Big appetites

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“I like to lean toward the bigger baits if I can, because I have more confidence in catching bigger fish,” Hackney said. “The 2.5 to the 8.0 are the sizes I prefer when I have them dialed in because they’re bigger baits for when fish are feeding on bigger forage.

“To me, it’s easier to represent a bigger bait than a little bait. It’s harder to trick a fish feeding on tiny bait.”

Now, holding a Strike King KVD 8.0 squarebill next to a 1.5 may look like David and Goliath; but consider Hackney’s perspective:

“Those bait look big, but they’re really not in relationship to (actual) forage. Typically, a larger fish feeds on baits as big as your hand – bluegill, goggle eye, perch, and that type of thing. They look big in relationship to what we know as traditional tackle.”

Conversely, colder conditions – water temps sub 55 degrees – generally find bass sucking in smaller baits and, thereby, more receptive to the modest profile and tighter action of a 1.0 or 1.5 model squarebill. Hackney believes smaller is better also in extremely clear water, but it’s often more of a step-down decision.

“They may be feeding on forage the size of a 4.0, but I’ll throw a 2.5 because you’ll get more bites with on a smaller lure in the clearer water, regardless of what they’re feeding on,” he said.