Chris Zaldain logged a Top-12 finish the last time the Bassmaster Elite Series visited Toledo Bend Reservoir in 2012. He could really use another one next week.
The Californian had a stellar sophomore campaign in 2013, finishing 8th in the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (AOY) race. Through three events this year, however, he's at the polar opposite place in the standings – 8th from the bottom (101st).
"I've had a lot of time to think about what's happened this year over the last 2 1/2 weeks we've been off," he said. "It seems like after the Classic, everything was just boom, boom, boom. The tournaments were coming so fast and I couldn't find a groove."
His finishes have been progressively worse – 76th at Lake Seminole, 85th at the St. Johns River and 94th at Table Rock. He said he's had some good practices, but what he's found have proven to be mirages.
"Some of the things that seemed like positive clues have ended up being misleading. Last year when I had the phenomenal season, my decisions were always right on the mark. This year I think I've relied on practice a little too much and I've gone all-in on some patterns and areas. You can't do that; you've got to adapt and change.
"In all three tournaments, I felt like I've been one step behind."
He hopes to get back in sync at Toledo Bend.
"I've got an excellent history in the state of Texas; it's like a big playground to me and it really suits my style. Toledo Bend is so large and there are so many patterns you can fish. I like to fish shallow there, the way I grew up fishing on the California Delta, and it's a very comfortable place for me.
"I'm not going to try to force anything. I'm going to have fun and try to calm things down. I know what needs to be done and I think hard work will definitely pay off. If I find something that I think is good in the first couple days of practice, I won't be satisfied. I'm going to keep an open mind and not become sold on one particular thing."