Fishing should be good for Bassmaster Classic, Hackney says

Elite Series pro says bass are shallow, waiting to spawn.

Some contenders for the 2012 Bassmaster Classic title have said the first three days of practice were pretty awful, but Louisiana’s sole competitor in the Big Show said bass should be readily available.

In fact, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Greg Hackney said he had a good practice despite the inclement weather, and he said the forecast for cold nightly temperatures throughout the competition shouldn’t have any real impact on the fishing.“Even though it’s going to be cold during the tournament, I don’t think it’ll be enough to mess it up,” Hackney said. “Honestly, it ain’t bad.”

Bassmaster Classic competition begins Friday and continues through Sunday, when the winner of the $500,000 title is named.

Even reports of muddy water in the backwaters of the river, where the Classic will inevitably be won, were exaggerated, he said.

“It’s dirtied up some, but I didn’t have any problem finding clean water,” Hackney said. “It’s dirtier than it was before when we were here for the (2009) Classic, but that wasn’t normal then.”

The river is at about normal level despite the extremely heavy rains that fell during the first three of four official practice days over the weekend, and that’s not expected to change. So the backwaters should only clear up more as the Friday start of the tournament approaches.

The 49 competitors launched this morning for the final day of practice.

Hackney said he didn’t spend any time on the Red River before official practice over the weekend, and he’s happy about that.

“If I had practiced before I might decide to go to an area where I caught fish earlier,” he explained. “Whatever I decide to go on will be something I’ve found now, where I found fish now.”

And he said last night (Tuesday) that he would rather there wasn’t the fourth practice day.

“It honestly would suit me if we didn’t have that practice day (today),” Hackney said. “It just gives everybody another chance to find something.”

But he wasn’t about to miss the opportunity to put more information in his 10th Classic playbook. He said he’ll spend his last hours of practice in the Shreveport pool to determine if he should stay close to the launch site or lock down on Friday.

“Either I’ll find the fish tomorrow to fish the Classic on, or I’ll have eliminated some water,” Hackney said.

Although he downplayed his confidence, Hackney is obviously happy with what he found over the cold, wet weekend.

“They’re in the backwaters,” he said. “They’re ready to spawn, and they’re waiting on water temperatures to get right.”

And that should sett up a great Classic.

“I think the weights will be similar or better than the last (Red River Classic),” Hackney said.

California’s Skeet Reese, who failed to qualify for this year’s championship, won the 2009 Classic on the Red River with 54 pounds, 13 ounces.

An 18-pound average shouldn’t be a problem for the angler who makes the right decision, Hackney said.

“We’re hitting it at the right time,” he said. “The fish are heavy; they haven’t spawned yet.”

It’s all going to come down to getting on fish early and making every bite count.

“If you don’t make the right decision on the first day, you’re done,” Hackney said. “If you get too far behind on the first day, you just can’t make it up.”

All Classic activities are free and open to the public.

Keep up with all the Classic developments on the dedicated Bassmaster Classic Status Page, which includes a stream of stories, photo galleries, a list of competitors, videos and (when competition begins) leaderboards.

About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.