By BassFan Staff

Only one angler in the Pickwick Lake FLW Tour field gained any ground on leader Greg Hackney today, and that guy was so far back when the day began that he's still facing a double-digit deficit.

Hackney stretched his advantage to nearly 8 pounds with a 22-04 sack on day 3 that pushed his total to 75-14. He'll have a substantial cushion for day 4 as he goes for his first tour-level triumph since winning the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup.

Brent Ehrler weighed a stringer equal to Hackney's and moved up from 3rd to 2nd with 68-01. He swapped places with Michael Neal, who overcame a sluggish morning to box 20-04 for a 67-13 aggregate.

Troy Morrow jumped from 18th to 4th with a 27-pound haul that was easily the biggest of the day, bumping his total to 65-11. Local ace Jason Lambert gained 10 places with a 21-14 bag and he completed the Top 5 with 61-06.

Here are the totals for the anglers who'll fish the final day, with red numbers in parentheses indicating the weight they'll try to make up on Hackney:

1. Greg Hackney: 75-14
2. Brent Ehrler: 68-01 (7-13)
3. Michael Neal: 67-13 (8-01)
4. Troy Morrow: 65-11 (10-03)
5. Jason Lambert: 61-06 (14-08)
6. Robbie Dodson: 61-03 (14-11)
7. Spencer Shuffield: 60-13 (15-01)
8. Michael Wooley: 60-01 (15-13)
9. Casey Ashley: 58-13 (17-01)
10. Shad Schenck: 58-13 (17-01)

Weights were down somewhat from day 2 and several competitors reported having to grind out their bags today. Pulling off their primary locations prior to noon was a common theme for the leaders through the first 2 days.

There were four changes among the Top 10, with Morrow, Lambert, Dodson (20-11 today) and Shuffield (20-07) moving in. They replaced Jason Quinn (who fell from 4th to 19th with a two-fish, 5-08 stringer), Troy Hollowell (5th to 15th, 10-09), Steve Kennedy (8th to 11th, 16-10) and pre-tournament favorite Randy Haynes (9th to 18th with four fish for 10-12).

FLW/Rob Newell
Photo: FLW/Rob Newell

Brent Ehrler moved up one place in the standings on day 3, but gained no ground in the weight column on leader Greg Hackney.

The weather forecast for day 4 in the Florence, Ala. area predicts more isolated thunderstorms. The air temperature will push 90 degrees and a westerly wind should blow to about 10 mph.

Not as Easy for Hackney

> Day 3: 5, 2-04 (15, 75-14)

Hackney's haul was down 9 pounds from the previous day, but was more than he needed to maintain his lofty position.

"It was a little harder on me today," he said. "There was a little more grinding. The fish have dried up a little bit and (the Tennessee Valley Authority) moved a lot of water. That moved the shad and there were none of them around today, do conditions were a little different.

"They were scattered out and I couldn't catch them from one area like I did the first 2 days. I had to fish around some and most of the bites were solitary."

He went through about a dozen keepers, including a 6-pounder. He was unable to get rid of one that was just over 3.

He might have to be a bit more mobile on the final day.

"I'll probably go back to that same area and fish for a little while and play it by ear, but I definitely will not die there. One of the fish I weighed in today was from a school I found yesterday.

"I've got several places over a 2-mile stretch and a lot of it I haven't fished (since practice). Some of it I could see from where I've been fishing and I haven't really noticed any boats on it."

He won't set any sort of target weight.

"I'll just go out and catch all I can catch. I don't care how much that is, as long as it's enough."

2nd: Tough Road for Ehrler

> Day 3: 5, 22-04 (15, 68-01)

Ehrler will do his best to catch Hackney on day 4, but admitted that such a task is a tall order.

"From just the little bit I could gather, he's saying that his stuff might be drying up," he said. "But you never know, he could go out and catch another 30 pounds tomorrow.

