Pro Jimmy Washam of Covington, Tennessee brought a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 15 ounces to the stage on Sunday to win $200,000 and the TITLE belt at the second annual Major League Fishing (MLF) Tackle Warehouse TITLE Presented by Mercury â€“ the Pro Circuit Championship, Presented by Bad Boy Mowers â€“ on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Washam won by a 1-pound, 3-ounce margin over Berkley pro Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Florida who weighed a limit of 17-15, good for second place and $50,000. Favorite Fishing pro Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma rounded out the top three, weighing a five-bass limit of 15-6 and taking home $30,000.
Sunday’s final day of competition marked the finale of the six-day Tackle Warehouse TITLE, which featured the top 48 pros in the 2021 Pro Circuit standings, along with last year’s reigning TITLE champion and reigning Angler of the Year â€“ all competing for a purse of nearly $900,000.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse TITLE Presented by Mercury â€“ the Pro Circuit Championship, Presented by Bad Boy Mowers was hosted by Explore La Crosse.
Washam said he began fishing MLF tournaments in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League in 2012, before moving up to the Toyota Series in 2017. He qualified for the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers through the Toyota Series Central Division in 2019 and has made TITLE appearances in both ’20 and ’21. When he’s not fishing, Washam is a deputy sheriff sergeant in Tennessee
“All the glory goes to God,” Washam said of the win. “This is so amazing, but it’s His work above, I promise you. Five years ago, I bought my first fiberglass boat and decided I’d fish the Phoenix Bass Fishing League as a boater. Now I’m standing here with a TITLE belt on my shoulder.”
Moving up through the ranks hasn’t been easy for Washam, who took a big financial risk in 2020 and again in 2021 to follow his passion.
“I’m 34 years old and I didn’t start as young as I wish I would have, but I had to earn a living and work, so it was a slow progression to step up to this level,” said Washam. “After last year I knew that I could hang, and this year has been an absolutely incredible year. It’s humbling to know the group of anglers I just joined.”
Washam said he was contemplating going back to the Black River on the final day, having found a few places where he could pull up and catch a limit in a few casts, but he decided to make a change.
“I got to thinking, it’s Sunday and there are a lot of guys out fishing,” said Washam. “I’ve got a place that likely has the winning bag on it. Why in the world would I not go there first? Literally, as I pulled up, there was a guy in a Jon boat that was slinging a topwater and he was only half a cast away from my fish. I don’t think he knew what was there, but he was really close to finding out.
“He was a total class act,” Washam continued. “I pulled up and said, ‘Good morning.’ Of course, I was going to ask him as politely as I could if he minded giving me a little space for a couple hours, but I didn’t even have to ask. He picked up the trolling motor and left, then came back later as a spectator. Turns out he works at the sheriff’s office in La Crosse.”
Nerves didn’t seem to be a factor for Washam going into the Championship Round, even with $200,000 on the line.
“I was confident going into the final day,” said Washam. “Any time you find something like that and you’re able to leave it for Championship Sunday it’s great. But I’ve played this game long enough to know that there are so many variables. When I made the first cast and didn’t get a bite the wheels started turning. Then, when I made the second cast and caught a 3-pounder I was pumped.”
The top 10 pros at the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE on the Mississippi River are:
- Jimmy Washam, Covington, Tenn., five bass, 17-15, $200,000
- Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., five bass, 16-12, $50,000
- Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., five bass, 15-6, $30,000
- Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., five bass, 13-5, $25,000
- Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., five bass, 13-2, $19,000
- Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga., five bass, 13-2, $18,000
- Miles Burghoff, Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., five bass, 12-8, $17,000
- Jimmy Reese, Witter Springs, Calif., five bass, 11-14, $16,000
- Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 11-3, $15,000
- Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., five bass, 11-1, $14,000
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.