Yelas wins second Land O’lakes Angler of the Year title - Major League Fishing

Yelas wins second Land O’lakes Angler of the Year title

Yamaha pro now No. 1 seed heading into $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol
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Surrounded by the Land O'Lakes fishing team, Jay Yelas hoists his second Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year trophy. Photo by Jennifer Simmons. Angler: Jay Yelas.
July 14, 2007 • MLF • Archives

DETROIT – Jay Yelas of Tyler, Texas, added to his already impressive list of career accomplishments by winning his second Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year title Friday at the Wal-Mart FLW Tour’s final 2007 qualifier, the Chevy Open on the Detroit River.

This is the second Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year win for Yelas, who has also earned BASS Angler of the Year honors and a Bassmaster Classic title. Yelas’ first angler of the year title on the FLW Tour came in 2002 when he upset points leader Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., in the final event of the season. Yelas now join’s Kellogg’s pro Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, as the FLW Tour’s only other two-time angler of the year winner. Wendlandt earned his titles in 1997 and 2000.

“It’s quite an honor,” said Yelas, who has amassed more than $1.75 million in carrier winnings and 62 top-10 finishes in FLW Tour and BASS competition. “These guys are the best fishermen in the world. When you do the math, I have to realize I won by just a small margin. If one of the fish I’d caught during the year would have weighed half a pound less, I might not have won.”

Yelas, 41, earned the title with 1,074 out of a possible 1,200 points after successfully fending off BP pro Shinichi Fukae of Mineola, Texas., who surged to the Angler of the Year lead on opening day of the Chevy Open but fell back on day two to finish the season in second place with 1,054 points.

Along with the Angler of the Year title, which annually goes to the sport’s most dominant bass angler, Yelas earned $65,000, including a new Ranger boat powered by Yamaha and $25,000 cash.

Jay Yelas secured his No. 1 ranking and AOY title with a day-two catch of 18-4 that moved him into 25th place.Yelas began his professional bass-fishing career in 1988. He immediately made his mark in the Western United States, winning the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Colorado River Division points title and the league’s Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. In 1990, Yelas qualified for the BFL All-American in Buffalo, N.Y., and finished sixth. He also claimed two BASS victories in the early ’90s and made a run at the BASS Angler of the Year title in 1994 and 1995. In 1997, he joined the FLW Tour and finished the season ranked 45th.

This year Yelas started the FLW Tour season off with a 78th-place effort on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas. He then finished sixth on Fort Loudoun Lake in Knoxville, Tenn., before earning back to back second-place finishes on Lake Norman in Charlotte, N.C., and Beaver Lake in Rogers, Ark. He earned a 19th-place finish on the Potomac River in Washington and wrapped up the qualifying season with a 25th-place finish on the Detroit River in Detroit this week.

As the Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year, Yelas will enter the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Land O' LakesCastrol in Hot Springs, Ark., Aug. 2-5 as the No. 1 seed. There he will face 80 other qualifiers from the FLW Tour, FLW Series, Stren Series Championship, BFL All-American, TBF National Championship and Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series for the sport’s biggest award – $500,000 to $1 million.

Coverage of Yelas’ historic Angler of the Year win on the Detroit River will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Aug. 26 and Sept. 2 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.

The Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year title is determined by the total accumulated points from six regular-season events. Two hundred points are awarded for a win, 199 for second, 198 for third, and so on.

Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse or call (270) 252-1000.