December 01, 2020
By Lynn Burkhead
As if the year 2020 hasn’t already caused enough grief and taken away too much from us, the fishing world lost one of its most iconic figures this week when 86-year-old Ron Lindner passed away in Minnesota.
As the well-known founder of Game and Fish’s sister publication In-Fisherman magazine, Lindner passed away on the evening of Nov. 30, 2020. No cause of death was listed, and funeral arrangements were unknown at the time of this writing.
"My dad passed on this evening – peacefully and surrounded by family," wrote Lindner’s daughter Dawn Anna Lindner in a Facebook post. "Thank you Lord for the beautiful years with this amazing man."
Known for his expertise in catching a variety of fish species across the North American continent, as well as his deep and abiding Christian faith, Lindner changed the angler’s sport like few others ever have.
While many will remember Lindner as a North Country fishing specialist while using all sorts of artificial lures and natural baits, Lindner was equally skilled at catching largemouth bass and smallmouth bass anywhere those two species swim from North to South. So much so, that earlier this year he was announced as a 2020 inductee into The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.
In joining his younger brother Al—a 2005 inductee—the two Lindner brothers joined Bobby and Billy Murray as the only two sibling members of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. Incidentally, Bobby Murray is the winner of the first Bassmaster Classic and Billy has been a longtime fishing television presence along with working for PRADCO Lures for more than three decades.
Unfortunately, Lindner’s Sept. 24 induction ceremony at the White River Conference Center, adjacent to the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield, Mo., wasn’t meant to be, being postponed until next year because of the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In that postponed ceremony, the late Lindner was set to be honored with other 2020 inductees, including former Bassmaster Classic champions Jay Yelas and the late Bryan Kerchal, the late lure designer James Heddon, and longtime fishing journalist Steve Bowman.
As news broke of Lindner’s death, tributes started pouring in from across the fishing world as many paid their condolences. One of those tributes came from Ron’s younger brother, Al, in comments he made to the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
"The easiest way I could capsulize and describe my brother, the three parts of his life that were important to him — his faith, his family and the fishing business. Those three things," said Al in a story posted to the Minnesota newspaper’s website.
"His whole life, nothing else interested him, nothing else was important to him. It was his faith, his family and the fishing industry, 24/7."
Another tribute to the legendary angling figure came from our sister publication, In-Fisherman, a member of the Outdoor Sportsman Group family of magazines, websites, and television networks.
In-Fisherman’s social media tribute to its founder read as follows:
"At In-Fisherman, we pause to offer our condolences to the family of In-Fisherman co-founder Ron Lindner," said a post on the magazine’s Facebook page.
"Lindner passed away on Monday at the age of 86. Lindner is survived by his wife of 66 years, Dolores, and their seven children and numerous grandchildren.
"The brother tandem of Ron and Al Lindner were the masterminds behind the creation of the In-Fisherman Communications Network, which launched in 1975. At first, it consisted mainly of a magazine, focusing on multispecies fishing. Eventually, a nationally syndicated television show and radio program joined the mix, along with a series of books and videos, all geared toward introducing anglers to new fishing tactics and equipment.
"Later, the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail was launched by the Lindners as a means to promote competitive angling and create marketing opportunities for various manufacturers in the industry.
"Ron and Al were the perfect team, both visionaries playing off each other’s strong points. They moved to Minnesota from Chicago in 1968 and opened a thriving fishing guide service known as the Nisswa Guides League focusing on trips in the Brainerd Lakes area. Later, they competed in fishing tournaments before shifting their focus to the creation of In-Fisherman.
"They invented and marketed a number of lures that remain fixtures in tackle boxes around the country, including the Lindy Rig. They developed the Fish+Location+Presentation = Success (F+L+P=S) formula to help simplify fishing methods across the seasons.
"A co-author of several books and owner of multiple patents, Ron was always measuring the pulse of the fishing industry in order to stay a step ahead of the crowd. That was in large part what made In-Fisherman such a popular entity among a hardcore group of anglers. 'Teaching North America to Fish Is Our Business' was the In-Fisherman call to action and it served a generation of anglers and industry insiders well.
"The Lindners sold In-Fisherman in 1998 to Primedia and later launched a new television show named Lindner’s Angling Edge under the Lindner Media Productions umbrella.
"Ron Lindner is a member of several fishing halls of fame. He was a 1991 inductee into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. In 2007, both Ron and Al were inducted into the Normark Hall of Fame, a recognition of their contribution to the growth of Normark’s brands, including Rapala. Ron was also a member of the 2020 induction class for the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.
"Rest in peace, Ron. Your accolades are too many and varied to be captured here, right now, but will be revisited as we move forward in a fishing world much influenced by your life of service to the cause.”
That was far from the only tribute to Lindner posted on social media platforms on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Others on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, came from the fishing industry itself, along with many others from anglers and competitive fishing fans.
"I’m deeply saddened by the news that my friend and legendary angler Ron Linder passed," said a Facebook post from Kim Stricker, a pioneering Michigan angler and host of the "Hook n’ Look" fishing television show on Outdoor Channel.
"The work Ron, his brother Al, and the entire Lindner team have presented over the years surely influenced my aspiration to produce fishing programs…and they set the bar high."
Dave Mercer, the longtime weigh-in emcee for the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament trail and the host of Dave Mercer’s Facts of Fishing on Outdoor Channel, expressed his sadness over Lindner’s death.
"The fishing world lost another incredible man," wrote Mercer in a FB social media post. "The unbelievable impact Ron Lindner made on this world will never be forgotten. Thank you for everything Ron. RIP Ron Lindner."
Such sentiments are easy to understand when one considers the length and breadth of Lindner’s fishing accomplishments in this industry. Take for instance, reports that an estimated 70+ million Lindy Rigs have been sold at last count.
And that’s not to even mention Lindner’s legendary status in the industry thanks to his numerous magazine stories, multiple books, tackle and equipment innovations, seminar presentations, and a long running presence in the outdoors media.
Rest in peace and tight lines in heaven, Ron. You’ll be sorely missed and we aren’t likely to see anyone as legendary as you were in this industry anytime soon, if ever again.