GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (Feb. 20, 2021) – Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit angler Jimmy Washam of Covington, Tennessee, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Friday weighing 18 pounds, 15 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. at Lake Guntersville presented by Googan Baits in Guntersville, Alabama. Washam led the event wire-to-wire, and his three-day total of 15 bass weighing 58-5 earned him the win by a 5-pound, 10-ounce margin over second-place angler Sloan Pennington of Childersburg, Alabama . Washam earned the top payout of $55,650 in the first tournament of the 2021 Toyota Series Central Division presented by Neat Companies.
Looking back on the three-day tournament, Washam said Day 1 was a grind, with only two fish in the livewell by noon; however, he just happened to land on them later in the day.
“I went back to an earlier spot I’d fished, and they were just turned on,” he said. “They were trying to take the [bladed jig] out of my hand. I caught the 7-5 and the 4 [pounder] in the last 10 minutes.”
Washam brought in his smallest bag of the tournament on Thursday (Day 2), but it was big enough to provide him with a 5-plus-pound lead going into the final day.
His pattern throughout the week was a carbon copy of most other anglers in the field.
“The fish were in the grass,” he said. “That was no secret.”
Like most pros, Washam had an array of rods and baits on the front deck, but the one lure he said he depended on the most on Lake Guntersville was a Profound Outdoors Azuma Shaker Z lipless crankbait.
“They just really ate it this week,” he said. “It’s got more of a subtle action and a good flutter to it. Out of all the lipless crankbaits I tried in practice, it was the one that got the most bites.”
The top 10 pros on Lake Guntersville finished:
2nd: Sloan Pennington of Childersburg, Ala., 15 bass, 52-11, $22,000
3rd: Jeff McLain of Columbus, Miss., 15 bass, 48-11, $15,250
4th: Ethan Greene Tracy of Eufaula, Ala., 15 bass, 46-3, $13,250
5th: Brennon McCord of Thompsonville, Ill., 15 bass, 46-1, $13,250
6th: Blake Hall of Guntersville, Ala., 14 bass, 44-6, $9,625
7th: Terry Fisher of Madison, Ala., 15 bass, 43-8, $8,300
8th: Mickey Beck of Lebanon, Tenn., 10 bass, 35-4, $7,300
9th: Cody Nichols of Fayette, Ala., 12 bass, 34-9, $6,300
10th: Steve Lopez of Oconomowoc, Wisc., 10 bass, 29-9, $4,700
Washam also won the Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division Wednesday, with a largemouth weighing 7 pounds, 5 ounces. Greg Lamb of Birchwood, Tennessee, won Thursday’s Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division, bringing an 8-pound, 9-ounce bass to the scale. Both anglers earned an additional $150.
McCord took home an extra $1,000 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $35,000 per event in each Toyota Series tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
Larry Franks, Jr. of Wilsonville, Alabama, won the Strike King Co-angler Division Friday with a three-day total of 14 bass weighing 41 pounds, 11 ounces. Franks took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers on Lake Guntersville finished:
2nd: Keith Newsom of Memphis, Tenn., 12 bass, 36-4, $6,625
3rd: Zach Britton of Hazel Green, Ala., 10 bass, 28-5, $5,300
4th: Wayne Crouch of Jamestown, Tenn., nine bass, 26-1, $4,150
5th: Hayden Marbut of Birmingham, Ala., nine bass, 25-15, $3,650
6th: Shane Combs of New Hope, Ala., eight bass, 23-1, $3,150
7th: Jared Murphree of Toney, Ala., nine bass, 22-12, $2,650
8th: Blake Lewis of Pace, Fla., seven bass, 21-5, $2,075
9th: Alex Moore of Chester, Ill., seven bass, 20-14, $1,630
10th: Terry Ezzell of Russellville, Ala., seven bass, 19-9, $1,390
The Toyota Series at Lake Guntersville was presented by Googan Baits and was hosted by the Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was the first of three regular-season tournaments in 2021 for anglers in the Central Division presented by Neat Companies. The next event for Toyota Series anglers will take place March 4-6 – the Toyota Series at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Fenwick in Osage Beach, Missouri. For a complete schedule, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The 2021 Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International division. Anglers who fish all three qualifiers in any of the eight divisions and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. Championship for a shot at winning $235,000 cash, including a $35,000 Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus for qualified anglers. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard.
The 2021 Toyota Series Championship presented by A.R.E. will be held Oct. 28-30 on Pickwick Lake in Counce, Tennessee, and is hosted by the Hardin County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. on the MLF BIG5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.