By BassFan Staff

Greg Hackney came into BASSFest at Lake Texoma hoping not to lose any of his cushion in the Angler of the Year (AOY) race. He ensured that wouldn't happen by finishing at the very top of the standings.

Hackney picked up the sixth tour-level victory of his career Sunday as he caught a 17-15 stringer under gray, drizzly skies on the Texas-Oklahoma border to finish with a 4-day total of 66-02. He held off a serious charge from Brandon Card, who started the day in 6th place but boxed a tournament-best 21-02 to finish as the runner-up with 64-03.

Gerald Swindle, who's still seeking his first Elite Series victory, weighed 12-01 and ended up 3rd with 60-06. Chad Morgenthaler was next with 57-09 after catching a 14-01 bag and Ott DeFoe completed the Top 5 with 56-11 (15-01 on day 4).

Casey Ashley, who'd led after days 1 and 3, managed just three fish for 4-09 and finished 6th with a 56-08 aggregate.

Here are the final numbers for the bottom half of the Top 12:

7. Rick Clunn: 56-03
8. Dean Rojas: 56-02
9. Jordan Lee: 54-10
10. Randall Tharp: 54-02
11. Keith Poche: 53-15
12. Bradley Roy: 53-04

The weather was a dramatic change from the first 3 days, which were dominated by sunny skies that kept the fish tight to the vegetation along the expanded shoreline of the swollen impoundment. The darker scenario altered the bite for some positively or negatively but Hackney continued to pull quality fish from the brush by pitching his signature series Strike King jigs, which accounted for all 20 of his weigh-in fish this week.



B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Hackney lost a couple of high-quality bites, but he got some good ones to the boat, too.

Now he'll take his 30-point AOY advantage over Swindle to New York's Lake Cayuga, where he triumphed in 2014 (when he also copped the points title). That derby, which will be the sixth of nine regular-season tournaments on the schedule, gets under way on June 23.

Hackney Overcame Miscues

> Day 4: 5, 17-15 (20, 66-02)

Hackney won despite losing what were likely his two best bites of the final day.

"It was definitely a blessing because I had some bad mishaps," he said. "It's been a hard week. I've flipped so much and I'm about 50/50 with my right and left hand that I can't hardly pick up either arm.

"The deal (with winning), though, is they just get sweeter. It's so hard to win because our bunch just doesn't make many mistakes. When the day was over I knew I'd had the opportunity to win, but I didn't think I'd finished the deal."

Both fish that he lost were in the 5-pound class. He estimated that if he'd landed them, his sack would've pushed 23 pounds.

"The way it went down, I thought either Casey or Swindle would win. (Card) catching that big bag was impressive, and I didn't really know what I had until they went on the scale. Bagging them was the first time I really looked at them, and when they said I needed 16 pounds, I knew I had that."

He pitched a solid blue jig each morning for better visibility under the low-light conditions, then switched to the Alabama craw color for the remainder of the day. Both were trailed by a Strike King Rodent.

Full details of his winning pattern, as well as those of the other top finishers, will be published this week.

2nd: Card Feeling Good

> Day 4: 5, 21-02 (20, 64-03)

Card had a great final day to achieve his best-ever Elite Series placement and said he's not at all distraught that he fell one place short of the top.

"It feels good," he said. "I'm actually not bummed at all about finishing 2nd. If it'd been by a couple ounces it might've hurt, but it was by a pound and 15 ounces. I'm definitely stoked."

His bag was topped by twin 5 1/4-pounders. The smallest fish he took to the scale weighed 2 1/2.

"I really wish I could've gotten rid of that one, but it was still a pretty awesome bag.

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Brandon Card's tournament-best sack contained twin 5 1/4-pounders.

He utilized a flipping stick for most of the week, but did his final-day damage with a Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil topwater bait.

"With the clouds and rain, I just had a gut feeling that it'd work."

4th: Some Relief for Morgenthaler

> Day 4: 5, 14-01 (19, 57-09)

Morgenthaler badly needed a high finish he came it at No. 88 in the points after four placements of 66th or lower in the season's first five events.

"It definitely lifts the spirits up a bunch, that's for sure," he said. "I don't know how everything's going to unfold (for the rest of the season), but I'm going to keep my head down and keep fishing hard and hope I get another break or two."

He handled approximately 20 keepers, but none weighed more than 3 pounds. He caught four of his weigh-in fish on a buzzbait on day 4 after flipping for the majority of the event.

"Certainly, with the way they were biting, I thought I was going to get a shot at a big one or two. It just never happened."

