Listen: Al Lindner, pro fishermen making big money

Mainstreet Radio’s Rachel Reabe reports on professional fisherman Al Linder. Reabe talks with the Brainerd fisherman about how he created a successful, nationally-known company based on the sport.


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AL LINDNER: The sport of fishing was never a casual interest to me. The best word I can use was obsession. That's all I ever wanted to do period. Every penny I had went to it. Every trip that I would plan-- everything I did, my entire life was based around fish or fishing.

SPEAKER 1: Al Lindner is one of the lucky ones. He's managed to make a living doing what he likes to do best. And in the process, he and his brother Ron have built a fishing empire.

WADE BORN: This is In-Fisherman Radio, and I'm Wade Born.

SPEAKER 1: Headquartered in Brainerd, the Lindner's In-Fisherman Communications Network started out 20 years ago as a television fishing show. It spread to include In-Fisherman Magazine, and then a nationwide radio network of fishing shows. Today, the company also produces fishing videos, books fishing clothes, and accessories. In a country where an estimated 60 million people fish, Al and Ron Lindner have struck it rich.

MARV KEMP: They invented fishing knowledge because they went out there and they said, oh, no, the fish are doing this because. That ain't because they're hitting the red and white lazy Ike today. It's because they're in 12 feet of water, the lake is thermocline. They had a reason the fish were in 12 feet.

SPEAKER 1: Marv Kemp, who runs a bait and tackle shop North of Brainerd, hired the Lindner brothers 25 years ago as fishing guides. Al was in his early 20s, Ron nine years older. They had developed a successful fishing strategy using the recently invented depth finder and the concept of underwater structure.


AL LINDNER: In most bodies of water, even if they're good lakes with a lot of fish, the fact of the matter is darn near 90% of it has no fish at a given time. Only 10% of that whole thing is holding fish. So 90% of what you're looking at, if you can get that into your head, is empty water. Nothing, zero in it. [LAUGHS]

SPEAKER 1: What Al Lindner is able to do almost always is find the part of the lake with the fish, and then catch them. On this day, he's fishing the small lake outside of Brainerd that he lives on.

AL LINDNER: I had seen no place in North America, and still have never seen any place in North America, and have traveled almost all of it within a short driving distance, that offers more diversified fishing than Brainerd. And you got largemouth bass. You've got smallmouth bass. You've got muskie. You got walleyes, crappies, bluegills, perch, short stream Trout.

SPEAKER 1: Brainerd is also home to fishing personality Babe Winkelman's television production company and Lindy-Little Joe one of the nation's big fishing tackle manufacturers. The three companies, who together employ close to 170 people, have given Brainerd the reputation of being the country's freshwater fishing capital for research and information.

Although Al Lindner spends as many as 200 days a year fishing, it doesn't seem to have diminished the thrill. He'll be out on the fishing opener and is looking forward to what he calls a day of fun fishing. No clients to entertain, no television segment to shoot, no research to do. Just a relaxing day doing what he likes best.

AL LINDNER: Catching a fish is not the challenge to me at this point in my life. Catching fish is not the challenge at all. In fact, it's probably the least interesting. It's figuring out how to catch the fish. Once I know it can catch them, it really don't mean anything to me. It's like, after that, the party's over. The challenge is to figure out the fish. It's more of a battle between me and the fish on a personal level now than anything else. [LAUGHS] And that's what it amounts to. [LAUGHS] Knowing that they will always win out in the end.

SPEAKER 1: Professional fisherman Al Lindner. On Perch Lake near Brainerd, I'm Rachel [? Ribi. ?]

AL LINDNER: I don't want to lose my bobber. Oh, got it.



It ain't a whopper, but it's--

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