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Greg Hackney on Early Season Grass Fishing for Bass

45-year-old Greg Hackney of Gonzales, Louisiana, is ranked in the Top 20 Bass Fishermen in the World.  

Greg Hackney

Many bass anglers think that when you mention grass baits you’re talking about fishing visible grass. However, some of the most productive grass fishing often occurs even before you can see the grass. As the grass starts growing, bass will get in it – long before it’s visible on the surface. 

My number-one bait for fishing that early-season grass is the Red Eye Shad. The bass will be aggressive early in the year, prior to the spawn, and usually begin feeding heavily just as the grass starts growing. Most of the underwater grass will be laid over. When you’re fishing for cold-water, early-season bass, you can’t beat a lipless crankbait. You can cover a vast amount of water with this lure, and you can catch numbers of bass. Another advantage of fishing the Red Eye Shad is that you can make it appear to be several types of critters on which the bass feed. By picking a shad pattern, the Red Eye Shad resembles a shad. If you choose a bluegill color, the Red Eye Shad looks like a bluegill. If you select a crawfish color, the Red Eye Shad looks like a crawfish. 

Another advantage of fishing the Red Eye Shad is that you can make very long casts with it. Early in the year, I use a medium to a medium-fast type of retrieve, depending on the day and the water clarity. The muddier the water, the slower I retrieve this lure. If the water’s clear, I’ll fish with a faster retrieve. I like to fish this lure, so that I occasionally make contact with the grass. If the water’s warm, I’ll rip the lipless crankbait out of the grass. With cooler water, I’ll pull the lipless crankbait to dislodge it when it gets hung-up in the grass. When this lure touches the grass, it will stop. Then when you either rip it or pull it out of the grass, the Red Eye Shad will start back swimming. In many lakes, the more times your lipless crankbait contacts the grass, the more bass bites you’ll get. 

Color also plays an important role in early-season grass fishing. My number-one color for this time of year for February and early March bass fishing is Delta Craw, with Gold Sexy Shad next and then Chrome Sexy Shad.

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