Jay Yelas won the 2002 Bassmaster Classic and Matt Arey has won $1 million in his relatively short pro angling career. They are two of the Elite Series’ true class acts both on and off the water. And this week they find themselves among the amazingly genuine and giving people of rural upstate New York, competing on what is arguably the greatest smallmouth fishery in the world. They graciously took a few minutes to preview the Berkley Bassmaster Elite Series on the St. Lawrence River that kicks off Thursday.
Q: Smallmouth love eating gobies as much as you love eating ___________ ?
Yelas: Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream.
Arey: A medium-rare ribeye steak.
Q: How many of the 75 pros will catch a limit that weighs 25 pounds or more on Day 1?
Yelas: I’ll say three.
Arey: I’ll guess two.
Q: What are your two favorite things about the St. Lawrence River and St. Lawrence County?
Yelas: World-class smallmouth fishing and fantastic summer weather.
Arey: People that have never been here have totally the wrong perception. This is not New York City. Instead, this is some of the prettiest, "countrified" ground in America. And the people that live here are some of the most giving and genuine people you’ll ever meet in your life.
Q: There were no Bassmaster Elite events in the month of July. What’s your favorite memory from your time off last month?
Yelas: Oh, no doubt, it was hosting a C.A.S.T. for Kids event for 40 special needs children in my hometown of Newport, Ore. We took them crabbing and fishing. My buddies helped a ton. It was just awesome.
Arey: Seeing my sweet wife, Emily, and our two young daughters, Reese and Wren, enjoy everything there is to love about the beaches and dunes of Pawleys Island, S.C.
Q: The official start of football season is only a couple weeks away, who will you be cheering for?
Yelas: The Oregon State Beavers, of course – I played baseball there for a little while.
Arey: My alma mater – the North Carolina State Wolfpack and the Carolina Panthers.
Q: Other than a drop shot, name two lures fans can expect pros to throw a bunch this week?
Yelas: A spy bait and a tube.
Arey: A Ned Rig and a tube.