Ultimate Bass

Zaldain leads Wal-Mart FLW Series event on Clear Lake

Zaldain leads Wal-Mart FLW Series event on Clear Lake KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – Pro Chris Zaldain of San Jose, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 11 ounces Thursday to capture the lead in the $1 million Wal-Mart FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament on Clear Lake with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 47-11.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – Pro Chris Zaldain of San Jose, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 11 ounces Thursday to capture the lead in the $1 million Wal-Mart FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament on Clear Lake with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 47-11.

“I started off on a point where I saw a huge school of four- to six-pound bass and I caught a five-pounder and a three-pounder first thing this morning,” said Zaldain, who notched a top-10 finish in the FLW Series’ Lake Havasu event earlier this year. “I’ve got a really good big-fish bite going right now. I just know what the big fish are doing.”

Zaldain said his big-fish bite died around noon, but he stuck to his plan and fished his areas with the method that earned him more than 22 pounds of fish on the opening day of the tournament and more than 25 pounds Thursday.

“There’s guys on my spots, but they’re not doing what I’m doing,” said Zaldain.

Zaldain said a big swimbait fished shallow has been the key to his catch, and he’s confident the pattern will hold up during the last two days of competition. He said he’s not worried about other anglers stumbling onto his pattern and copying his success.

“If you didn’t figure it out in practice, you’re not going to figure it out during the tournament,” Zaldain said. “I feel pretty confident. I believe I can get another 22 or 23 pounds tomorrow.

Zaldain now holds a 4-pound, 3-ounce lead over the second-place Team Immodium pro Brett Hite of Phoenix, Ariz., who managed to haul in a total of 10 bass weighing 43-8 during the first two days of competition. Although Zaldain’s lead seems solid, the large fish that crossed the weigh-in stage, including a 13-pound, 2-ounce brute — the fourth largest fish caught in an FLW Outdoors event — proved that the standings can change dramatically on any given day.

Rounding out the top five pros are Randy McAbee Jr. of Bakersfield, Calif. (10 bass, 42-8); Mike Folkestad of Yorba Linda, Calif. (10 bass, 42-0) and Randy McAbee Sr. of Bakersfield (10 bass, 40-7).

Kelly Kellogg of Kelso, Wash., earned the day’s $488 Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to an 11-pound, 8-ounce bass he caught.

Overall there were 944 bass weighing 2,632 pounds, 12 ounces caught by 192 pros Thursday. The catch included 183 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing this week for a top award of $125,000 plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the BP East-National Guard West Fishoff and a shot at advancing to the $2 million, 2008 Forrest Wood Cup, where the winning pro will earn as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award. The top 30 pros from both FLW Series divisions after four qualifying events are complete will advance to the East-West Fishoff, which will be held Jan. 17-19, 2008. The location for the fishoff has not yet been announced. Thirty winners from the fishoff will advance to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.

Team National Guard’s Justin Lucas of Folsom, Calif., leads the Co-angler Division with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 36-10 followed by Paul Fontaine of Brentwood, Calif., in second place with 10 bass weighing 35-0.

“I had a great partner today and he put us on some great fish first thing this morning,” said Lucas, who is coming off of an FLW Series win last month at the Columbia River. “Every day is different, you know. Every day you get a different pro who is fishing different water and you just have to adapt to stay near the top.”

Lucas said he threw a Lucky Craft LV500 lipless crankbait as well as other small crankbaits and switched to a worm when the crankbait bite slowed.

Lucas caught five bass weighing 20-8 while fishing with pro Del Orton of Boise, Idaho, on Wednesday and five bass weighing 16-2 while fishing with pro Wayne Breazeale of Kelseyville on Thursday.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Hideki Maeda of Japan (10 bass, 34-1); Rodney Brinser of Brentwood, Calif. (10 bass, 33-8) and Anthony Klonowski of Eagle, Idaho (10 bass, 33-4).

Andrew Sanchez of Antioch, Calif., earned $295 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to the 13-pound, 2-ounce bass he caught while fishing with pro Shaun Bailey of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. The giant bass, which eclipsed the 13-pound, 1-ounce bass caught in a Stren Series event earlier this year, is the largest bass taken from Clear Lake in an FLW Outdoors event. The bass fell for a Norman crankbait.

Overall there were 762 bass weighing 1,789 pounds even caught by 191 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 106 five-bass limits.

Co-anglers are competing this week for a top award of $25,000. Like the pros, the top 30 co-anglers from both FLW Series divisions after four qualifying events are complete will advance to the East-West Fishoff for a shot at the $2 million, 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.

Anglers will take off at 7:30 each morning from Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa located at 8727 Soda Bay Rd. in Kelseyville. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 15960 Dam Rd. in Clearlake, Calif., beginning at 4 p.m. Children will also be treated to a Family Fun Zone prior to Saturday’s weigh-in from noon to 4 p.m. at Wal-Mart. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include the Fujifilm trout pond, a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.

In FLW Series competition, the entire field competes for the first three days, and co-angler competition concludes on day three with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated three-day weight. The top 10 professionals continue competition on day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.

Coverage of the Clear Lake FLW Series tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program airing Dec. 30. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to approximately 350 million households in Europe, Africa and Asia, making it the most widely distributed weekly fishing program in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.

Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most-respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Walmart.com.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.



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