By BassFan Staff
Going back to a two-tour lifestyle has suited Greg Hackney just fine.
The veteran from Louisiana, who did a fairly long stint at the top of the BassFan World Rankings during the previous decade, hasn't been a regular on both major circuits since 2005. That was the year he finished 2nd in both the Bassmaster and FLW Tour Angler of the Year races.
He fared fine as a Bassmaster-only pro for awhile, winning an event in '06 and qualifying for eight consecutive Classics. He had a lackluster campaign in 2013, though, finishing 45th in the points and sitting out the Classic for the first time in more than a decade.
He's rebounded this year in a big way. Competing in every tour-level derby that's been offered, he's just 1 point out of the lead in the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. AOY race. Now he's well within the Forrest Wood Cup cutoff as well after breaking a victory drought that extended back nearly 5 years.
"The Hack Attack" caught a 21-09 stringer on Sunday to win the Pickwick Lake FLW Tour with a 4-day total of 97-07. He'd established control of the event with a tournament-best 31 1/2-pound bag on day 2 and never allowed anyone to get within 4 pounds of him the rest of the way.
Michael Neal, a structure-fishing stalwart from Tennessee, boxed 25 1/2 pounds on the final day to finish 2nd with 93-06. He again flip-flopped positions with Brent Ehrler, whose 24-10 stringer landed him in 3rd with 92-11.
After that it was nearly a 6 1/2-pound drop down to Troy Morrow, who concluded with 86-05 after a 20-10 day-4 sack. Robbie Dodson rounded out the Top 5 as his 24-12 haul gave him an 85-15 aggregate.
Here are the totals for the remainder of the Top 10:
6. Spencer Shuffield: 81-03
7. Michael Wooley: 80-11
8. Jason Lambert: 80-01
9. Shad Schenck: 76-07
10. Casey Ashley: 72-04
The event was predicated on the offshore structure bite, but Hackney revealed today that he pulled every one of his weigh-in fish from water no deeper than 6 feet. All came from a 75-yard stretch that featured three large mussel beds where bass were feeding on big gizzard shad.
The derby was the second-to-last on the six-event circuit, with only the Kentucky Lake stop later this month remaining. That's sure to be another ledge-fest and will feature the final chapter of the season-long AOY duel between defending points champion Andy Morgan and the persistent Cody Meyer.
Hackney's Wait Over
> Day 4: 5, 21-09 (20, 97-07)
Hackney came in with three 3rd-place finishes this year across both tours, but with no victories since he captured the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup at the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh. He didn't fish the Tour that year – his berth in the championship event was gained via his performance in the now-defunct Eastern FLW Series.
"It's been quite awhile, and this is really nice," he said. "I'd had a sore attitude about the whole (win drought) lately.
"You definitely can't pick the ones you're going to win – it just doesn't work that way. But this was one heck of a week and it's been a lot of fun."
He caught a quick limit on the morning of day 4, but only one of those fish was in the 4-pound class. He'd picked up a couple more decent specimens before breaking a big one off at the boat at 10 o'clock.
"If I'd caught that one, I'd have won the tournament right there. For the next 45 minutes to an hour I never got another bite and that started stressing me out a little bit.
"I finally left my best area and rotated around through some other spots, and when I came back it was with the mindset that I needed one big one. I threw back five more that weighed 18 or 19 pounds (combined), but I never got a real good one to bite. The biggest one I weighed in was maybe 4 3/4 pounds – they all looked like littermates."
His primary locale was a long bar that was inundated by large mussels. He assumes the reason he had it to himself is that the majority of the field had concluded that the derby couldn't be won from water that shallow.
He caught weigh-in fish on three different Strike King baits – a 3/4-ounce Denny Brauer Structure Jig, a KVD HC 2.5 square-bill crankbait and a Shadalicious swimbait. Full details of his winning pattern, as well as those of the other top finishers, will be published soon.
Michael Neal caught the field's larger bag on the final day.
2nd: Neal not Bummed
> Day 4: 5, 25-09 (20, 93-06)
Neal achieved his goal of catching at least 25 pounds to give himself a chance at the win if Hackney stumbled. The latter didn't occur, but that was out of his control.
"It didn't work out, but that's okay," he said. "Anytime you crack the Top 10 you can't complain, much less walk away with a 2nd-place finish."
