By finishing 22nd at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Lake Amistad in February 2014, Troy Lindner took a significant step toward qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series.
If Troy’s last name sounds familiar, it’s because he is the son of Minnesotan Al Lindner who founded In-Fisherman in 1975 with his brother Ron.
Whether you cast for bass, walleye or some other freshwater gamefish, you have benefitted immeasurably from the Lindner brothers’ academic approach to fishing education.
Having grown up in Minnesota as a member of the Lindner dynasty, fishing is part of Troy’s DNA. He learned from his elders to be a multi-species angler. He had, and still has, a penchant for smallmouth bass.
Troy also learned to be a jack-of-all-trades while working at the In-Fisherman Communications Network during the summer months. He did everything from washing boats to filming television shows.
Given his love of fishing, it seems likely that Troy would have settled into the family business. It didn’t work out that way.
In high school, Troy excelled in football and track. His athletic ability took him to Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, where he competed in track. His specialties were the long jump and triple jump. Troy’s track career ended in his senior year when he injured his ankle while training to become a decathlete.
After graduating from ASU in 2001 with a degree in Small Business, Troy got a job as a personal fitness trainer at a large gym in Los Angeles, California. From there he eventually started his own business, California Complete Fitness. He personally trains individual clients, including celebrity entertainers.
Troy keeps a hand in the fishing industry by producing short “Fit 4 Fishing” training features for the World Fish Network (WFN). Fit 4 Fishing focuses on exercises that help tournament anglers endure long fishing days.
When Troy visits his father in Minnesota, he often does some filming for the Lindner’s Angling Edge television show.
Although Troy was exposed to walleye tournaments growing up, he had little experience with bass tournaments. He knew that his father had qualified for three Bassmaster Classics and had won two Bassmaster Invitationals in the early years of B.A.S.S.
However, his father retired from tournament fishing in 1979 to focus on In-Fisherman. Troy, now 37, was only 4 years old then. His path to becoming a bass tournament junkie took the scenic route.
While working as a trainer in Los Angeles, Troy needed to satisfy his fishing fetish. He didn’t own a boat then so he searched for places where he could cast from the bank.
“I got a book that had the city mapped out and looked for blue areas,” Troy says. “This was before anything like Google Earth was around. I’d drive to those places to see if water was there.”
Whenever Troy found water that looked capable of supporting bass, he would park his car, snatch up a rod and trek along the bank.
“Some of those places were in pretty rough areas of the city,” Troy says. “It was risky fishing there, but it worked out OK during the day when there were no gangs around.”
Troy’s first tournament bass fishing experience happed in 2003. That’s when he was one of three two-man Lindner teams that competed in a big annual bass event at Minnesota’s Rainy Lake. The tournament gave the Lindner clan an excuse to get together, have some fun and hammer Rainy Lake’s chunky smallmouths.
The Linders fished the Rainy Lake tournament six times, and Troy found himself looking forward to it all year.
“That gave me the bass tournament bug,” Troy says.
For the past seven years, Troy has been fishing as many as 20 pro-am and team bass tournaments a year. He entered his first Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open as a co-angler to test the water. That was the final Western Open, which was held in 2005 at Shasta Lake in northern California.
“I knew nothing then,” Troy says. “I still don’t feel like I know that much.”
After one year of fishing various pro-am tournaments as an amateur, Troy took a premature leap of faith to the front of the boat. He regards this as his biggest mistake.
“I would have learned faster if I had fished as an amateur for two or three years,” Troy says. “I was too green to be running my own show.”
Despite Troy’s “mistake” he is beginning to fare well in bass tournaments, such as his 22nd place finish at Amistad. It was his first Bassmaster Open tournament since the Shasta event in 2005. This season Troy will be fishing the rest of the Central Opens and the Northern Opens.
“I think my best chance to qualify for the Elite Series is through the Northern Opens,” Troy said. “St. Clair and Champlain are clear lakes that have good smallmouth populations.”
Smallmouth bass are in Troy’s wheelhouse. Should he achieve his goal of qualifying for the Elite Series, Troy will surely join the country’s top 100 bass fishermen on the tour.
“I would love to be a fulltime pro,” Troy says. “I still have that fire to compete, and you can stay strong in this sport into your 60s and 70s.”