Two-time FLW Angler of the Year(2002 and 2007), BASS Angler of the Year(2003) and a Bassmaster Classic crown (2002); these are the titles that one of the greatest anglers in the sport holds. What more could someone like that ask for? Well, if you are Jay Yelas you might want to win a Walmart FLW Tour event – or maybe a Forrest Wood Cup, but that is another story.
In the short 12 years the Chevy pro has been involved with FLW competition, Yelas has racked up 20 top-10 finishes. He holds one of the most consistent records of any FLW pro, yet the one thing he still yearns for is a victory during a regular season event.
“It’s just crazy to think about,” laughed the Corvallis, Ore., native. “Usually the guy that wins Angler of the Year wins a tournament during the course of the season. Not me. I got a few seconds in 2007, but that’s it. I’ve spent lots of time trying to figure this all out, trust me.”
Known as one of the best when it comes to fishing shallow, Yelas believes that may have something to do with his dry spell of tournament wins.
“There are other guys on tour with similar statistics,” said Yelas. “I really think it comes down to a function of fishing style. I’m a shallow-oriented angler which lends itself more to consistency than winning. I fished 12 FLW tournaments last year and I think nine of them were won offshore. I might venture offshore from time to time but it’s hard because I like to fish my strength. I’m hesitant to tweak my fishing style because it has worked so well. Fishing shallow is something I have developed and honed over my career.”
There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon for Yelas and it comes in the form of Beaver Lake – the site of the next tour stop.
“I’m looking forward to Beaver. I have about as good of a track record there as anywhere we go. I just feel comfortable there and know the fishery. I understand where the big fish are, that’s probably why I like it so much.”
With his excitement for Beaver aside there is another event on this year’s schedule that also has the Chevy pros attention.
“Grand Lake stands out on the remaining schedule as well. I haven’t been there for years but have done well in the past out there. It can be a great shallow-fishing lake so I’m looking forward to it.”
Tournament win or not this year, Yelas will be all smiles on the water fishing the way he loves to. And with the lakes remaining on the tour schedule he may finally be able to capture what has eluded him this long.
“I don’t know how due or not due you can be, but I think I may be due,” chuckled Yelas.