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Hackney Knows He Has to Spin to Win

August 24, 2017 12:00:00 AM EDT

 Lake St. Clair is one of America’s all time greatest smallmouth fisheries. But when the Bassmaster Elite Series visited the Detroit area fishery in 2013, Greg Hackney chose to fish for largemouth based on the fact smallmouth looked more like retired Pistons point guard Isaiah Thomas than current Lions left tackle Greg Robinson.

 “I don’t know what the deal was on St. Clair four years ago, but the smallmouth looked sickly, like they were starving. You’d catch a fish that should have weighed 4-pounds and he’d only weigh 3-pounds,” remembers Hackney.

 “After a couple days of practice, I finally stumbled into some healthy largemouth and decided I had a better chance to do well catching those than skinny smallmouth, so I pitched a Strike King Menace around on a ¾ ounce Texas rig and caught enough largemouth to finish 18th,” he recalls.

 “But that ain’t the case this week – these Smallmouth are healthy right now – and I’ll be fishing for them exclusively with spinning tackle,” confirmed Hackney before Day 1 launch at the Advanced Auto Parts Bassmaster Elite on Lake St. Clair.

 While he may be fishing finesse techniques this week, it won’t be with undersized spinning reels. Hackney is religious about his love of larger spinning reels – and for good reason.

 “A lot of people buy size 25 and 30 spinning reels for bass fishing, but I use a size 40 Speed Freak from Quantum because it holds more line, and leads to far less twists and tangles than a smaller spinning reel – especially if I’m using straight fluorocarbon line with no braided line,” explains Hackney.

 “Like most guys, more times than not, I’ll use braid with a 7 to 8 foot long fluorocarbon leader on my spinning reels, because braid doesn’t twist nearly as bad, especially when you’re fishing a nose-hooked drop shot bait that’s spinning downward with each vertical drop you make,” he explains.

 “But no matter what line you use, a bigger spinning reel just offers you better line management, and faster line pick-up. With that 6.2:1 gear ratio, you’re picking up about 39-inches of line with every turn of the handle,” he explains.

Known as a gritty shallow water stick, the Louisiana pro admits his favorite two ways to catch a bass are top water froggin’ and pitching to heavy cover, but what you love, verses what pays the bills are two very different things.

 “That’s the life of an Elite Series pro, if you’re not willing and able to be versatile out here, this bunch of anglers will eat you alive. And if you can’t fish all the different techniques, you’ll starve,” concludes the highly accomplished Hackney. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted By Lisa Adams

The Tour™ PT Rod with Greg Hackney

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Posted By Lisa Adams

Hackney Wins 2016 Elite Series on Lake Texoma

June 12, 2016 12:00:00 AM EDT

 

You're looking at Quantum pro Greg Hackney and his winning fish Sunday afternoon at BASSfest on Lake Texoma. Hackney used brand new Smoke HD reels all week to pitch heavy jigs to flooded bushes.

 

 

 

Alan McGuckin

 

Posted By Lisa Adams

Greg Hackney does things his own way. But the bearded Louisiana pro’s willingness to change when bass fishing conditions dictate a detour is what makes him one of the most accomplished pros in the sport’s history.

 “You see that pile right there?” Hackney asked with a grin. “All that killin’ took place with a baitcasting rod here on Lake Norfork – but tomorrow we head to Bull Shoals – and it’ll be a completely different set of rods and reels,” added Hackney, as his steely eyes stared down at a heap of orange-dyed Strike King Rodents he’d just used to notch another Top 10 place in the standings.

 While most pros talked about the difficulty of this first-ever Bassmaster Elite Series event featuring two different lakes stuffed into one tournament, Hackney seemed to grin and embrace it – including his willingness to make wholesale changes in rods and reels.

The heavy baitcasting rods Hackney used on Day One at Norfork will largely be stowed away as Hackney battles Bull Shoals.

Spinning rods and reels will dominate the deck of his Phoenix boat. But not the bitty-sized spinning reels used by rainbow and brown trout anglers on the White River below Bull Shoals Dam.

Nope, Hackney goes big when it comes to spinning reels, typically size 40 and 50, and he can’t emphasize the importance of using large-spooled spinning reels enough. In fact, he credited large spooled reels for having a large hand in his 2014 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.

“I see a lot of anglers using way smaller spinning reels than they should be,” warns Hackney. “Back in the day, spinning reels were heavy, but now the size 40 Quantum Smoke only weighs 10 ounces, and its got such a big spool that line doesn’t twist on it like spinning reels used to be famous for – especially fluorocarbon.”

“If people will upgrade to a size 40 or 50 spinning reel, I’ll promise you they’ll grow to love fishing with spinning tackle a whole lot more,” promises Hackney. “Ask VanDam, he’ll tell you the same thing, he uses the 40 and 50 sizes too.”

