Bass-Fishing Tactics with Greg Hackney
Fish Slow to Catch More Bass
Note: Greg Hackney of Gonzalez, Louisiana, one of the
hottest tournament fishermen on both pro circuits, has
finished in the top-10 in four tournaments with nine
more tournaments left to compete in this year. Hackney
won the Lake Sam Rayburn Bass Tournament, and so far
this year, he’s earned $192,000 on the Bassmaster
circuit and is ranked No. 1 statistically on www.bassfan.com
as of May, 2006.
Question: Greg, what are you doing that other fishermen
aren’t doing that helps you to perform so well?
Hackney: Well, I spend plenty of time on the water.
I’ve been on the water probably 250 days each
year for the last two to three years. When you spend
that much time on the water, you get in tune with the
fish. I know where the bass should be during their spawning
cycle, the type of water and weather conditions that
puts bass in certain places, and the color and kinds
of lures the bass should be hitting.
Question: How did you win the Lake Sam Rayburn Bass
Hackney: The bass had moved shallow into spawn a couple
of weeks before the tournament began.
However, the water was being pulled, and the water level
had dropped throughout the entire tournament. So, the
bass were trying to spawn, but they hadn’t finished
spawning yet. Normally, when the water’s being
pulled down, the bass will leave that shallow water
and move out to deeper water. However, the spawning
urge was so strong, and the female bass needed to spawn
so badly that they stayed in that shallow water. They
were a little harder to catch because they were trying
to spawn, and they didn’t have much water over
their heads. However, because I’m basically a
very-slow fisherman, I was able to stay with the bass
long enough to catch them. I was fishing a lot slower
than the other fishermen. When most anglers fish for
spawning bass, they sight-fish. However, the water was
stained at Rayburn, and you couldn’t see the bass
that were spawning. So, sight fishermen couldn’t
spot these fish to catch them. I was fishing in a bedding
area. Every fish I caught in the tournament had either
just finished spawning, was trying to spawn, or was
pre-spawning. I never caught a bass in water deeper
than 2 feet.
Question: On what did you catch your bass?
Hackney: I caught every fish I weighed in on a Strike
Question: How were you fishing it?
Hackney: I Texas-rigged that bait without a weight.
I was actually dead sticking the bait. I was fishing
with 20-pound-test Gamma Fluorocarbon line. There were
a lot of flooded bushes in the area where I was fishing,
but the better bass were holding on bigger wood like
willow or cypress trees. I did catch some bass off the
bushes, but I caught my best fish around the big wood.
Question: What color Strike King Zero were you using?
Hackney: I used green pumpkin and watermelon.
Question: How did you get the bait to the fish?
Hackney: I made long casts and stayed well away from
the cover I was trying to fish. When the Zero hit the
water, I didn’t do anything. I just let the bait
fall and lay on the bottom for maybe 20 to 30 seconds.
I’d make three or four casts to the same piece
of wood, and each time I wouldn’t give the bait
any action. I’d just let it fall, lay on the bottom,
and watch my line.
Question: How did you learn the dead-sticking tactic?
Hackney: I grew up fishing this way. I only use the
dead-stick tactic in the spring of the year. The real
trick to catching bass using the dead-stick tactic is
the longer you can let it sit on the bottom without
moving it, the better your chances are for catching
a bass. When that bait hits the water, the bass knows
that lure is there. When that bait just lays there and
doesn’t do anything, the bass get aggravated into
Question: How did you find the fish you caught?
In practice, I was using the swimming jig. Some of the
bass would take the swimming jig, but I had quite a
few bass that followed the jig and didn’t take
it. Therefore, I knew that the aggressive bass would
bite the swimming jig. There were other bass that were
non-aggressive that I couldn’t catch with the
swimming jig. I remembered the trees where I had bass
follow my swimming jig out but wouldn’t bite.
So, on the first day of the tournament, I went to those
trees and instead of fishing the swimming jig, I threw
the Zero to them. What I learned was that by fishing
the Strike King Zero, I could catch the bass that were
aggressive, but I could also catch the bass that weren’t
aggressive. Both the active and the inactive fish would
eat the Zero. I made the decision to fish the entire
tournament using the Zero because I could catch both
types of fish. The more I fished the Zero, the more
confidence I got in the bait. I stayed with that lure
throughout the entire tournament. Using the Zero, I
caught 35 keepers, and I threw back fish totaling 17
pounds. I kept the limit of fish that weighed 22 pounds.
The first day of the tournament was the best fishing
conditions, but the weather became colder and worse
after the first day. Therefore, there were more inactive
fish than there were active fish. Fishing slow with
the dead-stick tactic with a Strike King Zero kept getting
better and better.
Question: In your fishing, how much of the time are
you fishing slowly?
Hackney: I believe I spend 70 percent of my time fishing
slow tactics. I can fish wide-open, or I can fish dead
slow. I already knew how to fish slowly before I started
tournament fishing, so I had to teach myself to fish
fast. My technique of fishing is pretty much opposite
of everyone else’s. Most pro fishermen fish fast
and try to cover as much water as they can. But I never
fished that way until I became a pro.
Tomorrow: Finesse Fishing Pays