John's Journal...


Bet on Creature Baits

EDITOR’S NOTE: Winning $65,000 and the title that went with it, Angler-of-the-Year on the Forest L. Woods (FLW) tour, prove that Greg Hackney knows how to catch bass. One of the newest members of the Strike King Pro Staff, Hackney from Gonzalez, Louisiana, has been fishing professional tournament circuits for 5 years. However, he’s been competing in bass-fishing tournaments since he was only 11-years old. Hackney is the number-two pro in the nation according to This week he’ll tell us how to catch bass during March.

QUESTION: What other technique have you found to be highly-effective this month?

Click to enlargeHACKNEY: March is the month I fish creature baits. I like the Strike King’s Tube Lizard, the Wild Thang and the Zero as creature baits. I don’t think they look like anything that a bass eats.

QUESTION: How do you fish the Lizard and the Wild Thang?

HACKNEY: I fish them basically in the same way and in the same places I fish the tube. If I see a big bass on the bed, I usually prefer the Wild Thang to the tube because it’s more-bulky, and the bass thinks he’ll get a bigger meal if he eats this bait. I don’t know what the bass thinks of the Wild Thang. I’ve learned that big bass will attack big baits quicker and more-aggressively than they will small baits.

QUESTION: How and when are you moving the bait?

HACKNEY: I’ve learned that the dirtier the water, the more I move the bait. I’m a crawler, not a hopper or a jumper. By that, I mean I drag the bait across the bottom as if it’s crawling rather than hopping or jumping.

Click to enlargeQUESTION: You also said you fish the Zero at this time of the year. How and where are you fishing it?

HACKNEY: I fish the Zero primarily on a No. 4/0 hook. On the other hand, if I want the bait to fall a bit faster, I put it on a No. 5/0 hook. I only fish the Zero on fluorocarbon line, which is 14- to 20-pound-test line. I cast the Zero out to the spot that I think the bass are holding. I let the bait fall and just lay on the bottom. I think at this time of year the bass may be guarding fry or sitting on the nest. I’ve learned that when you’re fishing Strike King’s Zero the bass are usually going to bite the bait when it’s falling, or they’ll pick it up off the bottom as soon as it falls. I may reel the Zero in and cast it a second time to a spot where I think the bass are holding. I’ve learned over the years that if the bass really wants the bait, he’s usually going to take it before it gets to the bottom, or as soon as it reaches the bottom on that first drop. Once again, I don’t know why they bite this way. I can just tell you what my experience has been with fishing the Zero.

QUESTION: Most anglers don’t like to dead-stick baits. They feel if they’re not moving, twitching or shaking baits, the bass won’t bite. How did you learn to leave the bait lying perfectly still on the bottom for so long?

Click to enlargeHACKNEY: I’ve learned this technique from fishing a lot and watching how bass react to a bait. I’m kind of self-taught in this technique because at home I may spend all day long fishing for one or two bass. When you spend that much time trying to catch an individual bass, you learn an awful lot about the fish and how they react to a lure. Although I’ve read about sight-fishing and dead-sticking bait in magazines, I don’t know and haven’t fished with any other anglers who use this technique. However I tried it and became self-taught. As I’ve said before, every bass is different. Sometimes, when you leave bait lying still on the bottom, some bass will eat the bait, and other bass won’t. I’ve seen a lot of bass eat bait like the Zero that’s been lying on the bottom for more than 1 minute.


Check back each day this week for more about GREG HACKNEY ON BASSING

Day 1: Smoke the Black Buzzbait
Day 2: Figuring Out Tube Bass
Day 3: Bet on Creature Baits
Day 4: When Minus Is A Plus
Day 5: Wanted – Big Bass Only



Entry 342, Day 3