Jerry McKinnis stories, Dave Lefebre jig nuttiness, Parent teacher bass tips

Today’s Top 5

Thanks much Jerry.

Wow…we lost Jerry McKinnis. Very tough. Wish I knew he was hurting, would have loved to have visited him. Maybe that’s a selfish thought, I don’t know….

Anyhow, no way this space can do any kind of justice to his bassin’ life, so just gonna tell you a few Jerry stories — just my own experiences and opinions:

1. Jerry was a gentleman.

He and I disagreed, usually passionately, over some things. But he was always respectful and I hope I was too because he deserved it. I really appreciated the fact that our disagreements never went to another level. We could argue one day, then the next day he’d invite me to the first Elite event or whatever.

Similar: When I was at BassFan, he recommended me for the old ESPN BassCenter and Loudmouth Bass shows even though I know he felt I/BassFan was a thorn in his side right then. That takes character, vision, some level of humility and seeing the big picture.

We didn’t disagree all the time, it’s just the only time he’d call is when he had an issue — lol but true! ‘Bout the only thing we agreed on was that Steve Bowman could be a pain in the rear…. Okay we never talked about it but I know we both felt the same way. Bowman! Love and hugs brother.

2. He kept the long game in mind.

He was never afraid to speak his mind, but one time I saw him bite his tongue big-time with some ESPN yahoos, back when ESPN owned B.A.S.S. Because I was younger and more fiery then (and didn’t know the Lord), I thought he was being weak. But I realized a long while later that he was playing the game the way he had to play it right then, and it was a longer-term game than ESPN was playing. Very wise.

You can see how many lessons I was learning from Jerry…and Bowman was another lesson: Jerry wasn’t afraid to hire folks with strong points of view that might not agree with his own. (Either that or Bowman lied that he graduated from Harvard? HAHAHA Bowman!)

3. He helped folks…

…and had an eye for talent. Gave my bud from MI, a guy named Mark, a chance at co-hosting the Bassmasters TV show with living legend Tommy “el Toro” Sanders. Believe he gave that Canadian fishing TV host — Dave something — a chance too with that whole MC gig. So far they’ve worked out pretty dang well.

[Here’s Jerry being serious while that MI dude ain’t…maybe can’t!]

Jerry found a lot more folks too, whose names you don’t know: I’ve always felt that the JM folks are the best at what they do in this biz.

About TV: You can’t name someone who did more — or even as much — for outdoor TV or bass fishing TV than Jerry. No way, no how. He did WAY more than we know.

4. He encouraged little ol’ me.

Back when I had the idea to cover bass fishing in a new way on this new-ish Internet deal — called it — I thought I needed a partner in the deal — because I was broke! So I went to Little Rock to meet with Jerry and Bowman.

They both 100% understood that BassFan was a good idea, but after thinking hard about it — like for a week — Jerry realized he couldn’t do it and also do either FLW or B.A.S.S. TV, a decision he was wrestling with at the time. So he passed on it. I was bummed but encouraged: I had basically nothing but an idea, and Jerry McKinnis actually dug it!

Btw, at our meeting Jerry yelled at his wiener dog so dang loud it scared the tar outta me (and the dog). Bowman didn’t even flinch, which I now think was from too much duck hunting….

5. He helped build FLW and save B.A.S.S.

Jerry (and his folks) was THE key in helping Irwin Jacobs launch the FLW Tour with the wrapped boats and in-the-boat TV, and much more. Fast forward a decade or 2 and Jerry saved — or at least helped save — B.A.S.S. Yep saved: It was the Recession, ESPN had beaten the old gal up pretty bad, someone had to step up in pretty bad biz conditions to save the whole deal.

His former co-owners ponied up $$$, but they were pretty much just money guys (my 2c). Jerry was the only one who knew the fishing biz, bass fishing and some of the players, and brought his whole TV/tourney/digital operation (JM Associates) along for the ride…which is a story in itself.

He also brought JM’s entrepreneurial spirit to the post-ESPN B.A.S.S., which in my opinion was a big benefit.

Hole up — pause it there. Just that #5 alone is huge.

Lot more I could say, but will finish with these thoughts:

> Jerry couldn’t have done everything “right” in everyone’s opinion. No one can and none of us have (especially me). Speaking for myself, I only have great gratitude and love for Jerry.

> Everyone in bass fishing — you, me, everyone — influences bass fishing. For real. That said, Jerry influenced it way more than most of us ever will. What an opportunity he was given, and I believe he made the most of it — or real close.

> I love the fact that probly no one person can list all he’s done for fishing, and I bet he couldn’t either…and wouldn’t care to.

