By MLF Communications Staff
The 2021 Toyota Series Championship at Pickwick Lake will take place Thursday through Saturday in Counce, Tenn. Anglers will compete for up to $235,000 cash in the culmination of the 2021 Toyota Series, a six-division trail that offers a path to the MLF Pro Circuit and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour.
Pro Jimmy Washam of Covington, Tenn., said he felt fortunate to be fishing the championship on his home lake and is excited to see how the tournament unfolds.
“There’s not as much vegetation on Pickwick Lake as we normally have this time of year, and the fish haven’t made a push to the bank yet,” said Washam. “However, the cooler weather coming in should help them get out of suspension mode and start biting. The bigger fish are already getting easier to catch, and we should see a lot of healthy fish in the 3- to 4-pound class, so it’s setting up to be a fun event.
“I expect to see some junk-fishing, but I think moving baits will play a big role with the cooler weather and cooler water temperatures, and fish should really start keying in on bait. Depending on what type of water release schedule we have, there will be some traditional tailwater baits in play, but I expect there to be a surface bite and a pretty good moving-bait bite that will either be full-blown or will develop throughout the event.”
Washam said he anticipates it will take an average of 19 pounds per day to win the championship, and approximately 17 1/2 pounds per day to get into the Top 10.
“I’m planning to enjoy myself at this event because there’s no stress for me – whether I finish first or last, I’ve had a great year and I couldn’t be more thankful for it,” said Washam, who won the Pro Circuit TITLE Championship in August, taking home the prestigious TITLE belt and $200,000 cash. “The TITLE win was amazing, but my family wasn’t with me, so I’m excited to have my wife and my son and a lot of friends from the Memphis area at this event.”
This marks the third time Washam has qualified for the championship in the five years he has fished the Toyota Series.
“My greatest accomplishment, outside of the TITLE win, was winning the 2021 Toyota Series Angler of the Year in the Central division,” said Washam. “To me that’s one of the hardest accomplishments to get, because you’re fishing against a lot of great fishermen on their home water. The Toyota Series is the perfect place to prove to yourself whether or not you can make it to the next level, because if you can be successful in that series, then you can fish at any level beyond that.”
Anglers will take off daily at 7 a.m. CT from Pickwick Landing State Park, located at 120 Playground Loop in Counce. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park and will begin at 3:15 p.m. Outdoor vendors will be onsite prior to weigh-ins Thursday and Friday from 1-3 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Fans are welcome to attend the event or follow the action online through the “MLF Live” weigh-in broadcasts and daily coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The full field of anglers will compete on days 1 and 2 of the event, with the top 10 pros and Top 10 co-anglers based on cumulative weight from the first two days continuing to the third and final day. The champions will be determined by the heaviest three-day total weight.
Pros and co-anglers can qualify for multiple contingency awards based on final standings in the championship, including the $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus for pros. The winning co-angler will earn a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.
The 2021 Toyota Series consisted of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International division. The highest finishing pro from each division at the championship will claim a $10,000 bonus.
The field features the Top 25 pros, Top 25 co-anglers and tournament winners from each of the six divisions; the Top 12 pros and 12 co-anglers from the Wild Card division; the highest finishing boater and co-angler from each of the six BFL Regionals and the Wild Card at the All-American; the top three teams from the College Fishing National Championship; High School Fishing National Champions; TBF National Champions; and MLF International champions from Canada, Italy, Korea, Mexico and Zimbabwe.