Class acts, and two of professional angling’s most accomplished pros, Matt Arey and Chris Zaldain talked Classic memories, magical moments and what fans can expect at the 51st Bassmaster Classic that begins Friday on Lake Ray Roberts, Texas.
Q: What excites you most about Lake Ray Roberts?
Arey: The potential to catch a 10-pounder at the biggest event in bass fishing.
Zaldain: The fact that we’re weighing in 12 miles from my home, and the chance to share the incredible excitement of this event with all the people I call friends and neighbors here who love bass fishing.
Q: You’re a fan of the sport. What is your favorite Classic memory?
Arey: Attending the 2004 Bassmaster Classic in Charlotte soon after graduating from North Carolina State and watching Takahiro Omori win in the final hours. That lit a serious fire in me to do this for a living.
Zaldain: Without a doubt, the 2004 Classic. Watching Takahiro Omori follow his heart and run up the river to throw a balsa crankbait on laydowns because “he knew it” could be the chance to win – and doing so – was so inspiring!
Q: How much weight will you need to average per day on Lake Ray Roberts for a chance to win the 2021 Bassmaster Classic?
Arey: 19 1/2 pounds per day.
Zaldain: 18 1/2 pounds per day .
Q: Name three lures you won’t leave the dock without on Friday morning.
Arey: Flipping jig, Lunker Hunt compact frog and a big worm.
Zaldain: Frog, flipping jig and a big fake rubber fish (laughs).
Q: What’s been the coolest moment of your Classic week so far?
Arey: Seeing my wife and little girls arrive in the hotel lobby from the airport, and my little girls jumped into my arms. There’s absolutely nothing better in this life than that.
Zaldain: All of us walked into Dickie’s Arena for a sound check this morning, and the sounds and smells of that new arena just put off an incredible vibe. I can’t imagine how awesome it will be when so many fans are in there!