5th: DeFoe Fine with Everything

> Day 4: 5, 15-01 (20, 56-11)

DeFoe moved up four places on the final day to pick up some additional cash and AOY points.

"I'm absolutely happy with it," he said. "This is a place I'd never been to and had no experience on and I didn't have that great of a practice. I got a few bites doing a couple different things and I just started off the tournament with those, and it all worked out.

"I caught a few key fish late on the third day to make the 12-cut and then I had a decent bag on the last day. I'm pleased with the whole thing overall."

He caught about 12 keepers on day 4, including a 4 3/4-pounder.

"I had some bites that I missed, but I never saw any of them and I'm not sure how bit they were," he said.

He started each day swimming a jig around docks before picking up the flipping stick.

6th: Tough Day for Ashley

> Day 4: 3, 4-09 (18, 56-08)

It was a disappointing final day for Ashley. On the bright side, he picked up a lot of AOY points and is up to 34th in the standings, which is inside the cutoff for next year's Classic.

"It was just one of those days," he said. "It sure would've been nice to win it, but I'm not going to worry about it. That's just fishing.

"With it being overcast all day, the fish didn't get in the bushes all that great. I tried throwing a bunch of stuff a topwater, a spinnerbait, a buzzbait, a Pop-R but I couldn't get anything going. I thought I'd still be able to catch some one way or another, but I just didn't figure it out."

His primary baits for the week were a Zoom Z-Craw and a Strike King Slither Rig, but attached to a half-ounce weight.

"I had some more bites today and some short strikes, but even if I landed every fish that bit it wouldn't have mattered."

Notable

> Day 4 stats 12 anglers, 11 limits, 1 three.

Day 4 (Final) Standings

1. Greg Hackney -- Gonzales, LA -- 20, 66-02 -- 110 -- $101,500
Day 1: 5, 15-10 -- Day 2: 5, 20-02 -- Day 3: 5, 12-07 -- Day 4: 5, 17-15

2. Brandon Card -- Caryville, TN -- 20, 64-03 -- 109 -- $35,000
Day 1: 5, 16-00 -- Day 2: 5, 10-08 -- Day 3: 5, 16-09 -- Day 4: 5, 21-02

3. Gerald Swindle -- Guntersville, AL -- 20, 60-06 -- 108 -- $31,000
Day 1: 5, 14-11 -- Day 2: 5, 17-10 -- Day 3: 5, 16-00 -- Day 4: 5, 12-01

4. Chad Morgenthaler -- Reeds Spring, MO -- 19, 57-09 -- 107 -- $22,000
Day 1: 5, 19-06 -- Day 2: 4, 11-02 -- Day 3: 5, 13-00 -- Day 4: 5, 14-01

5. Ott DeFoe -- Knoxville, TN -- 20, 56-11 -- 106 -- $20,000
Day 1: 5, 18-05 -- Day 2: 5, 12-00 -- Day 3: 5, 11-05 -- Day 4: 5, 15-01

6. Casey Ashley -- Donalds, SC -- 18, 56-08 -- 105 -- $16,000
Day 1: 5, 20-01 -- Day 2: 5, 14-09 -- Day 3: 5, 17-05 -- Day 4: 3, 04-09

7. Rick Clunn -- Ava, MO -- 20, 56-03 -- 104 -- $15,000
Day 1: 5, 14-00 -- Day 2: 5, 15-06 -- Day 3: 5, 14-10 -- Day 4: 5, 12-03

8. Dean Rojas -- Lake Havasu City, AZ -- 20, 56-02 -- 103 -- $14,000
Day 1: 5, 12-14 -- Day 2: 5, 15-08 -- Day 3: 5, 12-06 -- Day 4: 5, 15-06

9. Jordan Lee -- Grant, AL -- 20, 54-10 -- 102 -- $13,500
Day 1: 5, 12-06 -- Day 2: 5, 14-02 -- Day 3: 5, 14-12 -- Day 4: 5, 13-06

10. Randall Tharp -- Port St. Joe, FL -- 20, 54-02 -- 101 -- $14,500
Day 1: 5, 14-06 -- Day 2: 5, 12-02 -- Day 3: 5, 16-01 -- Day 4: 5, 11-09

11. Keith Poche -- Pike Road, AL -- 20, 53-15 -- 100 -- $12,500
Day 1: 5, 16-00 -- Day 2: 5, 12-15 -- Day 3: 5, 12-07 -- Day 4: 5, 12-09

12. Bradley Roy -- Lancaster, KY -- 20, 53-04 -- 99 -- $12,000
Day 1: 5, 09-15 -- Day 2: 5, 18-12 -- Day 3: 5, 13-08 -- Day 4: 5, 11-01