Jerry's B.A.S.S. Blog

Sept. 27, 2010
Would you vote for him?

Seems as though I say this every week, but a few more days pass and we inch closer to finalizing our deal with ESPN/B.A.S.S. Nothing happens quickly it would seem, but a step back never happens either. If you want this to happen, be encouraged because we're almost there.

I have written this blog for six or eight weeks now for several reasons.

I've wanted to touch all members of B.A.S.S. from grass roots to Elite pro and find out what your concerns and needs are. Sure, I already knew many of the answers before I asked the questions. But I needed to hear it from the horse's mouth, and I appreciate your responses.

I wanted to know who you are but also this blog was to tell you more about who I am. After all, any day now, along with Jim Copeland and Don Logan, we could be operating your B.A.S.S. organization. We could be the folks running arguably the most important fishing organization that exists.

So, you need to have a good feel for all three of us; and so far, all you really know about Jerry is he sings to his dog. Wow ... what a start!

If I were running for governor of your state, here's some personal things you'd find out about me.

When I was 10 years old, I wrote a school paper saying that my goal in life was to be a baseball player and have my very own bass fishing lake. As it turned out, I ended up playing a few years in the Oakland A's organization and now have one of the neatest 12-acre bass ponds you've ever seen.

I'm the most superstitious person you'll ever meet. On several occasions I've caused all kinds of turmoil while traveling because my hotel room had a No. 13 involved or was on the 13th floor, etc.

I am a huge sports fan and a bad loser. It will take me weeks to get over Arkansas's loss to Alabama this past week. The St. Louis Cardinals are my #1 team, considering all sports.

My mom and dad were wonderful parents. I mean wonderful. They taught me to be honest, not to smoke or drink, go to church and most importantly, hate the Chicago Cubs. I'm not kidding about that. If Illinois is the state in which I'm running for Governor, I probably just shot myself in the foot.

I love collecting antiques. In fact, I am an antique but that's another story. You should see my antique fishing lure collection.

Even though I'm 74 years old, I'm still a pain in the fanny on a racquetball court. I use to play at a very high level, but a bad knee has dropped that level down a notch or two. However, it does not slow down my playing time.

Eight years ago I had a heart attack during a racquetball game. Not knowing what really happened, I rested for 2 or 3 minutes, finished the game and then headed for the hospital.

I have three sons, one daughter, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Although I am the world's grouchiest grandpa, I love 'em all dearly.

My kids are all in the television production business. My son Mike produces Bassmaster for ESPN, and my daughter Shannon produces outdoor programming for Versus. We're talking "keeping it in the family," wouldn't you say?

My favorite meal is anything Italian with a good salad and topped off with pineapple upside down cake.

How about movies? My all time favorite — hands down — The Natural. Loved every part of it, especially the music.

Best movie in the last 12 months? Again hands down, Gran Torino and again, the music — this time over the closing credits — was the clincher for me.

And speaking of music, here's my last favorite. Most favorite music/performer and I know this will surprise you. In probably the ol' timey era, it would be Earth, Wind and Fire. In the modern area, although I do love country, I'd have to go with... get ready for this — Eminem.

However, I have a voice that overshadows them all, and it's certainly not someone who you would think to be on the top of a bass fisherman's list. That would be the late Luciano Pavarotti.

So, now with all this knowledge about me, and the promise of bigger purses and lower or no entry fees, 15 more pages in Bassmaster Magazine and no more spraying to kill grass in your lake ... would you vote for me for governor?

Sept. 20, 2010
Four Second Miracle

Pardon me, but I'm going to ramble a little bit here. I promised to tell you what the heck I was doing in New York City last week, and I eventually will, but I have something else on my mind today.

I'm probably going to be preaching to the choir as I talk about a fishing situation, but here goes anyway.

Have you been bass fishing, and while using a crankbait or a spinnerbait, had a fish come up behind the lure and strike it so softly that you barely felt it, then had him swim towards you, as you lost complete feel of the bait? Your reflex finally kicks in and you set the hook. The whole process takes four or five seconds tops. It's a great feeling (or non-feeling) for a bass fisherman and you never really saw it happen.

Or how about this. You're moving a jig through some brush in 6 or 8 feet of water. You feel that slight, "was that really a strike" tic and you set the hook. You've made contact with a bass and the next 3 seconds of the struggle normally tells you what size it is. This encounter takes four seconds of your time, and once again, you've never seen any part of this — you just felt it.

One more strike example, and this is my favorite.

You've surely fished a wacky worm. It's so simple. Plain ol' hook tied on the end of your line. No weight, just a hook and a plastic worm about half way down the lure so both ends are flopping alongside each other.

Now, throw it out, let it sink to the bottom, then reel it in and repeat the exercise in a new spot.

