February 08, 2013
Permitted use provided by: MajorLeagueFishing.com
During the Jack Link's Major League Fishing 2013 General Tire Summit Cup competition on western New York's beautiful Chautauqua Lake, the dock talk has been ... well, it's been about the docks and the bass that are biting around them on the 13,000-acre body of water.
So, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to say that the championship - being vied for by Denny Brauer, Greg Hackney, Jason Quinn, Shaw Grigsby, Jeff Kriet and Ish Monroe - will be won around a dock, right? Not so fast says Louisiana's Hackney.
"Each hole is different," said the always smiling Strike King pro. "I ended up fishing totally different in Sudden Death from the way I had fished in the Elimination round. I'm probably going to spend that 15 minutes riding around the hole and seeing what it has to offer."
Like most of the finalists, Hackney thinks that the shallow dock bite for largemouths will be important. But Hack Attack also is cognizant of the fact that some exploration and adaptation may be in order for whoever eventually wins the Summit Cup championship.
"It's the deepest of all of the holes," said Hackney, a three time winner on the B.A.S.S. tournament trail. "And that (water depth in the zone) really changed the way that I fished. So I expect it to be a little bit different in this zone.
"I think you can build off of previous rounds, but I think you're going to have to figure out a different twist in this hole."
Will that be the giant smallmouths that everybody has talked about during the event but few have actually targeted or found?
With a nearly 7-pound bronzeback bass to his credit during the tournament thus far, Hackney more than anyone else knows what these brown bass can do to the leader board. They can blow it up in short order.
"I think that there are a lot of them here," he said. "We just haven't had the opportunity to fish for them yet and I think that this might be the day. Because of the way that the hole is setting up, this may be the day that they play the biggest factor in the tournament."
That could be particularly true if the boat and dock traffic proves to be overwhelming and wipes out the shallow bite.
"Lots of boat traffic," Hackney heartily laughed, "you just (got to) deal with it."
If the gathering crowd on and around the lake isn't enough to cause more stress, then the bouncing real-time leader board could be just enough to cause the blood pressure to rise among the six finalists.
What is the remedy for that? Put the blinders on and go fish says Hackney.
"Because you're not trying to hit a certain weight (like in the Sudden Death rounds), you know, you just have to keep your head down," he said. "Even if you get behind, you don't really pay it any attention because you can hit the mother lode at any time and catch right back up.
Zone 2 (Championship Day 6)
Zone 2 is the premier bass area on Chautauqua Lake. Like zone 1, Zone 2 offers both shallow and deep water, with the deepest area of the lake off Lower Dewittville Bay. Some the finest lake front property is in Zone 2. For bass anglers, that means some great dock fishing action.
"It's not like somebody is going to go out ahead of you, so you don't have that part (to worry about). I mean, this tournament is going to go to the very last minute."
What the leader board does do for Hackney is to help him figure out what the other anglers are doing since he competes against them week in and week out and knows their strengths and weaknesses so well.
"It sure does, (it clues you in), without a doubt," said Hackney. "I mean, it's almost like I've got them out there practicing for me because I pretty much know what they are doing. Depending on who's catching them, I'll know if I need to make an adjustment or not.
"That's the (cool) thing about the leader board," he added. "In our regular events in the past, we didn't know how you were doing. So if you're going through a period and you're not catching them, you'll tell yourself 'Well, they're just not biting and I'll stay here until they start biting.'
"Well, you can watch the leader board (in this format) and you see that somebody else is catching them, then you know that you need to make an adjustment."
The key is to let the leader board become your friend and not your enemy.
"Towards the end of the day, it can also start to beat you down," said Hackney. "If you're too far out or whatever. It has a tendency to weigh on you. Or it can be a positive because when you get up, you know that you're beating the rest of them down.
"So it just depends on the day, but it can be good or bad for you," he added with a laugh.
Hackney is hoping that the leader board is very good to him as television cameras record the action because he is here to win one of the sport's biggest titles.
"To be one of the pioneers of what I see as the future of the sport (is huge)," said Hackney. "I actually think that Major League Fishing and the way that we're doing things is the future of professional bass fishing."
And because of that, he says it's an honor to be in the championship round fishing against the best of the best.
"I wake up sometimes and look around at these guys that I fish against and say 'God, these, are all of my heroes and now I'm doing it here with them.'"
Tune into NBC this Saturday to see if Hack Attack beats those heroes and takes the Jack Link’s Major League Fishing 2013 General Tire Summit Cup back home to the land of the Bayou Bengals.