Zaldain and Rickard on fire

When you release a 7 1/2-pounder, you’re having a good day.

That’s what Chris Zaldain just did. With two bigger fish weighing 16 pounds, 4 ounces in their livewell, they simply did not need what would be a straight-up day-maker for several of their competitors.

Having held the third-place spot since Day 1, Zaldain and Rickard currently lead the field with a total weight of 42-3.

Cool point about their day: Zaldain caught that 7 1/2, as well as an 8-pound keeper on the same 6-inch Megabass Magdraft we often see him throwing on the Bassmaster Elite Series.

A significantly larger profile than many of the common redfish baits, this soft body swimbait weeds out smaller fish and appeals to the upper-slot fish they’re seeking.

Notably, Rickard’s pre-tournament prediction was 14 pounds a day would win, so they’re right on point with plenty of time remaining to possibly push their number higher with one of those Texas butterballs of short, stumpy stature.