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John's Journal... Entry 198, Day 1


The Worst Mistake I Ever Made

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jay Yelas of Tyler, Texas, has fished on the B.A.S.S. Masters tournament circuit for many years, qualifying for the BASS Masters Classic often and winning the 2002 BASS Masters Classic.

QUESTION: What's the worst mistake you've ever made in a tournament?
ANSWER: That's tough because I've made a lot of mistakes when I've been fishing professionally. If I don't catch the five biggest fish in the lake, then I've definitely made a mistake. But I'd have to say the biggest mistake I ever made was waiting too late to weigh in when the fish were really biting. On that day, in March of 1998, a thunderstorm was brewing at Table Rock Lake. A squall line, the leading edge of a thunderstorm, was coming through, and the winds began to 50 or 60 miles an hour. Before the storm, the fish were dynamite. The 3 and 4-pounders bit like crazy, and unfortunately I had a 40-minute run to get back to the weigh-in.

I allowed myself about 45 minutes to make it to the weigh-in with the biggest stringer of the day. The waves were enormous, and I'd never dreamed Table Rock could get that rough since it's a serpentine, narrow lake that normally doesn't get windy. The rain fell horizontally. I traveled through gusts of wind and lighting that popped all around. I flooded my motor, which quit, and I never made it to the weigh-in. I was so late that the tournament officials finally came to get me. Eventually I weighed my fish and ended up having the biggest stringer of the day, but I didn't get a penny because I was disqualified, since I was over 15 minutes late.

QUESTION: What did you learn from that experience?
ANSWER: I learned that no matter how well the fish are biting, I must be realistic in allowing time to get back to the weigh-in. Unfortunately, no matter how big a stringer of fish I have is, if it is disqualified, I certainly haven't helped myself at least a time and a half to get back to shore.




Check back each day this week for more about FISHING TIPS FROM JAY YELAS ...

Day 1 - The Worst Mistake I Ever Made
Day 2 - Jay Yelas' Top Bass Lakes
Day 3 - Jay Yelas' Word On Worms
Day 4 - Jay Yelas' Lines Of Choice
Day 5 - Jay Yelas' Best Bass Tips

John's Journal