One-On-One With Lintner On His Long Drive Home
By Aly Akers
October 25, 2018
MLF Pro Jared Lintner at Bass Pro Shops
in Springfield, Mo. with his wife and son.
Major League Fishing Pro Jared Lintner has had a busy week after clinching the win on Table Rock Lake for the Bassmaster Open Championship. After a series of interviews and public appearances, he finally made his way back home. But it was a long, familiar drive home to California. So familiar that at 1,400 miles to go, he’s able to switch off his GPS and navigate from memory.
We caught up with Lintner over the phone while he was passing through Albuquerque. His wife, Keri, was riding shotgun, his son, Jayden, was safely buckled in the back seat, and they were homeward bound with a brand-new trophy to add to Lintner’s collection.
MLF: How are you feeling coming off your win?
Lintner: Going into the tournament it was one of those deals where it was basically win or nothing and that was kind of my mindset…The morning after I woke up and went, “Did that really happen or was this a dream?”
MLF: How did the weather pattern affect the fishing and your strategy?
Lintner: The first day of the tournament was post-frontal, and also the third day was post-frontal. So, those two days were obviously really tough to get bites. Thank goodness for the morning bites, both the first and third days, that were really crucial for me getting fish in the boat and getting my limit.
All three days were totally different extremes of the weather. Keeping an open mind, allowing myself to move around, fish freely, and stick to a pattern I found in practice, and not really rely on one stretch…[I] let conditions kind of dictate, “Should I fish that bank, or that bank, or that creek?”
MLF: It kind of sounds like you were fishing in the moment, which is an important thing to do in the MLF format.
Lintner: Yeah, absolutely. That first day there were times when the wind really kicked up and I’d run over there to one little stretch of bank, and then the wind would switch directions, or some clouds came in late in the afternoon. So yeah, you really had to kind of fish the moment and you had to like, based on what you were given at that certain time, be able to pick up your trolling motor and run somewhere or say, “Man, well they didn’t bite here for the last little bit but now the conditions are getting right,” and choose to stay there. You really had to make quick decisions and trust your instincts.
MLF: The fall transition and intercepting bass movements were keys to your success. How did you locate them?
Lintner: I really felt like the fish weren’t as far along as they should’ve been just because the water temperatures were still in the mid 60’s even though the air temperature was, you know, freezing cold. But they hadn’t gotten that far back into creeks, so they were kind of coming off their summer pattern.
To start the practice for that tournament, I started in the back of creeks, expecting that’s where they would be and I basically, after the first day of practice, eliminated that and went, “Okay I’m going to go out to where they were in summer and start working my way back in from the main lake, in, instead of in to out.”
MLF: Throwing a crankbait is one of your strengths. Did that come into play?
Lintner: Yeah, basically the majority of my fish that I weighed were on a crankbait and the other fish I weighed were on a ¾-ounce jig, flipping in cedar trees. It’s funny, the first Bassmaster tournament I won years ago, I caught them on a crankbait and a jig. And then this week that’s what I caught them on.
MLF: On the final day, you had a limit by 8:30 a.m. with a great early morning bite, but the rest of the day was slow. Did that worry you or were you confident with the early bite?
Lintner: I think told the camera guy in my boat, the first fish I caught was barely a keeper. Anyways, I had a small limit by 8:30, but I told him, “man, you know, these fish have shrunk on me.” In other words, they were smaller keepers. I was happy I had a limit, but I was thinking I needed that 13 ½- to 14-pound weight to win the tournament. But, ultimately I felt like, “Well the sun’s going to be out, going to be no wind hardly., and I’m going to catch them flipping that jig based on those conditions.” And I guess that post-frontal and the lack of wind for like three or four hours just shut them down. I mean they got lockjaw…When I went back to the crankbait, I tried flipping several different stretches. I ran I don’t know how many different spots, probably close to 30 spots that day. And they just weren’t biting. And the afternoon I got a few more bites but there was from like 10:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. where I never even had a single bite.
MLF: Did you learn anything that surprised you during the practice days that helped you during the tournament?
Lintner: Yeah, well the main thing I learned was, which I’m still kind of confused on, that these fish typically at Table Rock, the Ozark lakes, White River chain of lakes there, when they get cooler water, especially this time of year, the shad migration to the back of those main creeks and rivers is what generally goes on. And your topwater baits and your bigger reaction baits is how you win those tournaments with big largemouth and big spotted bass. And that just wasn’t happening. And ultimately the thing that shocked me the most was the amount of smallmouth bass I was catching compared, to the spots and largemouth. Ultimately, I ended up weighing 14 smallmouth and one largemouth. Which, up until this week in practice, that’s the first smallmouth bass I have ever caught on Table Rock. So that was really, really shocking.
MLF: You just won your second B.A.S.S. event, heading to the Classic for a seventh time, and joining the Bass Pro Tour. You have a huge year coming up. How excited are you and how are you preparing for the Tour?
Lintner: Man, you know I really don’t know what to expect. I’ve been a big fan of Major League Fishing. I mean, it’s the only fishing show I record on my DVR. And I’m really excited to get in there and learn the different formats and compete against the best guys in the world. When you look… when you look at the anglers fishing, “I’m like holy smokes! This is the best of the best.” So I’m kind of nervously anxious about it, preparing for it. I mean, at this time, we don’t know the venues or locations, so I’m just going to do my best. One thing I do in the offseason is I really go through all my tackle and get everything 100 percent organized because when it really comes down do it, time is the most essential part of your day. And being organized for me, being able to find baits that I need, or rods, or line, or what have you, just being organized keeps me at peace of mind. So, I say the biggest thing I’m going to do is get mentally prepared for what I’m jumping into. And then get my boat and my tackle and all my equipment 100% dialed in and ready to go and see how it turns out. But yeah, I’m really, really excited about it. I think the sky is the limit for Major League Fishing. And I think a lot of good things are going to transpire over the next year and from this year moving forward.
MLF: What’s the plan for the offseason?
Lintner: I still fish a bunch. Living in California, that’s one of the bonuses, the lakes don’t freeze over, and the fishing is actually pretty good. I love taking my kids fishing. My son, who’s a senior in high school now, is starting his last year of basketball, so I love going to the basketball games. My youngest son is into baseball, so he has fall ball and winter ball. I still fish a bunch, but I kind of just enjoy having downtime and spending time with the family. I miss so many things traveling throughout the year, the baseball games, school functions, that when I’m home for those two or three months, that’s really my opportunity to get involved and do that. And also get my mind right for the next season. A lot of that is preparation and getting my head wrapped around traveling, making reservations and all that kind of stuff. But, more importantly, it’s just spending time with my family, friends.