From Craig Crim:
You were asking about Jimmy. I can't remember when I first got to be friends with him. When he first moved to the area it was, ‘Who is this guy with the weenie dog?’
He fished with his dad at that time and was starting to get into our back pockets in the local tournaments. Over time we became acquainted and became friends running in a group to the different tournaments around South Texas.
In the last six or seven years, our relationship grew from friends to more like brothers. I have traveled from South Texas to East Texas to Louisiana to Oklahoma with him. Jimmy was a loving husband, son and brother… and loyal friend. He had a highly competitive personality but at the same time he would go out of the way to help anyone, giving advice in tournaments when most wouldn't.
He never asked for recognition for the things he did and, as much as I traveled and fished with him, I didn't know the extent he was involved in Casting for Kids and The Wounded Warriors Project. I do remember him talking with pride about some young person he helped get started but not asking for any credit.
When you asked about any stories we had, I think you guessed that we could come up with enough that it would take a couple of months cover-to-cover in Bassmaster Magazine to tell them all, and then as we sat around together we would think of another one. I think that the Jimmy Johnson stories will be told and retold a thousand times as long as there are a couple of us left who were lucky enough be his friend.
Which story to tell? I don't know, so I'll tell you about how much of a competitor he was. The last couple of years his legs had been bothering him with a circulation problem. He kept pushing through it and fishing when the rest of us would have put our boats on the trailer. Mona and I kept at him to take care of it, but there was always something he wanted to fish before he would get it fixed.
Finally, he decided it was affecting his fishing and got something done. Once he got it done, he started fishing and again it was Jimmy back up finishing in the money. I think if he had been able to continue he could have gone on to possibly reach his goal of winning a Central Open and making it to the Classic, which was one of his goals to say he had got to the big show, maybe not win but to have been there. He had more commitment and drive than anyone I've ever known, and as far as winning, we'll never know now. But I remember him telling me as we were going to another tournament that he thought he was back.
For any more stories, you will have be there when all of us get together and lean up against the boat, red Solo Cup in hand and start remembering the days our friend was there with us. For now, I will tuck those stories I have in that corner of my heart where you put memories of friends like Jimmy.
For now, I will remain here and finish the time that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gives me and remember the days when Jimmy would call and say there is a tournament somewhere and do I want to go (never was smart enough to say no), and I'll look forward to the day when I walk down to the ramp and there is Jimmy and his dog Jesse waiting. Jimmy will look up and say, ‘I ain't scared, you scared?’