Greg Hackey’s favorite June bass baits

(Photo courtesy majorleaguefishing.com)

Hackney cranks up good bass in June on KVD 1.5, 2.5 square-bills

In places where few anglers cast any lure with more than one hook, Greg Hackney of Gonzales fishes his go-to lure for June: a Strike King KVD 1.5 or 2.5, both baits that carry two treble hooks.

Hackney’s favorite places to fish the crankbait — or a Strike King Pro Model 4S — are around cypress trees and cypress knees, which often seem to reach out and grab any lure, whether it’s got one barb or nine. He’s learned over the years what needs to happen to pull it through those and other wood structures without getting snagged frequently, if at all.

“I’ve got a lot of trial-and-error. Everything is to increase fish catches,” said Hackney, 48, who fishes the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour. 

He said it’s mostly it he presentation and the type of rod he uses. The key is not using a graphite rod to fish a crankbait, he said, suggesting a composite or even fiberglass model to get the job done.

(Photo courtesy strikeking.com)

“I’ve always thrown a crankin’ rod designed to throw crankbaits,” said Hackney, who choses which crankbait to fish depending on the size of the baitfish that are around. “You’ll catch more fish, and you won’t get hung up as much. If you get a bite, you won’t react as quick. The other thing; it won’t rip the hooks out of the mouth. It’s just win/win.”

Reduce hang-ups

Another tip to lessen the number of hang-ups in the cypress trees, cypress knees and heavy, wooded structure is to fish the 2.5 bait on 20-pound monofilament. He’ll use 16- to 20-pound Gamma flourocarbon when he’s got a 1.5 or 4S, unless he wants to get a 1.5 down deeper with more action, which calls for 14-pound Gamma flouro.

For increased hookups, Hackney changes out the hooks on the 1.5 and the 2.5, even though, he said, the hooks the crankbaits are packaged with are “good hooks.” He exchanges the 1.5’s No. 4 treble hooks for two No. 2 short-shank trebles. He exchanges the 2.5’s No. 2 trebles for No.1 short-shank trebles. The benefit is a larger treble that doesn’t hang any lower than the stock treble.

Why a crankbait in the first place?

“June’s just a big crankbait month. Most of the time in our area, there’s a lot of cranking. Fish are shallow. It seems those fish like something moving that time of year,” he said. “They like to chase (shad and perch). They’re really more susceptible to a crankbait. When it gets hot, they like a crankbait,” he said. “The KVD 1.5, cold water, hot water, year-round, it catches a 6-pounder as much as a 2-pounder.”

Color choice

Hackney, host of Sportsman TV, uses two basic colors.

“Really, a black/chartreuse or a sexy shad are the only two you need,” he said, noting that a black/chartreuse SK 4S is hard to beat on his home waters. The SK 4S excels around cypress trees and cypress knees because of the way it deflects off the wood, like a balsa crank bait, he said.

His reel of choice is Lew’s BB1 Pro, which has a 6.3:1 retrieve and was designed by the crankbait king himself, David Fritts.

“You need a reel to make long casts, short casts. And speed is an important thing on a crank bait – 6.3:1 is perfect,” Hackney said.

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Don Shoopman
About Don Shoopman 384 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.

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