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By : Mark Hicks
Lew’s highly respected bass pro Greg Hackney excels with power fishing techniques and he isn’t shy about stating which are his favorites.
“If I could fish every tournament with a swim jig or a frog, I’d be happy for rest of my life,” Hackney said.
Of the three Lew’s rods in Hackney’s Signature Tour line, the Swim Jig/Frog rod is his “funnest.”
Hackney worked on his signature rods for a year with Lew’s rod designer Bob Brown. He claimed that Brown is one of the best in the business.
“I’ve been fishing long enough that I knew exactly what I wanted in my signature rods,” Hackney said. “Bob has the knowledge and skill to build them.”
The handle on Hackney’s Swim Jig/Frog rod is short enough for skipping and making roll casts and and thick enough to provide a good grip when manhandling bass out of heavy cover. Winn Grips help in this regard.
“I like a beefier handle I can get ahold of,” Hackney said.
Although the rod measures 7-feet, 2-inches, the short handle makes the rod from the reel to its tip about the same length as a 7-foot, 6-inch, rod. Bass often knock slack in the line when they attack a swim jig, Hackney pointed out. The rod’s extra length picks up more slack and results in a better hook set.
The 8.3:1 gear ratio on the Lew’s Custom Pro reel that Hackney fixes to the rod also quickly eats up slack line. A no-stretch 50- or 65-pound braid is the final nail in the coffin that embeds the hook’s barb.
“I typically fish a frog with 65-pound braid and a swim jig with 50-pound braid,” Hackney said.
He knots the 50-pound braid to Strike King’s Hack Attack Swim Jig, which is built around a super strong Gamakatsu Siwash hook. The hook is dressed with Strike King’s Rage Craw 90% of the time.
“The Rage Craw is the fish-catchingest jig trailer ever made,” Hackney said. “It pulls a lot of water and lifts the jig when you swim it.”
When bass want a smaller profile swim jig, he dresses the hook with Strike King’s Menace Grub. On the rare occasions when Hackney wants to fish a swim jig deep for bass feeding on baitfish, he opts for Strike King’s Rage Swimmer Swimbait.
“When the water is colder than 60 degrees, I like a 1/4-ounce swim jig,” Hackney said. “When the water gets above 60 degrees, I’ll go up to the 3/8-ounce size. In the hot summertime the 1/2-ouncer is the way to go.”
A faster retrieve is needed to keep a 1/2-ounce swim jig running up near the surface, which is just what it takes to draw strikes from bass in warm water, Hackney stressed. Water willow and other thick grasses are less likely to lift the 1/2-ounce jig out of the water and cause missed strikes, he added.
Of the three baits in Hackney’s frog arsenal, Strike King’s KVD Sexy Frog is his “bread and butter” because it is so soft. If he feels the bass want something with more action and flash, he ties on Strike King’s Popping Perch. If the cover is especially snaggy, such as the forks of pads, he favors his Hack Attack Pad Perch because it overcomes the thickest cover.