An interview with Greg Hackney where he talks about tournament tactics, working with sponsors, and common myths about being a pro!
Glenn May: Hi. I'm Glenn May and I'm here with elite pro Greg Hackney. Greg, glad to have you out here today.
Greg Hackney: It's good to be here.
Glenn: I bet it is. Greg, at this level of professional bass fishing strategy plays a very important part to your success. Can you tell me a little bit about your strategy, how you approach a tournament, does it change a little bit from tournament to tournament? Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Greg: There are a lot of variables in fishing and each tournament is different, but like the Classic there's more strategy in this tournament than any other because there's a lot of other things that go on besides just the tournament itself. On a normal tournament I try to think about everything. Here is a little different because locking is a deal.
Most of the time we don't have to worry about locking. You're in a big reservoir or system where you can just run from one spot to the other. You have to manage your fish, manage your time because we fish multi-day deals. A lot of people don't understand that. They think about one day. You have to get enough fish to last one day.
Well, in our deal you normally want to get a pattern. Something that you can make work four days of the week, three days of the week with it being the Classic. There is a lot of strategy that goes on. It changes a little bit with each body of water, the time of the year.
I think that's what makes one of these events hard to win because there are so many variables. Then you think about four days of variables, the water, you're dealing with a creature you have no control over. It's its on entity and it can do whatever it wants to. So there's definitely a lot of strategy that goes into this.
Glenn: For 2009, what's going to be your strategy? Are you going to be different from last year, or is it going to pretty much the same? How's that going to change?
Greg: I think I change a little bit every year. Try something new. Of course, last year, what I started off with didn't work for me very well. This year I'm going to fish a little more natural. Just let things happen that are supposed to happen. I don't know if that makes any sense or not, but just let the fish tell me what they want and not let me dictate what I want to do let them dictate to me what I need to do.
Glenn: So fishing a little bit more in the moment?
Greg: More in the moment. In the past I think that's how I've had the most success. I've tried everything. Last year I swung a little harder. I wanted to win every tournament. What happens in a deal like that you either fall on your face or you win more times than not you fall on your face. In the past, I've been a more consistent type of fisherman. I feel better about myself that way. I'm going to go back and fish the way I have in the past and just fish in the moment.
Glenn: Just go with what you know. I like that. Have you ever won or placed high in a tournament you didn't feel you were really at the top of your game.
Greg: Yes. Actually, I have. About every one I have won actually were situations where I felt like I could have done better and most of the time it has been missed or lost fish. Not necessarily like I managed my time perfect, moved like I needed to. Had some missed opportunities that I still won but I didn't feel like, I have real high expectations. It's hard for me to live up to my expectations.
Glenn: I think that is true for a lot of us too. If you have a bad day on the water or even have a bad tournament overall, how do you stay focused and keep that drive alive.
Greg: I find for me a bad tournament drives me more than a good one. I'm real laid back after a good one, every things well. After a bad one I'm so anxious to get back on the water and live up to my expectations.
Glenn: When it comes to pros you hear people on web site message boards talking about all the things the pros do, I'm sure you read them. What do you think is the biggest misconception about the pros?
Greg: That this is an easy life. It's a big misconception. So many people I meet will say, "Man its great all you have to do is fish, let me understand this, all you do for a living is go fishing?" I'm also dealing like I said before with an animal that doesn't necessarily doesn't like me. The two of us has got to work together for everything to work in this deal.
Before I started doing this I only saw the glory side of it. Now that I'm doing it I get to see both sides. There are a lot of things that go on. I spend an incredible amount of time away from my family. Now my kids are big enough and going to school so they can't travel with me. So that's the hardest part.
I have a lot of obligations that I didn't have when I first started now. There are a lot of things that people don't realize. They think about all the glory. The glory, honestly, is what keeps you going in this deal, but there's a lot of hard work goes into this. A lot of long days, daylight to dark on the water seven days in a row, no off time.
When I go to work, I don't get a day off. Its everyday daylight to dark until the tournament is over or I leave and go to the next tournament.
Glenn: Do you ever wish you could take a year off?
Greg: No. One of these days I'm going to take off, but it's going to be for good. Its one of those deals for me personally I need to fish everyday. I like where our season is now. I want to fish seven days a week. When it comes time for us to be off, I want to be off until we start again. I don't like little breaks and then starting back. I want to go full board until its time to quit.
Glenn: When you're not doing the tournaments your working with your sponsors and you're also working with new product lines. How much involvement does that take? How involved are you in creating a new product or doing tweaks to existing products?
Greg: One good thing about that we don't' have to take time off to do that. Take these hooks for instance. We tweaked all these hooks while I'm fishing. Normally I do that in practice. I don't test a new product during a tournament, but I'm testing it during practice so I've got a lot of on the water time with that product, which is better than somebody working inside of a facility doing it. I've got it out there where it's got to perform at so that actually makes it easier.
Glenn: That's great. If you think back on your career and basically your whole life, what would be the one defining moment in your life that changed your life forever?
Greg: There's been a bunch. Probably the biggest one was the day I got married. You mean fishing?
Glenn: I want to kind of leave it open to you. What really changed the way you think, or the way you decide to become pro the day that happened or anything that changed in your life that you said from this day forward its going to be this way from now on?
Greg: I would actually say the biggest moment of my life was when my first son was born. You grow up overnight. I thought I was grown up. When I took on that responsibility, that was the biggest moment of my life bar none. At that time, I had to take care of another person. I was in total control of that and that was up to me that was really good for me. That actually helped my fishing, and helped me to turn pro. That was a defining moment in my life.
Glenn: Fantastic. That's awesome. Just to lighten up a little bit. You spend a lot of time on the road like you mentioned earlier, you're with all these pros seemingly more often than you are with your family. I'm sure there a lot of comrade that goes on. You start goofing off and playing practical jokes on each other, I'm wondering what are some of the good practical jokes you have been involved in and you've seen happen.
Greg: There's probably some I can't tell. It's a little bit of everything has gone on with this group. We're kind of like a big family because we spend so much time away from our family. This is like our extended family. Nothing really sticks out. Their all practical jokers. Maybe the banana that I put in VanDam's boat before this tournament. He didn't know about. That may be the best one so far.
Glenn: Right on. So let me give you a moment I call it the "Shameless Plug." You can talk about anything you like. You can say something to the fans out there, or you can talk about a latest product or maybe a DVD or book that's coming out. Whatever you want to talk about it's up to you.
Greg: The biggest thing with the economy like it's been so bad the last year or so, and I've actually lost about half of my sponsors, I really want to plug the ones that stayed Triton, Mercury, Strike King, Youvella, Tru-Tungsten, Fish Harder companies. It really means a lot because right now it's at the point I honestly don't know if I could continue to do what I'm doing without them.
That really means a lot because that tells me how much the sport means to them for them to do that. The ones that were fair weather sponsors and there are still some of those out there that's really big for them to do that and to do that for all of us. In the industry, sponsors are how we will survive and how bass fishing will survive this whole deal.
Glenn: Absolutely. Greg, thank you for spending time with us. Appreciate your time. Good luck at the Classic.