There are two keys to Jay Yelas' fourth-place position in BASSTrakk. Those are old school tactics and fishing history in East Texas.
In 1990, the Oregon native moved his family to my birthplace of Tyler, Texas, to be closer to the tour, while also giving him access to the area's renowned bass fishing. Tyler is about an hour's drive away, and Yelas came here to hone his skills.
"What I learned early on was that fishing wood in the backs of creeks is very much an East Texas thing during the fall," he waid.
I can attest to that. Right now, Yelas is as far as a boat can go into the upper reaches of east Caney Creek. And it's working.
Another reason for Yelas' position is his old school approach with baits. He shuns the new school drop-shot and Ned rig tactics used by others, instead opting for lures that he's relied upon throughout his entire career.
One of those is an MGC Custom Tackle Cobra Spinnerbait, featuring tandem Colorado blades. He used the very same bait at Lake St. Clair, land of the Ned and drop-shot rigs, to finish ninth. He was quoted as having more fun than anyone else, using a bladed jig and spinnerbait.
"Those old lures still catch fish, and a spinnerbait is a big bass bait, especially in fall," Yelas said. "So, why not give them a fair shot?"
Above all else, Yelas is attempting to qualify for his 17th Classic since his last in 2006. Today he is in 44th place in Bassmaster Angler of the Year points.