Texan takes Bassmaster Classic

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 30, 2002

For Tyler, Texas, native Jay Yelas, the 12th time was the charm.

Yelas became only the second person to lead the CITGO BASS Masters Classic, held at Lay Lake, wire-to-wire. Yelas accepted the championship trophy from last year’s winner, Kevin Van Dam, in front of a capacity crowd at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center Sunday.

&uot;This is the most fun I’ve had in a tournament in a long time,&uot; Yelas said of the Lay Lake event. &uot;I caught some big fish on the lake and just had a blast.&uot;

Yelas had a three-day total of 14 bass weighing in at 45 pounds, 13 ounces to take home the $203,000 top prize. Yelas’ nearest competitor was California’s Aaron Martens with 15 fish weighing in at 39 pounds, 9 ounces.

Tim Horton of Muscle Shoals was the only Alabama fisherman to make the 25-angler cut. Horton, with 15 fish for a weight of 24 pounds, 7 ounces, won $8,000 for his 18th-place finish. Horton missed 17th place by just two ounces.

For more images from the Classic at Lay Lake, see page B-4