By Steve Graf
Over the years, Louisiana has put out some great high school football players who have gone on to professional football. Terry Bradshaw, Bert Jones, Stan Humphries, Joe Delaney, Mark Duper and Bobby Hebert, to name a few. These guys left their mark on the NFL and represented Louisiana in a big way. Well, in the bass fishing world, Louisiana has, and is still, sending guys to the highest level of professional bass fishing with the Bassmaster Elite Series. Today we’ll look at some past anglers, as well as those who are competing now.
First, let’s look at the history of those who set the standard for all Louisiana anglers. Louisiana’s only two Bassmaster Classic Champions are Jack Hains of Many, Louisiana, who won it on Currituck Sound in North Carolina in 1975, and Villis Bo Dowden of Natchitoches, Louisiana, who won the Classic on the St. Lawrence River in 1980. Both anglers set the bar extremely high for all the anglers that followed. Just like so many great fishermen from this region, they cut their teeth on Toledo Bend. The names of anglers who have come off Toledo Bend and made it to the professional level read like a Who’s Who of bass fishing.
But presently, probably the most famous Louisiana angler, and one of the most popular on the Bassmaster Elite Series today, is Greg Hackney of Gonzales. This guy has the reputation as one of the toughest anglers on tour and is considered one of the best power fishermen to ever hold a rod. If there’s a shallow bite going on, Greg Hackney will have a jig rod in his hand and will be a definite favorite to win. Greg continues his winning ways on tour and continues to strive for the one championship that has eluded him…the Bassmaster Classic. He’ll get another shot at a Classic win March 4th -6th on Lake Hartwell, which sits on the Georgia/South Carolina line. Hackney should be one of the favorites, as Lake Hartwell is known for being a shallow water fishery. Here are some facts about Greg….he’s been in the Classic 15 times, has won 6 B.A.S.S. events, has 59 Top 10 finishes, has been in the money 80% of the time, and has accumulated over $2.5 million in winnings over his career with B.A.S.S. All of Louisiana will be pulling for Greg as he competes in this year’s Classic.
Another Louisiana angler headed for this year’s Classic is Tyler Rivet of Raceland, Louisiana. If memory serves me right, Tyler is a product of the Nichols State University Fishing Program and is headed into his 5th season on the Elite Series. Tyler developed his skills fishing for redfish, speckled trout and largemouth bass in the marsh and canals of South Louisiana with his grandfather. Just like Greg Hackney, Tyler is also a shallow water expert who could be a threat to win the Classic.
Next week we’ll cover two more Louisiana anglers looking to make a name for themselves by winning the most prestigious bass tournament in the world…the Bassmaster Classic! Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!
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