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Hartwell FLW Tour Major

Jay Yelas Competition wrapup
Sunday, March 11, 2012

FLW/Gary Mortenson
Photo: FLW/Gary Mortenson

> Day 1: 5, 18-05
> Day 2: 5, 13-09
> Day 3: 5, 15-00
> Day 4: 5, 14-02
> Total = 20, 61-00 (6th place)

I'm thankful to finish 6th. It's the highest standing I've had all week, and any time you finish at your highest point, that's a good thing. Of course I'd like to have finished higher, but I'm pleased with this start to the year. I've been fishing well lately and it's unusual for me to have such a strong start. Usually I finish strong.

I was never in contention for the win Brent got me by 14 pounds. I have to tip my hat to him because he turned in a phenomenal piece of work this week, beating up on the field the way he did.

If felt I did as well as I could on the water I chose to fish. I fished a section of the Tugaloo River and stayed really shallow just about all my fish came from 3 feet of water or less. My bags were pretty steady, but I never had that real big day.

Some of my stuff was the same stuff Marty Stone was fishing, but I stayed in one creek. I think he had four different creeks on his milk run.

It's really nice to fish a lake and get on a good bite and see one other boat all week. That's pretty rare, although it happened last year when I finished 3rd at Kentucky Lake.

My Typhoon sunglasses performed great. I was fishing really dirty water and it was important to be able to make out those stumps at whatnot. Just about everything I caught came off wood or pea gravel.

I caught most of my fish cranking a little square-bill bait on 17-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. I used the Abu Garcia Revo MGX reel and that was really enjoyable. I can't tell if the castability is better than the other Revos, but it sure is a lot lighter and when you're making a thousand casts a day it definitely reduces the fatigue factor.

It was a good finish, and I'll take it and get ready to go to Table Rock in a couple of weeks.

Luke Clausen Competition wrapup
Friday, March 09, 2012

> Day 1: 5, 12-12
> Day 2: 5, 13-02
> Total = 10, 25-14 (36th)

I spent most of my time skipping docks with Z-Man ElaZtech Finesse WormZ, and now I don't know if that was the right thing to do. After practice I thought I could do really well if things went right, but I just didn't catch the quality.

I don't really know what happened. I had some herring-chasing fish that were healthier and fatter, but a lot of those were gone when the tournament started. I just kept plugging away. I didn't have a good backup plan and now I wish I'd spent more time out deep in practice. If I'd had a one-two punch, I wouldn't have been so one-dimensional.

On day 1 I caught one that I weighed on a Megabass 110 (jerkbait), and I got one on a Spark Rig, which is Megabass' version of the Alabama Rig. It's got a prop on the front that's lopsided, so it always vibrates. I used the ElaZtech PaddlerZ on that.

I'm definitely disappointed, especially after having a good practice. I just didn't adjust well enough.

Luke Clausen Practice
Wednesday, March 07, 2012

It's the kind of a deal that's going to be a lot of junk-fishing for me I can't say I've got anything real spectacular figured out. I'm going to fish the areas that I think have the better fish and if I catch a big bag, it'll probably come on two or three different baits.

It's going to be a different day on day 1, being overcast with a lack of wind. During practice we had sun and strong winds.

I'm optimistically confident about my chances and I think things could work out really well. I don't know what the weights are going to be, but going by what they've been historically, I think I could catch a better-than-average bag, depending on how things play out.

I don't think the Alabama Rig will be the kind of factor it was at Guntersville. I've talked to enough guys, and through my own experience with it, to believe the bite on it isn't phenomenal here. I'm sure it'll catch some fish, but I don't think you'll see everybody in the Top 10 throwing it.

Personally, after all the hype about it and all the talk about people wanting to ban it, I hope somebody wins this tournament on something else.

Jay Yelas Practice
Monday, March 05, 2012

Photo: BassFan

The wind's blown for the last 2 days, that's for sure. It's blown 20 to 30 (mph) both days, but this lake is so serpentine that you can find a place to get out it. It's not like a big, open lake.

Fishing should be as good as it was last year. They're definitely biting and you can catch a good stringer. This isn't the greatest bass pond in the country, though. The guys who did well last year had 1 or 2 big days, and otherwise it was about 12 pounds a day.

I think 15 pounds a day will win. There'll be some 20-pound bags the first day, but only one guy (winner Jason Christie) had much over 60 pounds last year. When it's all said and done, 15 pounds a day will be a nice average.

There's a lot of things you can do to catch them we had a bunch of rain right before practice and the major creeks are chocolate mud. Other places have clear water, and there's water somewhere that's stained any color you want it. All of it has fish.

I like the lake I think it's a great venue for a big tournament. You can find water that suits your style. The biggest thing this year is it's 5 or 6 feet lower than last year and there's no willows or buckbrush in the water. There's tons of docks and scattered laydowns and brushpiles, but not as much cover as last year.

This will be the first national tournament in history where the Alabama Rig was a go from the start everybody has it from the first day of practice. That'll be one of the big sub-plots to the tournament.

"I think there's a good chance it could be won on the A-Rig. There's certainly lots of ways to catch them right now, but that's one way.

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