Yelas Positive About Pure Fishing Split

Category: article

 Feb 4th, 2013 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Feb 4th, 2013 at 12:00 AM

After having a 20-year professional relationship with a sponsor, you’d think a pro angler would be a bit disheartened when the relationship was abruptly cancelled. Not former Bassmaster Classic champion Jay Yelas. Nope, he is moving forward with a positive outlook. In fact, he seems almost happy to have parted ways with Pure Fishing.

Jay Yelas (Photo Yelas)

In addition to his divorce from Pure Fishing, Yelas like so many other FLW anglers, has to adjust to fewer major opportunities to fish this season due to only six pro events.

For Yelas, 2013 is certainly going to be a transitional year in his 25-year fishing career.

“I sure started to get the vibe things would be changing at Pure Fishing right after it was sold to Jarden Corporation,” said Yelas. “They are a much diversified company and are certainly not a fishing company. I started with Pure Fishing when the Bedell’s owned it. In January 1993, I started with them.  After 20 years that was it, I was no longer needed, along with many other pros. Jarden brought in an outside marketing group who have no perspective about the sport fishing industry or the fans.

“Now, they didn’t just fire us. No, they offered a super lowball contract and said that in 2014 the sponsorship is totally done. It was kind of a super low courtesy check.

“Truthfully, I am glad they pushed me out. I’m now working with sponsors who appreciate me. I was tied to six different categories with Pure Fishing, so it was a big shock at first. In fact, it was a shock to the fishing industry as a whole. In my 25 years as a pro, this mass separation of pros and a company is unprecedented.”

Yelas’ new sponsors are providing him with just what he needs as a veteran pro.

“Now some of my new sponsors like Lew’s reels, Yamamoto and Punisher Lures are terrific, really good products,” said Yelas. “Lew’s is growing as is Punisher, and of course Yamamoto has been around for a long time.

“I also have Kistler Rods. They’ve been around for a while, but had some tough times and are coming back strong. I tell you, it was a pleasure when I first fished with their rods. I used a $400 retail rod and was blown away. I’ve been using my old sponsor rods for years. They retailed at around $99. The difference is huge, just huge.”

With the FLW Tour just around the corner Yelas is ready to get out and start his modified 2013 campaign.

“I sure do wish we had more than six events to fish this year with the FLW,” said Yelas. “I will fill in my schedule with a couple of Everstart tournaments, the Texas Toyota Bass Classic and hopefully qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup. That’ll be 10 total. I prefer 10-to 12-events per year. The only problem with my schedule this year is I am fishing the Everstarts, which are not big money events. Hopefully the FLW will bring the numbers up again.”

Yelas can’t wait to get to Lake Okeechobee.

“I love to fish Okeechobee,” said Yelas. “It’s a flipper’s paradise. You generally either flip or sight fish. Sometimes a swimbait, if conditions are just right. It’s always a grass fishery, but it changes somewhat each year as far as where to fish, etc. It all depends on wind; weather, if the fish are spawning. It’s just a terrific fishery. I’ve been fishing it as a pro since 1990 or 1991. This will be my 10th or maybe my 12th pro tournament there.

“Plus, I’ve done pretty well as far as results. I’ve finished 2nd and 3rd in the past. I did well last year, too. I love fishing there. There is something so special and unique about it. When I am done with the tournament and driving north on I-75 away from the lake, I feel a little sad because I know I won’t see Okeechobee until the next year at the earliest.”

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