But what about the tiny orange rings on the carpet of his boat’s front deck following weigh-in at Norfork? “I dipped everyone of those green pumpkin Strike King Rodents and tubes in orange die to make it look more like the orange pinchers of a crawfish,” he explained.

“You do what it takes to get a bite – you know what I’m sayin’?” asked Hackney.

Absolutely. And few are better at adapting to get a bass to bite than you, Greg Hackney. 

Alan McGuckin

 

Posted By Lisa Adams

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Quantum’s TourMg magnesium reel is the brand’s lightest reel ever for under $300, but its little 5.4-ounce body was hugely instrumental to Casey Ashley reeling in 50 pounds of bass, the 35-pound Bassmaster Classic trophy, and $300,000.

“The school of fish that I won on at Hartwell were really skittish, and if I got the boat too close to them, or over top of them, they wouldn’t bite,” explained Ashley. “So I had to make extremely long casts to catch them, and that’s why a super-high quality reel that’s so light and smooth-casting like our TourMg was critical.”

Not only were the fish shy, but they were also extremely deep, cold, and slow to react in Hartwell’s frigid waters. “My winning lure was a 3/8-ounce homemade horsehead spinner that my dad made.Quantum EXO I was barely creeping it along the bottom on 10-pound line in 40’ of water with the 6.3:1 TourMg on a real sensitive 7’ medium action Smoke rod. And at times, I’d use a 5.3:1 EXO reel. I used slower gear ratios to help me retrieve it as slow as possible,” explained Ashley.

Casey’s newest Quantum team member, Bassmaster Rookie of the Year, Jacob Powroznik, finished 5th and actually warned of the Tour Mg’s potential goodness the week before the Classic started. “It’s going be super cold, so we’ll be wearing a ton of clothes, which makes you appreciate holding a reel all day that only weighs 5.4 ounces and casts like a bullet,” said “J Proz”.

Quantum EXOThere’s nothing cold about Quantum in recent months. Greg Hackney was quick to credit the advantage of fishing with oversized EXO 200 and 300 reels in the wake of earning his current Bassmaster Angler of the Year crown, factor in Powroznik’s Rookie of the Year title, and Casey Ashley’s Classic win, and there’s no arguing Quantum is home to fishing’s hottest brand of high-quality rods and reels.

Posted By TJ Gamble

Hackney Chooses KVD as His Dinner Guest

March 20, 2015 3:54:23 PM EDT

Greg Hackney won the 2014 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title and could have asked just about any nine people in the universe to be his guests at a round banquet table for 10 at the Bassmaster Classic’s annual Night of Champions celebration Wednesday night.

Hackney chose to invite Kevin and Sherry VanDam as his very special guests.

In some ways it seems curious that Hackney would choose to fill the privileged seats with a fellow competitor just a handful of birthdays older than himself, but for Hackney the decision was actually very logical.

“Are you kidding me, Kevin’s my hero, man!” exclaimed Hackney when asked about his decision. “Kevin was a guy I looked up to before I turned pro in 2001, but when I started fishing against him, I really, really, became impressed by him. He’s done things in this sport, that to me, shouldn’t be humanly possible.”

“Trip Weldon probably put it best at the pre-Classic angler meeting yesterday,” explained Hackney. “Trip pointed to the Classic trophy and joked that there was no way Kevin was going to win this one. Point is, there’s never been an angler in history that was a legitimate threat to win every Classic he qualified for.”

The fact that VanDam did not qualify for what would have been a mind-bending 25th straight Classic is the only reason he’s not a threat to with this one.

Still, in typical VanDam fashion, he’s carried himself with tremendous class and personal character in Greenville this week, and expressed genuine humility over Hackney’s decision to ask he and Sherry to be special guests at his table.

“I was super humbled when he asked me,” said VanDam. “I’ve known Greg a long time. We’ve hunted whitetails together. We work closely with Quantum and Strike King together, and honestly we’re both a lot alike. We both share an extreme passion for both hunting and fishing.”

“When I think of Hackney, I think of a guy who is extremely instinctive,” continued VanDam. “He has a gift for knowing what to do to catch the next bass or fool a whitetail. He does things his own way. He’s a ‘my way or the highway’ kinda guy. And his way is obviously pretty solid,” punctuated VanDam.

“When B.A.S.S. asked me who I wanted at my table, I couldn’t think of a better person than Kevin to sit beside me,” said Hackney. “He’s my hero, but he’s also a great friend too. And honestly, based on what Kevin has done in this sport, he kinda stands alone.”

VanDam stands alone indeed. But Wednesday night in Greenville he had a very special seat.

Posted By TJ Gamble

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