NEW

The Original Underwater Camera

The Original Underwater Camera The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish.- Jacques Cousteau  Crosslake, MN (June 20, 2019) – For centuries, anglers and adventurers alike have pondered the fascinating realm below the surface—that vast aquatic...

LIVETARGET Releases New Ghost Tail Minnow

     LIVETARGET Releases New Ghost Tail Minnow with Injected Core Technology™ (ICT) A breakthrough in lure design allows anglers to Match-the-Hatch® like never before.   Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (June 19, 2019) – LIVETARGET’s new Ghost Tail Minnow is a...

Grip…and Grin

 Grip...and GrinZ-Man® TT Lures® ChinlockZ SWS™ Weighted Swimbait Hook secures ElaZtech® baits and elevates your rigging gameLADSON, SC (June 18, 2019) – The unimaginably malleable-yet-tough composition of Z-Man’s ElaZtech gives anglers the power to do...

LIVETARGET Announces Injected Core Technology™ (ICT), the Next Generation of Lure Innovation

Cutting-edge technology ushers in a new era of profile and realism   Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (June 14, 2019) – LIVETARGET has earned the reputation of producing some of the most life-like lures on the water. Always striving to Match-the-Hatch™, LIVETARGET...

Z-Man’s Reinforced Ned Jig Offers Pro-Level Performance

While true Ned Rig or Midwest Finesse fishing is, by definition, a light line technique involving small, light wire hooks for a stealthy approach, select tournament situations necessitate a slightly larger, heavier jig hook capable of muscling big bass.

St. Croix Rods Expands Ice Fishing Lineup

St. Croix Rods Expands Ice Fishing LineupNew Croix Custom Ice (CCI) rods are engineered for unmatched performance  Park Falls, WI (June 13, 2019) - It may be summertime, but the great allegiance of hardwater anglers is always thinking ice. Open water...

MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING’S ULTIMATE DREAM SWEEPSTAKES

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. MAKING A PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.ALL DISPUTES WILL BE RESOLVED SOLELY BY BINDING ARBITRATION AND ENTRANTS WAIVE THE ABILITY TO BRING CLAIMS IN A CLASS ACTION FORMAT.  SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY...

YOUTUBE-BASED REALITY SERIES PREMIERES TODAY-RAPALA VARSITY BASS PRESENTED BY GENERAL TIRE

Rapala Varsity Bass presented by General Tire, a new, original YouTube-based reality series, produced by Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), will premiere Tuesday, June 11 (3p ET), on the FLW Fishing YouTube channel.

HIGH WATER, GOOD FISHING AT RAYBURN

Though Rayburn is about 475 miles south of Grand, it hasn’t escaped what has been a brutally wet spring for much of the country, so anglers will be plying some high water. Big Sam is also loaded with bass, and June can be prime for fish-catching action on the historic fishery.

There was a stretch between 2014 and 2015 when Shane Lineberger felt like everything was coming together for him as a professional bass angler.

He ended 2014 with a sixth-place finish in the Bassmaster Southern Open No. 3 on his home waters at Lake Norman in North Carolina. He started his 2015 season equally hot, with a ninth-place finish on Virginia’s James River in the first Bassmaster Northern Open of the season, and he followed by finishing 12th on Oneida Lake in the second Bassmaster Northern Open of 2015.

Lineberger, who had fished Bassmaster Opens since 2011, used those quality performances to earn a spot in the Bassmaster Elite Series, which he fished in 2016 and again in 2017.

The 46-year-old pro, who hails from Lincolnton, N.C., admits his rookie season with the Elites was a tough one, and that he listened to dock talk too much and let his mental game slip. His sophomore season was much more productive, however, and he earned checks in six of nine Elite Series events.

Two Elite tournaments in 2017 were a huge disappointment, however. Lineberger finished 109th (last place) at Texas Fest on Lake Sam Rayburn. He rebounded with top 50 showings in an Elite Series event on Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas and another Northern Open on Oneida. The wheels really fell off on the next Elite Series stop on the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York.

Lineberger got food poisoning right before the tournament and was so weak he could hardly stand. He practiced for only a few hours and did compete, but he finished 108th (second to last.)

The subpar performances on Rayburn and the St. Lawrence River not only knocked Lineberger out from a possible berth in the 2018 Bassmaster Classic, but it kept him from requalifying for the 2018 Elite Series.

That combination of sucker punches made Lineberger second guess himself and his path in life.

“To be honest, I was about ready to quit after that happened,” he said. “I was so close to making the Classic, and then that tournament at the St. Lawrence River happened. It could not have come at a worse time. And then to find out not only did I miss the Classic, but I didn’t even qualify (for the 2018 Elite Series).

“I thought ‘Why am I doing this?’ If I finish even like 100th in those tournaments, I pick up a few more points, I make the Classic and we’re not even having this conversation.”

Lineberger credited his wife and father with urging him to stick with competitive fishing, but his 2018 season wasn’t as successful as he wanted either. He fished on the FLW Tour, and he competed in all four of the Bassmaster Eastern Opens, but his best showing was 46th on Lake Champlain in New York.

Still, he said being invited to compete in the 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series reminded him of two key things.

“People say they can feel it when the fire still burns, and I still have that,” he said. “The second thing is this is fresh start for me. It’s a fresh start for everyone … I think the future; it’s brighter for me right now than it has been in a couple years. You can’t worry about anyone else. You just have to do your thing. That only can come with experience.”

Lineberger specializes in shallow-water fishing, and he likes to run-and-gun hunting for more bites. He’s employed those tactics since he competed in, and won, the first club tournament he entered.

“My cousin had a 1987 Ranger 374, and he bought it brand new,” Lineberger said. “I talked him into fishing that little local night tournament back home. I was 17. When we won, I thought ‘Man, this is easy!’”

But even the greatest anglers have lean years, which strengthens Lineberger’s resolve. He said he’s hungry to redeem himself in 2019 and has his sights set on a couple tournaments in particular where he thinks he can shine.

“(Lake) Hartwell is only two hours from me, and I have a ton of experience there,” he said. “I won a couple BFL tournaments there and a couple of team tournaments too. I think Lake Lanier will suit me well, too. You can go 30 feet deep for spots, or you can fish 3 feet deep for largemouth. It’ll be anything goes.”

There are some spots Lineberger has never fished, such as Lake Fork, which is the site of the 2019 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

 

READ MORE