John's Journal...

How Bass Pro Greg Hackney Makes Winning Decisions

Fish Close or Run Far

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Each professional bass fisherman makes different decisions on how, what, where, and when to fish. Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, once said, “The person who makes the most right decisions in any bass tournament will win.” Strike King pro Greg Hackney of Gonzales, Louisiana, also has proven that he knows how to make right decisions in a bass tournament by becoming one of only two fishermen to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic and the FLW World Championship in the same year. Hackney will be fishing the 2009 Bassmasters Classic in February on Louisiana’s Red River. This week, Hackney will tell us how he makes fishing decisions on the water.

Question: Greg, one of the first decisions a fisherman has to make whClick to enlargeen he launches his boat is, should he fish close or make a long run? How do you make this decision?
Hackney: I always try to find bass close to the boat ramp on any lake I fish because I’d rather spend my day fishing and not running my boat up and down the lake. The more time I have to fish, the more bass I’ll catch. So, my number-one decision is to attemptto catch fish close to the boat ramp.

Too, I research the history of the lake on the Internet before I arrive there. I learn the weight I’ll need to catch to win a tournament on that lake, the area that produces the biggest bass and the nearest point from the launch site where the chances are best for catching the heaviest bag of bass. I don’t mind running 100 miles from the launch, if research dictates that’s where I’ll find better fishing. However, I won’t make that run unless I’m confident I won’t catch a winning bag of bass closer to the ramp. There’s not a spot too far for me to run to, if that location will present me with the best opportunity to catch bass to win.

Question: How close before have you fished to the launch ramp and won a tournament?
Hackney: I’ve found spots I could fish during a tournament where I was able to see the launchClick to enlarge ramp. All the other competitors raced past me looking for better places to fish. Many times fishing close to the boat ramp is the most-productive site to fish, because no one else wants to fish there, making it the area with the lightest fishing pressure.

Question: Greg, what’s the furthest you ever ran in a tournament?
Hackney: In the 2003 Bassmaster Classic, I ran 128 miles one way.Click to enlarge

Question: How much fishing time did that give you when you reached the spot you wanted to fish?
Hackney: I only had 4 hours of fishing time.

Question: Why did you make a run that big?
Hackney: The tournament was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the Louisiana Delta, and I decided the best place to fish was near Venice. I really felt that Venice was the spot where I could win the Classic based on water and weather conditions. I was right. Michael Iaconelli of Runnemede, New Jersey, won that Classic fishing near Venice.

Question: How close were you fishing to Iaconelli?
Hackney: I really wasn’t that close to him. I was about 15- to 20-miles away from him.

Tomorrow: When to Change Lures

Check back each day this week for more about "How Bass Pro Greg Hackney Makes Winning Decisions"

Day 1: Fish Close or Run Far
Day 2: When to Change Lures
Day 3: Know When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em
Day 4: Does the Weather Get Too Bad to Fish?
Day 5: Fourth and Forty: Being a Hero or a Goat


Entry 489, Day 1