Featured Angler Interview-Jimmy Mason

Southern Fishing News talked to bass pro and guide Jimmy Mason in a Q&A interview. His responses give you an inside look at his bass fishing ideas and opinions based on more than two decades of tournament fishing as well as a professional guide.

Jimmy Mason has fished tournament circuits for 24 years including the BassMaster Top 150, Elite Series, and BASS Opens. Mason is currently competing in the MLF Toyota Series, the BFL, Alabama Bass Trail North Division, and ABT 100. He has also been concurrently guiding for 20 years on North Alabama lakes.

SFN: When did you become interested in fishing?
MASON: As a kid, of course, but really got into it in my early teens. Every Sunday evening I watched Bob Cobb on BassMasters and hoped that I would be on his show someday.

SFN: Who would you say influenced you the most in the sport of bass fishing?
MASON: My dad fished a lot of local tournaments and was really successful. I remember waiting up on Friday nights to find out how they did and what they caught. I learned a lot after I started fishing on my own from Ray Gresham [a well-known former bass angler and tournament competitor in North Alabama]. He took time to teach me some techniques that other people weren’t using yet. I still consider him the best there’s ever been across the four North Alabama TVA lakes.

SFN: What lakes do you professionally guide on?
MASON: Wheeler, Wilson, Pickwick, and Guntersville

Jimmy Mason with an 11-1 largemouth caught fishing Pickwick Lake. Jimmy Mason photo

SFN: If you had to pick only one lake to fish which lake would it be and why?
MASON: That’s a hard choice. Any given year a lake could be on an upswing or downswing. But, if I had to pick one it would be either Pickwick or Guntersville. Pickwick might have an edge over Guntersville because of the smallmouth.

SFN: What style of fishing do you prefer? (i.e. finesse, flipping, cranking, etc.)
MASON: That’s a tough one too, because to be successful you have to be able to do it all depending on what the fish want. If I were picking one technique for a fun day on the water it would be flipping grass.

SFN: What is your “go-to bait” on the toughest of fishing days?
MASON: A shaky head with a green pumpkin YUM Finesse Worm. When all else fails, bass will bite a shaky head on any lake in the country.

SFN: What advice would you give to beginner bass anglers?
MASON: When you’re getting started, don’t chase the big ones, try to get a lot of bites. If you get a lot of bites, you’ll be better prepared when the big ones come.

SFN: What winning tip would you give to anglers who fish in non-pro tournaments?
MASON: Fish for big ones, don’t worry about numbers. You can win with five good bites and lose with 100 bites. A lot of my best tournament days I’ve only gotten six or seven bites.

SFN: Is there a common mistake tournament anglers make preparing for competition?
MASON: Overthinking it. I think you should have a solid game plan, but be ready to adapt if yesterday’s fish aren’t biting.

SFN: How do you prepare to fish a tournament on an unfamiliar lake?
MASON: Before I leave I’ll use the internet to search for recent tournament results to get an idea of the weights it will take to win. Then, based on the season, I use Google Earth and Humminbird Lakemaster mapping to look for areas to start practice.

SFN: If you were limited to fishing only one lure year around what would it be?
MASON: It’s the same as my go-to bait. It’s hard to beat a shaky head.

SFN: What is your favorite time of year to fish?
MASON: Probably late winter through early spring with a YUM Flashmob Junior with YUM Scottsboro Tackle swimbaits. There’s no better time or bait to catch a double-digit bass on the Tennessee River.

SFN: What is your personal best LM and SM to date?
MASON: LM, 13.2 lbs on Toledo Bend flipping a YUM Vibraking Tube. SM, 8.2 lbs on Pickwick on a YUM Money Minnow swimbait.

SFN: Who are your sponsor brands?
MASON: Phoenix Boats, Mercury Motors, PRADCO Outdoors, Lew’s, Vicious Fishing, Dynamic Sponsorships, Toyota, Costa, Pro-Guide Batteries, Humminbird, Power-Pole, Lipscomb and Pitts Insurance, Owner Hooks, and Freedom Marine

Mason added, “Right now one of my favorite types of fishing is for white bass in the evenings with my family. I’ve started offering 3-hour evening trips to clients and it’s been super popular. When a kid can catch a fish on nearly every cast, it gets them hooked on the sport.”

Mason can be reached at [email protected] and by phone at 256-762-0014.

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