Hackney targeting ... smallmouth?

"I haven't caught a largemouth all week."

That was the surprise comment made to me yesterday by Greg Hackney.

"Smallmouth are the deal here on this river; the largemouth just don't reach that consistent 4-pound average you need here to make a 19- or 20-pound limit," Hackney said.

Well, sort of. You can sack a 20-pound limit of largemouth but not repeat it the next day.

Right now though, Hackney is fishing in a most unlikely area for smallmouth. According to Andy Crawford, who is with him now, Hackney is casting a jerkbait across the top of a shallow, grassy flat near the deeper shipping channel. In other words, this pattern would be ideal for largemouth fishing anywhere else.

The challenge ahead is what just about everyone else is fighting so far. That is finding schools of those 4-pounders in the deeper areas, where you can sack 20 pounds in no time.

Fishing through the numbers to get to the quality can be time consuming.

"I've caught probably 25 smallmouth, but not a big one," Hackney said. "It's fun but that's about it."

Well, sort of. What wasn't fun was the 5-pounder that Hackney said he lost at the boat.

BassTrakk shows Hackney in 20th place with 9 pounds, 8 ounces. He's already culled twice, and counting.

Should his success continue, it validates the presumption some of the smallmouth in the river are indeed in postspawn, gradually moving back out to the deeper river.