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Editor: Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Jimmy Washam recently went wire-to-wire to win the Toyota Series Central Division opener on Lake Guntersville. iBass360's Kevin Carwile recently

caught up with the Major League Fishing Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit angler to discuss his win. Jimmy is Tennessee through and through, growing up hunting and fishing waters like Pickwick and Chickamauga. He now calls Covington home. He is blessed that his lifelong passion for fishing also pays the bills, but he also loves his career outside of fishing which involves public service as a Corporal in the Tipton County Sheriff's Office. As a professional angler, he has worked his way up winning a BFL tournament, achieving a third place points finish in the 2019 FLW Series Central Division, and qualifying for the 2020 Pro Circuit. He has nine top-10 finishes out of 45 MLF events and career earnings of $182,197. He is a skilled archer and certified by the FBI as a firearms instructor.

iBass360: Wow, that was an awesome win on Guntersville. Can you give us the strategy you had going in to championship Sunday? How did the weather conditions factor into it?

Jimmy: Thank you very much. My strategy going into Championship Day was to focus on broken hydrilla in depressions on the main lake where I felt there was a better concentration of fish. The cold weather was the primary factor for this approach. The traditional thinking was fish the grass. But my experience told me that the extreme cold might help congregate the better fish and put them in small depressions on those flats. I used my Lowrance electronics to locate the isolated depressions.

iBass360: What was your gear setup? Did this change from Day 1 to the Championship?

Jimmy: My primary setup for this event was a Hammer Fishing Rods 7’3” Medium Heavy cranking series rod with a high speed reel and 16 lb. fluorocarbon. My go to and most productive

bait was the Azuma Shaker Z, a lipless crank from Profound Outdoors. This remained the same for all 3 days. They just really ate it. It has a subtle action and good flutter.

iBasss360: Some folks aren't familiar with the MLF FLW circuit. Could tell us about how it and how it works?

Jimmy: Major League Fishing formed a few years ago as another circuit for professionals. They used a different format, weighing and releasing fish on the boat- no best five weigh-ins. Last year they acquired FLW, changing its name to Major League Fishing Big 5. This still includes the same great staff and levels of competition from High School fishing up to the Pro Circuit just as before, only with a new name. Unlike the Bass Pro Tour, the Big 5 Divisions still are based on the traditional weigh-in of the anglers best 5 fish.

iBass360: When did you decide to fish professionally and move up the circuit?

Jimmy: I always dreamed of fishing professionally, but it took me several years of working my way up the ladder to achieve my goal. I began fishing BFL events as a co-angler in 2012 then advanced to the boater side. After the BFL's I moved to the Toyota Series as a boater, where I

finished 3rd in the AOY points for the Central Division. This qualified me to compete on the 2020 FLW Pro Circuit. This was the goal I had worked toward for a very long time.

iBass360: What would your advice be for new anglers wanting to start tournament fishing

Jimmy: I started out fishing open charity tournaments, then joined a local bass club. This was all about learning, and when you are starting out, you need to take every opportunity to get experience that you can find. Then I "graduated" to the organized fishing leagues. I began fishing BFL events as a co-angler which is also a great learning experience- I recommend it. Take every opportunity to fish different water, use different presentations and experience fishing under different weather and water conditions. Every time you find success, move up, as the competition increases, so does the learning.

iBass360: What's your favorite style or type of fishing? Do you consider yourself What was yourself a specialist at anything in particular?

Jimmy: I don’t consider myself a specialist in any category, but I have probably had the most

tournament success fishing a jig. I really like fishing a jig in current. I have done well fishing offshore structure and also fishing grass. As demonstrated on Guntersville, I do like fishing lipless cranks. The area I probably need the most work is drop shot fishing.

iBass360: How long have you been fishing and what is your home lake

Jimmy: I have been fishing since I was old enough to walk and hold a pole. I have some old photos of me holding fish before I was 3. Folks started calling me "Wheel'em In," because I would beg my dad to reel in his fish. My dad introduced me to the outdoors, and I am passing it on to my son. As far as a home lake, I love fishing Pickwick and consider it "home" even though it's 2 hours away.

iBass360: It came out that three weeks before Guntersville you lost a major sponsor due to problems caused by the COVID pandemic. This is one of the toughest areas for an angler to manage.

Jimmy: Yeah, that effort is all on the jersey. But what the jersey doesn't say is how hard these sponsors work for me and the strength of the relationships. Ranger, Mercury, they keep me on the water. Without the rig working as you need, you just can't do this. Primary Tackle Company was built on a love of the art of fishing. This shop provides a range of tackle that fits what an angler needs. Going for a visit is a time to swap stories, get advice, and gain new skills. Black Bass Tackle Industries builds really quality lures no cutting corners, no missed details and I believe these baits give me an edge on the water. Losing a sponsor put me in a bad spot. I have to re-figure how I’m going to afford to fish. Thank God for the Guntersville check.

iBass360: On behalf of the whole 360Nation, congratulations on your win and we look forward to big things and watching the rest of your season. Good luck and Live the Passion!



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