Jim Rogers dead at 80

Jim Rogers, one of the original 106 anglers who fished in the first All American Bass tournament, on Beaver Lake, Ark., in 1967, has passed away at the age of 80. That event led to the formation of B.A.S.S. several months later.

Rogers, of Lamar, Mo., was best known as the originator of Jim Rogers Lures. He started the company in 1959 and created well-known lures like the Big Jim, Hawg Stick and Hawg Hunter. See photos of Jim Rogers Lures.

“Jim Rogers was just one of those special people in the world,’’ said Jerry McKinnis. “I truly loved the man, and it saddens me that the fishing world has lost such a genuinely fine man.”

Rogers was a frequent guest in the early years of McKinnis’ Fishin’ Hole television show, and the two were traveling companions in the early days of the Bassmaster Tournament Trail.

The lure maker got his start while working for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad as a telegraph operator. In his spare time, he crafted lures for his family and friends. His baits became popular, and he started Jim Rogers Lures in 1959, shipping his creations across the country and the world.

“He was a brilliant man,’’ said John Hendricks, owner of Luck “E” Strike Lures. “He dedicated his life to fishing.”

During the early growth of B.A.S.S., Rogers traveled the country, hosting fishing seminars and performing trick casting demonstrations. His resume reads like few others in the fishing industry.

Besides being one of the “original 106” that fished in the All American on Beaver Lake, he fished in Bassmaster events from 1967 to 1984.

In 1977 he won the New York Invitational on the St. Lawrence River and qualified for the Bassmaster Classic that same year. He competed in 46 B.A.S.S. events during that time and won the “Old Timers B.A.S.S. Tournament” during B.A.S.S.’s 25th Anniversary event on Beaver. He fished that event on crutches following hip replacement surgery.

In 2004, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis. He and his wife, Babe, were made honorary members of the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club in 1997.

During the course of his career, he hosted the syndicated television show Fishing with Jim Rogers. Rogers was among the 100 Living Legends of American Sport Fishing published in 1985 by Larry Colombo.

He is survived by his wife of over 61 years, Babe Rogers; two sons and their wives, Steve and Cindy Rogers of Kansas City, Mo., and Russ and Rhonda Rogers, Independence, Mo.; three daughters, Paula Dixon of Lamar, Mo., Pat Rogers of Rogers, Ark., and Sharon and husband David Martin of Grapevine, Texas.  He also leaves 13 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

The family will receive friends from 6 until 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, 2012, at Daniel Funeral Home in Lamar, Mo.  Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 3, 2012, at Grace Lutheran Church with Rev. Galen Friedrichs officiating.  Burial will be in Memory Gardens Cemetery.

Memorial contributions are suggested to Grace Lutheran Church Scholarship Fund or Leon Owen Scholarship Fund in care of Daniel Funeral Home.

Condolences may be left at www.danielfuneralhome.net.

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