His showing moved him up to 9th in the AOY race, all but locking down his Cup berth.
"Now I can go to Kentucky Lake and go for the win. I won't have to play it conservatively. There won't be any dropshots or shaky-heads – it'll be all power-fishing, gunning for big bags."
He had 20 pounds within the first 20 minutes of the final day, then made two upgrades at about noon. His bag was topped by a 6 3/4-pounder.
"I lost one, but I don't think it would've helped – I had a smallmouth come off right at the boat. Anytime you can fish a whole tournament and not lose anything you needed, you know things are going your way."
3rd: Big Numbers for Ehrler
> Day 4: 5, 24-10 (20, 92-11)
Ehrler surrendered one spot in the standings on the final day, but it was an enjoyable day nonetheless.
"I was happy with (the finish)," he said. "I probably caught a hundred bass today. On my starting spot I probably caught 30 in about an hour and 45 minutes, then I came back later and caught 20 more.
The biggest of the many keepers he boated was a 5 3/4-pounder.
Brent Ehrler estimated that he caught 100 fish on day 4.
"I'm guessing that (strong) current was the deal today, plus we had fewer fishermen running around. They just decided to start biting."
4th: Nice Bump for Morrow
> Day 4: 5, 20-10 (20, 86-05)
Morrow's finish moved him up to 25th in the points, giving him a dozen or so places worth of cushion for qualifying for the Cup with just one event remaining.
"Now I don't have to make the (Top-20) cut at Kentucky Lake – I think just a check will do it. I got what I was looking for here – a little extra coin and less pressure on the last tournament."
He caught a 6-pounder on the final day, along with a bunch of 3 3/4-pounders, from the place he camped on for the majority of the derby. He had all but one of his weigh-in fish by 7:20.
"I threw back two 15-pound limits," he said.
5th: Dodson Rolls a 7
> Day 4: 5, 24-12 (20, 85-15)
Dodson put himself just inside the Cup cutline (36th in the points) with his second straight Top-5 placement at Pickwick – he was 3rd in 2011.
"I've had kind of a rough year and this might be a pretty good boost," he said. "Now if I can just go and catch them at Kentucky Lake."
He caught his three best fish – one a 7-pounder – during a flurry that started at 8:30 a.m.
"I lost one on a spoon that just broke my line. I set the hook and it was real solid, but it made one lunge and broke off."
> Day 4 standings – 10 anglers, 10 limits.
Day 4 (Final) Standings
1. Greg Hackney -- Gonzales, La -- 22-04 (5) -- 31-06 (5) -- 22-04 (5) -- 21-09 (5) -- 97-07 (20) -- $100,000
2. Michael Neal -- Dayton, Tn -- 23-00 (5) -- 24-09 (5) -- 20-04 (5) -- 25-09 (5) -- 93-06 (20) -- $30,000
3. Brent Ehrler -- Redlands, Ca -- 19-07 (5) -- 26-06 (5) -- 22-04 (5) -- 24-10 (5) -- 92-11 (20) -- $25,000
4. Troy Morrow -- Eastanollee, Ga -- 16-01 (5) -- 22-10 (5) -- 27-00 (5) -- 20-10 (5) -- 86-05 (20) -- $20,000
5. Robbie Dodson -- Harrison, Ar -- 21-11 (5) -- 18-13 (5) -- 20-11 (5) -- 24-12 (5) -- 85-15 (20) -- $19,000
6. Spencer Shuffield -- Bismarck, Ar -- 18-15 (5) -- 21-07 (5) -- 20-07 (5) -- 20-06 (5) -- 81-03 (20) -- $18,000
7. Michael Wooley -- Collierville, Tn -- 18-03 (5) -- 23-10 (5) -- 18-04 (5) -- 20-10 (5) -- 80-11 (20) -- $17,000
8. Jason Lambert -- Pickwick Dam, Tn -- 20-02 (5) -- 19-06 (5) -- 21-14 (5) -- 18-11 (5) -- 80-01 (20) -- $16,000
9. Shad Schenck -- Waynetown, In -- 15-15 (5) -- 24-13 (5) -- 18-01 (5) -- 17-10 (5) -- 76-07 (20) -- $15,000
10. Casey Ashley -- Donalds, SC -- 21-00 (5) -- 20-08 (5) -- 17-05 (5) -- 13-07 (5) -- 72-04 (20) -- $14,000