Williams Takes the Win on Dale Hollow - Major League Fishing

Williams Takes the Win on Dale Hollow

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April 2, 2022 • Erik Gaffron • Toyota Series

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Lurking near the top of the leaderboard all week, Jack Daniel Williams consistently put over 21 pounds on the scale each of the first two days of Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Central Division competition on Dale Hollow Lake. Starting Saturday’s championship round in third, Williams didn’t let off the gas and sacked up 21 pounds, 13 ounces to easily push him to the top when it mattered most. Totaling 64-10 on the week, Williams gets to haul a payday of $71,500 back to Kingsport, Tenn., along with the hardware to commemorate the biggest win of his young career.

“I’m telling you I’m speechless, I really am. I don’t even know what to say. I think it will set in tomorrow, maybe when I drive out of here,” said Williams, laughing and adding, “I know that trophy is going to sleep in the bed with me for the next six weeks, I’m sure.”

Like most of the Top 25, forward-facing sonar and an abundance of bait were critical factors in Williams reaching the final day of competition. He noted that certain characteristics in his primary area along with changing weather conditions affected the movement of baitfish throughout the area.

“All my areas had points and steep drops on each side of them. The bait would load up on points when it got warm and drop off when it got cold into that deeper water.”

Williams targeted Dale Hollow’s schools of fish with a small 3½-inch swimbait rigged on a ¼-ounce jig head. He, like many others, made targeted casts aided by his sonar to specific single fish or pods of fish to initiate strikes.

“The warmer weather made the bait come up and that’s when I’d use a lighter head, with a slower fall to keep it in front of their face,” explained Williams.

While Williams was able to notch three bags eclipsing 21 pounds, it wasn’t easy by any stretch. Williams noted that the turning point of his was event was his late Day 2 flurry where he culled all five of his keeper fish to jump from roughly 13 pounds to 21-7. That put him in fourth and within striking distance on Day 3.

“It gave me the confidence going into the [final] day. I caught them late yesterday, and it gave me some confidence. I figured that they would still be there. So, I showed up today and caught a 4-pounder immediately.”

Williams’ area wasn’t on fire immediately after his early morning 4-pounder. But, after bouncing around to a few new areas, Williams was able to put a limit of fish in the boat before jumping his weight up soon thereafter by returning to his primary area.

“It seemed like I needed the wind to get up, so I left. I went and caught five, and then when I came back, I started culling.”

Still in shock at taking the top spot, Williams took a moment to reflect on what this meant for him in his young career.

“This is the dream come true. Every fisherman knows it’s not about the money. It’s about winning, and just loving the sport really,” he said. “And doing good. I just want to do good as a fisherman, that’s it. If I was to get beat with 21 pounds each day then so be it, hats off to them.”

But nobody was able to topple the young Tennessee pro, making his support crew proud, as the young angler listed a wealth of support coming from many avenues.

“I want to give a shoutout to Jack’s Bait and Tackle in Chattanooga and DJ’s Marine. I also want to thank my family, my mom and dad, my girlfriend Daisy and her parents. Bryan Hess, I had been sleeping in my truck, and he said ‘no, that’s not going to happen anymore, I am going to get you a hotel.’

“Oh, and lastly, Bobby Lane,” added Williams. “This [story] is was from when I was young, maybe 16. I was on my home lake [for another major tournament], and I zeroed, and he said, ‘do you know what I did on my home lake my first major event? Last place, don’t you ever give up.’”

The conversation and encouragement sparked a friendship and mentorship between the Bass Pro Tour competitor and the young Tennessee angler that continues to this day. Williams credits the friendship as one that has helped guide him to the top, at least for this week at Dale Hollow.

Top 10 Pros

1. Jack Daniel Williams – 64-10 (15)

2. Kevin Drake – 62-13 (15)

3. Tristan Abbott – 62-8 (15)

4. Nick Ratliff – 62-5 (15)

5. Bailey Gay – 60-2 (15)

6. Isaac Peavyhouse – 59-13 (15)

7. Seth Davis – 59-3 (15)

8. Austin Swindle – 58-7 (15)

9. Jonathan Dietz – 54-13 (15)

10. Andrew Behnke – 52-12 (15)

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