Hackney on the brink

Category: Tournament

 Sep 15th, 2014 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Sep 15th, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Many bass fishing pundits feel this is Greg Hackney’s year to take the big prize of the Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) title. Understandably so. Hackney won a Bassmaster Elite Series event and almost had another win on the Elites, too. Hackney also won an FLW event and is leading the Elite Series field heading into the AOY Championship tournament in Escanaba, MI.

Undoubtedly Hackney is the favorite, but don’t discount his pursuers. First off is the man in third, Todd Faircloth, a super-consistent angler who has come close to taking the AOY prize in the past. Oh yeah, the fella in second right now is the reigning AOY who has two of those titles under his belt. Plus, don’t forget, Martens overcame a large point deficit last season to defeat to win AOY.

Will Hackney be all smiles after the Bassmaster AOY Championship? (Joel Shangle)

So, what does one of the top pundits in pro bass fishing think about Hackney’s chances? Mark Zona weighs in with his thoughts here at BassFIRST.

Hackney isn’t done.
“I hear a lot of people talking about this being Greg Hackney’s year,” said Zona. “His job isn’t done yet. He is heading into this last event with a smaller lead than Edwin Evers had last year at the last event and Edwin didn’t win the AOY.

“Obviously this is a three-horse race. Hackney, Martens and Faircloth. Last year, I could feel the momentum for Martens at the last event. I’m not feeling it this year. This one is going to be an interesting event.”

Hackney has changed.

“I’ll tell you what, this is a different Greg Hackney this year than I’ve ever known,” said Zona. “We as fans have waited for this year from him. He’s waited for this year for 10 years.

“He’s had a nice career to this point, but not what so many thought it would be. A career of constantly being in contention to win AOY is what we all thought would happen, but it has not been that to this point. This year seems to be a year built for him. It seems like every place we’ve fished it’s been in his zone.”

Fishing time has been the key this year for Hackney.

“Time on the water is what Hackney needs to succeed,” said Zona. “The more time he is fishing tournaments the more special he becomes. When he spends too much time at his hunting cabin he gets rusty. Just look at his performances at the Classic. When he has a lot of time off, he just doesn’t perform as well. When he is tuned into fishing, he is one of the best in the country.

“I know we as media are supposed to be unbiased when we cover the sport. Hackney is a special talent. A rare talent. I believe this could be his year. He is who he is. No BS, he deserves this.”

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