Professional angler Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., won $100,000 at the Walmart FLW Tour on Pickwick Lake presented by Straight Talk Wireless Sunday with a four-day total of 20 bass weighing 97 pounds, 7 ounces, the heaviest four-day catch ever weighed at Pickwick Lake in FLW Tour competition. Hackney brought a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 9 ounces to the scale Sunday to clinch the victory.
The catch gave the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup Champion the win by a 4-pound, 1-ounce margin over 23-year-old Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., who brought a total of 20 bass weighing 93 pounds, 6 ounces to the scale and earned $30,000.
â€œI was beginning to wonder if this would ever happen again,â€ said Hackney, who has earned more than $1.1 million in FLW competition. â€œIt’s so hard to win one of these because it’s four days. There are so many variables and these guys are so good. These tournaments are getting harder and harder, so to get the win is a blessing.â€
Hackney said that he fished differently than most of the other professionals competing in the tournament this week. Instead of targeting deep ledges, Hackney keyed on a shallow bar that had three different mussel piles on it.
â€œThe bar is maybe a couple of hundred yards long, half-way between the bank and the river channel,â€ Hackney said. â€œThe fish were set up on the mussels on the upstream side of it. I found the school about 45 minutes into the first day of practice. There was an oil slick about the size of my boat and truck. It was from the bass feeding on gizzard shad. I’d seen it before while saltwater fishing, but I’ve never seen it in freshwater. I made a cast and could feel my crankbait running over their backs because there was so many fish there.
â€œI didn’t realize until the first day of the tournament that it was a live bottom â€“ covered in big mussels. I would set up on top of the bar in 5-feet of water and cast out to about 7 ½-feet deep and drag back up the heel. That’s where they were. Every fish that I weighed in this week came from 6-feet of water or less.â€
Hackney said that his key baits for the first two days were a Strike King KVD HC 2.5 square-bill crankbait and a 7 ½-inch Strike King Shadalicious swimbait fished on a ¾-ounce jig head. After the gizzard shad left his area on Saturday, Hackney switched to a ¾-ounce Strike King Denny Brauer Structure Jig in two specific colors â€“ a green-pumpkin jig with a Double Header-colored Strike King Rage Craw and a black and blue jig with a Plum Crazy-colored Rage Craw.
â€œYou always think you have a shot at winning â€“ it’s why we fish these tournaments. But, I had no idea that I was going to,â€ Hackney went on to say. â€œIt’s been a heck of a week. I must have had 60 spectator boats watching me yesterday. These kind of tournaments don’t just happen. When you find a spot like that, it’s the spot of a lifetime.â€
The top 10 pros finished the tournament in:
1st: Greg Hackney, Gonzales, La., 20 bass, 97-7, $100,000
2nd: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 20 bass, 93-6, $30,000
3rd: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 20 bass, 92-11, $25,000
4th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., 20 bass, 86-5, $20,000
5th: Robbie Dodson, Harrison, Ark., 20 bass, 85-15, $19,000
6th: Spencer Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., 20 bass, 81-3, $18,000
7th: Michael Wooley, Collierville, Tenn., 20 bass, 80-11, $17,000
8th: Jason Lambert, Pickwick Dam, Tenn., 20 bass, 80-1, $16,000
9th: Shad Schenck, Waynetown, Ind., 20 bass, 76-7, $15,000
10th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C, 20 bass, 72-4, $14,000