After finding himself in an area with more than a dozen other competitors on day 1, all vying for some of Lake Seminole's bedding bass, Jared Lintner decided to shift his focus to a backwater area where he could fish his favorite technique – punching.
The move paid off as the Californian averaged just shy of 18 pounds per day to post a 13th-place finish at the Elite Series season opener. It's his best finish to open a season since 2009 when he was 3rd at Lake Amistad.
He was boat 92 on day 1 and when he got to his first spot, there were 13 other boats in there.
"I caught a small limit of males there, but I don't like sight-fishing in groups like that," he said. "It kind of sucks."
He moved to some other bedding areas, but the fish were no longer there. It was then that he moved into a backwater area where he'd gotten some flipping bites in practice.
"I went in there and punched three in 20 minutes," he said, adding two were good enough to cull.
On day 2, he committed to the same backwater and caught two in the 5 1/2- to 6-pound range right away.
"I decided to grind it out there," he said. "I never started the boat all day. It was about a quarter-mile stretch and I just went back and forth over it."
He tried throwing a ChatterBait and swimbait on the edges of grass, but punching and flipping a Beaver-type bait under a skirt and a 1- or 1 1/2-ounce weight around hyacinth proved to be more effective as he finished the day with 21-05.
On the final day, that main stretch didn't produce all that well.
"I don't know what happened," he said. "It just didn't feel the same. The hyacinth I'd been flipping had floated away from the bank, probably because of the wind from day 2. There just wasn't as much good stuff to flip."
He left with three fish and ran to another area down the lake and quickly caught a 6 1/2-pounder on a ChatterBait before finishing his limit. He went back to his starting spot and culled two more times to get up to 17-01.
"Looking back, the only thing I wish I would've done in practice was found another spot like the one I wound up punching in," he said. "That place is so big that there's probably five or 10 more areas that are as good or better than there.
"Again, it was a deal where we only have 2 1/2 days to practice and you're trying to do so much, then with the weather that came in, it moved some fish off the beds, especially the bigger females. If I had had another spot to flip, I probably could've caught some more nice fish."
The Big Bite Lookback, which focuses on the angler who's first out of the final cut at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great folks at Big Bite Baits.