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