While he got a little competition from winner Randall Tharp on Sunday, Zaldain was the big star of the week on Bassmaster LIVE. He carried Friday’s first day. Of course, he was the only angler fishing on Bull Shoals Lake within cell range, so it was basically a solo show. But he delivered. Bassmaster TV hosts Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders said his performance made the broadcast. Viewers also commented positively about how great Zaldain was at doling out the goods. He explained everything from his setup to exactly what the fish were doing. The only surprise he left was what he planned to do if he got back to Lake Norfork. He did detail his efforts then as well, but things didn’t go his way on Day 4. Zaldain had stood in third place after Day 1 on Norfork and he hoped to get into the bigger bass, but they didn’t fully cooperate with his swimbait plan. “It’s just so frustrating when you see all those big ones come up on it but not get it,” he said on stage, adding he had “just an unbelievable week. I came up with a great game plan and felt like I did what I needed to do to win.” Third was close, yet so far, but Zaldain still managed tobrighten his star.
FISHING UPHILLZaldain did well, even though he was fishing uphill. That’s what he called his approach to certain rock structures. He would put the boat right on the bank, throw out into the lake and retrieve the lure from deep to shallow. “That’s when I got on this bite,” he said. “Getting right up against the bank and casting outward and bringing it back uphill.”
SKEET’S PATIENCE COMES TO ENDDave Mercer is on a tormenting tear. First he made Britt Myers’ mom wrangle a snake, then he shoved a cupcake in James Watson’s face. Sunday he made Skeet Reese sweat the event’s outcome. After Zaldain couldn’t top Skeet, Mercer came over to visit him on the hot seat, and his slow burn finally got to Skeet. Tharp was waiting to weigh and Skeet was anxious to know the outcome five minutes ago, not sit in limbo any longer. “Let’s get this done, because THIS SUCKS WAITING!” Yeah, Skeet yelled, in fun, and he yelled a bit more before getting his wish … and the runner-up finish from almost out of nowhere.
DUAL-LAKE FORMAT GOOD OR BAD?Just as Zona said would happen, those who made the cut and Sunday’s Top 12 were pleased with the first dual-lake event, and those who didn’t probably left for this week’s Wheeler event cursing it. “When I first heard about it, I thought it kinda sucked,” Skeet said. “But now I kinda like it. As worried about it as I was, it worked out pretty good.”
- Steve Kennedy mentioned he heard there was an incident out on the water Sunday and added the dual-lake format prevented more of that. He said Norfork fishes small and if the event was there all four days, more anglers “would have got into it.”
- Watching Scott Canterbury win on Beaver Lake might have given Tharp a clue on the downstream lake of Bull Shoals. “I promise you that Tharp watched how that tournament got won and said, ‘All I need to see,’” Zona said.
- Zona asked Herren if he and Bill Lowen have joined forces. “He said 1,000 percent yep.” Lowen had lost a collaborator when Denny Brauer retired. Herren said Lowen “is the best person I’ve ever worked with as far as being open.”
- Zona, Mercer, Sanders, et al, said it was nice to see the anglers fish hard each day and not have to manage areas. “Every day they’ve had to let it all hang out, which is what most of us want to see. There’s no stone uncovered,” Zona said.
- Sunday was easily the tightest final day of the season, with 3 pounds, 10 ounces separating first through 12th place heading into Day 4. Those margins were 13-3 at St. Johns and 15-5 at Winyah Bay. Source: Bassmaster