Yelas credits consistency to dependable fall pattern

When Jay Yelas placed sixth on Day 1 with 19 pounds, 2 ounces, he certainly hoped to enjoy another productive effort the next day. Statistically speaking, he probably didn’t have an exact duplicate in mind.

Nevertheless, posting another 19-12 limit bespeaks, not only the staying power of a seasoned veteran and past Bassmaster Classic champ, but also the simple effectiveness of his pattern.

Fall is generally considered one of the less consistent seasons, particularly the transition from summer’s lingering warmth to autumn’s sustained cooling. That’s been the case for much of the field, as Lake Fork has been rationing its impressive bounty of big Florida-strain largemouth sparingly. 

Well aware of the lake’s seasonally fickle nature, Yelas has committed his event to a tried-and-true pattern that he’s confident will hold up for four days. 

“I’m fishing way up (Lake Fork Creek) and I’m fishing around shallow wood and catching them on a spinnerbait and a ChatterBait and flipping a jig a little bit,” Yelas said. “It’s a pattern that works all over East Texas — I used to live here. 

“I’ve never really fished Lake Fork in November, but it works in all the other lakes until it gets really cold and that bite goes away. But it’s just a decades-old, back-of-the-creek fall pattern.” 

On Day 1, all of Yelas’ fish bit an MGC Tackle spinnerbait with a chartreuse/white skirt and. Day 2 saw his two biggest eat the spinnerbait, with the rest of his fish favoring a 3/8-ounce white/chartreuse ZMan ChatterBait JackHammer with a white Yamamoto Zako trailer. 

Yelas’ area has plenty of habitat, but he believes timing is a key element of his success. Those fast-moving reaction baits contribute to his success by allowing him to cover water and find the bites.

“Yesterday afternoon, I culled four times in the last hour on a stretch that I fished earlier in the day and caught nothing,” he said.  “That’s why it’s so tricky this time of year. You can fish down a good bank at the wrong time of day and not get a bite. But if you’re there when they’re biting, you’ll catch them.

“There are a lot of other anglers up there and there’s a lot of pressure on the areas I’m fishing. A lot of the docks I’m fishing get fished six or seven times a day.” 

Yelas said he fished the same water on Days 1 and 2. Day 3 will probably see him giving this range another good work over. 

“The fish seem to replenish on some of the targets I was fishing — docks, logs, brushpiles, stumps,” Yelas said. “Hopefully, more will move up, and I’ll be able to catch some more.”

As of 9:45, Yelas remained in the Top 10 with two solid keepers for 6 pounds. He’ll need to find better quality to stay on pace, but he’s comfortable with his game plan.

As of 9:45, Yelas remained in the Top 10 with two solid keepers for 6 pounds. He’ll need to find better quality to stay on pace, but he’s comfortable with his game plan. 

“I’ll take another 19-2 today.”

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