Day Four Launch

Lintner, family OK after freeway collision

ESPN's Mark Zona, Tommy Sanders and James Overstreet got a glimpse of a wrapped tournament boat lying off its trailer on the side of the freeway on Saturday, part of a nasty accident that brought I-5 traffic to a standstill north of Stockton.

Turns out that the boat belonged to California pro Jared Lintner. The Arroyo Grande native, who finished 60th at the TroKar Duel in the Delta, was heading to Clear Lake when he was hit from the side by another vehicle.

"My trailer was on the side of my truck, and my boat was 12, 15 feet away from the trailer," Lintner said. "It was gnarly"

Lintner and his son, J.C., though, were thankfully uninjured in the collision. His boat, motor, trailer, truck and fishing gear, however, weren't quite so lucky. Lintner will spend much of Sunday trying to find a boat to run Monday at the first day of practice at Clear Lake, and he'll spend the rest of the day sorting through piles of gear and tackle that got scattered across the freeway.

"I don't know what I'm going to do about a boat yet," he said. "Lee Robertson (tour support for Skeeter) is trying to find me a demo boat to fish, and if that doesn't happen I might be able to borrow a buddy's boat. I have to straighten out my gear, too.

"I have stuff scattered everywhere. All the boxes flew open and rods were scattered all over the place. It's a mess, man. It's a tough thing to deal with, but it could've been a heckuva lot worse. At least me and my boy are okay."

A Clear Lake pre-preview

Many of the Elite Series anglers who didn't make the final cuts on Saturday and Sunday were headed straight to Clear Lake to get their first glimpse at where they'll be fishing in next week's Golden State Shootout.

Observing the biggest tournament on this fishery all year — a 154-boat team tournament this weekend — they saw a lake that, much like the Delta, is colder than usual for early/mid-March and a little behind in the spawn.

That'll likely all change early this week as the daytime highs into the low 70s by Wednesday and hit 75 for tournament Day One. That warming trend will push the water temperatures out of where they're currently hovering in the high 40s and into the mid-50s, which is warm enough to kick-start Clear Lake's big Florida-strain largemouth.

"Anytime we have this first big warming trend of the year, those fish just show up in waves," said northern California pro Gary Dobyns, a former Bassmaster Classic competitor and the West Coast's all-time leading money winner with over $2 million and 40 boats in his 20-year Golden State career. "It's going to take a lot of weight. The Elite guys should leave here thinking 'This is one of the best fisheries in the country.' They'll catch the heck out of 'em. My guess it that it'll take 25 pounds a day, and I wouldn't be surprised if it took 28."

Spinnerbait and hair slingers unite

North Carolina pro Dustin Wilks, who sits in sixth place with 45 pounds, 12 ounces, will be one of the few anglers who won't be flippin' today.

"I'm doing the same thing in the same area: I'm slingin' spinnerbaits as fast as I can, all day long," Wilks said.

He's also slingin' hair products, thanks to his marshal, Phil Van Overeem, who's "twin towers" of foot-long spiky green hair have been the subject of much debate this week.

"I'm stealing Phil's idea," Wilks joked. "I'm going to get big into the 'hair marketing' thing."