Knock a Hole In It – with Scott Rook

Bucks Falcon Mercury

7/11/2011 – By Dan O’Sullivan

Skinny stained water, current, grass and trash lining to banks with brush piles strategically planted shallow and deep.

Scott Rook is at home.

The above scenario is much like the home waters of the Little Rock, Ark. pro. The Arkansas River is the perfect place for an angler to challenge himself. For Rook, the Arkansas River out of Little Rock is where he honed his craft to perfection.

When he looks at a body of water such as the Arkansas River; or any like it, Rook begins to salivate. The thought of shallow, cover laden water means he can fish the way he wants to. For the 50-year-old Bassmaster Elite Series veteran; it means power fishing. Shallow crankbaits, spinnerbaits and a Flippin’ Stick will all come into play.

Rook loves to get down and dirty.

What to Look For
When he’s dealing with the heat of the year, Rook said that he tends to keep himself to the main river. He runs the bank looking for areas that create natural current breaks behind cover. “It could be a point, rocks, wood or grass,” he said. “I am looking for something that the bass can hide in and get away from the current. The want to be in the current, but they need something they can hide behind to keep from overworking themselves.”

His theory is that bass are resting behind the current obstruction, and either wait for something to wash into their eddy or they can dart out from behind cover and ambush. He likes to make them react by putting the lure into their lair. “If I can present a lure right on top of them, I can usually make them bite.”

While he has a primary preference for lures, he realizes that he needs to keep an open mind. “I absolutely love being able to get in to the thick cover and go after bass where they live,” he said. “If I could, I would choose a jig every day, but there are times that I need to have a backup bait handy to be able to get into extra thick cover that a jig is not the most practical lure.”

Texas Rig with Flair
Given his preference for a skirted jig; Rook said that he would first choose to pick up a Jewel J-Lock Flippin’ Jig with a Zoom Super Speed Craw or Chunk on the back as a trailer. However, if the cover is extra dense, or unusually complex, a jig can be inefficient.

“If there is a laydown log or brush pile with grass mixed in; or there is a lot of emergent river willow, the jig can get hung up too much,” said Rook. “To get around that, I turn to Texas Rigged soft plastic because it is more efficient, but the Jewel Hole Punch Skirt really helps me keep the bulkier look of a jig.”

The Hole Punch Skirt is made of silicone skirting material that is installed on a soft rubber collar that serves to act as a way to insert the Hole Punch Skirt onto the line between the sinker and the hook eye. The collar itself is molded out of a bright red material, so along with protecting the knot from a heavy tungsten bullet weight, it also acts as kind of a target underwater.

For Rook, all of those features are nice, but making his lure have a larger profile is the best part. “The Hole Punch Skirt is a product that really helps me make my Super Speed Craw look more like a jig; I call it my Texas Rigged Jig.”

Rook prefers to match the Hole Punch Skirt to the color of his Super Speed Craw. “If I’m using Black and Blue, I’ll use the Black Blue Flash skirt. I like the Okeechobee Blue if I’m using green pumpkin or Okeechobee Craw Speed Craw, and I really like the Peanut Butter and Jelly color with a pumpkin / chartreuse craw; that’s a great combination.”

The Hole Punch Setup
Rook prefers to use Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line for light to moderately heavy cover; he said that he only turns to Spiderwire braided line in the thickest of grass. The reason for his line choice is his river upbringing. “We’ve got a ton of rock here on the river,” he said. “As strong as it is, braid often gets cut by rock, so unless I absolutely have to use Spiderwire; I prefer the 100% Fluorocarbon in 20 to 25-pound-test sizes.”

He spools his line on an Abu Garcia Revo Premier which he threads onto his St. Croix Pitching Stick, which gives him plenty of power but allows for precise casting. He said he prefers to use tungsten bullet sinkers for their dense size and feel, and he ties either a 4/0 X-Point XGap hook, a 5/0 offset shank round bend hook or in heavy cover, a straight shank Gamakatsu Heavy Cover hook gets the call.

Outside of the gear above, Rook said that he pays special attention to one component of his rig; the sinker.

Watch Your Weight
The eight-time Bassmaster Classic Qualifier said that he pays extra special attention to the clues that bass are providing him when Flipping. “I tend to fish fairly quickly around most cover types, because the majority of bass in this kind of cover strike on the initial fall,” he said. “The difference is around matted grass; sometimes I let the bait soak a little while in the cover and yo-yo it before taking it out to make another pitch.”

Because he is covering water quickly, or yo-yoing the lure under the canopy; the size of the sinker is critical. “I’ve seen times when the difference between a 1/4-ounce and a 5/16-ounce sinker was enough to generate bites,” he said. “There are times when a heavy sinker is better than a light one, and vice versa; I just pay attention to the clues.”

Outside of paying attention to his sinker size, Rook said anglers would be smart to do a couple other things when Flipping his “Texas Rigged Jig.” The first is to look for high percentage areas, and the second id to keep an open mind. “Try to experiment on the water,” he said. “If you’re Flipping an Okeechobee Craw color or a light sinker and you stop getting bit; then change colors or sinker size.

“Don’t get caught doing the same thing day in and day out, he said. “Experiment and try new things; it will make you a better fisherman.”