For this month’s Tackle Review, I decided to take a different approach and instead of choosing a unique or revolutionary piece of equipment, I want to highlight the properties of an established lure. The square-billed crankbait has long been a popular bait for anglers and recently, was utilized by legendary angler Kevin Van Dam to earn a fourth Bassmaster Classic win. This month, I’ll break down his lure of choice—Strike King’s KVD Square-Bill Crankbait—and describe just how it works, as well as how it allowed KVD to secure another victory.
The Square-Bill crankbait boasts a “chunky” body style that creates the perfect amount of displacement in the water. The lure dives to 3 to 5 feet, which is a great depth for bass anglers. The real beauty behind the square-shaped bill on this crankbait is that it does a great job of deterring snags during the retrieve.
There are two different variations of Strike King’s Square-Bill crankbait, both of which offer their own unique qualities to certain situations. For those looking for a silent approach, the Silent model possesses all the action and snag-resistant that come standard, but with an assassin-like, quiet approach that makes a shallow water angler a bass’ worst nightmare. The bulkier, Rattling model possesses internal rattles that add more vibration to the retrieve.
The Square-Bill crankbait recently became synonymous with the Bassmaster Classic after Kevin Van Dam used the lure to pull away from Aaron Martens on Day Two of the tournament. Once he dialed in on the right pattern, KVD was unstoppable and won the Classic by a margin of over 10 pounds. The waters of Louisiana, and the South in general, are known for the cypress tree stumps that riddle them, and Lake Catauoache, where the Classic was held, is no different. The square bill of the crankbait allowed KVD to bump it off these stumps without worry, and trigger the aggression of the fish. With such an immediate, enthusiastic response from the bass, it’s no wonder why the anglers near KVD switched to the crankbait as well.
Available in four different sizes between the two styles, 10 colors in the Rattling model, 11 colors in the Silent model, and a price tag just under $6, Strike King’s Square-Bill Crankbait is a lure no angler should be without this season. Any shallow water fisherman who loves the opportunity that stumps and other objects present will love the bait’s action and effectiveness in the water. Don’t take my word for it, though; just ask Kevin Van Dam.