When the Bassmaster Tour visited the Potomac River 30 years ago, everyone knew that Jay Yelas was likely going to spend some time on an abandoned wharf called Fox’s Ferry. Why wouldn’t he? It contributed to a win in 1993 along with several other top five and top ten finishes. I’m sure that other anglers fished it during practice and competition, but on some level everyone knew it as “Jay’s spot.”
Last Thursday, the New York Times published a lengthy (approximately 3,000 words) feature on the state of bass fishing titled “This Is the Most Lucrative Moment in History to Catch Bass.” The writer, Haley Cohen Gilliland, previously of mega-serious and prestigious publications like The Economist and Vanity Fair, did a fantastic job with what is likely a difficult topic for people outside of our orbit to understand.
In June of 1997, I fished an FLW Tour event on Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka as a co-angler. I remember the event largely because I finished 14th, and after failing to catch my limit fish on Day Two I missed the top ten cut by less than a pound and a half. Had I made it, I would’ve gotten to weigh in the next day at the Mall of America, which would’ve been pretty cool -- how many people can say that they’ve weighed in their fish, then immediately hopped off the stage and bought an Orange Julius?
I’ve been around this sport long enough to know which anglers are generally despised and which ones are known to “do things the right way.” No, I’m not going to divulge any names from the former group, but if you read between a few lines you can probably figure some of them out. In fact, if you read between the lines, there’s a lot you can learn about the levels of respect that various anglers are afforded.
As year 13 of the Elite Series experiment commences, BASS has once again offered up one of my favorite photo galleries of the year, full side shots of all of the competitors’ boat wraps. Not many surprises – mostly endemics, related non-endemics, and related fields like oilfield supply companies – not a Tinder-themed boat in the mix, nor is there one touting the benefits of medicinal cannabis.