A Tyler Fisherman is Crowned the Best in the Country - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/19/2002 - Lake Tyler

A Tyler Fisherman is Crowned the Best in the Country

Jay Yelas, is the best, and that's no fish story. 15 years on the professional fishing tour, Yelas has been successful. But 2002 has been a break through year. Just a couple of weeks ago, Yelas earned the title as top fisherman in the country on the FLW tour. A pro tour he has fished for only one full season

There is big money to be won on the FLW Tour. But pro fisherman rely heavily on sponsorships and the FLW prohibited fisherman from wearing sponsor logo's. " I'm such a competitive fisherman, I wanted to be out there competing against my peers for all that big money, but I had a real problem with that,"says Yelas, "so I...I prayed about it and God...I definitely felt lead by the Holy Spirit, definitely not to fish the FLW...and I had a real peace about that decision. All my buddies for the past five years have been raking in these big bucks fishing this tour, but they would do it at the expense of not being able to work with their companies."

So Jay stuck with the Bass Pro Tour, less money, but where he felt God was leading him, until this season. In 2002 Yelas sponsors joined the FLW and urged him to as well. "As soon as I made that decision to fish the FLW tour, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me or whisper to me that I was going to be blessed on the FLW tour for my obedience not to fish the tour this last five years," recalls Yelas.

It wasn't until the final tournament of the year, Yelas saw that promise fulfilled. In the last tourney, Yelas gather enough points to capture the coveted Angler of the Year crown. Success also brings opportunity. Yelas only became a Christian just nine years ago. He is a leader in the Fellowship of Christian Angler group on the pro circuit. And now as the top fisherman in the country, Yelas is in demand as a speaker across the country. An opportunity to share how faith, prayer and obedience can result in spiritual blessing. "Its a huge blessing," says Yelas, "its so cool to see God honored me for being obedient for all those year and following his lead and really its a spiritual law, you reap what you sow in obedience you'll reap the blessing that God has for you." People are faced with those decisions all the time, where I...do I do the right thing or do I do this thing that maybe compromises my integrity a little bit and chase the big money but I'm here to tell you if you do the right thing and you do the right thing and obedient to God your gonna be blessed." I know what God has done in my life he has transformed me from the inside out and I know he is the best thing I have ever experienced and I want to see other people be able to be blessed that way I wanna see God work in other peoples lives so they can get the most out of life to me there is no high calling than to be able to share Christ with other people, that's the best thing I can do to help somebody else."

Much like another group of fisherman, 2000 years ago, called to faith, obedience and prayer to spread the very same message.

**Editors Note

Things did not slow down in 2002 for Jay Yelas. Just a few weeks after this interview, Jay won the biggest tournament in professional fishing, the BassMaster Classic. Jay continues to share his testimony of faith and prayer to fishermen across the country.

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