Welcome to the Big Leagues – Jay Yelas

Photo February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Photo February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

I’ve frequently contended that in addition to time on the water and the requisite instincts and physical skills, anyone who wants to become a great tournament angler must also have a great memory. You have to remember how to pilot through that stumpy backwater, what you were doing when the big fish hit, and of course how to apply seasonal patterns.

I was reminded of my belief recently when I asked Jay Yelas to describe his first B.A.S.S. tournament, the 1989 Nevada Invitational on Lake Mead. I hadn’t prepped him for the topic, but immediately he responded, “I think I finished 12th there.” Indeed, he was correct. The tournament was won by Arizona pro Jim Jared in his first B.A.S.S. tournament. It was Jared’s lone top 30 finish in seven events with B.A.S.S.  As my recent conversation with Yelas indicated, the tournament remains important to his professional history as well. He’s fished approximately 300 tournaments combined between FLW and B.A.S.S., but that was his introduction to the big leagues. [Read more…]

Welcome to the Big Leagues – Randy Blaukat

Photo Courtesy of Randy Blaukat.

Photo Courtesy of Randy Blaukat.

[Editor’s Note: Welcome to the Big Leagues” will be an occasional series on BFA in which long-time bass pros recall their first national tournament]

Nearly 30 years later, veteran Missouri pro Randy Blaukat can still remember the first day of his first B.A.S.S. event. That’s a period that spans 199 additional B.A.S.S. tournaments (including eight Bassmaster Classics) and nearly as many FLW events (including nine FLW championship tournaments and two Ranger M1 events). [Read more…]