Hackney finishes year’s first Elite Series in third

Gonzales’ Greg Hackney went into today’s (March 14) final day of the season’s first Bassmaster Elite Series stop in the lead, but was unable to boat a full five-fish limit on the California Delta and tumbled to third.

But the veteran bass pro said he only had himself to blame.

“I had two on that could have made the difference,” Hackney said. “But that’s on me.”

His four-fish stringer weighed 12 pounds, 15 ounces, and that left him a mere 2 pounds, 2 ounces out of the lead.

That opened the door to Virginia’s John Crews, who took the win with a three-day bag weighing 72-6.

“This is just unbelievable,” said Crews, 31. “When it’s your time, it’s just your time. I knew I was on the fish to win and I never have had that feeling before. I’m almost speechless.”

Skeet Reese wrapped up second with 72-5. Micheal Iaconelli finished in fourth with 67-12, with Shaw Grigsby wrapping up the top five with 63-11.

Other Louisiana anglers fishing the event and their finishes were Jeff Connella (34th, 31-3), Dennis Tietje (48th, 19-10) and Cliff Crochet (11-3).

Hackney said that he had not had a great practice.

“I didn’t think my practice was good enough to win,” he said. “I was catching them consistently, but I wasn’t catching big ones. When I got a bit, it was a 4-pounder, not those giants.”

And that sort of panned out, with Hackney putting a two-day total of 31-14 to claim eighth place going into the third day.

That’s when things opened up – Hackney put together a 25-pound, 7-ounce stringer and claiming the lead.

“I’m not really worried.  I just plan to go fishing,” Hackney said after the third-day weigh-in. “Here, you just never know what is going to happen. One flip can result in an 8-pounder or a 2-pounder.  Honestly, I just want to fish mistake-free.  If I do that, I will be pleased with the results.”

He caught 20 fish on that day, and he was confident going into the final day of competition.

“I thought I was going to win, that if I caught a limit I was going to win,” Hackney said. “I caught 4.”

That’s not to say he couldn’t have caught a limit.

“I got six bites,” Hackney explained.

And the two fish he missed probably would have sealed his fourth BASS win.

“I had one on that was just a keeper – probably about 2 ½ pounds,” Hackney said. “I lost a bigger one, but I never saw it.”

The loss left him with mixed feelings.

“I’m disappointed, but I’m feeling good,” Hackney said. “I needed the points. I’m in good shape – just a halfway decent finish at Clear Lake (this week’s stop) and I’m in good shape.”

Hackney and the rest of the Elite Series field will be back in action this week at California’s Clear Lake, with competition beginning Thursday and wrapping up next Sunday.

LouisianaSportsman.com will be following the tournament and reporting on results.

About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.

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