Chris Zaldain Grabs Day One Lead at 2018 Elite Series Kentucky Lake

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Elite Series 2018 Kentucky Lake Day One Leader Chris Zaldain – photo by Seigo Saito – B.A.S.S.

PARIS, Tenn. — Chris Zaldain knew what he wanted to do, he knew why he wanted to do it and he got the job done to the tune of a 24-pound, 3-ounce limit of bass that leads the first round of the Berkley Bassmaster Elite at Kentucky Lake presented by Abu Garcia.

“A few days ago, I got some bad news about my mom’s (Rose) health, she’s battling cancer,” said Zaldain of Laughlin, Nev. “The last few days have been rough, so I came into this event to win it for my mom.

“I really want a chance to go into Sunday and win this event. I feel like my career needs it. I feel like my family needs it.”

Zaldain said he’s fishing such a specific pattern that he couldn’t divulge many details. However, he did note that a very specific integration of three distinct factors — some habitat, others conditional — were essential to his success.

“I practiced with one thing in my mind, pretty much one bait, one approach and it paid off big time today,” Zaldain said. “The second day of practice, I caught almost 30 pounds, no joke. Kentucky Lake has got ’em.

“A lot of people are complaining about the Asian carp, but the bass still live here. You just have to fish where the carp aren’t.”

Noting that he fished a purely prespawn pattern, Zaldain knew his day would be one of quality over quantity. His biggest was a 6-pounder, which made it to the Bassmaster blog feed with Zaldain’s handwritten dedication note to his mother.

“I’m fishing for five bites,” Zaldain said. “I’m not going out there trying to catch as many as I can, I’m just trying to catch five.

“Angles are everything to the way I’m fishing. I watched people fish through an area twice and I went in behind them and caught fish.”

The morning bite was key for Zaldain, who tanked his last keeper at 10 a.m. Looking ahead, he’s confident that he can replicate his game plan again Saturday, the second of four competition days.

“If I keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll have a big bag,” he said. “We have a weather change coming tomorrow, so I may have to make a few adjustments, but it’s going to be more of the same. In fact, a few of my spots, I didn’t even touch today.”

While Zaldain’s game plan worked to perfection, Skeet Reese’s didn’t. The Elite pro from Auburn, Calif., had to scrap his original game plan when he found himself fishless at 8 a.m. Switching to waters he never visited in practice, Reese targeted an area where he threw reaction baits and intercepted fish coming and going from a spawning area. His decision to change game plans led to a solid limit of 23-11, just 8 ounces behind the leader.

In third, Alabama’s Kelly Jaye picked off a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds by throwing a custom colored Megabass Vision 110 jerkbait that he modified with larger hooks for a faster sink rate in the 8-foot depths he targeted.

Jaye said he needs sunlight penetration to allow the fish to see his bait better, so if Saturday offers any break in the cloud cover, he’s anticipating a heavier bag.

Rounding out the Top 5 are reigning Bassmaster Classic champion Jordan Lee of Grant, Ala., with 21-3 and Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., with 20-13

Gerald Swindle of Guntersville, Ala., and Chad Pipkens of Lansing, Mich., are tied for the $1,500 Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award with twin 7-pound, 7-ounce fish.

Daily takeoffs will begin at 6 a.m. CT out of Paris Landing Marina, and weigh-ins are scheduled at Paris Landing State Park beginning at 3:15 p.m. CT. each day.

