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Chris Zaldain takes Day 1 lead at Bassmasters Elite on Cayuga Lake

Chris Zaldain’s day couldn’t have started much worse.

Or ended much better.

The California native who now lives in Fort Worth, Texas, woke up Thursday to find that several of his best rod-and-reels had been stolen during the night.

But with what he had left, he went out and caught five bass that weighed 24 pounds, 5 ounces to take the first-round lead at the SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at Cayuga Lake. His catch was 10 ounces better than that of second-place angler Jeff Gustafson (23-11) and one of 14 bags of the day that weighed at least 20 pounds.

“I opened up my rod box and my whole top layer — my starting lineup of Megabass rods and Shimano reels, $1,000 combos — were just gone,” Zaldain said. “It started out really bad. But I decided to salvage what I had, re-tie a few things and just stick to what I knew.”

As is often the case during the early rounds of an Elite event, Zaldain was tight-lipped about how he caught his fish. He said he only used two or three baits most of the day, but wasn’t specific about what they were.

Read More:

Current Leaderboard (
– Zaldain leads after first day of Bassmaster Elite event at Cayuga Lake (The Citizen)
Day 1 Weigh-In Photos (
More Photos: Mullins on Cayuga Lake | Zaldain’s Early Flurry (