Hackney Wows in First Round of MLF World Championship Action on Nacogdoches - Major League Fishing
Hackney Wows in First Round of MLF World Championship Action on Nacogdoches
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Hackney Wows in First Round of MLF World Championship Action on Nacogdoches

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June 25, 2017 • Lynn Burkhead • World Championship

As many have noted before, Louisiana bass fishing pro Greg Hackney is one of the sport’s current kings, one of the best anglers in the world.

During Shotgun Round 1 action at the Major League Fishing General Tire World Championship event, he went out and proved that to everyone watching, racking up 69-pounds, 3-ounces of bass.

For those keeping score at home, that’s some 30-pounds ahead of the second place angler after one day of competition, and that angler is none other than Kevin VanDam.

While Hackney’s first day results would be normally be enough to advance Hackney to the next round in regular MLF Cup level events, that isn’t the case this week in Nacogdoches where the first round of this event will be stretched out over two days time for the first time in MLF history.

With Hackney proving the fish catching potential of 2,212-acre Lake Nacogdoches today, he knows that he has his work cut out in Elimination Round 1 as the rest of the group in his bracket adjusts and comes hard after his lead.

“Yeah, it was good,” Hackney laughed, noting at one point that he knew the lake was going to be good when he took a look at it from the boat ramp this morning.

“It was just one of those deals, I really got dialed in and then it got silly. I hate to say that, but when it’s like that, it’s one of those deals, that when you get a chance to make hay (in this sport), you make it.”

For his part, Hackney figured out a key nuance on the water that allowed him to roll out well in front of the rest of the Day One field. That enabled him to pull away big-time in the day’s third period.

“I knew just as soon as it went down,” said Hack Attack. “I really thought they were doing it (responding to his technique) at the end of the second period. I had been fishing the right stuff all day, but I had been fishing over the majority of them.

“I would catch one every now and then fishing that same way, I basically fished the same way all day,” he added. “But I got on a little stretch at the end of the second period and I knew that (was it). I had like five bites and I caught three.”

At that point, the light bulb clicked on in Hackney’s mind.

“I knew it was a pattern, it wasn’t a spot,” said the 2014 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year.

And that led to a little bit of good television.

“That last period, I joked (to my cameraman) that I was going to follow (Gary) Klein,” Hackney said. “Well, he went to the other side of the lake and fished, so I started on the other side.

“As I was running down through there, I saw a little broke up deal and that kind of got me started,” he added.

“I rolled in there and caught one on my second cast. Then I caught two or three more. And then I got to where I could move and know exactly where I was going to catch them at. And man, it was a blast.”

While Nacogdoches is known for producing fish in the five to 10-pound range, most of Hackney’s fish were smaller than that.

“I caught a spawned out female that weighed 4-pounds, 6-ounces and probably should have weighed over 5-pounds,” said Hack Attack, a 10-time tournament winner who has the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup championship, the 2005 FLW Tour Angler of the Year award, and the 2004 B.A.S.S. Rookie of the Year award in his trophy case.

Given the reputation of the East Texas Pineywoods area near Nacogdoches – that it’s one of the best places in the country to come and catch a big double-digit caliber bass – Hackney admits that he was surprised.

“That was the biggest fish I caught today,” he said. “There were a lot of 3-pounders. They were nice fish, I just didn’t get any really big bites. I thought three to six-pounds would be the deal.

“I’m really surprised that one of our bunch didn’t catch a 10-pounder,” he added.

Hackney said that while he would like to fish on Nacogdoches later on in the year when the big fish are out deeper and buried up in the grass, he’ll be content to run a numbers oriented pattern on Day Two of his first round competition.

“My main goal is to make it to the end (this week),” Hackney said. “So the first thing I’m going to do is going to go and try to catch enough fish to make sure that I make it (through to the next round).”

And then, with a huge lead to play around with?

“There are two deals (out there) that can produce big ones,” Hackney said. “One is that deeper grass, but I don’t think that’s the main deal. I think that those big ones are (maybe on the second big fish possibility), those hay vines.”

Hackney is thinking that way because of the shadow of two of the sport’s most famous waters lying not too terribly far away from Lake Nacogdoches.

“This lake is identical to Toledo (Bend) and (Sam) Rayburn, which I’ve fished a lot,” said Hackney. “It’s identical, it’s just smaller. But other than that, it (Nacogdoches) sets up the same way. The grass grows the same way and it’s just really like they are.”

Then Hackney added something that should send a cold shiver through the other competitors in his bracket, certainly in light of his huge 30-pound plus lead.

“I felt real comfortable there real quick,” he smiled.

And when one of the best bass anglers in the world says that, look out because some more fish catching fireworks are coming.

Courtesy of the Hack Attack, an angler who is dialed in…and then some…right now, as the rest of the world watches.