2018 Bassmaster Elite At Kentucky Lake Title Sponsor: Berkley

2018 Bassmaster Elite At Kentucky Lake Presenting Sponsor: Abu Garcia

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia, Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Academy Sports + Outdoors, Carhartt, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, T-H Marine

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Elite Partner: Black Velvet Canadian Whisky

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Local Partner: Mountain Dew

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Series presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

2018 Berkley Bassmaster Elite at Kentucky Lake presented by Abu Garcia 5/4-5/7
Kentucky Lake, Paris  TN.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Chris Zaldain          Laughlin, NV             5  24-03  110
Day 1: 5   24-03
2.  Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  23-11  109
Day 1: 5   23-11
3.  Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  22-00  108
Day 1: 5   22-00
4.  Jordan Lee             Grant, AL                5  21-03  107
Day 1: 5   21-03
5.  Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  20-13  106
Day 1: 5   20-13
6.  Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             5  20-07  105
Day 1: 5   20-07
7.  Gerald Swindle         Guntersville, AL         5  20-04  104
Day 1: 5   20-04
8.  Josh Bertrand          San Tan Valley, AZ       5  20-02  103
Day 1: 5   20-02
9.  Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               5  20-01  102
Day 1: 5   20-01
10. Jacob Powroznik        North Prince George, VA  5  19-13  101
Day 1: 5   19-13
11. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          5  19-12  100
Day 1: 5   19-12
12. Ott DeFoe              Blaine, TN               5  19-10   99
Day 1: 5   19-10
12. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  19-10   99
Day 1: 5   19-10
14. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  19-09   97
Day 1: 5   19-09
15. Matt Lee               Guntersville, AL         5  19-07   96
Day 1: 5   19-07
16. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  19-06   95
Day 1: 5   19-06
16. Wesley Strader         Spring City, TN          5  19-06   95
Day 1: 5   19-06
18. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              5  18-15   93
Day 1: 5   18-15
19. Jesse Wiggins          Cullman, AL              5  18-14   92
Day 1: 5   18-14
20. Jacob Wheeler          Harrison, TN             5  18-13   91
Day 1: 5   18-13
21. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  18-10   90
Day 1: 5   18-10
22. Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            5  18-09   89
Day 1: 5   18-09
22. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  18-09   89
Day 1: 5   18-09
22. Kyle Monti             Okeechobee, FL           5  18-09   89
Day 1: 5   18-09
22. Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL         5  18-09   89
Day 1: 5   18-09
26. John Murray            Spring City, TN          5  18-06   85
Day 1: 5   18-06
27. Fred Roumbanis         Russellville, AR         5  17-15   84
Day 1: 5   17-15
28. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               5  17-15   83
Day 1: 5   17-15
29. Adrian Avena           Vineland, NJ             5  17-14   82
Day 1: 5   17-14
29. Gerald Spohrer         Gonzales, LA             5  17-14   82
Day 1: 5   17-14
31. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          5  17-04   80
Day 1: 5   17-04
31. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  17-04   80
Day 1: 5   17-04
31. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  17-04   80
Day 1: 5   17-04
34. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  17-03   77
Day 1: 5   17-03
35. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  17-01   76
Day 1: 5   17-01
36. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  16-15   75
Day 1: 5   16-15
37. Brent Ehrler           Redlands, CA             5  16-14   74
Day 1: 5   16-14
37. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  16-14   74
Day 1: 5   16-14
39. Brandon Card           Knoxville, TN            5  16-13   72
Day 1: 5   16-13
40. Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA           5  16-08   71
Day 1: 5   16-08
41. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  16-07   70
Day 1: 5   16-07
42. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  16-06   69
Day 1: 5   16-06
43. Alton Jones Jr.        Waco, TX                 5  16-04   68
Day 1: 5   16-04
43. Hunter Shryock         Newcomerstown, OH        5  16-04   68
Day 1: 5   16-04
45. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  16-00   66
Day 1: 5   16-00
46. Jake Whitaker          Fairview, NC             5  15-14   65
Day 1: 5   15-14
47. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  15-13   64
Day 1: 5   15-13
48. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  15-11   63
Day 1: 5   15-11
49. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  15-10   62
Day 1: 5   15-10
50. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                5  15-08   61
Day 1: 5   15-08
51. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  15-06   60
