Sure, former Bassmaster Classic champion Alton Jones is a Zoneloc pro. Yep, he's getting compensated to promote Zoneloc hooks. However, why would a top-level pro risk his season using something that is just for show and payola? Well, Alton Jones wouldn't.
So, after a regular season of fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series using Zoneloc hooks, is Alton Jones happy he made the switch and joined the Zoneloc team? You bet he is.
Zoneloc pro Alton Jones. (Joel Shangle/BassFIRST)
"After fishing with Zoneloc hooks for a season, I have to say my confidence has never been higher when it comes to hooks," said Jones. "I had an experience at Lake Champlain this season that really highlights that.
"I was on a flipping bite and using Zoneloc Flippin' Hooks. Well, I was catching a lot of pike so I was going through more hooks than usual. I made a huge mistake. I ran out of the Zoneloc Flippin' Hooks I needed. I had plenty in my truck, but for some reason, I didn't reload my boat.
"I had to use another hook, and thank goodness it was only for a couple of hours. My confidence went to zero using any hook besides Zoneloc. To make it worse, I actually lost a 4.5-to -5-pounder using that other hook.
"It made me feel like I was playing the lottery using any other hook brand but Zoneloc."
Jones did well enough this season with his new hooks to get into the Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) Championship and be in position to qualify for another Bassmaster Classic. Still, Jones is not content with his season so far.
"I'm not satisfied with my season," said Jones. "My goal was to get to the AOY Championship in a position where I could relax and have fun and go for broke, but I can't. I will need to fish really well and be in the Top 25 to be able to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. There is a lot of pressure now.
"My season has been difficult. I've had three Top 12s and also finishes in the 80s. A lot of the fisheries allowed me to take risks to try and win, but it didn't work out as well as I would've liked. It bit me a few times and it was frustrating.
"I had back-to-back Top-12 finishes before the Lake St. Clair event. I've fished St. Clair a lot. I've done really well there. This time, instead of fishing close where the fish were, I made a 60-mile run and ended up in 82nd. Disappointing.
"I am looking forward to fishing Mille Lacs at the AOY Championship and getting into the Classic. That would be a good finish to the 2017 season."