How Hackney Fished at Chickamauga
Greg "the Hack Attack" Hackney finished 6th at the previous Bassmaster Elite Series event, at Chickamauga Lake in Tennessee, which just happened to be his sixth top 10 finish this year across the Elite Series and FLW Tour – and was just after his win at the Pickwick FLW.
In other words, Greg's having a heck of a year and is putting tournament-tested Strike King baits to good use. Here's how he used them at Chickmauga:
"Basically I was running down the lake [in practice] and everybody was on all the ledges," he said. "They seemed to be covered up – all the deeper, more textbook stuff.
"I got to idling over some bars and found some hydrilla. Right on the bank of the river, on the inside, there was lots of grass. It was all main-river grass, and all current-oriented.
"I was fishing up on top and not getting bit, but I finally figured out that the fish were in ditches with grass," he said. "The bottom of the ditches had the best vegetation. On cloudy, windy, rainy days, some fish were on the inside grassline, but when there was less flow and more sunshine, they were in the heavier vegetation in the middle of the drain."
Day 1 of the tournament, when it was cloudy and a lot of water was pulled, his bass were as shallow as 3 feet. But the rest of the time his fish were in 5-7 feet.
"The first day you could catch them on anything you threw," he said. "It was cloudy, windy, rainy, the water was clear, they ran a lot of water – it was the picture-perfect day.
"I started in my primary area, and caught 15 to 17 lbs in the first 90 minutes. I spent the rest of the day practicing – it was the perfect day for it. I just expanded on my area and found a lot of little wads of fish, never any big schools.
"Those little ditches had little clusters of bass," he said. "I'd catch 4-5 fish out of this ditch, 4-5 out of that one. The rest of the tournament I rotated through those areas."
Day 1 his main bait was a 1/2-oz Strike King Pure Poison swim-jig (green pumpkin) with a Strike King KVD Swim'n Caffeine Shad (double header). [Note: Greg apparently has a stash of some colors that are no longer produced! But you can get close with current-production colors.] "I was just winding it, fishing it over that grass, letting the bait come downstream." He also swam a jig and fished a topwater.
Day 2 the conditions changed – clouds, little wind and rain, no current. "The bite really changed," Greg said.
His key fish came swimming a 1/2-oz Hack Attack Heavy Cover Swim Jig with a Swim'n Caffeine Shad (same colors). "The fish wanted something subtler, so I was slow-rolling it in the grass, in 4-7 feet," he said. He caught two 6 lb 12 oz fish that day.
Day 3 the conditions changed again: no current, bluebird sky, sunny and slick. Greg said he "really struggled."
"I had to mix it up – I caught a dropshot fish, one swimming a jig, and the rest of them on a 1.5 [KVD squarebill crankbait] in green gizzard shad."
Day 4 looked like day 3. Greg said the river "looked like a trout stream. I just couldn't make 'em bite. They'd chase a jig around in the grass and wouldn't bite it. It was weird."
Once again he had to use a variety of baits. After losing a 5-lber on a Pure Poison, he caught a 2-lber dropshotting, boated three fish on the KVD 1.5 and two on a 1/2-oz Denny Brauer Structure Jig (green pumpkin) with a Rage Craw (double header).
"My main goal there was to draw a check and roll home," he said. "I'd just come off a win at Pickwick, and was really relaxed. I wasn't in a 'I don't care' mode, but in a way I was. I think you fish real clean when you're like that, and I did. I fished clean, was laid back and never really got caught up in anything.