Longtime Acadiana bass and saltwater angler dies

Elvis ‘Top Rod’ Jeanminette passed away Monday at the age of 58

A longtime bass angler and Louisiana Sportsman source for both fresh and saltwater fishing reports throughout Acadiana passed away Monday.

James Elvis ‘Top Rod’ Jeanminette reportedly died suddenly at his home in Grand Marais while working on his boat Monday afternoon.

He was 58.

The longtime Lydia post master had recently retired and opened Top Rod Fishing Charters, providing guided trips to both Cypremort Point and the Atchafalaya Basin.

Pellerin Funeral Home in New Iberia is in charge of arrangements, which are pending at this time.

“There are so many stories you can remember about Elvis. I think the thing I’m going to miss the most is seeing him out on the water. He was always willing to help,” said Chad LeBlanc, past president and current treasurer for the Iberia Rod & Gun Club. “Some fishermen are very to themselves, and don’t want to share any secrets, and don’t want to tell you where they’ve been or how they do it.

“Elvis was always willing to share because he believed in having people fish out there. He wanted more people to fish.”

Clay Peltier Jr., who works as a sales representative for Louisiana Sportsman magazine, co-hosted the Top Rod Fishing Show with Jeanminette for years on KANE-AM in New Iberia.

“Elvis was a devoted fisherman. He did a lot of charity work over the years – fundraisers, you name it,” Peltier said. “He worked all his life, and he had just retired about three months ago and got his captain’s license. He was living his dream.”

Brock Pellerin, president of the IR&GC, said Jeanminette was a consistent winner at the group’s annual 4th of July event at Cypremort Point.

“He’s been fishing our rodeo for the longest time,” Pellerin said. “He’s been the best all-around fisherman for the Inside Division for about the last four years.”

On a personal note, I’ve known Elvis for years and we were both members of the New Iberia Optimist Club, where we worked together each year for our annual fishing workshop, which provides about 50 kids each summer with the opportunity to fish for bass and bream at a local pond.

Elvis would bring his boat, and provide the kids with lures, towels, caps, rods and other treats from his sponsors. He also talked to the kids about being a good steward of the outdoors, a task he enjoyed.

We just went fishing together the week before Christmas for a story I did on the speckled trout bite at Cypremort Point, where I’m happy I got to take his picture in The Cove with one of the few specks we managed to catch on a dreary, cold, rainy morning.

The fishing that day was tough, but as always with Elvis, the information he provided was great – and the company was fantastic.

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Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and LouisianaSportsman.com.