We all know Greg Hackney won the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament at Cayuga Lake, N.Y. using his namesake Strike King Hack Attack Jig. But how exactly did he get on the jig bite and where he was he fishing? Read on.
Hackney said there was "grass everywhere" when he launched his boat for practice, so he "started out deep" – because when there's lots of grass, he likes to start on the outside edge.
"It's funny how practice goes," he said. "I had a few bites, but at the time [deeper] didn't seem that good. So I moved up shallow, and developed a pattern I thought would produce some big ones.
"I stayed on the grass. I did see a couple big fish on boat docks and hit waypoints when I saw them, but mostly just fished the outside or inside grassline."
On the outside grassline, he found one deep school – "on a long grassline [on a flat] that had a real steep drop that swung into it in 14-17 feet. That's where the fish were concentrated. I caught one deep, and when I reeled it up six or seven more fish were chasing it. I felt like it was a place I could catch a limit."
"The first day of the tournament, I started on the deep fish to try to catch a limit," he said. "I thought they were 3-pounders.
"I dropped a jig on them, had six bites but only caught three: two 4s and a 3 3/4. Then I left it, fished around there a little then went up shallow." He caught two big ones shallow and ended up with a high-teens sack.
"The second morning I went to the deep fish again, pulled up there and was a little more dialed in," he said. "This time I only had four bites, but they were all big: two 5s and two 4s.
"Once I saw the potential of that bite, that's all I did the rest of the day. I practiced, looking for more places like that – and shortly after that I caught a 3 3/4 deep.
"I ran to new water and culled a 4-pounder with a 5, which gave me at that time the biggest stringer of the tournament."
After that, "I pretty much got one-dimensional," he said. "On Day 3 I started in the same spot and had four bites, all big ones, but only caught three. Then I went to another [similar area] and caught another big one."
He only weighed four fish that day because he kept fishing for big bites instead of a keeper fish. The wind that day made deeper fishing tough, and he never got another bigger fish.
“On Day 4, the conditions were perfect," he said. After dialing in his deep pattern for 3 days of practice and 3 tournament days, things couldn't have gone better.
"On my first spot I had a limit that was more than enough to win. Then I started going to those other places and caught a big one on every spot. I just kept upgrading, and had the big stringer of the tournament" (23-15).
All his deep fish were caught on the Strike King Hack Attack Jig, both 1 and 1.25 ounce. "I fished the 1 ounce, then went to the 1.25 ounce to fish faster," he said: The bass would only hit it on the initial drop.
Early each morning, when it was still sort of dark, he fished with a candy craw-colored jig paired with a junebug Strike King Rage Tail Rage Craw. Once the sun came up, he switched to his main colors: a blue craw Hack Attack Jig with a green pumpkin sapphire Rage Craw.
"The water was so clear, once the sun got out I thought that [blue craw/green pumpkin sapphire] color combination really represented those yellow perch and bluegill," he explained.
His shallow-water bait, which he only used on Day 1, was a 1/2-ounce Strike King Rage Blade in green pumpkin. "I was fishing inside grasslines," he noted.
He flipped with a 7' 11" Quantum Greg Hackney Series Tour rod, Quantum EXO PT 100 reel and 50-pound Gamma braid.