Yelas stays ready

Category: Tournament

 Sep 28th, 2015 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Sep 28th, 2015 at 12:00 AM

Jay Yelas recently hit the big 5-0! Yep, the amiable Mercury pro and former FLW and Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) and Bassmaster Classic champ has reached that age when most athletes have long since left their respective sport. Fifty seems to be the time to trade your fishing rod in for a shuffle board pole. But not Yelas.

Yelas achieved a Forrest Wood Cup (FWC) berth this year, though his last few tours have not produced the results he expects of himself. Regardless, Yelas feels the fire of competition and intends to keep his drive alive to stay in the AOY hunt and have a shot at winning the only major title that has eluded him, The Forrest Wood Cup.

Pretty good ain’t good enough for a seasoned champion like Jay Yelas.

“I had a pretty good year on the FLW Tour in 2015,” said Yelas. “Anytime you make the championship like I did this year with the FWC or on the other trail making the Classic, you’ve had a pretty solid year.

Jay Yelas at the Potomac River FLW Tour event in 2015 (Joel Shangle)

“Still, overall for me, it was not what I wanted. I didn’t make any Top 10s. It was disappointing in that regard. I was never a part of the AOY push. I need to be in that conversation for me to feel like I had a good year. Or at least win an event.

“Still, getting to the Cup is a big goal. I can’t win it if I’m not fishing it. I still would like to add that title to my resume.”

Physical conditioning is a big part of Yelas’ ability to still be a player in such a demanding sport.

“I believe you have to take care of your body in general, but in professional fishing it is a must for longevity and success,” said Yelas. “I’m not talking about being in the gym all day or eating perfectly. But I am talking about doing some physical activity.

“I like to run. Okay, I don’t run as much as Aaron Martens, but I do it regularly. Makes me feel good being in better shape.

“I also workout by fishing other tournaments besides the FLW Tour. Before the FLW Tour season starts I usually pick up a Rayovac Series event here and there. It’s more about getting back into the tournament mindset than it is about winning them for me. Of course, I’d rather win than not.”

Taking over this year as the Executive Director for C.A.S.T. for Kids has proven to be both challenging and rewarding for Jay.

“This past year I took over as the Executive Director for the C.A.S.T for Kids program. We get children involved in fishing who otherwise don’t have the opportunity. It is terrific to be able to introduce kids to fishing.

“Unfortunately we’ve seen the family unit breakdown over the years in our country. Often nobody teaches the kids how to fish anymore. We are trying to get the kids fishing. Once they do, they usually love it. It is a very positive activity for a child and for anybody else.This new position has been a lot of work, but it is so rewarding. I am grateful for it.”

2016 is not in focus yet for Yelas.

“During my offseason, I fish a lot,” said Yelas. “Primarily salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest where I live. I will also fish for bass. All of it is very relaxing.

“I won’t start to focus on the 2016 FLW Tour, at least the competing part, until after Christmas. Then it’s time to start prepping tackle and getting mentally prepared for what lies ahead. I take care of myself physically year around, so that is always in order.

“I will be heading into the 2016 season with an eye on being in the AOY race, winning events and getting to the FWC so I can win it.”

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