"The whole thing was so surreal, " Jay Yelas describes of his Saturday win in Birmingham, Alabama. "Everything went so smoothly all week, everything I did turned out to be the right thing and everything I touched turned to gold."
The tournament trail turned into a golden dream for Jay Yelas. The "Bassmaster Classic" is the super bowl of fishing.
"You have little pipe dreams as a kid to win the classic one day but I never thought I'd win it for sure," Jay says. But that reality now weights about 50 pounds; you can't miss the world class trophy in his Tyler home. And Yelas won it with style...reeling in the big fish each day of the competition; unprecedented in 34 years of the tournament. But Jay's is no stranger to winning. Earlier this summer he became the top fisherman in the country, on the FLW. But, it's this latest win that cast his platform, "I want to be able to use the platform I have as the fishing world champion is to help other people," Yelas professes. "The best way I know to help other people is to share my Christian faith with them because I know what god has done for me and changed my life."
And it shows, his humble nature is clear. Half of his awards are still stacked on the floor, only the "big fish" line the wall. Yelas says he keeps it all in perspective, "Prises, award...that's all fleeting. It will be here for a little while then it will be gone," but here for now.
"But if I've had a positive impact on other people that's something they can pass on to their next generation," Jay says that's the real blessing for him.
If you'd like the chance to meet Jay Yelas. He'll be at the 2002 "Fish-O-Rama" in Longview this Saturday. That's Saturday, August 3rd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the 1st Assembly of God. The church is located at 2900 N. Forth St.