A huge congratulation goes to my good friend Greg Hackney for winning the Geico Bassmaster BASSfest presented by Choctaw Casino and Resort on Lake Texoma last week.
His performance demonstrated how important it can be to fish your strengths and a technique and pattern in which you have a ton of confidence, even when it may not be the best pattern.
Want more proof? If you look at every Elite Series win this year, the angler who won was fishing lures and techniques in which he excelled and had a lot of confidence.
Believe me, confidence overcomes a lot of things and can overrule other factors you might face.
There is no one better on tour with a 1-ounce Hack Attack jig than Greg Hackney. The fact he wasn’t getting a lot of bites but stuck with it and won exemplifies that.
The last day set up perfectly for a topwater bite and Brandon Card proved that by catching the biggest stringer of the day on a walking bait.
Hack threw a frog some, but it was his jig technique that put him in the winner’s circle.
I heard him say, “Sometimes the best technique on a given day isn’t the best one you need to win.”
Of course, location has a lot to do with it. Greg was in a very good area but was smart enough to slow down and pick it apart with his jig.
It was that way for me at Toledo Bend when I won this year. There were tons of patterns working throughout the lake and everyone was catching fish. I knew we were in a transition period and the fish were moving to summer patterns, and if the wind would allow me, I could do what I do best – crank the ledges. It worked out for me.
If you put Hackney out there with a 6XD in a tournament situation, he’s not going to be as comfortable with it as I am, nor am I going to be as comfortable flipping a 1-ounce jig as he is.
Everyone has his own thing and that’s not to say one is better than another. I remember a Megabucks event in Spring Creek on Guntersville one year. Nearly every angler who rotated through an area that had a riprap bank fished it differently – they fished their strengths.
An angler has to fish what makes the most sense to him and fits his style, strength and confidence. Do that and you’ll do better in a tournament.
That’s not to say you don’t need to be versatile and learn new things, but do that when practicing or fun fishing. You’ll always do better under crunch time with a system in which you have confidence.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn and improve those other techniques. I’ve seen that when southern anglers have come north to fish for smallmouth. It was out of their comfort zone and they struggled. But after a few experiences, those same guys came back north and really do well. It’s a learning process and anglers can never stop learning.
On the other hand, those fishing strengths you have can really pay off on a tough day when it’s suitable for the seasonal pattern.
That, and of course, when you remember it’s all about the attitude!