> I gave Jerry a hug at every Classic. Not because he wanted one, but because he deserved it. (Shoot I just got choked up.)

If some more stories jump out at me, I’ll share ’em. Btw should mention: The Fishin’ Hole ran from 1980 til 2007. Amazing. And I believe Jerry actually pitched the show to this new cable channel he thought had a lot of potential: ESPN.

Thank you Jerry. Lord, please bless the McKinnises and the other folks really missing Jerry right now.

“There’s not a person in this business that didn’t get a good b*tt-chewing from Jerry at one time or another.”

Tommy Sanders talkin’. Yep! Rest of the quote:

> “He was a team guy. Athletics and sports were huge in his life, and he didn’t want his ‘team’ to lose a single game. It was never personal, but his message was always clear: Falling short is never an option. Don’t be the one to let the team down.”

Other great quotes from that post:

> Tommy: “At one point there was an outdoors block of programming every day on ESPN. There were no other outdoor channels. Now there are about 6 or 7. He invented the whole industry. His importance in the outdoors entertainment world can’t be overestimated.”

> KVD: “Most people will never appreciate how much Jerry did behind the scenes to elevate competitive fishing.”

More like that from this good Bassin’masters post. Also check donny barone’s baseball tribute to Jerry, and another good one on Jerry from a little while back. Btw, that’s don’s photo of Jerry up at the top.

Thank Jerry for your carpeted bass tub.

Excerptin’ this from Keith Daffron’s excellent book “The Building of a Legacy” about the formation and early days of Ranger Boats, and all the folks involved. Keith is the grandson of Forrest Wood and I believe runs Vexus now because he has the biggest truck in the lot:

> Ever wonder where carpet in bass boats originated from? Jerry McKinnis asked Forrest to install some carpet in his boat to give him more traction in wet conditions. It wasn’t long before JD’s [Comstock] crew were [at Ranger] daily doing more and more boats. Oddly enough, the Comstock family played a role in carpeting most every boat built in Flippin since Jerry had that novel idea….

Keith also wrote:

> Not another individual has done as much for as long to benefit the sport of fishing.

He also gave Jerry what I consider the highest compliment you can give in this biz:

> He’s more like Forrest Wood than any other person I know. Always there doing the work and making sure someone else gets the credit.

If you don’t know, Jerry met Forrest for the first time when Forrest guided him on the White River. Then Forrest started building boats, Jerry’s show got sponsored by Ranger and those guys were tight ever since.

Find you some old Fishin’ Hole shows on YouTube.

Cool to see for folks who woke up Saturday mornings to Jerry, and also cool if you’ve never seen his show before. Here’s one — Jerry on Squam Lake, NH with fishin’ scribbler Ken Schultz:

“Jeans only” and Dachshund Rescue.

Found Jerry’s obituary…can’t even believe it. Heartbroken I can’t be at the services due to a family commitment this weekend — selfishly wish they’d stream it, but either way I’ll miss seeing and being with everyone there. Hope you can make it. Anyhow, couple things from the obit I gotta call out:

1. Any donations should be made to Dachshund Rescue of North America (

2. At the end of the service info it says: “…oh yeah, Jerry says ‘Jeans only.'”

Love it man. Here you go: Jerry, fishin’, jeans, wiener dog:


1. Edwin Evers is at the SEMA mega auto show.

Representin’ bass-heads. Somehow he also won the deal by 60 lbs:

2. Randy Blaukat is switching from the FLWs to the Elites.

Prior long-time B.A.S.S. angler:

> “The biggest mistake of my career was turning down the Elites in 2006. I wanted to stay with B.A.S.S. but the business side pulled me away.

> Since then, he says he’s witnessed a slow decline in sponsor enthusiasm toward FLW and its anglers. “It just seemed like the endemics were more willing to do something for you if you were fishing the Elite Series or MLF now.

> “I feel so good about the decision because I’m committed to it. It’s not a case of I’m trying it for a year.”

3. Cliff Pirch says to have an open mind right now.

> …in the fall there are so many things going on and so much variety, that often it takes an open mind to capitalize. Conditions change a lot this time of year, so you have to stay in tune with the current weather, the condition of the bass, the activity level and the food that they’re targeting.

Meanwhile Cliff goes elk-hunting so….

4. How Stephen Browning became a pro.

His advice to his younger self: Don’t eat convenience store hotdogs. Kidding it’s:

> “…stay positive no matter what. You’re going to have good days and bad days in this job, don’t let it discourage you.”

