John's Journal...

Bass-Fishing Tactics with Greg Hackney

Hop It If They Don’t Bite It Dragging

Click to enlarge Editor’s Note: Greg Hackney of Gonzalez, Louisiana, one of the hottest tournament fishermen on both pro circuits, has finished in the top-10 in four tournaments with nine more tournaments left to compete in this year. Hackney won the Lake Sam Rayburn Bass Tournament, and so far this year, he’s earned $192,000 on the Bassmaster circuit and is ranked No. 1 statistically on as of May, 2006.

Question: If you don’t catch the bass dragging it across the bottom, what do you do next?
Hackney: I hop the jig. Hopping the jig is entirely different from dragging it. To hop a jig, you have to really have the bass dialed in to one rock, one stick and one piece of cover. This technique also works if the bass are holding the edge of a ledge or beside a stump. But you need to know exactly where the bass are holding. I’ll cast the jig out, drag it right up to that stump, rock, log or ledge,Click to enlarge and snatch the jig as hard as I can straight up. Many times if I’ve caught a lot of bass dragging the jig, and they’ve stopped biting it with that type of presentation, I’ll hop the jig up off the bottom and get a reaction type strike. Using this technique, I’m showing the bass a totally-different-looking bait. This bait looks like a crawfish on steroids. I’m sure the bass thinks that when the jig hits the log, rock, stump or edge of the drop-off, that it goes nuts and jumps straight up. You have to remember that bass has been watching that jig crawling that same rock three, four or even five times. So when that jig jumps straight up in the water, the bass thinks it’s going to get away, and it will strike instinctively. I’ll hop the jig 2 or 3 feet off the bottom before I let it fall back on a slack line. And most of the time, the bass is going to strike as the jig is falling. When fish are really aggressive, you can just cast a Strike King jig out around them, and the bass will hit it. But once they quit biting, I have to show them something different. Jerking this jig up off the bottom and letting it fall back is an entirely-different presentation than those fish have seen before. Now if you have your Click to enlargebass “dialed-in” like we’ve talked about, and they stop hitting the jig when you drag it, then change to hopping the jig off the bottom at the spot where you’ve been catching the fish.

When the bass stop biting, then I throw the Strike King 3X Finesse Worm to that same spot. Most of the time, there are more bass holding on the spot than most anglers believe. To catch those additional fish you have to show them a different bait from the bait you’ve been fishing when they’ve bitten it. This is where slow fishing pays off. Most anglers will bump a rock, catch a bass or two, and leave that spot when the fish stopped biting. They would because they think they’ve caught all the fish that were holding there. However, I’ve learned that at this time of the year, if you catch one bass off Click to enlargedeep structure, there are probably several bass there. Instead of leaving that place, I’ll fish that same spot with a different lure and give the bait a different action. Or, I’ll fish the spot with the same lure and use a different type of retrieve. In my opinion, slow fishing means I’m trying to catch every fish that’s holding on a particular spot before I leave it and go look for another place to fish. The real secret of successful bass fishing is to:
* find where the bass are holding.
* catch bass off that spot.
* not leave, but instead change lures and tactics when the bass stop biting.
* not leave, but instead change lures and tactics when the bass stop biting.

This type of fishing requires a lot more patience and deliberate fishing skills than the run-and-gun tactic does. I’ve learned that I tend to catch more bass if I milk a spot for every fish that’s on it.

Tomorrow: Finally, Crank Them

Check back each day this week for more about " Bass-Fishing Tactics with Greg Hackney"

Day 1: Fish Slow to Catch More Bass
Day 2: Finesse Fishing Pays Off
Day 3: Drag a Jig, and Drag in Bass
Day 4: Hop It If They Don’t Bite It Dragging
Day 5: Finally, Crank Them


Entry 356, Day 4