If there's a bass anywhere around, he will swim over before it hits the bottom and swallow it.

This strike will generate a sensation up the line, into the reel and onto your hands that can be so subtle that you can't feel it. You can only think you felt it. (Did I just say that? I've lost my mind.)

Believe me, if you think you've had a strike you will set the hook and sure enough have a bass on your line.

Once again, you never saw this happen and the whole act, from bass touching lure to bass resisting the tugging, takes about four seconds.

Here's the interesting part. You can have that four-second thrill one time during the day and continue fishing without another strike for the rest of that day and the three next days as well. I don't care whether you're Rick Clunn, KVD or even me. You'll continue to strive for those four seconds with the images of it visible only in your mind.

I was talking to some folks about that the other day, and they thought that we should try to explain this whole phenomenon better.

My thought was that the perfect description is impossible because you can't describe the feel of a strike — you have to experience it yourself.

That's why I've always thought it was tough for me to get kids into fishing because I don't have the opportunity to set them up for that magic "four seconds" that can live with them forever. I can't personally touch enough kids to change their world. But parents can. Yes, their parents or relatives have a real shot at it.

And while I'm at it, let me say that this doesn't go for just kids. You can put a 30- or 40-year-old into the "four second" world and affect him or her just as big-time as any 8-year-old.

After that first fish strike becomes a part of their DNA is when I want a crack at them. From that time on, a guy like me, or an Al Lindner, or a Skeet Reese, or Bassmaster Magazine can do some damage. A passion has been lit, and the desire for knowledge and participation comes right after passion.

See, I told you I was rambling today. I went from crankbaits to wacky worms to four-second miracles and ended with Skeet Reese.

Here's my point today.

I can't talk new people into coming into bass fishing until they've had that first strike. I have to teach the ones who are already here and hope that they can then push a new prospect over the line.

That philosophy goes all the way down to the business of B.A.S.S. (Oh boy, here comes the commercial.)

I'm going to try, but I don't think I can interest a new member in B.A.S.S. until they experience that "four seconds." I can take care of the existing members, anglers, TV viewers, Bassmaster Magazine readers etc ... and let them grow B.A.S.S. I know that may sound like weird thinking but that's what I believe.

Unlike the exciting four seconds of a bass strike, and tug that comes with it, the growth will take longer. The difference is ... you can see it happen.

Sept. 17, 2010
My apologies

Folks, I am scratching out a paragraph to kind of apologize for bailing on you this past week. Got a lot I want to talk to you about, and I'll get it all together and put it up on Monday.

Have had great responses to the B.A.S.S. decal story I wrote. We've got to talk more about that subject.

The reason I haven't put up a new post this week is because I've been kind of covered up. Spent the week in New York City. Yes you heard that right. You're buddy Jerry in New York City.

Do you know that I got escorted out of a hotel lobby for having blue jeans on?

We've got to talk about this.

Sept. 9, 2010
Passion on our bumpers

A couple of B.A.S.S. patch stories are on my mind today. Here's one of them.

Ray Scott called me the other day with a funny, probably productive, way to get those B.A.S.S. decals back on the bumpers of vehicles the way they used to be.

"Here's what we need to do, Jerry," our fearless leader says. "We promote the heck out of the new B.A.S.S. membership for six or eight months, then put the names of all new members in a hat for a drawing. The B.A.S.S. member whose name is drawn wins a fully rigged boat."

That doesn't sound like it has a lot of sizzle to it but here's the rest of the story.

We go to the person's house whose name has been drawn. And preferably we go at around 4 or 5 in the morning. We inform them that they won the rig ... if they can show us the decal on their vehicle.

If they can't — we draw again.

This person is already mad because we woke them up too early but then really upset with us when they are informed that they didn't win.

Ray went on to say, "It just shows how important the B.A.S.S. decal can be."

I truly think he would have been disappointed if the first person whose name was drawn actually had the decal on his truck.

I also truly think that Scott, after all these years, still has a burning desire to see that the decal remains a powerful mark in the outdoor world and stands for something we all believe in.

The other day, after complaining that I don't see them as much as I used to, I was told that people don't put decals on their bumpers any more.

Sorry, I don't buy that.

In all the comments I have received recently, Brian Tutko said he just wanted to belong to something he believed in. I mentioned his comment before in another post.

I have thought a lot about that and would like to know more about that statement. What did he mean exactly and was this just an isolated comment or do more people feel this way?

When I figure that out and still don't see decals on bumpers, then I will agree that people just don't put decals on their bumpers anymore. But I want some time.

Obviously, the decal means you belong to B.A.S.S. which means the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. To me that represents protecting our water, being strong conservationists, gaining knowledge about the sport of bass fishing and doing all of this as an organized group.

