This week we’re going to do a look back at some of the early accomplishments of Ron and Al Lindner. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last 50 years, the first mention of the name Lindner should bring images of In-Fisherman magazine and, more recently, Lindner’s Angling Edge. For the past 50 years, we’ve all been catching fish with Ron and Al, but did you know the Lindners got their start as fishing instructors in Bill Binkelman’s Fishing News newsletters in 1965?
Actually, they started corresponding with Binkelman the year prior but it wasn’t until ’65 that I can see they finally got some ink in Binkelman’s newsletter. Up to that time, Binkelman’s newsletter was pretty much devoted to Buck Perry and his spoon plugging techniques.
What got them their initial press was an unheard of catch they made one week in September, 1964 where they boated 28 giant Musky in just six days. I guess that would get anyone’s attention and it did Mr. Binkelman’s for sure, as he recounted the experience in his April 1965 issue of Fishing News.
Their next foray into Fishing News came in the October, 1965 issue where nearly 50% of the issue was dedicated to Ron and Al. This time, instead of big musky it was big bass, four 7-pounders, out of Silver Lake, WI along with 28 other large bass during the trip.
On the front page of this issue is a picture of Al and fishing partner Ronald Wage holding their four 7s. Next to that is a piece titled, “Bass in Your Own Backyard, 6 and 7 pounders in your local lakes? It’s no pipedream – and the Lindners are proving it!” The article starts out with Binkelman discussing Buck Perry’s methods and reiterating that big bass spend most of their lives in deep water. He then moves into the introduction of the Lindners. The story continues on page 4 but here Binkelman turns the reigns over to Ron. I believe this would be Ron Lindner’s first published article.
Lindner then goes on to talk up Binkelman and Perry and Perry’s methods. He then talks about how fishing is far behind golf and bowling in teaching those interested in the sport. How most information out in the public’s eye is misinformation. This article ends with Ron describing the jigworm and how difficult it is for an angler to catch fish on it, because of the non-existent strike.
But Lindner wasn’t done here. On page 2 Binkelman printed the map of Silver Lake drawn out by Lindner as well as the tactics they used. Binkelman was so impressed with the map and description he couldn’t stop praising Ron for his contribution. Ron was an architect so the lake map and sideview drawings were of a quality we’d come to expect from In’ Fisherman 10 years later.
Ron continued writing for Fishing News on a frequent basis after that, providing new concepts, tackle and techniques he and Al were learning through their time on the water.
In 1974 the Lindner brothers, along with Binkelman, put together a booklet titled Catching Fish. The booklet contained a number of their works and findings from 1964 to 1974 and were coalesced into a tabular format. As you flipped the page over, the next page was read from the top down. It contained pictures from the era, hand-drawn diagrams and directions on how to master certain techniques and tactics. In all, it was an encyclopedia of advanced angling tactics that was the best of its time – without a doubt.
The booklet was originally put together and published for Lindy Lure Company to be given to anyone that wanted it. In mid-2013 the Al and Ron decided to reprint the work in a limited number (950 pieces) as Part One of a series of three. Unfortunately, as of this writing in 2021, the book is still for sale on the Lindner’s Angling Edge website and, more than likely due to this, parts two and three won’t be published. Let’s hope I’m wrong.
At the time they announced the reprint, I sent an email to Ron asking to purchase one, but there was a caveat – I wanted it signed by both he and Al. I got an email back a little while later stating that not only would he send me a copy of the reprint signed by the two of them, but he was also sending me one of the few originals remaining. Talk about being excited.
Two days later, the mailman delivered the goods. What I received was the signed copy of the reprint as well as Dan Sura’s desk copy of the original tablet.
What’s most interesting about the booklet is you can see the scientific side of bass and walleye fishing morphing into something tangible. The Lindners and Binkelman, even at this early time, had a gift to explain hard scientific principles to the masses. They were and still are, the definition of teachers.
A cool addition to the reprint is Ron and Al added a lot of the history of how and why they came up with certain things along with their recollections of their journey as it happened. The margins of the booklet are filled with handwritten comments from both further describing pictures, concepts and even anglers they fished with.
In the meantime, based on what I’ve seen so far, if you’re a bass fishing book junky, this isn’t a book you can pass up. This is a must have. The fact it didn’t sell out in 2013 is good for those who would want a copy at the reduced price of $24.95. On the site it’s advertised that all copies are signed by Al, which adds to the coolness in my eyes.
In April 2020, Ron Lindner was notified he’d been inducted into the 2020 Class of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, the 2020 Induction Dinner was cancelled. Then in late November, 2020, Ron passed.
I was lucky enough to be at the 2021 Induction Dinner and watched as Ron’s son, James, and daughter, Dawn, accepted his plaque and gave a memorable acceptance speech on behalf of their father.
Ron and Al set forth in 1964 to change angling and teach all who would listen how to become a better angler. I would have to say they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Thank you, Ron and Al, and the entire Lindner family, for all you’ve contributed to the sport.