Monday, August 13, 2012
Yelas Yielded Water to Wheeler
Yelas, a former Bassmaster Classic champion, B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year and two-time FLW Anger of the year, was 8 pounds behind Wheeler and probably didn't feel like he had a realistic chance to win the event. That said, second through tenth were only separated by a couple of pounds, and Yelas was knowingly lessening his chances for the best possible finish. And while its true that the Forrest Wood Cup is a championship event that most anglers approach with and "all or nothing" mentality, the difference between the second and tenth place prize is $75,000, so Yelas opting to abandon his best waters was no small sacrifice. He still caught a quality bag on the final day and ended up finishing sixth.
Wheeler expressed humble appreciative of Yelas' consideration on the final day as he spoke from the stage just after the weigh-in. He likewise talked about David Dudley's encouragement throughout the event and expressed respect he had for the entire field. He also was eager to acknowledge God's blessings and to steer the focus away from himself. Wheeler's obvious gratitude for the opportunity to stand on the stage as champion and desire to glorify God was refreshing, and I look forward to seeing much more from in the future.