Day 1: 5   15-06
52. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            5  15-04   59
Day 1: 5   15-04
53. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  15-03   58
Day 1: 5   15-03
54. Fletcher Shryock       Dennison, OH             5  15-01   57
Day 1: 5   15-01
55. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  14-14   56
Day 1: 5   14-14
56. Seth Feider            Bloomington, MN          5  14-12   55
Day 1: 5   14-12
56. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  14-12   55
Day 1: 5   14-12
58. Brandon Palaniuk       Hayden, ID               5  14-11   53
Day 1: 5   14-11
59. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             5  14-02   52
Day 1: 5   14-02
60. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         4  14-02   51
Day 1: 4   14-02
61. Chris Groh             Spring Grove, IL         5  14-01   50
Day 1: 5   14-01
62. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            4  13-13   49
Day 1: 4   13-13
63. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  13-12   48
Day 1: 5   13-12
64. Randy Howell           Guntersville, AL         5  13-11   47
Day 1: 5   13-11
64. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         5  13-11   47
Day 1: 5   13-11
66. Mark Daniels Jr.       Tuskegee, AL             5  13-09   45
Day 1: 5   13-09
67. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          3  13-09   44
Day 1: 3   13-09
68. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              5  13-08   43
Day 1: 5   13-08
69. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          5  13-07   42
Day 1: 5   13-07
69. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  13-07   42
Day 1: 5   13-07
71. Randy Sullivan         Breckenridge, TX         5  13-06   40
Day 1: 5   13-06
72. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           4  13-05   39
Day 1: 4   13-05
73. Shin Fukae             Palestine TX JAPAN       4  13-04   38
Day 1: 4   13-04
74. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  13-03   37
Day 1: 5   13-03
75. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  13-02   36
Day 1: 5   13-02
75. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  13-02   36
Day 1: 5   13-02
77. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  13-01   34
Day 1: 5   13-01
78. Kelly Jordon           Flint, TX                5  13-00   33
Day 1: 5   13-00
79. Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              5  12-14   32
Day 1: 5   12-14
79. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  12-14   32
Day 1: 5   12-14
81. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  12-13   30
Day 1: 5   12-13
82. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     3  12-13   29
Day 1: 3   12-13
83. Tyler Carriere         Youngsville, LA          4  12-02   28
Day 1: 4   12-02
83. Mike McClelland        Bentonville, AR          4  12-02   28
Day 1: 4   12-02
85. Robbie Latuso          Gonzales, LA             5  11-15   26
Day 1: 5   11-15
86. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  11-12   25
Day 1: 5   11-12
86. Ray Hanselman Jr       Del Rio, TX              5  11-12   25
Day 1: 5   11-12
88. Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              5  11-11   23
Day 1: 5   11-11
89. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        5  11-07   22
Day 1: 5   11-07
90. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              4  11-03   21
Day 1: 4   11-03
91. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  10-15   20
Day 1: 5   10-15
92. Dustin Connell         Clanton, AL              4  10-07   19
Day 1: 4   10-07
93. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  4  10-06   18
Day 1: 4   10-06
93. Dave Lefebre           Erie, PA                 4  10-06   18
Day 1: 4   10-06
95. Brandon Coulter        Knoxville, TN            4  10-04   16
Day 1: 4   10-04
96. Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           2  09-08   15
Day 1: 2   09-08
97. Gary Klein             Mingus, TX               4  08-12   14
Day 1: 4   08-12
98. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              3  08-08   13
Day 1: 3   08-08
99. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               2  08-00   12
Day 1: 2   08-00
100. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       3  07-11   11
Day 1: 3   07-11
101. Roy Hawk               Lk Havasu Cty, AZ        4  07-09   10
Day 1: 4   07-09
102. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            3  07-03    9
Day 1: 3   07-03
103. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              3  06-10    8
Day 1: 3   06-10
104. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              3  06-08    7
Day 1: 3   06-08
105. Jonathon VanDam        Gobles, MI               3  05-07    6
Day 1: 3   05-07
106. Bill Weidler           Helena, AL               2  04-09    5
Day 1: 2   04-09
107. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                1  02-08    4
Day 1: 1   02-08
108. Darrell Ocamica        New Plymouth, ID         0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        82       493      1589-05
———————————-
82       493      1589-05