(May 28, 2015 - Little Rock, AR)
As his hopes of becoming a major league baseball pitcher began to fade, Jerry McKinnis gave himself over to another passion: fishing. Baseball’s loss was fishing’s gain as McKinnis progressed from local television fishing show host to cable television pioneer to bass fishing icon.
It’s all documented in McKinnis’ homespun style in his new autobiography, Bass Fishing, Brown Dogs & Curveballs, to be released this week. His bass fishing and baseball exploits are just part of what McKinnis calls “a very interesting 78-year adventure.”
“Brown dogs” refers to the dachshunds that served as McKinnis’ sidekicks on his immensely popular “The Fishin’ Hole” television program. The show debuted on ESPN in 1980, the year after the cable network first went on the air, and was its longest-running regular program after “SportsCenter.” McKinnis parlayed his expertise and creativity as a television producer into JM Productions, one of the most powerful and prolific production companies in the outdoors. In 2010, he and two partners, Don Logan and Jim Copeland, purchased B.A.S.S., the world’s largest fishing organization.
The book is a must-read for those interested in a history of the modern era of bass fishing from the perspective of one who helped shape it. He reveals how the people he met along his journey — Coach Bobby Knight, Kevin VanDam, the Murray twins (Bobby and Billy), Forrest Wood, Ted Williams and Bill Dance — influenced him and, through him, the sport of bass fishing.
It also reveals what it was like to grow up in the heartland during post-World War II America, when baseball was king and fishing was a way to put food on the table. McKinnis does not sidestep some of the disappointments in his personal life, including divorce and financial struggles. Instead, he candidly examines the setbacks in hopes of delivering what he calls “some important messages” about life.
Bass Fishing, Brown Dogs & Curveballs book is 365 pages, including more than 300 pictures, and is available at www.jerrysbook.com.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines , Bassmaster website, television show , social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by TNT Fireworks, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.