Chris Zaldain, BASS's Newest Elite Series Pro
||2012 Bassmasters Elite Series Pro
We met Chris Zaldain back in January of 2010 during the annual media event at Lake Pardee hosted by Kent Brown of Ultimate Bass Radio. It was the year of the “Young Guns” with fresh, local talent joining the event and giving us a glimpse of what may lay ahead for the bass fishing tournament circuits. Indeed, with Zaldain in particular, this is exactly what transpired as we found out that he’s qualified to participate in bass fishing’s most prestigious circuit, Bassmasters Elite! We caught up with this shooting star to learn more about his journey and of course, the tools and techniques he favors to fill his livewell on tournament day.
met Chris Zaldain back in January of 2010 during the annual media event at Lake
Chris, congrats once again and thanks for joining us. Let's go back to the beginning. What is your first memory of fishing?
CZ: My first
memory of fishing is back when I was 8 years old trout fishing on the banks of
the Colorado River below the Davis Dam. My dad built a house in Nevada so he
would drive the family to Laughlin every other weekend. I specifically remember
watching the river level rise in the mornings and fall in the evenings. I
quickly figured out that those rainbow trout liked that cool, clean dam water
and every morning when they opened the gates, I would get bit on trout spinners
and chartreuse powerbait.
It was the year of the “Young Guns” with fresh, local talent joining the
Do you remember the combo you were using to catch those trout?
CZ: My very first combo was a 5'6" Shakespeare Ugly Stik PRO Graphite with an Abu Garcia Gold Max spinning reel. I destroyed the trout with that thing.
What really stood out for us was the pure joy Zaldain exhibits while out on the
water doing what he loves.
When did you switch over to bass fishing?
CZ: I started bass fishing at the age of 11. I remember having my parents take me to the local tackle shop after watching Orlando Wilson every Saturday morning on TNN. I caught my first bass on a Texas rigged worm that I had fouled up in a base of a tree. I was trying to shake it loose and a bass came up and took it. I thought it was the coolest thing I'd every seen.
While others were tossing jigs and fishing deep, Zaldain was catching fatties on
Lucky Craft 128 pointers!
So had already moved to the San Francisco Bay Area at that time. Do you have a favorite type of water to fish?
CZ: My favorite type of water to fish is a river system with aquatic vegetation. To be successful on river systems, especially tidal influenced, you have to pay attention and know how to read water.
Zaldain with another quality smallie at Pardee in 2010.
So you must the California Delta must be one of your favorite bodies of water to fish. Do you favor the east side of the Delta or the west side of the Delta or does it make a difference to you?
CZ: The California Delta is my favorite body of water to fish. It is just so diverse and it changes every year. It's not like Clear Lake where guys win on the same old rock piles, points, and ledges - those spots never move. On the Delta, spots change every 12 months. The habitat moves. Moss growth, sand bars, grass and tule lines, they all change. The California Delta helps keep me sharp. I fish east and I fish west. I let the tide cycle determine when and where I put the trolling motor down because I know "tide windows" (i.e. low incoming, high outgoing) start closest to the Golden Gate (west).
Zaldain was one of many "Young Guns" that year at Pardee but he
was destined for more.
What's your favorite or best technique for bass fishing?
CZ: My absolute favorite technique is flipping grass. I like finding little subtleties in grass lines with current nearby. Heavy line, heavy weights, heavy bass.
Zaldain's favorite technique? Flipping grass.
Section: Preferred combos and reels