John's Journal...

How I Plan to Fish the 2008 Bassmaster Classic with Greg Hackney

Why I Think I’m Consistently in the Classic

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: The 2008 Bassmaster Classic will be Strike King Pro Team Member Greg Hackney’s sixth consecutive Classic. Hackney of Gonzales, Louisiana, has been one of the most-consistent tournament pros on the circuit. This week, he’ll tell us how he plans to fish the 2008 Classic.

Question: Greg, what are you doing to be such a consistent Classic participant? Six consecutive Classics is a great string for any tournament angler.
Hackney: Whatever bass I find in practice will be the fish I target in the tournament. I don’t gamble unless I feel I really have to but instead I try and fish the way I like to fish with the style and the lures I feel are my strengths. That’s what I’ll do at the Classic.

Click to enlargeQuestion: How do you like to fish, Greg?
Hackney: I’m best at fishing shoreline targets, like grass, wood or boat docks. Many times I’ll miss out on big schools of bass that often win tournaments. But I’ve found that by fishing targets, I’m more consistent. I’ll always start with visible targets on the shoreline because that’s how I grew up fishing,and it’s one of my strengths.

Question: So, you’re primarily a shoreline fisherman.
Hackney: No, not exactly. One of my strengths is fishing really deep with my electronics, because I grew up fishing offshore in saltwater. Your depth finder is your eyes under the water. I prefer to fish around the type of structure or the schools of fish I see on the depth finder, just like I did when I was a youngster fishing in the Gulf of Mexico for snapper and grouper. If I had to look at myself objectively, I’d say that my weakness is fishing ledges. When everyone else is catching bass using crankbaits on ledges, I’m not usually doing well. Click to enlarge

Question: This year the Classic will be held on Lake Hartwell in Greenville, South Carolina. What do you know about this lake?
Hackney: I know that it’s similar to Clarks Hill Reservoir. It’s deeper than Clarks Hill, but it has blue back herring, which is the bait that bass will eat. The lake homes both largemouth and spotted bass. Hartwell will fit all the contestants because bass will be caught in deep and shallow water there. I’ll probably start fishing shallow because that’s my strongest tactic followed by deep fishing.

Question: Did you pre-fish the lake?
Hackney: No, I didn’t. The first time I’ll be on the water is the week before the Classic when we have our official Classic 3-day practice.

Click to enlargeQuestion: Why didn’t you go to Lake Hartwell before it the cutoff?
Hackney: The three official practice days before the Classic will give me the best information on where I can fish, and how I should fish. I can’t go to a lake during pre-fishing time and not fish it. I probably could have learned the lake better if I’d gone to Hartwell before the official cutoff, ridden the lake and gotten familiar with it. But I know me. I couldn’t have gotten on that body of water without chunking and winding. And, if I’d fished the lake, whether it was conscious or subconscious, I would have put together a game plan that wouldn’t have had anything to do with the conditions during the tournament. In some of the first Classics, I tried to pre-fish before the cutoff, and I performed terribly. So, I’ve learned that my staying away from the water and deal with the conditions when I get there is better for me rather than trying to put together a game plan a month or more before the tournament.

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Tomorrow: My Classic Baits

Check back each day this week for more about "How I Plan to Fish the 2008 Bassmaster Classic with Greg Hackney"

Day 1: Why I Think I’m Consistently in the Classic
Day 2: My Classic Baits
Day 3: Please Lord, Give Me the Worst Weather You’ve Got
Day 4: America is One Big Bass Lake
Day 5: What This Win Will Mean to Me


Entry 442, Day 1