Anglers react to Hackney's first-round DQ

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Steve Bowman

UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. — A strange pall hung over the takeoff for Friday’s second round of the Busch Beer Bassmaster Elite at Cayuga Lake, as anglers tried to come to grips with the stunning news about Louisiana pro Greg Hackney on Day 1.

Hackney caught 17 pounds, 8 ounces and finished Thursday’s first round in 36th place, but it was announced after the weigh-in that his catch had been disqualified for a rules violation. The Louisiana angler and leader of the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race for much of the season fished in a marina basin that had been previously identified as an off-limits area by tournament officials.

The disqualification of Hackney’s Day 1 weight dropped him from first place to fourth in the Angler of the Year standings and left him with a lot of ground to make up in a race he once seemed to own.

Many anglers stood in small groups on the dock quietly discussing the matter Friday morning, while others openly expressed respect and regret for Hackney.

“I hate it for Hackney, I really do,” said Brent Chapman, the 2012 Angler of the Year. “I feel terrible for him. But they had (the off-limits areas) posted and had it online. I took half an hour and went through the computer and marked everything on my GPS.

“I think I know where he was, and I clearly see how he wouldn’t have thought anything about fishing there. I’m glad I took that extra time, because it would be an easy mistake to make.”

Reason for the DQ

On New York’s glacier lakes, state law says all man-made marinas and boat basins are private property. There are 11 such areas on Cayuga Lake.

B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon said officials marked all of the areas on a map and then confirmed them with local law enforcement. Weldon said officials then took extra steps to make sure the anglers were aware of the off-limits areas.