Lindner steals the show

Troy Lindner of Los Angeles, Calif., proudly displays his first-place trophy after winning the EverStart Series contest on Lake Havasu.

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. - Heading into the final day of EverStart competition on Lake Havasu, pro Troy Lindner of Los Angeles, Calif., was sitting in ninth place overall and staring up at a nearly insurmountable deficit - almost a full 5 pounds off the overall lead. While Lindner was seemingly content to have qualified for his first EverStart top-10 finish, the California pro hit the open waters of Lake Havasu today and turned in the performance of his career - netting a 19-pound, 6-ounce stringer on the final day of competition, nearly 2 full pounds greater than any stringer brought to the scales all week. Pro Troy Lindner of Los Angeles, Calif., holds up his first place catch during final EverStart weigh-in on Lake Havasu.Although Lindner had swung for the fences and hit the metaphorical home run, there were still eight other pros - some of the best anglers in the West - standing between him and victory. But one by one, each pro fell just ounces short of Lindner's catch. Hometown favorite Terrence Rath of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., stepped onto the stage and missed Lindner's mark by a mere 7 ounces. Soon it was veteran pro Joe Uribe's turn to come up short, losing out to the California pro by 6 ounces. Finally, Chris Kinley of Durnago, Colo., stepped onto the stage. Kinley, who had led the tournament from start to finish, had not brought in a sack less than 17 pounds all week. As a result, Kinley only needed 14 pounds, 11 ounces to win the title - which would have been the very first FLW title of his career. Then tournament host Ron Lappin called out Kinley's final-day weight - 14 pounds, 9 ounces. Lindner's improbable comeback was complete. And Kinley's dream scenario had crumbled right before his eyes. "This was my first top-10 finish ever in an FLW event and I didn't think I had any chance to win this," said Lindner, who boated a total three-day catch of 49 pounds, 11 ounces. "I thought I would need something like 21 or 22 pounds to even have a chance. As far as I'm concerned, it's an absolute miracle. I'm at a loss for words right now." Lindner credited some of the hardships he faced during a number of previous FLW tournaments will helping him to succeed this time around. "I've had plenty of 100th-place finishes over the years at FLW tournaments," he said. "But I guess those tournament kind of kicked my butt and showed me what I needed to do to get better. I had the best day of the tournament today and I'm pretty proud of what I did." What Lindner did was target bass using a combination of finesse baits and little swimbaits to land the majority of his catch - specifically a rotation of Rapala Trigger X Baby Bass baits and Rapala Trigger X floating worms. "I really burned a lot of gas this week," he said. "I pretty much fished everything from the main-lake basin all the way to the I-40 bridge. This lake is just incredible. I absolutely love it here." Unlike many of the top pros, Lindner said he didn't concentrate too much on sight-fishing techniques. But when things got tough for him, he did go to that well with some success. Troy Lindner of Los Angeles, Calif., presents his winning bait and tackle combinations for Lake Havasu."Out of the 15 fish I weighed in this week, only three of them came off of beds," he said. "I caught most of my fish on main-lake points and back pockets. I'm not a very good bed fisherman because I haven't done a lot of it. But today I caught two fish on beds and that really made a difference." Another difference it made is that now Troy Lindner - son of famous fishing personality and television host Al Lindner - can now call himself champion. "I still can't believe I won," said Lindner, who walked away with $30,000 in winnings for his effort. "It's just been an amazing week." Heartbreak central for Kinley After leading the tournament each of the first two days, Chris Kinley of Durango, Colo., suffered perhaps the most painful loss of his career - ultimately losing out to Lindner by a mere 2 ounces. "I'm speechless right now," said Kinley. "I just didn't make good decisions today. Having a chance to win the tournament wire-to-wire and losing out by 2 ounces makes it pretty tough. I'm pretty emotional right now. It hurts." Day-two leader Chris Kinley of Durnago, Colo., ultimately finished the Lake Havasu EverStart contest in second place.While Kinley was understandably disappointed with the end result, there is no doubt that he fished a tremendous tournament. He was consistent pretty much all week and had arguably more quality patterns working for him than anyone else in the finals. Unfortunately, in the end, it came down to decision-making and execution. "One of my problems today was that I stuck with something a little too long. My reaction bite just died on me today" he said. "I was around the right fish to win this tournament but it didn't happen. I was targeting a 4 1/2-pounder on a bed but decided to leave it and try something else. But I think if I had stayed I would have caught