Getting Zaldaingerous

On Saturday, Chris Zaldain planned to fish shallow and then go deep later in the day. Instead, he started deep and stayed deep. All day long. Deep is a relative term on Guntersville. The common definition of deep is fishing the ledges on the Tennessee River that are in the 20-foot range. Think big lipped crankbaits and structure spoons.

Zaldain has come up with his own definition of deep.

"It’s not like it’s deep, deep ledge fishing. It’s closer to the bank and still a ledge but not a main river channel.”

The strike zones are mid-depth secondary ledges (near main channel ledges) in 12-14 feet of water that are covered with eelgrass and milfoil. Muscle beds are key for their hard bottom.

"If bass are schooling up and down the river its a great spot to stop on,” explained Zaldain. “Whereas if you are on the main channel there are no rest stop or intersections for migrating fish."

What is key about this strategy is Zaldain is indeed fishing deep, but his areas have been overlooked by anglers whose one-dimensional minds perceive deep to be out on the river. There is no angling pressure around Zaldain’s area. No angling pressure means bass that are less spooky and easier to fool.

Yesterday, Zaldain had a good limit by 7:30 a.m. He repeated that feat this morning.

What else is working in Zaldain’s favor are his lure choices.

“It’s the weekend on Lake Guntersville and with that comes a lot of angling pressure,” he explained. “These fish have seen it all, crankbaits, everything.”

He added, “I’m going to use California finesse tactics to get around all of it.”

To that end he is using a wacky rig made with a No.2 Eagle Claw Trokar TK137 Pro V Finesse Hook.

“The bend in this hook keeps the O-ring in the V-section of the hook for nice, solid hooklets,” he said. “So the plastic won’t wad up on the hook and prevent a good hookset."

To complete the rig he adds an Eagle Claw Lazer Tungsten Pagoda Nail Weigh and soft plastic finesse worm.