Lineberger says love is in the water

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Alan McGuckin

Spend five minutes talking to Bassmaster Elite Series pro Shane Lineberger of North Carolina, and you’ll fast realize the man deeply loves and appreciates his bride, Hope, and teen daughter, Alli.

“There’s no way I could be out here fishing for a living without the support my wife gives me. The day I had to tell the boss at Timken Bearings I was resigning the job I had there for 20 years was the scariest day of my life. Thank heavens for Hope’s support,” says the very likeable Lineberger, who has long been a Toyota Bonus Bucks member.

Making bearings for pick-up trucks is now a thing of Lineberger’s past. He’s currently fresh off a high finish at the Bassmaster Elite Series at Lake Lanier, and he looks to cash in this week on Hartwell too. He only lives two hours from Hartwell and fishes here a dozen times a year.

“It’s a blast to come down to Hartwell in May when the blue back herring are spawning. You can blast the bass on a topwater. It’s just nuts!” he smiles. “But it’s too early for that this week. Right now it’s all about the bass spawning, not the herring.” 

“I actually think there’s already been one wave of bass spawn and leave the beds. And based on the warming weather trend we’re having right now, there’s a real good chance the biggest wave of spawners will probably hit this weekend,” warns the Champion Power Equipment pro.

Water levels on Hartwell are 3 to 4 feet higher than they typically are at this time of year. That’s made seeing beds a little more challenging. But you can bet this group of angling aces will see their way clearly to the Holy Grail of springtime activity, especially if the water levels will begin to fall slightly, as they did during practice. 

Lineberger is rigged and ready with a Reaction Innovations’ Sweet Beaver, and he knows how to play the sight fishing game. 

“I consider myself a fair sight fisherman. I don’t get the same amount of practice at it a guy like Drew Benton gets in Florida where bass spawn several months a year, but I’m ready to go looking for them this weekend if I can make it through the first two days of competition,” he says.

Indeed, love is in the air here in Anderson County, S.C. And if the warm weather holds, Lineberger warns it’ll be in the water this weekend too.