"Eight pounds is a hard deficit to make up. I think I'd need at least 28 pounds because I don't see him catching less than 20. I'm guessing that I was around a 25-pound bag today, but I don't see the potential for the 27 or 28 that I think I might need."

A 6-pounder was the biggest of the 30 keepers he boated today. Largemouths are the only species he's handled to this point.

"My co-angler caught a nice smallmouth today, about 3 pounds. I caught a giant (spotted bass) in practice a 4-pounder but I haven't seen any of them since.

"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. I'm catching a lot of fish, but a few other guys who made the cut are fishing some of the same spots. I'll try to time things right and hopefully get there before they do. Rotation is going to be the big key."

3rd: Neal didn't Connect Early

> Day 3: 5, 20-04 (15, 67-13)

Neal had an up-and-down day, with the down part coming early.

"I'm disappointed, but I'm happy at the same time," he said. "I didn't have a limit until 11 o'clock. If you'd have told me at 10 o'clock that I was going to come in with 20 pounds, I would've been as happy as could be.

"Anytime you catch 20 pounds you can't be too upset."

He found a local sitting on his preferred starting spot when he arrived.

"I really don't know if that affected anything or not because I went to other schools that I could see as plain as day (on his depthfinder) and some of them looked like they'd actually gotten bigger, but they wouldn't bite. I'd like to think the reason was that I couldn't get my bait down to them because of the current, but I went to some schools that were inside creeks and I still couldn't get bit. It was just an off day, I guess."

His bag was topped by a 5 1/2-pounder and the smallest fish it contained was a 3. He's certain that he hasn't lost a fish that would've helped him throughout the event.

"If I could catch 25 pounds tomorrow I might have a shot because it's not out of the question that Hackney could catch 17. To have a really good shot, though, I'll probably need 28 to 30. That's doable it's just a matter of getting the right bites."

5th: Nice Homestand for Lambert

> Day 3: 5, 21-14 (15, 61-06)

Lambert, who's in his first year on the circuit, is on a big-time roll. He was the runner-up to Haynes (their homes are within a couple of miles of each other in the Yellow Creek area at Pickwick) at last week's Kentucky Lake Central Rayovac.

"I've actually been looking forward more to the Kentucky Lake event (where the Tour will conclude later this month) than this one because this place fishes so small with this many boats on it," he said. "I have a couple of places where (the crowding) hasn't been to bad, but I've battled the crowds a little bit, too.

"Living here, I have a lot of places I can go to and fish and I don't have to sit on one spot."

He estimated that he visited 30 locales today. He's throwing the same Castaic swimbait that produced for him at the Rayovac.

"The first day I caught them real early and yesterday took all day. Today I got a school to go at about noon and caught a (6-pounder), a 5 and a 3. That all happened pretty quick.

"I should've had a really big bag, but I lost a 5 and a 4 and I had to weigh a 2-10 and a 3-even. I think I can catch 23 pounds tomorrow if I can get a free run on some stuff."

18th: Haynes Threw some Back

> Day 3: 4, 10-12 (14, 41-03)

Haynes was in 2nd place after day 1, less than a pound out of the lead. He had mechanical issues on day 2, however, and never got back on track.

"I had my lower unit knocked off yesterday and I had to play catch-up," he said. "Everybody caught them early in the morning that day and they were all kind of laughing at me.

"Today, I just don't know. I did a bunch of looking, trying to find where a school had moved to or find a fresh school because that was the only way I'd have a chance to win. These fish are just locked on and they're not moving right now. I struggle at the tournaments where they sit still and everybody lines up on them."

He would've weighed a limit had he not thrown back several 2- and 2 1/2-pounders, but that likely wouldn't have impacted his final placement.

"I'm the world's worst at doing that, but when they start biting it only lasts a few minutes and you don't want to be burning time culling fish. I've been very fortunate in the past that I've always seemed to end up hitting them at some other time during the day, but I didn't get them today."

