John's Journal...

How I Plan to Fish the 2008 Bassmaster Classic with Greg Hackney

What This Win Will Mean to Me

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: The 2008 Bassmaster Classic will be Strike King Pro Team Member Greg Hackney’s sixth consecutive Classic. Hackney of Gonzales, Louisiana, has been one of the most-consistent tournament pros on the circuit. This week, he’ll tell us how he plans to fish the 2008 Classic.

Question: Greg, what would it mean to you to win this year’s Classic?
Hackney: You can’t put it in words. That’s like being a major league pitcher and winning a game in the World Series. There are no words that can describe that feeling or emotion. I didn’t really know what it would feel like or what it would mean to me until I’d done it. I knew I wanted to win, but I didn’t realize how bad until I won. Now that I’ve won one tournament, I want to win them all. I get a hollow feeling when I don’t win. I want to win a Classic, but I really don’t know how I’ll feel when I do. For me, winning the Classic will be even more extreme than going to a foreign country or having an out-of-body experience.

Question: Greg, most people believe that two or three decisionsClick to enlarge made during the Classic usually produce either the winner or the loser. How will you make those decisions to win it?
Hackney: One of the things I’ll do at this year’s Classic different from any other Classic is I’ll fish it like it’s any other tour event and not the Classic. In the past, I’ve had a tendency to try some off-the-wall tactic or oddball technique to try to win the Classic. For some reason, I’m never satisfied with the fish I’m catching in the Classic. I always feel like there are better fish around the corner or bigger fish up another creek, rather than staying with my strengths and trying to catch the fish I have the opportunity to catch. I’ve looked back over the Classics I’ve fished like this and I’ve realized that if I’d slowed down and fished for the fish I could catch and stayed with the tactics that were producing bass for me, I would have had a much better chance of winning, or I would have finished higher in the rankings than I did. However, in the last two Classics, I’ve gone into the competition with the same mindset I’m going into this one with, and I’ve run off on some type of tangent instead of catching the fish I could catch.

Click to enlargeLast year is a classic example. On the second day of the tournament, I went out, and in 45 minutes, I’d caught a limit of bass almost as big as I’d caught the first day. Instead of staying with that school of fish and trying to cull-up, I decided to try to catch a lunker. I ran all over the lake and didn’t catch a lunker. If I’d stayed with the fish I had, I could have culled-up and had a chance of winning the Classic. Then, if I thought I really needed a big fish to win the tournament, I could have gone after it the last day. I swung myself right out of a chance to win on the second day. After that second day, the weights the bass fishermen were bringing in dropped dramatically and I didn’t make the cut. If I’d just stayed with my group of fish and culled-up, I would have made the cut the second day. And, if I’d returned to those same fish the third day, with the other weights dropping as dramatically as they did, I could have either won the tournament or been in the top 10. I pulled the trigger too quick on trying to be a hero and win the Classic.

Click to enlargeI’m bad about trying to force the issue and swinging for the fence before I get the right pitch. I want to hit the homerun, but I’ve got to be smart enough to wait until I see that homerun pitch. For the last 2 years, the Classic has been my first tournament after a layoff, which was a mistake. The more tournaments I fish, the better fisherman I am. So, this year, I’m fishing a FLW tournament 2 weeks before the Classic, giving me the chance to fish a tournament and get tuned-up just before the Classic. I need to be in more of a tournament-fishing mode instead of having laid off for a couple of months. Fishing a tournament just before the Classic helps get all your systems working and get in the right mindset – a tournament mindset. This year, BASS took off the four major tournaments we fished last year. So, if I just fished BASS tournaments, I’d only be fishing 12 tournaments a year, and that’s not enough to keep me as sharp as I want to be. I’ll be fishing the FLW and the BASS circuits this year, which will give me 19 major tournaments instead of 12. That’s about all the tournaments my wife will let me fish. I plan to fish as many days as I can until I leave for the Classic. I want to give myself every chance I can to win the Classic this year.

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Check back each day this week for more about "How I Plan to Fish the 2008 Bassmaster Classic with Greg Hackney"

Day 1: Why I Think I’m Consistently in the Classic
Day 2: My Classic Baits
Day 3: Please Lord, Give Me the Worst Weather You’ve Got
Day 4: America is One Big Bass Lake
Day 5: What This Win Will Mean to Me


Entry 442, Day 5