The Oklahoman sat down with former Bassmaster Classic champion Ken Cook of Meers for a short question and answer session Tuesday while he was in Midwest City teaching a bass fishing class.
What do you think about square bill crankbaits which are becoming very popular among bass anglers?
“That's all the rage right now. It's been a lure that has won a lot of events and lot of money lately. We've had a rash of new baits hit the market. KVD (Kevin VanDam) won the Classic last year on the square bill and it's been a hot thing people have picked up on.
“In my opinion, a square bill crankbait is a good substitute for a spinnerbait. To me, they are interchangeable. I fish it in a lot of the same kind of places. It seems to be at its best obviously shallow, up to 4 or 5 feet.
“It's a good cover attack approach lure because it bounces off stuff. It comes through logs and way down in stumps and rocks really well. It has the kind of action that will attract the fish to react.
“The opinion of most folks is the square bill causes it to reflect at a radical angle and helps keep the hooks away from snags but also by a radical change in direction, speed and sound it causes a reaction from fish. That's the nature of fish. It will strike something unusual and erratic.
“Fishing in Oklahoma, I think they are very appropriate for most of the water that we fish. If I am going to fish shallow, those (spinnerbaits and square bill crankbaits) are the two baits that I am going to go to more often than not.”
What is your opinion of the Alabama Rig and similar Umbrella Rigs which have been banned by the Bassmaster Elite Series?
“I think they should be allowed to fish with it. We don't know what it is going to do (to a fishery). There is no evidence that it is good, bad or indifferent.
“If you stop tournament fishermen from experimenting and innovating and creating new things, than you slow down the process of learning, I think. It's very good sometimes but so is a top water bait. So is a deep diving crank bait. So is a plastic worm.
“It's just another new technique to me. I don't think it's the end-all to everything and I don't think it's going to be that easy (to catch fish with it).
“When folks go out there and start slinging a 5-ounce bait, it's not easy. I haven't had any success with it yet but I haven't done it very much.”
What should every Oklahoma angler have in their tackle bag?
“A ½-ounce spinnerbait with one or two blades on it. I think you need a jig and pig, something with a trailer on it that looks like a crawfish.
“To catch a lot of fish, I think a shaky head worm, a 4- or 5-inch power worm or something of that nature on a shaky head. And in early spring a jerkbait, a suspending jerkbait like an X-Rap.