Yelas Leads FLW Bass Fishing Open Tournament on Beaver Lake
ROGERS, Ark. (May 18, 2007) - Jay Yelas of Tyler, Texas, caught a five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 15 ounces Friday to capture the lead in the FLW Tour Open bass fishing tournament on Beaver Lake with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 23-10. He now holds a 2-pound, 8-ounce lead in the tournament featuring 200 pros and 200 co-anglers representing 37 states, Australia and Japan.
"The morning went very well for me," said Yelas, who is making his third consecutive top-10 appearance of the season. "I was culling fish by 7:15."
Yelas said he and Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., fished a dock in the back of a creek that they had shared on the first day of competition. On Thursday, Montgomery started the day on the right side of the dock and Yelas took the left side.
Montgomery's side proved to be the more protective one. On Friday, the tables turned and the largemouth were on Yelas' side of the dock.
"It will be interesting tomorrow morning," Yelas said of his strategy involving sharing the dock with Montgomery, who also made the top-10 cut. "There's schooling fish there, and they're coming up and busting shad. It's wide open there for a little while, and then it's over with by about 7:30."
Yelas said he caught only two keepers after the dock pattern died down. He said the dock fish fell for standard schooling-fish baits such as shad-colored swimbaits and topwater lures.
"That's just typical post-spawn behavior," Yelas said. "The first hour of the day is worth way more than the whole rest of the day."
Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., advanced to the final round of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 21-2.
Rounding out the top five pros who will continue competition Saturday and Sunday are Montgomery (nine bass, 20-13); Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla. (10 bass, 19-15); and J.R. Beehler of Bella Vista, Ark. (10 bass, 19-15).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 18 pounds, 13 ounces and adding to this already power-packed top-10 field are pros Dwayne Horton of Knoxville, Tenn.; Ray Scheide of Russellville, Ark.; Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va.; Alfred Williams of Jackson, Miss.; and Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill.
Jeffrey Thomas of Broadway, N.C., earned the day's $1,000 Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 4-pound, 4-ounce bass.
Overall there were 732 bass weighing 1,053 pounds, 12 ounces caught by 190 pros Friday. The catch included 91 five-bass limits.
Chris Koester of Rogers, Ark., leads the Co-angler Division with an opening-round total of 10 bass weighing 15 pounds, 11 ounces, followed by J.R. Grubb of Hamburg, Ark., in second place with 10 bass weighing 14-14.
"We caught topwater fish early," said Koester, who has one top-10 finish as a co-angler on the FLW Tour. "I talked to my partner early this morning, and he said he wasn't on any schooling fish. I knew we might be in trouble, so I asked him if he wanted to go to some schooling fish I had found in practice. We did, and the fish were there, and I caught five decent ones." Koester said he had his limit before 9 a.m. both days of competition and then the bite died as the days progressed. He said the majority of his fish were spotted bass that fell for a topwater presentation.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Andrew Lemle of Perrysburg, Ohio (10 bass, 13-9); Dino Caporuscio of Coto de Caza, Calif. (nine bass, 13-6) and Spencer Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark. (seven bass, 13-5). A five-bass limit weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces helped Shuffield jump up from 128th place after the first day of competition.
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 12 pounds in the Co-angler Division were Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark.; Sammy Orr of Maryville, Tenn.; James Green of Lincoln, Ala.; Arch Cornett of Huntsville, Ala.; and Mark Myers of Cedar Falls, Iowa. Steven Meador of Bella Vista, Ark., earned $500 for the day's Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound bass he caught while fishing with Tylenol pro Sean Minderman of Spokane, Wash. The fish also earned Meador the tournament's overall big bass award of $1,000 for a total of $1,500.
Overall there were 396 bass weighing 531 pounds, 10 ounces caught by 153 co-anglers Friday. The catch included 21 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $40,000 this week.
Anglers will take off at 6:30 Saturday and Sunday morning from Prairie Creek Marina located at 1 Prairie Creek Marina Drive in Rogers, Ark., followed by 4 p.m. weigh-ins at the John Q. Hammons Center located at 3303 Pinnacle Hills Pkwy. in Rogers.