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COMMENTS BY KIM: Liked him immediately

Losing a legend

I never met him but I liked him immediately. Immensely. And it was just a simple phone call.

Not so many years ago I was working on a story about one of my favorite subjects – fishing topwater lures. I was on a pretty good roll too, liking the words appearing on my computer screen. As I finished up the story and was re-reading it, I realized there was room for improvement. But how? What?

I got to thinking about my best topwater moments and some of the best topwater moments of others. That’s when In-Fisherman and the famous Lindner clan came to mind. Can’t get any better than that, I thought, and found a phone number and made a call. To my astonishment Ron Lindner answered the phone. Ron Lindner!

Anyway, I introduced myself and told him that I was finishing up a story on fishing topwater lures and could use a little correction or reinforcement. His reaction completely floored me. He started a very warm conversation like we had known each other forever. He loved the topic and was more than happy to oblige, not in a boastful way but in an informative manner that oozed of experience.

Then he said, “Hang on a moment.”

Okay, I thought, this conversation is over. He’s a busy guy with no time for a writer from Minot, North Dakota. How wrong I was.

“Okay. Still there?” came the voice over the phone. “I’ve got James in here on the speaker. He’s a big topwater guy.”

I knew who James Lindner was. Who didn’t? He’s done countless fishing shows with multiple presentations for a wide variety of species of fish at various times of the year. I recognized his voice as soon as he asked, “What kind of topwater are we talking here? There’s so many.”

The two Lindners and I talked topwater fishing for nearly 30 minutes. Ron guided the conversation in an extremely friendly and informative way. James eventually asked me if I had what I needed and added, “Good luck with the story. Topwater is the best.”

Ron then asked me if James helped and, somehow, the topic of saltwater fishing came up. Talk about a guy lighting up! Ron Lindner started talking about wake baits and saltwater fish and water clarity and conditions and everything else imaginable about fishing. I sat back and listened intently.

I’m not sure I heard everything he said though, mostly because my thoughts wandered to how gracious this monumental fishing legend was to a guy he’d never before spoken to. I was the one who brought the conversation to an end. He was more than willing to share more fishing knowledge with me. Goodness, I was impressed.

Before hanging up the phone he asked me again if I had everything I needed. “If there’s anything else you think of or that comes up later, call me on on this number,” said Lindner after sharing his personal number with me. Astonishing stuff from a great in his profession.

Never met him and yet I miss him. Ron Lindner passed away Nov. 30. I will never delete him from the contacts on my cell phone. Every once in a while as I scroll through my list his name will pop up and remind me how good a person can be.

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