Many of you believe Greg Hackney already has everything he could want for Christmas. With $2 million in tournament prize money, a shirt full of sponsors and the 2011 Bassmaster Classic about to take place in his backyard, that's understandable.
But ask Hackney what he wants for Christmas, and you'll find his heart hopes for things that can't be bought ... but only experienced in the company of family and friends.
"One thing I'd like for Christmas is for my 7-year-old son to get over buck fever. He has no problem with the does, but when a big buck steps in front of him, he gets so nervous he can't hold steady enough to shoot.
I want him to be able to experience the thrill of taking a big buck," said Hackney, father of three, whose well-documented rescue mission of his father-in-law from decimated downtown New Orleans following Katrina still brings goose bumps to the skin. "And while we're talking whitetails, I'll admit that I'm hoping the lead deer on Santa's sleigh has over 160 inches of measurable antlers. I just shot a really good 154-inch buck with an awesome 22 1/2-inch inside spread. But I'm not done hunting, and I'm hoping for one bigger than that," laughed the shallow water guru.
Now, you might think an angler of Hackney's stature would get all the free rods, reels and lures his garage could hold. But it seems Quantum's new Smoke reels have yet to find their way from Tulsa to Hackney's southern Louisiana home. "I've been wanting a few of the new super lightweight Smoke 150-size reels from Quantum for months.
I've got one Smoke rod with the new Micro Guides but no Smoke reel. I think the problem is that Tommy Biffle lives too close to Quantum's offices in eastern Oklahoma, and he keeps stealing all the Smoke reels before the rest of us can get our hands on one," joked Hackney, a Quantum pro since 2005.
Finally, Hackney, whose mind is a tangled combination of rural simplicity, alternative rock and tournament fishing history, began to filter his Christmas wish list down to things that can't be shipped from sponsors.
"I want a large family gathering at Christmas. It's either going to be at our house or at my in-laws' house 50 minutes down the road. It's almost like a family reunion. I get to see people I haven't seen since last December. Mostly, I just hope everybody gets what they need for Christmas, because there are a ton of people who aren't nearly as blessed as we are."