Lindners land trio of largemouths

Dan Falloon

In a year where the three-time defending champions slipped out of the top 10, a storyline almost parallel in popularity with the anglers after Saturday’s final weigh-in at the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship came from the team that finished seventh.
Al Lindner, of Brainerd, Mn., and Troy Lindner from L.A. wowed the crowd with their catch of five fish that included three largemouth bass, which contributed to the pair’s 19.80-pound bag on Saturday and three-day total of 49.49 pounds.
Al, Troy’s father, noted that while largemouth are difficult to land on Rainy Lake, they’re often a treat if one should find its way into an angler’s boat.
“They’ll weigh heavier than the best you could do on most of the smallmouths,” he stressed. “Most of us consider it a kicker fish to add to your weight.”
As its name suggests, a largemouth bass can be identified by its mouth, which will extend past the eye.
A smallmouth’s mouth only will reach to the middle of the eye.
Al Lindner said an attempt on Day 1 on Thursday to land some largemouths didn’t bear fruit, and rough conditions on Friday made it not even worth trying.
However, when the Lindners had their five-bass limit by early Saturday morning, both decided that trying to haul in some largemouths was well worth a shot.
“We went back the first day, and we didn’t get any, and yesterday [Friday], the wind was really bad,” Al recalled.
“Today [Saturday], we had our limit really, really, really quick in the morning,” he added. “In our first half-hour, we had fish, but not for a lot of weight, like 11, 12 pounds.
“So we thought, ‘Let’s go get one of those kicker largemouths.’
“We went in and put the rest of the day in there, and got three of them and missed two.”
Troy Lindner noted he and his dad lucked out in finding the spot during practice, and kept faith it would produce during the tournament.
“We maybe stumbled onto it a little bit,” admitted Troy, who only would reveal that the spot was in the eastern part of Rainy Lake.
But he added that other anglers told him that some largemouths have popped up north of the Noden Causeway, as well.
“We’ll stay, and we’ll keep
fishing, and just before we’d leave, we’d get another one, and we stay, and we’d get another one,” Troy said.
“It took a while. It wasn’t easy by any means,” he stressed.
Neither Lindner was dropping too many hints about where the largemouth could be found, although Al revealed the spots tended to be on the shallow side.
Troy added that smallmouth strategies could be employed to bring in some largemouth.
“It’s similar stuff, just mainly location,” he explained.
“I’m sure you could throw the same things out over classic smallmouth water and catch smallmouth doing exactly what we were doing.”
Troy, who grew up in Minnesota but moved to California after graduating from the University of Arizona, said there was some irony in him targeting largemouths, which are a mainstay on the West Coast.
In fact, he said he was looking forward to going after smallmouths at the FFCBC as a bit of a change of pace.
“There are so many largemouth lakes in California, and I always look forward to coming here every year to catch the giant walleyes—in practice—and the giant pike, and the giant smallmouth,” he explained.
However, Troy noted his largemouth tactics back home mostly were foiled here on Rainy Lake. But that didn’t faze him as the new environment is all part of the challenge.
“Rainy Lake is my absolute favourite lake,” he maintained. “It really challenges me because a lot of stuff on the West Coast doesn’t work here.
“I tried a lot of different West Coast things that you can do really well out there, and they don’t work here.
“I don’t know why.”
Al Lindner thinks their largemouth haul might change the face of the FFCBC down the road—proof that largemouths can be brought in on Rainy Lake.
However, both he and Troy aren’t sure about any long-term plans to target that species.
“I guarantee you, it was an eye-opener,” Al admitted. “We’ll know a lot more about the depth of the bite next year because guys will start pursuing.
“I don’t know how big a bite they are on this lake, here.
“We haven’t had enough time to poke around, but the fish are nice, and one year, we even had them in two different areas.”
Troy said there simply aren’t enough largemouth to encourage each team to target them, but that doesn’t mean it would be the worst thing in the world if that were to happen.
“Smallmouth is still the deal. There aren’t enough largemouth to go around,” he reasoned.
“It might open up more of the smallmouth waters if they’re all looking for largemouth, which wouldn’t be bad. Maybe a little decoy,” he kidded.
“It will be interesting next year because I know people are going to be looking for them, as we will, too.
“It might pan out for nothing,” he added. “It might not be a factor, it could be a huge factor.”
Troy added that smallmouth can do the trick, as well, noting Jeff Gustafson and John Peterson brought in a 20.54-pound bag of smallmouth that edged out the Lindners’ hybrid bag on Saturday.
“[Jeff] Gustafson [and John Peterson] weighed in right after us and had bigger smallmouth and a bigger bag than we had, so I think it’s a huge gamble—and I don’t do good in Vegas,” Lindner laughed.