Yelas and Zaldain preview Elite Series on St. Johns

Jay Yelas and Chris Zaldain talk treasured memories, new puppies, lures, and make their weight predictions prior to the start of the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River.

Q: What is your favorite memory from the many times the Bassmaster Elite Series has visited Palatka’s St. Johns River?
Yelas: Seeing Rick Clunn win two Elites here in 2016 and 2019 over the age of 70.
Zaldain: My rookie year, getting an invite to dinner at Terry Scroggins’ house down the road, and looking around to realize I was sharing a meal on the eve of my first Elite Series tournament with Kevin VanDam and about a dozen more guys who were my bass fishing heroes.

Q: What will be the biggest challenge this week?
Yelas: Catching enough big ones, because 3-pounders don’t lead to wins on the St. Johns.
Zaldain: Keeping an open mind to ignore a lot of what happened on colder practice days. Temps are going to get way warmer during the tournament, and throw a lot of what we learned in practice right out the window.

Q: As a brand-new season begins, what was the highlight of your off-season?
Yelas: Having family together for Christmas at our home in Lincoln City, Oregon.
Zaldain: Getting a new Belgian Malinois puppy.

Q: Name four lures fans can expect to see used a lot this week?
Yelas: Flipping a punch rig, Texas rigged worm, lipless crankbait, and a Carolina rig
Zaldain: Soft plastic stick worm, flipping a Texas rig, a swim jig, and a topwater prop bait.

Q: How much weight will you need to average each day to get a Top 10?
Yelas: 15 pounds
Zaldain: 15+ pounds