Summer hit Texas like Cowboy’s linebacker, Micah Parsons, last week. It was only mid-May, but I swear even the turtles were sweating at Lake Fork during the Bassmaster Elite Series event.
Following Day 3 of competition, at a lonely boat ramp parking lot, stood one of pro bass fishing’s modern-day heroes, Greg Hackney, buckling down his Phoenix, securing transom straps, and slugging water from a gallon jug to rehydrate before climbing into his 2022 Toyota Tundra for the six-hour drive home.
“My wife Julie got me started drinking a gallon of water a day about two years ago. She’s the super structured one in our marriage. Never misses a fitness workout and always drinks her gallon of water each day,” says Hackney.
Hackney is 10-pounds lighter than he was three years ago and feels great at age 48. He credits water consumption as playing a massive role in his wellness. And his recent top performances prove his commitment to hydration has a noticeable impact.
“I grew up with guys like Rick Clunn as my hero, and he was always looking for performance advantages ranging from meditation to diet. People thought he was a weirdo. Nah, man, he was just ahead of the curve. And now he’s kind of the last man standing from his generation,” says Hackney with deep respect.
On Day 2 of the Bassmaster Elite Series at Lake Fork, Friday, Hackney admits he fell way short of drinking his daily gallon, and he felt it that evening.
“I had zero energy. My back hurt. I didn’t even feel like working on my tackle for the next day. That was a lesson learned,” he admits.
According to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineers, and Medicine, we should drink 3.7 liters of water daily -- right at 1-gallon – to aid with ridding waste, lubricating joints, protecting tissues, and so much more.
That’s good science. But there’s a sentimental side to his new habit for Hackney.
“Aaron Martens always had a gallon jug of water riding next to him on the floor of his boat,” Hackney’s voice begins to crack as he pauses briefly to collect his emotions. “Aaron was the most naturally gifted angler we’ve ever known, and his commitment to healthy living was pretty admirable.”
If for no other reason, that’s reason enough for all anglers to drink more water as the turtles begin to sweat here at the start of summer. A gallon a day this summer and beyond. To hydrate properly. To feel better. To fish better. And to remember Aaron.
I’ll promise you, Greg Hackney will be the first to drink a jug of water to that.