Yelas and Biffle Get Checkered Flag
ORLANDO, Fla. - June 4, 2003 - Jay Yelas didn't catch the most weight in the second annual Jeff Burton Celebrity Challenge fishing tournament presented by CITGO. The bad news for the other five teams in the event is that his partner, current Busch series champion Greg Biffle, did.
The team of Yelas and Biffle boated a total of 19 pounds, 9 ounces of bass to unseat Kevin VanDam and Jeff Burton as champions of the event. VanDam and Burton placed second with 15-6.
"Everything went our way today," said Yelas who recently wrapped up the Busch BASS Angler of the Year award as the top performer on this season's CITGO Bassmaster Tour presented by Busch Beer. "My partner caught his first keeper about 10 minutes into the day and we kept going from there."
The other teams competing in the event included Arkansas angler Jimmy Mize and Hank Parker Jr., who placed third with 13-6; North Carolina pro Marty Stone and Jeff Green, who wrapped up fourth place with 10-9; Florida pro Shaw Grigsby and truck series driver Carl Edwards, in fifth with 9-4; and Alabama pro Gerald Swindle and Kurt Busch, who caught 6-6 to round out the field.
Biffle, who caught the most weight of any of the 12 participants weighing in at the Orlando Bass Pro Shops location with 10-5, also caught the biggest bass of the day, a 5-11 largemouth. The pair caught their bass cranking a Berkley Frenzy in 8 feet of water on Bay Lake.
"I'm glad he caught that big one," said Yelas.
"That was the biggest bass I've ever caught," said Biffle. "The biggest one I had ever caught prior to that was about a 3-pounder, so I broke my personal record twice today."
Due to the unique format of the event, the professional angler was not allowed to begin fishing until his driver partner boated a bass. The two were then each allowed to keep three bass with the total weight of the six fish used to determine the champion.
While most of the teams were able to start fishing within a relatively short period of time, the team of Busch and Swindle had to wait nearly two hours.
"I had plenty of bites, but had them jumping off right at the boat," said Busch.
Despite the somewhat relaxed nature of the event for the anglers, the drivers were able to experience the competition that takes place on the CITGO Bassmaster Tour.
"If you're not throwing your line out, Kevin is yelling at you or running to the next location," explained Burton. "It's not a relaxing environment; it's intense competition and, unlike racing, you have no idea what your competition is doing. The competition level is no different than what we experience on the track. It's pretty intense."
"I tried to just be a great guide today," said VanDam. "Jeff is a great fisherman. Last year it took five casts for him to get his first keeper and this year it took about 15."
In conjunction with the event, which will air on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. (ET) Aug. 1 as part of CITGO Bassmaster Classic week programming, CITGO Petroleum Corporation made a $10,000 donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Source: bassmaster.com (2003-06-04)