Lintner fishing while his wife is contracting

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Jared Lintner's wife, Keri, is having birth contractions every few hours in Arroyo, Calif. Meanwhile, Lintner has fished his way into the finals of the Bassmaster Memorial, near the opposite U.S. coastline.

But if you think Keri is upset because her husband might miss the birth of their third child, you would need to think again.

Almost two years ago, when Lintner had qualified to fish the 2006 Elite Series circuit as a rookie, he decided there was too much travel involved. Lintner was then content to let the entry fee deadline pass without ponying up the first installment on the $55,000 total in entry fees.

But Keri wasn't about to let that happen. Without her husband knowing about it, Keri wrote that initial check. She let the deadline date come and go before telling Jared that he was committed to pro bass fishing in a big way. That decision should easily make the "Believing In Your Spouse Hall of Fame."

While anxious to get back home, Lintner was feeling pretty good Saturday about Keri's decisive act in 2006. By making the Sunday cut, the 33-year-old pro has a one-in-six shot at the $250,000 first place check in the Bassmaster Memorial presented by Evan Williams Bourbon.

"She had a doctor's appointment Thursday," Lintner said. "She was dilated at one (centimeter). The doctor said it could happen any time up to a week. She says she's feeling good."

Then Lintner smiled and added, "She says she's trying to hold it in."

Meanwhile, Lintner is quietly having the most consistent season on the Elite Series tour. Only once, last week at Lake Erie, has he failed to earn a check in this season's 11 tournaments. No one else can make that claim.

And by making Sunday's final, Lintner has assured himself of his best Elite Series finish. He placed seventh on the California Delta in March and was seventh at Clark's Hill Lake in Georgia last year.

"I'm having a great time," said Lintner. "Every tournament I feel more and more accepted. Last year I was just a spaz."

Lintner may have felt out of place, but the 2006 Elite Series results paint a different picture. He finished 18th in the Angler of the Year standings and second to Steve Kennedy in Rookie of the Year points. In the process, he validated his wife's belief in his fishing potential on this Elite circuit.

"I'm still learning," Lintner said. "Every day, every tournament, I'm still learning."

And what Lintner learned Saturday while fishing the six-hole course laid out on Onondaga Lake makes him think it's possible to overcome his fifth-place, 3-pound, 8-ounce deficit and finish first Sunday.

"Today my biggest fish was probably around four pounds," Lintner said. "But I saw some big, big ones cruising around the grass. Instead of running over them with the trolling motor, I'll stay off of them. There's some six- and eight-pounders swimming around.

"I'm glad I have the opportunity to fish for them. It's going to be fun."

With only 70 minutes to fish in each hole of the course, then an 80-minute "happy hour" to fish anywhere, Lintner said he didn't have any choice but to focus on the task at hand, rather than what his wife is experiencing at home in California.

And he has to be comforted by the fact that his wife has already put their money where her heart is in Jared Lintner's bass fishing career.