deal.”
What is bothering him is what many have classified as his Classic curse. His best finish was a fifth in the 2008 championship, but his average Classic finish is 24th.
“This was my eighth Classic, and normally if I fish a tournament eight times I’ll have a couple where I do good,” Hackney said. “That’s not how it is with the Classic.”
He said it’s a tough pill to swallow after working so hard year in, year out to qualify.
“You spend all year long thinking, ‘Classic, Classic, Classic,’ and then you get there and, poof, it’s gone. Over,” Hackney said. “Now I’m in the same situation where I’m not qualified (for the Classic), and I’ve got to go out and do it all over again.”