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Day 1 of the 2019 SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at Cayuga Lake is in the books.

The event, which returned to Cayuga Lake for the first time since 2016, will continue through Sunday and the winner is determined by who hauls in the most weight in captured fish.

Through one day, professional angler Chris Zaldain is the leader, having caught five fish for a total of 24 pounds, 5 ounces. On his heels is Jeff Gustafson in second (23 pounds, 11 ounces) and Scott Canterbury in third (22 pounds, 14 ounces).

Chad Pipkens (22 pounds, 8 ounces) and Steve Kennedy (22 pounds, 4 ounces) round out the top five. There are 75 anglers competing this weekend.

The largest individual fish was caught by Derek Hudnall at 8 pounds, 1 ounce.

Zaldain was one of three anglers that had equipment stolen early Thursday morning, with the others being Ed Loughran III and Caleb Sumrall. 

"It started out really bad," Zaldain said in a press release. "But I decided to salvage what I had, re-tie a few things and just stick to what I knew."

It was announced last September that Bassmaster would be returning to Cayuga Lake, a development that was met with glee from village of Union Springs Mayor Bud Shattuck.

"We were hoping they'd come back," Shattuck said in an interview with The Citizen last September. "This is like NASCAR, this is the highest level of bass in the world."

About 12,000 people attended when Bassmaster made its first appearance in Union Springs in 2014. That increased to more than 17,000 in 2016, and Shattuck hopes that at least 20,000 turn out this weekend.

"It's a big deal," Shattuck said.

Of the 75 anglers, only the top 25 will stick around following Friday's weigh-in. Then it cuts down to the top 12 after Saturday. Whichever angler racks up the highest weight total after four days takes home $100,000.

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Sports reporter Justin Ritzel can be reached at 282-2257 or at justin.ritzel@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenRitz.

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