5. These kids are shaking down local tournaments, beware.

They’re also armed, dangerous and, at times, merciless:

6. FLW Costa champ Dylan Hays on BassEdge Ray-o-dee.

7. AL: Tidbit from the ‘yak derby there recently.

TN’s Josh Stewart won it, fishing a creek with a Strike King Football Jig and Rage Craw, slowly working the jig on the bottom:

> “It takes a lot of patience to fish that way, but most of the bigger fish I caught ate the jig when it was sitting still.”

Believe ‘yak dudes fish slower in general….

8. PA: Mammoth Dam rez has DD bass.

At least 1 anyhow:

9. PA: Sounds like Susquehanna smallies might be hurting again.

10. Check the SIMMS G4 Pro rain jacket.

Check it, $650 of dry:

> …the most durable and technologically advanced fishing collection of all time….

> …specifically designed for the world’s hardcore anglers who demand gear that allows them to fish longer no matter the…conditions.

The rest of the G4 stuff is for fly feeshers but we can do the coat….

11. Gitcha your BUFF merino to stay warm.

At least put it on your Christmas list — merino is the BEST stuff for warmth/comfort, and not itchy at all. #win

12. PA anglers soon will not have to wear their licenses.

13. OH: You can now use 3 rods on Erie and the OH River.

14. OR: Klamath River dams might come down in ’22.

Not sure what’ll happen to the smallies but doubt they will disappear.

15. ON: Peeps want to nuke a lake to get rid of smallies.

Nuke = kill all the feeshes with rotenone:

> “They compete for habitat. They compete for prey. And they also consume native species like trout and salmon, which have been a feature of human life on the Miramichi for thousands of years.”

Apparently no one mentioned smallmouths smashing baits, fighting like 50-lb tuna and the sheer fun of the whole deal.

16. FL: Watch out for manatees this month…

…and every month I guess…?

17. QC: Stripers are back in the St. Lawrence.

Had been “extinct” there.

18. IL: Asian carp DNA spikes in Chicago River.

Not good but there might be a reason:

19. Fuel stabilization: Sea Foam Motor Treatment vs Marine PRO (vid).

Also, here’s a quick vid on what Marine PRO is and the bennies of it — which if I read right includes fuel stabilization for up to 2 YEARS:

On right now…

Note: The TackleWarehouse links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase I might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in the BB.

Tip of the Day

Dave Lefebre is nuts…about jigs, and has nutty jig tips…

…or are they — from a Bassin’ post:

> One of his more offbeat skirted jigs weighs 5/32-oz and comes through cover well. …he will fish this same jig with a sturdy 3/0 Owner Hook, bulk it up with a chunk and flip and pitch it into cover. “That little jig is one of my main baits. I’ve caught 7-lbers with it on 20-lb test.”

> One jig that is not likely to be in Lefebre’s lineup is the football head. “I’ve fished with the best football jig guys on the planet. I’ve kicked their b*tts every time from the back of the boat with my regular 3/4-oz jig.”

> One reason he rarely gets an overrun when casting a bantamweight jig with a baitcaster is that his reels are only half full. “I’ve been doing that for 15 years. Everybody makes fun of me….”

> He claims that under-filling a baitcasting reel virtually eliminates backlashes, especially when skipping a jig. Although under-filling a spool does cut down on the reel’s retrieve speed, it is not enough to cause problems, claims Lefebre. “I just set the hook and reel like crazy.”

Sometimes my reels are under-filled just outta laziness (okay…backlashes) and I gotta say, I still manage to backlash….

Quote of the Day

“I know my boys are doing okay in your class, can you give me a couple bass tips before I get out of here?”

Former NLF coach Buddy Ryan (since passed) talkin’ to his boys’ teacher at parent-teacher conferences, I believe when he was the DC of the Chi-town Bears. That teacher was bass-head Ron Urick, who is now a guide and is still an educator.

Here’s how much of a bass-head Ron is:

> Urick received early word when Uncle Josh went out of business and bought nearly 200 jars.

That’s how you roll bruh! Also found this innerestin’, about Daiwa J-Braid Grand line:

> The 8-lb version is about a 1/10 of a mm in diameter, “slightly heavier than human hair. It is going to change fishing. But you have to watch for nicks in the line, you have to check constantly. Being able to cast 75 yards is an unbelievable advantage.”


Shot of the Day

Elitist Patrick Walters found my happy place and is about to fish it:

That’s Santee Cooper and okay it’s his happy place…but I’m gonna ask him to gimme the waypoint….


Not really random, just hoping this is Jerry right now, with infinite joy:

Ya got me

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