by Kevin Short
Before I weigh-in on this and you think Iâ€™m hating on some Greg Hackney, let me tell you this: Iâ€™ve known Greg a lot longer than the majority of you guys reading these words. Long before The Hack Attack was born, there was a baby-faced, big-headed punk from Star City, AR running a well-used Javelin 389T fishing the Red Man derbies and the Dumas Bass Club tournaments.
I know Greg. Iâ€™ve watched him grow up over the past 20 years in the fishing industry.
I wouldnâ€™t consider Greg and I to be close buds, but I know that he’s a stand-up guy. A guy who does it by the rules. Doesnâ€™t skirt around grey areas to gain an advantage. Heâ€™s old-school and would rather beat you by just catching more bass.
So after saying that, except for the great ideas on revamping some of the rules process at the bottom of his piece on Bassmaster.com, it should have been 24 words long. It should have read: â€œI made the mistake of not knowing the off-limits areas on Cayuga and I fished in one. Itâ€™s my bad and I own it.â€
Iâ€™m going to go all Harold Sharp on you now. For those who donâ€™t know, the late Mr. Sharp was the first B.A.S.S. tournament director. He and The Bass Boss, Ray Scott, are responsible for many of the rules that we have in place at B.A.S.S., and almost every other tournament trail. Mr. Sharp was a stickler for the rules. So, going all Sharp on you, the second paragraph of C1. in the Elite Series Rules clearly states:
> Elite Series Pros are required to police themselves each competition day and must sign a Rules Adherence Form. If a pro has a concern regarding his catch or knowledge of possible violations by another competitor, he should not sign off on rules adherence. Instead, he should weigh his fish, and consult with rules officials immediately after weigh-in.
Every competitor must know the rules. This would include any off-limits areas. Did any other competitor have issues with an off-limits area on Cayuga? Anyone? Hello?
Must not have been that hard to read the maps that were handed out.
The â€œother anglerâ€ who saw Greg fishing in the OL area was under NO OBLIGATION to tell Greg before he went in the area. Read the rule above. Read it again. He did exactly what he was required to do. For anyone to say they lost respect for someone because they didnâ€™t stop Greg and tell him, I would say they didnâ€™t respect the person in the first place.
First and foremost, the burden of knowing the rules falls on EACH ANGLER. Camera-boat dudes donâ€™t necessarily know the rules. Marshals arenâ€™t required to enforce the rules (which is a flaw in the system). EACH ANGLER is â€œ…required to police themselves each competition day….â€ To try to shift blame for this mistake to anyone other than Greg is just wrong. He owns this one. Period.
Does the punishment fit the crime in this instance? Thatâ€™s debatable. Was there a better way to sanction Greg? Possibly.
Hereâ€™s a question: If Greg thought the punishment was too harsh, why didnâ€™t he appeal the decision? He had 7 days from the time of the decision to do so, yet he didnâ€™t. Again, Greg owns this one, people. I love him and think heâ€™s a great guy, great father and great angler, but he just flat-out screwed up.
After Greg gets past his pity party, he makes some fantastic points regarding rules infractions, committee decision-making and public disclosure of details on rules violations. Good stuff. Some of it definitely needs to be discussed further and considered by those in charge who dispense judgment on rules violations.
All this is needed to help further the sport. Like Iâ€™ve said before, go look at a rules book for MLB, then look at the Elite Series rules booklet. Get back to me and tell me why MLB is a true professional sport and weâ€™re still considered by the public as one step above Bubba with a 6-pack.
For all the Hack Homers out there, never fear. The punk from Star City will rise above this and be bigger than life. Heâ€™s the kind of guy that this incident could absolutely piss off to the point that he just goes on a bass -atching rampage the last few derbies of the year. When he does, it will be a great story and I look forward to following it.