Five Questions for Jerry McKinnis
Published September 10, 2012
Growing up I knew who Jerry McKinnis was. Heck, anybody who loved fishing and had cable TV knew Jerry. He was that friendly fella from Arkansas with the miniature dachshund Norman. Jerry was the host of The Fishin' Hole. Man, I loved that show. I loved that log cabin, and that dog Norman.
That show went off the air a few years back, but Jerry is so much more than The Fishin' Hole. He has been instrumental in how we view professional bass fishing on television, and he is one of the owners of B.A.S.S. He is truly a legend in the world of sport fishing and entertainment.
Jerry took a few minutes in his uber-busy schedule to answer five questions. Read on to get a glimpse into the heart and soul of Jerry McKinnis.DL - How many years have you been fishing?JM
- Oh, I'd guess I started fishing when I was 8 or 9. I got more serious about it when I was 15 or 16. In my late teens, I started guiding. I'd guess I've been making some form of a living at fishing for 60 years now.
Not everyone is born with the passion for fishing. I was born to fish right off the bat. I can remember the strike and catching that first 2-pound bass and that 1-pound rainbow. We need more kids getting that first strike. Once it happens, it never leaves your mind. You'll always remember it.DL - Why did you purchase the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.)?JM
- Man, that question could take half a day to answer. But, the quick answer is to try to make something bigger and more important out of pro bass fishing. I initially started from the TV angle, now it's from every angle. It's not there yet, but we are trying to make this something very worthwhile for everyone.DL - How can you grow the participation in tournament bass fishing and fishing in general?JM
- We have to start thinking in larger, bigger ways. We need to educate fans more. Right now, what the bass fishing world is doing is inadequate to grow the sport. We need to focus on recruiting the college kids and younger kids and getting them fishing and educate them.
Now, the Elite anglers I work with are the absolute best, they do everything anybody asks of them, but they really touch very few people and positively impact very few people to get involved in our sport. I think that may be my fault to some extent.
I mean, at most of the seminars these guys give, the folks that are there are already fishing and really just want an autograph or a picture with the pro. We need to be able to get these pros in a teaching situation with a room full of 12-year olds and be able to truly instruct them. We have to think big.DL - What's the next "Big Thing" in the works for B.A.S.S.?JM
- I really want to take a serious look at the Elites and the Opens. By 2014 I want to tear things down and start over. There needs to be more sizzle and more opportunities for sales and promotion. There needs to be a whole new world for B.A.S.S.
We, and by we I mean the entire pro tournament industry, have been doing the same thing for 40 years. We've followed the same model, and it needs to change. I want to be able to really expose the good fishermen out there. Make sure they have a crack at making something out of pro fishing. Look for some real change by 2014.DL - At the end of it all, what would be your final death row meal?JM
- You know, a lot of people would say a great steak, but they can keep them. For me it's a homegrown tomato sandwich. With good bread, mayo and some pepper. Can't be any of those tomatoes from the grocery store. Along with that, even though my mom has passed I'd have to have my mom's apple pie and a good southern sweet tea. Now that would be a good last supper.