California Native Takes Lead Into Final Day of Toyota Bassmaster Elite


California native, Chris Zaldain, who is fishing his eighth season on the Bassmaster Elite Series, said many of his casts have been taking an excruciating five minutes from start to finish as he targets spotted bass suspended in 40 to 60 feet of water, according to Bassmaster Media’s website. 

Zaldain has built a three-day total of 51 pounds, 9 ounces, including a catch of 18-4 that lifted him into first place at the Toyota Bassmaster Elite at Lake Lanier on Saturday, February,16, according to the site.

Zaldain will lead the Top 10 remaining pros into the championship on Sunday, February, 17, with a $100,000 first-place paycheck on the line, the website states.

“From the time I cast my bait, let it sink and reel it all the way back to my rod tip, it’s literally taking me up to five minutes,” Zaldain, who now lives in Fort Worth, Texas, said. “You have to do that simply because the fish are really picky. You can’t fish fast at all, or you won’t get a bite.”

Zaldain is fishing near Buford Dam on the lower end of Lake Lanier in water that he said is only 47 degrees, Bassmaster Media said. 

“I’m fishing deeper than most everybody else,” Zaldain said. “I truly believe that’s where the biggest spots live because it’s the deepest, bluest, clearest water on the lake.” “They suspend out in those deep trees — and when they begin feeding to get ready for the spawn, they pull up to the depth zone I’m targeting.”

Zaldain’s catch of 18-4 was his biggest of the week, but he doesn’t think duplicating that catch on Sunday will be enough to help him win, according to the website. 

He believes a 20-pound catch is “more than doable” on the lake, and he said the weather conditions could be shaping up perfectly for it to happen.

The Sunday forecast in Georgia calls for a high of 49 degrees with a 90-percent chance of rain.

The tournament will conclude Sunday, February, 17,  with the Top 10 remaining anglers taking off from Laurel Park at 6:45 a.m. ET.

The final weigh-in will take place at Coolray Field at 4 p.m.

For more information on the 2019 Toyota Bassmaster Elite, click here

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