Greg Hackney Wins 2018 Sabine River Elite Series Wire-to-Wire

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2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Sabine River Winner – photo by Seigo Saito – Bassmaster

ORANGE, Texas — If the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River presented by Econo Lodge had been a five-day tournament, the outcome might have been different.

But it was only four days — and Greg Hackney owned it from start to finish.

Despite exhausting his best fishing areas the first three days and bringing in only 7 pounds, 5 ounces to the weigh-in stage on Championship Sunday, Hackney claimed his sixth career B.A.S.S. victory in wire-to-wire fashion with a four-day total of 48-5.

Hackney’s first win since 2016 earned him $100,000 and pushed his career winnings with B.A.S.S. to $2,415,784.

“If we’d had to fish another day, I probably would have hunted and gone to some new water,” Hackney said. “I really don’t think all of the fish were gone. But we had all of that rain Saturday, and my best place had a couple of drains running into it.

“The water wasn’t dirty, but the water temperature dropped to 80 degrees after being in the 90s the first three days.”

Hackney fished secluded canals and backwaters all week and relied heavily on two topwater presentations around shallow cover — a 1/4-ounce black Hack Attack Select ToadBuzz rigged with a black plastic toad (no skirt) and a KVD Sexy Frog Stump Jumper.

That drastic drop in the water temperature brought those tactics nearly to a halt today, and he had to switch to the technique he is most known for — flipping. When he flipped heavy cover, he used a Strike King Rage Bug in the Bama Craw color.

BASSTrakk, the unofficial leaderboard that fans can check on Bassmaster.com throughout the day, showed Hackney with only two fish several hours into the final round. But he said he always knew he could fill out his limit flipping — even if the fish he was catching with that technique were running much smaller than his topwater fish.

“I really was amped up a little bit today, and that’s why I got a lot quieter, said Hackney, laughing. “I always have a lot more to say when things are going right.

“But in the back of my mind, I knew I could pick up a flipping stick and catch a keeper anytime.”

His two best fish still came on the frog. But when he switched to flipping, he caught 10 keepers in 45 minutes.

“I probably should have done that sooner, but I just felt like I would have been punting,” he said. “Out of those 10 keepers I caught in the last 45 minutes flipping, they were all about 12 to 12 1/2 inches long.

“That’s why I won. When a lot of other guys were dialed into that this week, I was fishing for those bigger ones with the frog and the buzzbait.”

While some anglers ran as many as 300 miles a day roundtrip, Hackney fished close to the launch site at the City of Orange boat ramp. He said he only burned 11.6 gallons of gas all week.

Before the tournament, Hackney predicted it would take “48 pounds, about 12 pounds a day” to win. He’ll take home the giant blue Elite Series trophy after weighing in 48-5.

“I thought I had an opportunity to have a good tournament, but I didn’t know that I would have a shot to win,” he said. “I knew I was going to be around a lot of other guys, and it’s hard to win in a crowd.

“Catching that 5-14 on the first day got me off to a good start. Even if I hadn’t caught that fish — if I had just weighed in four that day — I would have still been leading going into today. But that fish helped me start just the way I needed to.”

Alabama pro Gerald Swindle finished second with 43-11, and Keith Poche, a Louisiana native who grew up fishing the Sabine River, placed third with 43-0.

Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., the 2012 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, retained the lead in his quest for a second AOY title. Chapman, who finished 37th at the Sabine River event, has 456 points. Bradley Roy of Lancaster, Ky., is second with 427, and Hackney, who was Angler of the Year in 2014, moved into third with 422 points.

Poche earned the Power-Pole Captain’s Cash Award of $1,000 for being the highest-placing angler who is registered and eligible and uses a client-approved product on his boat.

Brock Mosley was awarded $1,500 dollars as the winner of the Phoenix Boats Big Bass award. He had the largest bass of the tournament with a 6 pound, 3 ounce lunker on Day 2.

John Crews won the Toyota Bonus Bucks Award of $3,000 for being the highest-placing eligible entrant in the program. The second-highest-placing eligible entrant, Brandon Palaniuk, received $2,000.

2018 Bassmaster Elite At Sabine River Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2018 Bassmaster Elite At Sabine River Presenting Sponsor: Econo Lodge

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Academy Sports + Outdoors, Carhartt, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, T-H Marine

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Elite Partner: Black Velvet Canadian Whisky

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Series presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River presented by Econo Lodge 6/7-6/10
Sabine River , Orange TX.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 4

Place Name Total Weight Total Winnings ($)
1 Greg Hackney 48lb – 5oz $100,000
2 Gerald Swindle 43lb – 11oz $25,000
3 Keith Poche 43lb $21,000
4 Bradley Roy 41lb – 1oz $15,000
5 Jake Whitaker 40lb – 5oz $14,000
6 John Crews Jr 39lb – 11oz $13,500
7 Brandon Palaniuk 38lb – 1oz $13,000
8 Skeet Reese 37lb – 2oz $12,500
9 Shin Fukae 37lb – 1oz $12,000
10 Justin Lucas 36lb – 15oz $11,500
11 Steve Kennedy 35lb – 11oz $11,000
12 Brock Mosley 33lb – 6oz $12,000