Chris Zaldain, BASS's Newest Elite Series Pro
What's your current combo for flipping grass?
CZ: Powell 7105 7'10" Flippin Stick / Shimano Chronarch 201E7 / 60lb Seaguar Kanzen braid
Do you use left hand retrieve reels or left hand retrieve reels?
CZ: I'm a left handed reel guy. I think it is very important to have your power hand on the rod at all times. Especially when flipping or throwing topwater.
Late in 2011, Zaldain learned he had qualified for the 2012
Bassmasters Elite Series Tour!
With all the old school guys using right handed reels, how did you end up using lefties?
CZ: I started off using right handed reels early in my career but figured I could make more presentations in a day's span if I wasn't transferring the rod to my left hand after every cast. I also like fishing fast and I hate being unprepared for a bite.
More of that youthful exuberance from Zaldain.
Do you recall your first bass fishing tournament? If so, how did you do?
CZ: I was 16 years old during the August 27th, 2000 San Jose's Bass-N-Tubes tournament on the Delta. I took 4th out of 20 kickboaters throwing a spinnerbait along rock levies.
First boat tournament as a co-angler: May 5th, 2004 on the Delta. I took 124th out of 145 co-anglers. I drew Robert Lee on the first day and learned so much it was shocking.
Zaldain's biggest bass to date? a 14-1 on a Huddleston swimbait.
What's the biggest bass you've caught in a tournament and also outside of a tournament?
CZ: The biggest bass I caught in competition was during an FLW event on the Delta. The fish were in post-spawn so I started in a marina. My first fish of the morning was a 9-11 followed by an 8-07 on back-to-back casts with a frog! My biggest bass to date is a 14-1 on a Huddleston swimbait in 2005 on Coyote Lake, CA.
Zaldain's biggest bass in a tournament was a 9-11 followed by an
8-07 caught on back to back casts on a frog.
So what made you decide to take the leap to try out for the Elite Series?
CZ: Well, fishing on the Bassmaster Elite Series has been a dream of mine for years. Seeing guys like Skeet, Ike, Vandam on TV make it look fun. Working up from kickboating, co-angling, and local pro-ams, I fished at the highest regional level (FLW National Guard Series West) for 4 years. In 2010, FLW announced they were not coming west with a Series Trail in 2011 and the FLW Tour just wasn't in the cards. It was an easy decision to travel and fish the three 2011 Bassmaster Central Opens with one goal in mind - a top 5 points finish.
TackleTour readers will be interested to know Zaldain is right handed but
prefers to reel with his left hand.
Great job on that Chris. So, now having qualified, what's been your biggest challenge getting ready?
CZ: The business side of Professional Fishing. With the economy the way it is, landing a paying a sponsor is a feat for a rookie like me. I currently have a few things in the works and hopefully I can find some financial backing before the season starts in March. Regardless, I think it is important to stay positive and excited about this "new job" and knowing it can only get better from here.
TackleTour wishes Chris Zaldain the best of luck on his inaugural Bassmasters
Elite Series Tour.
Goodluck Chris, we'll be rooting for you. In closing, is there anything you'd like to say to the TackleTour readership?
CZ: Remember to keep fishing fun! Thank you, Cal, Zander, JIP, and all the TackleTour readers. Ms. Casey, call me!
TackleTour would like to congratulate Chris Zaldain once again on his ascension into bass fishing premiere tour, the Bassmasters Elite Series Tournament. Best of luck Chris and we'll be pulling for you!