Louisiana has something it has never had before: A Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Louisiana’s Greg Hackney, 41, of Gonzales outpracticed, outstrategized, outfished and ultimately outlasted the other 107 Bassmaster Elite Series anglers who started the season. Hackney lived for a short period of time in Oak Ridge, Louisiana, and worked in the timber industry.
The AOY title is no small accomplishment. Just to qualify to fish for the Elite Series, you have to be the equivalent of a Major League All-Star. Then you have to beat all the other All-Stars. It is the Master’s of Bass Fishing. Along with the sport’s most prestigious title and trophy, Hackney earns $100,000 as bass fishing’s best angler in 2014. The other 49 competitors earned shares of the rest of the $900,000 purse, based on their rankings in Angler of the Year points.
This was not Hackney’s first brush with the AOY title. In 2004, he finished second to Gerald Swindle as a rookie, earning Bassmaster Rookie of the Year honors in the process. He was also fifth in 2005 and eighth in 2010. He is the first Louisiana resident to win AOY, and the fourth angler to claim AOY honors with both B.A.S.S. and FLW (along with Denny Brauer, Kevin VanDam and Jay Yelas). A Bassmaster Classic victory would make Hackney the first angler in history to complete the Grand Slam of professional bass fishing — winning both AOY titles, the FLW Forrest Wood Cup (which he won in 2009) and the Classic.
The rest of the 2014 AOY Top 5 are Todd Faircloth, Jacob Powroznik, Aaron Martens and Mark Davis, respectively.