it. And that obviously would have made a big difference." Kinley ultimately brought in a total three-day weight of 49 pounds, 9 ounces - good enough for a check for second-place check worth a little over $10,000. Uribe nets third place Although Joe Uribe Jr., of Lake Forest, Calif., fished an incredible tournament as well, in the end, he had to settle for third place with a total catch of 49 pounds, 5 ounces. Pro Joe Uribe Jr., of Lake Forest, Calif., finished the EverStart Lake Havasu event in third place with a total catch of 49 pounds, 5 ounces."This is my fourth top-10 finish and I was really hoping I could close the deal today. But I just came up a little bit short," said Uribe. "Like I said, it's hard to close out these tournaments. But I did all I could." Uribe said that he targeted fish on shallow grass with a combination of Megabass Ito 110 jerkbaits and tailspins. "I'd used the jerkbait in the morning and the tailspins in deeper water later in the afternoon," he said. "I tried to keep it real simple and stay pretty local. The key was that you really had to be stealthy. I was using 4-pound test line and making really long casts because you didn't want to spook those fish. The spot I found was a place where fish were constantly moving up to spawn. Today, those fish were really moving up." Although Uribe's goal of landing his first EverStart victory failed to materialize, he said that he knows his time will come. "I'll be back," he said. "I had a great time this week. And sooner or later, I'll be able to finally close the deal." For his efforts, Uribe netted nearly $8,500 in winnings. Hometown favorite nets fourth Pro Terrence Rath of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., parlayed a total catch of 49 pounds, 4 ounces into a fourth-place finish on Lake Havasu.Terrence Rath of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., parlayed a total catch of 49 pounds, 4 ounces into a fourth-place finish. "It was an awesome week, an awesome tournament and we had awesome weather," said Rath. "I lost a fish on the first day - the only one all week - and that one probably cost me. At one point, I had one fish in the boat today and my co-angler partner had a limit so I was starting to panic. But I eventually calmed down and was able to put some fish in the boat." Rath, who targeted bass with a combination of paddle-tail worms and swimbaits, walked away with over $7,600 in winnings. Tuck grabs top-five finish Pro Michael Tuck of Granite Bay, Calif., used a total catch of 48 pounds, 4 ounces to net fifth place overall on Lake Havasu.Michael Tuck of Granite Bay, Calif., used a total catch of 48 pounds, 4 ounces to net fifth place overall. "It was a fun tournament," he said. "Lake Havasu is special to me. It's one of my favorite places to fish. I have been licking my chops to come here ever since I saw it on the schedule." Although Tuck was in position to mount a charge, he knew that today's weather conditions and lack of wind would create a banner day of fishing for all. As such, Tuck thought he'd need to have his best day of the tournament just to keep up with the leaders. "When I went out there this morning I could tell right away that the guys were going to catch them," continued Tuck. "So I pretty much knew that I needed around 20 pounds to have a shot at the title. It didn't work out, but overall, I had a really good tournament." Tuck said that his fished primarily around the marina, targeting boat slips and grass ridges with a combination of 5-inch Senkos and Mann's umbrella rigs. For his efforts, Tuck took home over $6,700 in winnings. Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro finalists: Pro Michael Wright of Grass Valley, Calif., finished in sixth place overall on Lake Havasu.6th: Michael Wright of Grass Valley, Calif., 45-14 7th: Jeff Michels of Lakehead, Calif., 45-0 8th: Jimmy Savoini of Prescott, Ariz., 41-12 9th: Brian Ankrum of Loveland, Colo., 39-10 10th: Duane Dunstone of Reno, Nev., 36-5 EverStart Series Western Division action resumes March 29-31 on the California Delta in Oakley, Calif.

Tags: headline-story 


Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »


Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »


Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »


Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »


Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »


Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »


Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »


Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »


Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »


Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »


Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »


Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »


Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »


Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »


Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »


Gautney Under Pressure

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Guntersville is just as misty and nasty as the first. Lucky for us, the first day of the Mercury-presented event featured huge catches throughout the field. READ MORE »