Hackney is AOY Champion at Last

2014 Toyota Bassmaster Anglerr of the Year, Greg Hackney  by 2014 Toyota Bassmaster Anglerr of the Year, Greg Hackney ...

Hackney is AOY champion at last

Mercury pro Greg Hackney has long been considered one of the top-tier bass pros, yet many felt he didn't live up to his potential. Sure, he took home and FLW Angler of the Year (AOY) and Forrest Wood Cup championship several years ago, but in the world of Bassmaster competition, Hackney has fallen a bit short with no Bassmaster Classic titles and no AOY under his belt. That all changed last Monday.

Greg Hackney is the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series AOY.

Pro Todd Faircloth made a valiant charge at Hackney during the AOY Championship event on Bays de Noc out of Escanaba, MI, but came up short.

Hackney didn't feel it.

"I never did get the feeling on the water that I'd won the AOY today," said Hackney. "Winning the AOY is a huge deal for me, for anybody fishing the Elites. The AOY is a list of the who's who in pro bass fishing. "

HackneyarticlejpgAlmost all the right moves for Hackney in 2014.

"When I got good fish on this year, I got them in," said Hackney. "I zigged when I needed to zig and I zagged when I needed to zag. "Every year there are four or five key fish in a season. This year I caught the majority of my key fish. I didn't get off to a great start, I got off to a comfortable start. I got into a groove and the fish seemed to come to me.

"I can't explain why I did so good this year. I wish I could. I never could take one deal from one tournament to the next. I needed to flip, crank, dropshot, and everything else this year. Maybe I did so well this year fishing because I hunted so much last season. I hunted deer so much they almost became an endangered species.

"It was an honor to be in the position to win this. The time off was killing me. I thought I was getting sick. I've never felt pressure like this. I was kind of an emotional wreck. I never knew how much I wanted to know what it felt like to win this. It's been a blessed year. I've had a blessed career."

Big fish left Faircloth.

"I struggled today," said Faircloth. "I went out this morning with high hopes. I was fishing a big flat on Thursday. This flat had hundreds of bass on it. Today, I didn't get a bite there. There was a quarter-mile stretch where I caught a fish on almost every cast. Three days off and the smallmouth bass evidently left."I ended up moving to a secondary spot today to catch what I could."

Faircloth okay with his season.

"I'd rather end a year I am in contention for the AOY fishing green fish," said Faircloth. "The smallmouth bass got me again. There are a couple of days this season I'd like to have back, but that happens most seasons.

"I don't look at the negative, I choose to look at the positives. I am at peace with the outcome."