Some may have heard me talk on the radio about the passing of Jerry McKinnis. He was a state treasure and legend on the outdoor/fishing scene. McKinnis passed away Sunday at the age of 82.
I considered Jerry a friend. I got to know him when I was in high school and working part time at the Arkansas Gazette. I had the pleasure of typing Jerry’s fishing column each week. My father hired him to write what was one of the first outdoor columns in any major newspaper. He’d write it by hand, single spaced on a legal pad and bring it to the paper on Wednesday night.
Jerry would later host one of the first TV fishing shows, the Fishing Hole. He host it for 44 years, or around that number. It started on Little Rock TV and eventually moved to ESPN.
Jerry would later produce numerous outdoor TV shows for ESPN. He once had a lineup that filled almost all of the Saturday morning content for ESPN. Of course, he would later be a co-owner of B.A.S.S.
He’s been retired from JM Enterprises for about two years. He has a beautiful home above the White River near me.
Jerry had great vision. I introduced him to Bo Mattingly at Jerry’s request. He told me, “I want to do something with Bo with our production company, I just don’t know what as of yet.” They figured it out. JM Enterprises hired Bo about four years ago and that relationship is still going strong.
Jerry’s booK; Bass Fishing, Brown Dogs and Curveballs - The Adventures of Jerry McKinnis is a great read. Jerry reminded me of another great fisherman - my Uncle Bill. Like Jerry he could catch bass with the best of them, spin a story like no other and live life to the fullest. When that book came out I bought a copy for my Uncle Bill. He devoured every page and called me time and again to talk about a chapter in the book and Jerry.
Uncle Bill passed about a month ago. He was 89 and probably caught as many bass as Jerry.
lady three houses down from me worked for him. when B.A.S.S. had a tournament on the arkansas river which Scott Rook, arkansan, won, lots of the fishermen had a get together at her house. i got to meet van dam, jerry, many other famous and accomplished fishermen. a couple commented on my ranger z21 parked in front of my house. i didn’t know orville hired him but i do remember his articles. true class.
was proud of Jerry for all he accomplished. prayers for his family and close friends and associates.
I was around Jerry numerous times (I worked at BassMaster and Southern Outdoors for several years) and he was a complete gentleman and a gifted man with a rod in his hands. I saw the Brown Dog catch fish with Jerry’s crew filming (yes, a dog that really could fish) and being a fisherman, you would literally not believe what your eyes just witnessed watching him. I’m so sad to read this, he taught so many what it meant to feel that tug on a line… he will be missed on so many fronts.
When the dog heard “fish Brown Dog fish” he would run to the back of the dock in shallow water and stand dead still up to his chest. The dock owner would crush a package of crackers and throw it around Brown Dog and the crackers would float on top of the water. Bass and other small fish would soon appear nipping at the crackers getting closer and closer to a motionless Brown Dog. When he started a slight lean toward the water, you knew it was on. With a flash of his nose, he dove head first toward a fish and came up with it in his mouth. The dock owner said he never missed… I watched him do it twice and he didn’t miss so it was hard to argue. One of the craziest things I ever saw on the water and I spent countless hours fishing.