Hackney starting over

Greg Hackney is far from a rookie on the St. Johns River. However, he said he found a waterway much changed since his last tournament out of Palatka, Fla.

“The last time I was here was 2016,” Hackney said. “But all of the vegetation is gone (this year). I mean, literally, all of it. It doesn’t look anything like it did.

“No eel grass. No dollar pads.”

That means his past history is useless.

“Where previously all the tournaments were won, those places don’t exist anymore,” Hackney explained. “I have been here four or five times, and I’ve fished the St. Johns basically the same way every time — but none of that exists.

“So it’s going to be a totally different deal for me. In a way it’s kind of confused me: I don’t know what lives here anymore. I don’t have any idea what to expect."