Tackle talk

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Hackney throws all of his squarebills except the 8.0 on a 7-foot medium-heavy Lew’s Hack Attack Cranking Special rod for all of his squarebills except the 8.0, for which he uses a 7-foot, 6-inch pitching rod. For all, a 6.4:1 Lew’s BB1 Pro does the job well.

“I can typically reel that bait as fast as I need to reel it and you still have a lot of power,” Hackney said. “You really need that power when you’re cranking a 4.0 and an 8.0 because those are hard-pulling baits. They actually pull like a deep-lipped crankbait, so it’s important to have that strong reel.”

Hackney lists his squarebill fluorocarbon preferences as: 10- or 14-pound for the 1.0, 12- or 20- to the 1.5 and 14- or 20- for the 2.5 through 8.0 sizes. These ranges, he said, allow for varying intent.

“It just depends on what I’m trying to do with the bait and how deep I’m trying to get it,” Hackney said. “I’ll fish a 1.5 on 20-pound line if I’m fishing it relatively shallow water and around heavy cover, but I won’t throw a 1.0 on more than 14; not because they won’t bite it on that heavy line, but because of its smaller profile, it’s easier to throw on lighter line.”

With his larger baits, downsizing to 14-pound line is less about action than reach.

“The 2.5, 4.0 and 8.0 have plenty of action on 20-pound test; they’re not hindered at all by that heavier line,” Hackney said. “If I want to get those baits to their maximum depth, I would throw them on 14.

“I don’t like to throw those baits on lighter than 14-pound line and the reason for that is they’re heavy and they’re hard on the line. The heavier line has less stretch and I think you get a better hookup at a long distance with the bigger line.”