ESCANABA, Mich. — Heavy winds and even heavier water conditions forced a second postponed day Saturday in Bassmaster AOY Championship on Little Bay de Noc on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
It means Gonzales touring pro Greg Hackney will one have less day to hold off challengers in his bid to win the Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year title.
Bass Anglers Sportsman Society tournament director Trip Weldon announced late Saturday that the tournament will be shortened from three days to two days in the $900,000 tournament. If weather conditions allow, the event will end Sunday.
If not, Monday will be the final day.
Hackney entered the tournament with a 15-point lead over defending AOY champ Aaron Martens and a 17-point lead over Texas pro Todd Faircloth.
Faircloth was 10th in the standings after Thursday’s first tournament day. He weighed in 20 pounds, 15 ounces. Hackney was 17th at 18 pounds even, while Martens held the 21st spot (17-6) in the 50-angler field.
Friday’s second round was postponed by 35 mph south winds and 5-foot waves, and Weldon said, “It’s at least as bad (Saturday), if not worse,” after a weather buoy was registering waves as high as 8 feet Saturday morning.
At stake is the AOY title and the $100,000 bonus that goes to its winner, and at least 28 of the 50 anglers are competing for berths in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic set February in Greenville, South Carolina.
Hackney and Pierre Part pro Cliff Crochet have secured Classic berths.
Hackney spent Saturday as the headliner in Bassmaster University, a series of seminars at the launch site.
Before taking to the platform, Hackney told B.A.S.S. staff writer Jim Sexton the postponements are unnerving.
“As anglers, we all get our heads prepared to fish a tournament day. We go through certain rituals early in the morning,” Hackney said. “These past two days I’ve had to go back to the hotel, close the door for an hour, be by myself and unwind.
“The past few weeks the pressure crushes me when I’m not fishing,” Hackney said. “When I’m on the water is the only time that soothes me. I want this (AOY) so bad.”
The final-day weigh-in can be seen on the B.A.S.S. website: www.bassmaster.com.