About Chris Zaldain
In a few short years on the Bassmaster Elite Series circuit, Chris Zaldain has truly earned the nickname “Zaldaingerous,” cashing checks from coast to coast and consistently earning a top ten spot in the Angler of the Year race. The young Californian qualified for the top tier tour by winning the 2011 Central Open points title, and has finished in the top ten in a quarter of his B.A.S.S. events and in the money over half of the time, en route to multiple Bassmaster Classic appearances and nearly half a million dollars in winnings.
Perhaps the seminal moment of his young career so far was his victory over a star-studded field at the 2015 Toyota Angler of the Year Championship on Sturgeon Bay in which he used a Megabass Vision Oneten to find the fish and a 3-inch Spark Shad on a ¼ ounce jighead to catch most of them during the tournament.
“The key to finesse swimbaiting is the keel shaped body,” he said of the Spark Shad. “When I kill it, it falls uniformly and I get a lot of fish on the fall. Other swimbaits roll or twist and that doesn’t work nearly as well.”
Indeed, having been raised in the swimbait Mecca of Northern California, Zaldain has strong opinions on what makes a swimbait excel, whether it be a finesse model or one of the oversized versions he’s been fishing since high school. He’s been a leader in adapting the big swimbaits to tournament situations, and the Megabass Magdraft played a key role in two of his strong finishes in 2016, at back-to-back events on Norfork/Bull Shoals and Wheeler.
His other favorite “secret” Megabass product is the Vision Oneten Magnum. Unlike most anglers, who only fish jerkbaits in the prespawn period, Zaldain typically throws the Magnum six months out of the year, if not more. It was his primary tool this year at the St. Johns River and Winyah Bay, around both grass and hard cover. “With that large profile, it triggers bigger reaction bites,” he said. “It’s also great around the shad spawn. Sometimes it’s the only rod on my deck.”
As a young pro with a rapidly growing list of accomplishments, Zaldain takes particular pride in his participation in the Megabass “Support to Win” (STW) program, in which the company’s US pros work with Japanese designers and engineers to perfect lure design and performance.
“It’s so much fun working with them,” he said. “You don’t see that in any other company. The support that Megabass shows me, with the array of different baits and rods, enables me to keep cashing checks and making cuts.”