Editor’s Note: If anyone knows how to fish the Louisiana Delta, it will be Strike King Professional Greg Hackney of Gonzales, Louisiana. You may think that puts all the odds in his favor, and it would, if he weren’t fishing against the best bass fishermen in the world in the biggest bass tournament in the world. This year, the Bassmaster Classic will be held February18-20 in the Louisiana Delta. Inquiring minds want to know how Hackney will fish, and what lures he thinks will be required to win the Classic.
Part 1: Greg Hackney Explains that Weather More Than Any Other Factor May Determine the 2011 Bassmaster Champion
Question: Most people know that the 2011 Bassmaster Classic will be held in your backyard –the Louisiana Delta. Before we know anything about the water, the weather or the fishing conditions that you’ll have to face, what’s your game plan?
Hackney: In this year’s Bassmaster Classic, I’ve got three-different areas I plan to fish where I believe the Classic can be won. I’ve spent plenty of time pre-fishing those spots to learn how to get around and become familiar with them. I can’t make a decision on which place I’ll fish, until I see what the weather will be during the tournament. Weather will play a major role in producing a Classic winner at this event. The weather and how the fishermen adapt to the weather will be the major elements in deciding the 2011 Classic champion.
Last year, the Classic was held on Lay Lake in Birmingham, Alabama, and on a lake like that, a cold front wouldn’t have nearly as much effect on the bass as it would on the bass in the Delta. A cold front can completely destroy fishing certain sections on the Delta, while improving other parts of the lake. I’ll have to wait until the practice days and possibly the first day of competition before I know where I’ll fish. I have two primary regions and a back-up one. Now, the weather isn’t the only factor that will help to determine the Classic winner. The Mississippi River also will play an important role. We may have ideal weather for the Classic, and then the Mississippi River may do something bad. The water in the Delta comes from the Mississippi River, so whatever affects the Mississippi River also will affect the Louisiana Delta.
Question: What’s an example of the Mississippi River doing something bad?
Hackney: The Mississippi River may flood, we may have 80-degree temperatures down in the Delta, and the Mississippi River may flush extremely-cold water into the Delta water we’ll be fishing. Remember that much of the water that comes into the Mississippi comes from northern states like Minnesota, and it will surprise me if the water temperature in the Mississippi River is higher than 40 degrees. Just because we have warm, pretty, beautiful weather for the Classic doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll have warm, pretty, beautiful water on the Delta. The opposite scenario also can be true.
We may have cold, nasty weather in New Orleans, and the northern states upriver may have really-warm weather, producing warm water with cold air temperatures in the Delta. You’ll see a lot of variables in this year’s Classic that you normally don’t see when the Classic is held on an impoundment. The Delta encompasses a large region. The Atchafalaya River and the Mississippi River flow into the Louisiana Delta, and we have more than 300 miles of water to fish there.
Question: If you had to pick one lure that you believe will be a key lure to win in the Classic, what lure will it be?
Hackney: My No. 1 lure will be Strike King’s Hack Attack Jig, because it not only catches bass, but it catches more quality (bigger) bass than other lures. Bigger bass is what’s required to win the Classic. I don’t think getting bites will be a problem in this year’s Classic, but all the contestants will be looking for bigger bass. The fishing is so good in the Delta right now that I won’t be surprised if every angler catches his limit every day. A limit of big bass every day will win the prize.
Question: What weight of a five-bass limit do you believe will be required to win the Classic?
Hackney: If 15 pounds of bass each day wins the Classic, you’ll know that we have bad fishing conditions. If we have good fishing conditions, an angler may have to catch 22 pounds of bass each day to win the Classic. The time’s really too far out right now here in mid-January to take an educated guess on how many pounds of bass will win the Classic. The Delta has the size of bass right now that if all the conditions are right, you may have to bring-in a 20-pound stringer every day to win.
Question: If you only can take one color and one trailer of the Hack Attack Jig, which will you use?
Hackney: I’ll take a sexy-craw-colored jig with a double-header colored chunk as a trailer. I’d be fishing heavy cover, grass and wood.
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