HUDDLESTON, Va. — Entering Saturday's third round of the Evan Williams Bourbon Blue Ridge Brawl, Greg Hackney said his goal was simply to fish his way into final round. Then he would worry about Sunday on Sunday.
Consider the first goal attained.
Hackney, of Gonzales, La., caught the day's second-biggest stringer, 16 pounds, 7 ounces, to move into eighth place with a three-day total of 46-1.
"Going in, I felt like I probably needed 17 or 18 [pounds] to make the top 12," he said. "But it looks like a bunch of guys fell off a little bit today."
Hackney opened the tournament with a 15-13 stringer on Day One and followed it with a 13-13 on Friday.
But after two days of sight fishing for spawning bass on beds, Hackney said he was ready to go fishing.
"I'd rather fish," he said. "I'd been looking at them for two days, and I was sick of that. Plus, I didn't have any to go to this morning. So this morning, I just picked an area where I seen a bunch of floaters, and then the conditions got right. I caught about 15 keepers, maybe."
Hackney added that he prefers blind fishing to looking for bass on the beds, if only for the surprise factor.
"The deal is, when you're fishing, you don't know how big the next one is going to be," he said. "When I'm throwing at a 3-pounder, when I catch that fish, it's a 3-pounder. When I'm fishing and I get a bite, it may be a 6-pounder.
"It keeps the anticipation a little higher for me when I'm fishing instead of sight fishing. I'm locked into fishing now. I've had it with sight fishing."
Hackney has made the top 12 in two of three Bassmaster Elite Series events this season, finishing third in the season-opening Duel in the Delta near Stockton, Calif. He also finished 16th in the Golden State Shootout at Lakeport, Calif., and entered this weekend's event second in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, trailing leader Skeet Reese by 37 points.
"This is probably the best start to a season for me since 2006," he said. "But fishing is a lot like a roller coaster. As fishermen, sometimes we know too much."