Way back in the day, I had one of the very first Ranger bass boats and I had a B.A.S.S. decal on the steering console. The boat is now in Forrest Wood's museum in Flippin, Ark. I bet it still has the decal on it.

Anyway, Bill Dance and I were going out on Lake Maumelle near Little Rock to work on some television footage. I wasn't going to appear in this particular show because I had a broken arm and looked goofy trying to fish. Of course, Dance always looks goofy so I actually would have fit right in. (ha!)

Dance showed up with a shirt that had a Creme Worm patch and a B.A.S.S. patch on it. I, on the other hand, didn't have any patches; and though I wasn't going to make the TV show, I hurried around and found a jacket I could wear. Then sewed the patch on with one hand.

I was either dedicated or I was afraid Ray Scott was going to show up. I have never forgotten that.

These days, I drive from central Arkansas to north Arkansas about twice a week. It's a 2 1/2-hour drive, and I mostly do it real early or real late so there are not a lot of vehicles on the road.

In spite of that, during my trips I'm looking for cars and trucks with BASS shields on their bumper or back window. I have a bag of fishing lures and line behind my driver's seat — probably $50 or $60 worth — and when I spot a decal I intend to run them down and give them that bag of fishing tackle.

That is, if they don't shoot me for running them down. I'll keep you updated on that plan.

Hey, Ray Scott — I'm doing my part!

In all seriousness, being a member of B.A.S.S. is important and let's get to the point where we are all really proud to let other people know who we are.

What's your B.A.S.S. decal story?

Sept. 2, 2010
Getting on the bus


Don't think for one minute that I haven't read every single comment you people have made responding to my articles these past 10 days.

Also, don't think I'm not paying attention to the many good ideas. At the right time, I want to list the best 10 and see what everyone thinks about the list. Of course, you have to realize that I'll then use them and say they were mine. (Just kidding!) Credit shall be passed out.

Please remember that I am "computer dysfunctional" and when I wrote that first blog I expected 100 readers and about 10 or 12 responses. Well, all I can say is this: I asked you to "get on the bus with me" and now I realize I have to go back and get a much bigger bus.

I've answered many of your remarks already and intend to get more answered over time, but today I'm trying to make a general statement that might cover everyone and buy myself some time.

I also want to say that I'm extremely moved by your love for bass fishing and your desire to get it on, and keep it on, the right track.

Now, here's the deal. My partners and I need some time and patience to build a good business model. In the meantime, I want you folks to hang on to and even stoke up that passion. Wake up your fishing buddy, your bass club, your Federation Nation and let's really get behind bass fishing.

I hope you do it along with B.A.S.S. but even if it's through our competition (the FLW), let's support the sport and remember what we can do as a group.

I had so many remarks from BFN groups, especially from Illinois. Thanks for your kind words, Jim Nelson. I want your suggestions and please stay in touch.

Wayne and many others have been B.A.S.S. members for 25-35 years. Brian Tutko just wants to belong to something he believes in ... I hear you.

Patrick Bars remembers me doing the Fall City Fishing Show. Wasn't that the year Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs?

Den Haring is catching some smallmouth with String Ray Grubs. That sounds familiar. Bassin' Bill Smith, did you know I live about 10 minutes from Cotter, Ark.?

Steve Brown — When we get some time I want to talk on the subject of B.A.S.S. decals on vehicles or the lack thereof.

Rick LaPoint, let's fish Table Rock soon. How about it?

And then there's Scott, who had to put his dog down and now has no dog to sing to. Scott, I had a special dog through the '80s and '90s. His name was Norman and he was the favorite of many TV viewers.

When his time ran out, I swore I would never put myself through that heartbreak again. No more dogs for Jerry.

That lasted for about 2 weeks, and I had to try it again. My love for Norman has never gone away, but my heartbreak ended when I picked up 8-week-old Archie from a lady who raised miniature wiener dogs.

My advice to you, Scott, is to go get a new dog as fast as you can.

Here's one from San Antonio — needs my help on the conservation side. Please tell me more.

And finally, maybe the best suggestion yet .... Rickey McCarty says, "Bobby Knight for tournament director." Wow, what a great idea! The Coach and Trip Weldon could shape things up, don't you agree?

You know there's a book that's been out for several years now called Good to Great. It talks about the fact that in anything we do it's pretty easy to get from poor to mediocre. Also, from mediocre to good is really no big problem. From "Good to Great," now there's where you separate the men from the boys.

To do it, you must have the right people on the bus and in the correct seat on the bus. Now I don't know what level you think B.A.S.S. is on but we definitely want to get it to GREAT.

With that said, Danny Howell, John A. Gain, Fishbite Fishwell and all the rest of you, climb aboard. I guess you've noticed I now have a much bigger bus.


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