Forever Yelas

If you’ve closely followed the Bassmaster Elite Series over the past decade, you may not know of Jay Yelas, but you should. If you’ve been a Bassmaster junkie for a long time you’ll know the name is among the best in the business. He’s one of the few who have claimed the most prestigious title in bass fishing, along with several Angler of the Year titles.

Yelas is the 2002 Bassmaster Classic champion, which occurred on Alabama’s Lay Lake. He won the 2003 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of they Year title; he also won AOY on the FLW tour in 2002 and 2007. And he is also the owner of the 2003 ESPN ESPY Award as the most outstanding outdoor athlete.

He’s one of the most decorated anglers in the sport, let alone on the Elite Series this year. If you’re willing to listen you can learn a tremendous amount from his three decades of experience.

Yelas fished locally as a semi-pro very early in his career, but his tenure with B.A.S.S. began in 1989. He stayed with that tour until 2006 when he switched over to the FLW tour fulltime. After all the changes that occurred in late 2018, Yelas was invited back to the Elite Series, and he eagerly accepted.

In the middle of his 31st year as a professional angler, Yelas is showing no sign of slowing down.

“This year has been so much fun,” he said. “The new field of anglers is full of talent, and everybody is happy to be here — it’s very refreshing. I’m glad to be here.

“At this point, I don’t see retirement in my near future. As long as I’m having fun, and my participation is not a stress on my family, I’ll keep at it. Look at Rick Clunn. I hope I’m still fishing competitively at his age, but I’m also not above hanging it up when the time is right.

“I still love it!”