He caught all of his fish on the Z-Boss 20 deep-diving crankbait that he designed for ProFound Outdoors. He hopes that it'll be on the market sometime this month.

"It was one of the players last week at Kentucky Lake, but this time it was my go-to bait and I'm pretty proud of it," he said. "I could feel it hitting the bottom in 18 feet of water."

Notable

> Day 3 stats 20, anglers, 18 limits, 1 four, 1 two.

Weather Forecast

> Sun., June 8 Isolated T-Storms - 89/67
- Wind: From the W at 10 mph

Day 3 Standings

1 -- Greg Hackney -- Gonzales, La -- 22-04 (5) -- 31-06 (5) -- 22-04 (5) -- 75-14 (15)

2 -- Brent Ehrler -- Redlands, Ca -- 19-07 (5) -- 26-06 (5) -- 22-04 (5) -- 68-01 (15)

3 -- Michael Neal -- Dayton, Tn -- 23-00 (5) -- 24-09 (5) -- 20-04 (5) -- 67-13 (15)

4 -- Troy Morrow -- Eastanollee, Ga -- 16-01 (5) -- 22-10 (5) -- 27-00 (5) -- 65-11 (15)

5 -- Jason Lambert -- Pickwick Dam, Tn -- 20-02 (5) -- 19-06 (5) -- 21-14 (5) -- 61-06 (15)

6 -- Robbie Dodson -- Harrison, Ar -- 21-11 (5) -- 18-13 (5) -- 20-11 (5) -- 61-03 (15)

7 -- Spencer Shuffield -- Bismarck, Ar -- 18-15 (5) -- 21-07 (5) -- 20-07 (5) -- 60-13 (15)

8 -- Michael Wooley -- Collierville, Tn -- 18-03 (5) -- 23-10 (5) -- 18-04 (5) -- 60-01 (15)

9 -- Casey Ashley -- Donalds, SC -- 21-00 (5) -- 20-08 (5) -- 17-05 (5) -- 58-13 (15)

10 -- Shad Schenck -- Waynetown, In -- 15-15 (5) -- 24-13 (5) -- 18-01 (5) -- 58-13 (15)

The following anglers did not make the cut and will not fish on day 4.

11 -- Steve Kennedy -- Auburn, Al -- 19-09 (5) -- 21-13 (5) -- 16-10 (5) -- 48-00 (15) -- $12,000

12 -- Brett Hite -- Phoenix, Az -- 15-08 (5) -- 24-13 (5) -- 13-15 (5) -- 54-04 (15) -- $12,000

13 -- Richard Peek -- Centre, Al -- 23-01 (5) -- 15-15 (5) -- 15-02 (5) -- 54-02 (15) -- $12,000

14 -- Bryan Thrift -- Shelby, NC -- 16-12 (5) -- 22-11 (5) -- 14-09 (5) -- 54-00 (15) -- $12,000

15 -- Troy Hollowell -- Paducah, Ky -- 19-12 (5) -- 22-14 (5) -- 10-09 (5) -- 53-03 (15) -- $12,000

16 -- Barry Wilson -- Birmingham, Al -- 19-06 (5) -- 18-02 (5) -- 15-10 (5) -- 53-02 (15) -- $12,000

17 -- Jeff Gustafson -- Keewatin, On -- 24-08 (5) -- 15-15 (5) -- 12-02 (5) -- 52-09 (15) -- $12,000

18 -- Randy Haynes -- Counce, Tn -- 23-09 (5) -- 17-10 (5) -- 10-12 (4) -- 51-15 (14) -- $12,000

19 -- Jason Quinn -- Rock Hill, SC -- 17-12 (5) -- 25-05 (5) -- 5-08 (2) -- 48-09 (12) -- $12,000

20 -- Austin Terry -- San Angelo, Tx -- 18-12 (5) -- 18-03 (5) -- 8-11 (5) -- 45-10 (15) -- $12,000