Pro Chris Zaldain of San Jose, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 11 pounds, 15 ounces Friday to capture the lead in the FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament on Lake Shasta. With a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 32-8, he holds a 1-pound, 8-ounce lead over his closest competitor, National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif. heading into the final day of competition.
“I am going for seven or eight bites per day, rotating between two and three spots,” said Zaldain, who is hoping for his first FLW Series win. “I keep hearing that guys are catching 30-40 fish per day, but if that’s what’s happening you aren’t catching the right ones. There are definitely a lot of fish out here, but you really have to be patient to get the quality bites, and that is what I am fishing for.”
Patience has certainly been a factor in this week’s tournament, fishing slow and conservative in deep water seems to be what is getting the job done for the top anglers at Shasta.
National Guard pro Ehrler caught a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 32-8 to advance to the final round as the No. 2 seed.
“I’ve been mainly fishing the same spot all week,” said Ehrler, who will fish in his 20th top-10 tournament. “It’s the kind of area that can win a tournament for you; I just hope it holds up for tomorrow. This is a small lake for 140 boats and I feel like I have been fishing behind someone all week long. Yes, there are a lot of fish, but it has been tough finding the right ones. I am excited to get out there tomorrow, it will be easier to run around and fish some different areas if my spot freezes up.”
The remaining top five pros, who will fish the final day, are:
3rd: KC Harris, Shasta Lake, Calif., 15 bass, 31-13
4th: Bryan McDermott, Cottonwood, Calif., 15 bass, 31-2
5th: Jeff Michels, Lakehead, Calif., 15 bass, 30-1
The rest of the best top-10 anglers in the Pro Division are:
6th: Jim Riley, Shasta Lake, Calif., 15 bass, 29-14, $8,277
7th: Chris Fancelli, Redding, Calif., 15 bass, 29-12, $7,790
8th: National Guard pro Clifford Pirch, Payson, Ariz., 15 bass, 29, $7,303
9th: Cody Meyer, Grass Valley, Calif., 15 bass, 28-10, $6,816
10th: Sean Stafford, Fairfield, Calif., 15 bass, 28-7, $6,329
Overall there were 668 bass weighing 1055 pounds, 3 ounces caught by 140 pros Friday. The catch included 126 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing this week for a top award of over $58,500 plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for a shot at the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup.
National Guard team member Johnathan Walker of Tacoma, Wash., won the Co-angler Division and a Ranger 177TR with a 90 horsepower engine Friday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 28 pounds, 15 ounces followed by Max Bauer of San Diego, Calif., in second place with 15 bass weighing 26-9 worth $4,816.
Walker opened the tournament in 1st place Wednesday with 5 bass weighing 11-13 while fishing with pro Ronald Hobbs, Jr. of Orting, Wash. On Thursday he didn’t miss a beat, remaining in control of the lead with 5-bass weighing 8-8 while fishing with pro Craig Kraft of Redding, Calif. He sealed the win Friday with a 5-bass catch weighing 8-10 while fishing with pro Tommy Cardoza of Lakeport, Calif.
“I have just had an incredible week,” said Walker, who has only fished five previous FLW Series events. “We were on some good fish today and my partner was just whackin’ ‘em, I really had to stay patient because I knew they were there. The fish are so lethargic right now, unless you touch the fish with your bait, they wouldn’t bite.”
“I used the same bait all week, large sinkos, and stayed 36-42 feet deep. It was tough fishing, there were no give me bites out there and you really had to work for the quality fish. I had seven bites today and I caught seven fish. I am just so excited; it has been a great week!”
Rounding out the top-10 Co-anglers are:
3rd: JR Wright, Truckee, Calif., 15 bass, 26-2, $3,612
4th: Billy Dehart, Burlingame, Calif., 15 bass, 24-11, $2,408
5th: Jimmy Zanotelli, Redding, Calif., 15 bass, 24-9, $1,927
6th: Tony Zanotelli, Redding, Calif., 15 bass, 24-5, $1,445
7th: Toshitada Suzuki, La Jolla, Calif., 15 bass, 24-4, $1,204
8th: Bruce McCune, Anderson, Calif., 15 bass, 24-1, $963
9th: Guy Williams, Menifee, Calif., 15 bass, 24, $843
10th: Gary Haraguchi, Brentwood, Calif., 15 bass, 23-15, $722
Co-anglers are also competing for valuable points that could ultimately help them qualify for a shot at the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup.
Overall there were 619 bass weighing 882 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 140 co-anglers Friday. The catch included 103 five-bass limits.
The five remaining pros will take off at 7:30 Saturday morning from Bridge Bay Resort located at 10300 Bridge Bay Road in Redding, Calif. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Mt. Shasta Mall located at 900 Dana Drive in Redding, Calif., beginning at 3 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to a Family Fun Zone prior to Saturday’s weigh-in from noon to 3 p.m. at the Mt. Shasta Mall. There will be a drawing for a $500 mall gift card and drawings for rod and reel combos will be held every 30 minutes during the event. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the Lake Shasta tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors”, will air April 11 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 189 tournaments in 2010. FLW Outdoors has also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing awarding the largest prizes in the history of fantasy sports. FLW Outdoors memberships are available featuring numerous benefits including Player’s Advantage. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FantasyFishing.com.