Angler Spotlight: Michael Yelton


I had the pleasure of interviewing Team Stonefly’s Michael Yelton. Michael has been an enormous asset to competitive fly fishing in the U.S. for many years. Please take the time to read the questions I asked Michael and his responses as I attempt to shed insight into what the best anglers int he league have in common.
Ben Vandevender- “How long have you been competing and what brought you to the competition scene?”
     Michael Yelton- “My first comp was the Pisgah Fly Masters which was a casting comp that took the top ten casters to fish the next day on the Davidson Private water. I took 2nd place and was hooked. I want to say that was in 2008.”
Ben Vandevender- “What were your goals for last season and did you accomplish them? If so what were the keys to your succes?”
     Michael Yelton- ” I really just wanted to fish well, keep attention to detail and keep progressing. No drops, no blanks. I spent a lot of time on playing fish. I would like to fish a perfect comp with no drops.”
Ben Vandevender-  “What are your goals for this season and how do you plan to achieve them?”
         Michael Yelton- “I would really like to just keep fishing well, keep getting better and keep learning. It can be achieved by keeping my nose to the grind stone and working hard. “
Ben Vandevender- “Do you have a favorite fly Pattern?”
       Michael Yelton- “The one that’s working at the time! I really feel like presentation trumps fly pattern. I do like that france fly though.”
Ben Vandevender- “What is your go to technique when competing?”
      Michael Yelton- “Being able to do it all in any given situation. Whether it’s throwing streamers, dry dropping or tight lining, being able to execute it and have confidence when you go to it is the key.”
Ben Vandevender- “For someone interested in competing or starting out, what would be your advice to them? “
          Michael Yelton- “Have fun, join a team, fish with people better than you. Soak it up, ask questions and get out on the water.”
Ben Vandevender- “Why did you choose to compete in the SEFFL and after its first year what do you think about the league in general?”
       Michael Yelton- “I wanted to support comp fishing and anything that was going to help keep it going. I think the SEFFL is competitive and scrappy. If you want to get better this is a great place to do it. I also want to thank and congratulate Ben and all the guys that help make this league happen. You guys are much appreciated and doing a great job.”
Ben Vandevender- “You were the top angler on your team, do you believe the team aspect of competitive angling is a unique outlier that makes the sport more fun than just individual angling?”
         Michael Yelton- “Absolutely the people I’ve met through comp fishing is what makes it so rewarding. The fellowship with teammates and other competitors, being outdoors and staying active is what keeps me coming back for more. “
Ben Vandevender- “Open forum, anything you want to add for those reading this?”
        Michael Yelton- ” I’ve finished first, last and all in between. There’s nothing like being on the clock. I love the highs and lows of comp fishing.”

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