Beginning Friday, Greg Hackney will compete in his 11th Bassmaster Classic, but he’s already landed a trophy largemouth that he’ll cherish the rest of his life.
At Wednesday evening’s Night of Champions banquet, held at the Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa, Hackney was totally surprised when Carhartt’s senior brand manager, Tim Humes, graciously presented him a replica mount of the 10-pound, 9-ounce largemouth Hackney caught last March. It was the single largest bass among all the Carhartt Big Bass entries during the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series season.
Ironically, Hackney caught the fish during the very first day of the very first Elite event of 2012, on the St. Johns River in Florida.
“It's such an incredibly nice mount, and, believe it or not, it’s the only nice piece of fish taxidermy I’ve ever owned. I was totally shocked when they rolled it out to present it to me,” said a truly appreciative Hackney, who reflected on Carhartt’s unmatched reputation among workers in the logging industry he was a part of, before turning full-time pro.
“When you’re in Florida, your thinking about your chance to catch a giant fish on every cast – every pitch – every flip,” reflected Hackney. “That fish bit a black/blue Strike King Rodent in a shallow hole of eel grass. I was using my signature series 7-11 Quantum flipping stick and 65-pound braided line on an EXO reel,” recalling details as though it was yesterday.
Carhartt is the title sponsor of the Bassmaster College Series, and awards a Carhartt Big Bass cash bonus to anglers at several levels of B.A.S.S. competition for wearing their durable apparel. Elite Series anglers like Hackney win $1,500 at each regular season Elite if they weigh in the Carhartt Big Bass of the tournament while wearing Carhartt clothing, and $2,500 at the Bassmaster Classic.
“I told one of my buddies that this replica fish mount is larger than the actual Classic trophy,” grinned Hackney. Wouldn’t it be neat if he hauled home that slightly 'smaller’ $500,000 trophy from Tulsa too this week?