John's Journal...


Jay Yelas
Click to enlarge Editor's Note: You're supposed to have fun when you fish for bass because most of us think of bass fishing as recreation. You don't expect to find yourself chained to a wall in a medieval dungeon to learn how much torture you can endure when you bass fish. However, many anglers who earn their livings professionally fishing for bass must go to work when they don't want to, fish in bad, nasty weather and endure sickness, disaster and disappointment as a part of their jobs. You may think you've had a bad day of fishing before or fished in a really bad bass tournament. But once you read the experiences of some of America's best bass fishermen and learn what's happened to them on their worst days of fishing, your bad day of bass fishing may not seem so horrible.

Click to enlargeJay Yelas, a 38-year-old from Tyler, Texas, the 2002 Bassmaster Classic champion and the 2003 BASS Angler of the Year, has earned all-time winnings on the BASS tournament trail close to $1,300,000. "The worst day of bass fishing occurred on the Connecticut River when I had my wife, Jill, in the boat with me, and I was pre-fishing for a tournament," Yelas mentions. "I'd found a hidden back-water lake on the map that was well away from the main river. But to get to this backwater, I had to go up a really-narrow channel and use my trolling motor to get through it. As we started going through this channel, I heard my wife scream, 'Look out for that hornet nest.' I'm extremely allergic to bee stings, and of course a hornet stings. When I looked up, I saw one of the biggest hornet nests ever only 4 feet from my face. Because I'd bumped the nest, the hornets came out and left the edge of that nest like fighter pilots leaving the deck of an aircraft carrier. They were headed straight at my face.

“Those hornets really tore me up and stung me all over my face. Click to enlargeThankfully I wasn't deathly allergic to stings and didn't go into shock, but I really did swell up from the stings. But after encountering the hornets, we got on through the channel and arrived at the backwater. After I fished for two hours and didn't get a bite, I decided I needed to leave that backwater and go find another region to fish. However, I knew to get back home that night, I would have to go right past that hornet nest again. So, I thought and thought about what I could do to keep from getting torn up by those hornets again. I decided to wear every piece of clothing I had. Well, I put on boots, raingear, a motorcycle helmet with a space shield on it, stuffed old shirts around my neck and put on gloves. There wasn't a piece of clothing in my boat that I wasn't wearing. When I turned around to look at Jill, she asked, 'What about me? I don't want to get stung either.' I told her, 'I'm going to put you in the rod locker,' which I did. I locked the lid on it just before we got to the hornet nest. As we went past those hornets, they attacked again, but because I had on so many clothes, their stingers couldn't get to me. Jill was fine once I let her out of the rod box after we made our way out of the little channel. We decided to go straight back to the motel.

Click to enlarge"The next morning when I woke up, my head was twice the size it had been the day before. I was swelled-up like a balloon. I finally had to go to a doctor's office and get a shot before I could even go fishing. Being stung, having to go the doctor and being miserable from the effects of the hornet stings was bad enough, but not finding any bass in that backwater area that I'd paid such a high price to get to made this the most-miserable, terrible, memorable day of bass fishing I'd ever had."

Check back each day this week for more about MY WORST DAY OF BASS FISHING ...

Day 1 - Worst Days of Fishing for Tim Horton, Michael Iaconelli and Kelly Jordon
Day 2 - Worst Days of Fishing for Gary Klein
Day 3 - Worst Days of Bass Fishing With Larry Nixon, Gerald Swindle and Kevin VanDam
Day 4 - Worst Days of Bass Fishing for Mike Wurm
Day 5 - Jay Yelas' Worst Day of Bass Fishing



Entry 262, Day 5