The line's sensitivity is imperative for feeling his bait and ensuring contact with the cover. Also, bites are typically light; most will feel like dead weight, so detecting even a slight tick is crucial.
Most importantly, the lack of stretch inherent to fluorocarbon helps Hackney stick a hook into a mouth that's still pretty stiff from the cold winter season.
Fellow Elite Series pro Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part competes alongside Hackney, and he knows few things matter more than his hook point.
"I keep fresh hooks on a Rat-L-Trap, I sharpen my jig hooks and I make sure on a Senko I have a fresh hook that I've sharpened," Crochet said. "A lot of the bites are going to be mushy, half-hearted bites, so I make sure I have good hooks so when I do get a bite — even if it's a funny kinda bite — I have good equipment."
Mississippi's Pete Ponds, also an Elite pro, advised anglers to balance their bait choice with a prudent blend of optimism and realism.
Catching prespawners after a cold spell is tough, but not impossible. Committing to the work and mentally preparing yourself for a lot more fishing than catching is the key to unlocking the day's potential.
"You're not going to get but five or six bites a day," Ponds said. "The fish have been used to the warmer water, and as the temperature drops off they're going to snuggle up to the cover really tight — whether that's a stump, or a patch of hyacinths — and they're going to get hard to catch.
"So make sure that you have the mind-set that, after a front, you're not going to get (many) bites."