Ken Cook is going in the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.
Cook, 63, officially will be inducted in February in New Orleans during the weekend of the Bassmaster Classic.
Cook is the last Oklahoma angler to win the Bassmaster Classic, the top prize in professional bass fishing. He won the 1991 Classic on Chesapeake Bay with a spinnerbait that he designed.
He retired from professional bass fishing last year and now spends in his days fishing for pleasure and managing his Tarbone Ranch near Meers, which he bought from his Bassmaster Classic earnings.
In an interview last summer, Cook told me he doesn’t miss the grind of the professional bass tour.
“Social Security is my main sponsor now,” he joked.
He spends a lot of time bass fishing for fun on nearby Lake Elmer Thomas in the Wichita Mountains.
“I can usually go over and in a good half-day of fishing catch quite a few,” he said. “I’m enjoying (fishing) on a different level. Now, if it’s windy or rainy and I don’t want to go fishing, I don’t have to. That’s the beauty of retirement. I go because I want to.”
On Tuesday, following the announcement of his selection to the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, Cook had this reaction: “I fished to solve the fishing puzzle, not for honors or even money. I always wanted to learn more about fishing to help others catch more fish.”
Other Oklahomans in the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame are the late Don Butler, the second Bassmaster Classic champion and Okiebug founder, television fishing celebrity and pro angler Jimmy Houston and his wife, Chris, who dominated the Bass N” Gal women’s pro circuit in the late ’70s.