James Watson Wins UMF Championship
August 18, 2022
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Watson Wins UMF Title

For Immediate Release:

August 18, 2022

Media Contact: Jordan Cecil

James Watson wins UMF Title on Pickwick Lake. 

Midway, AR— James Watson wins the 2022 Ultimate Match Fishing Championship under challenging conditions. Watson beat Paul Elias, Jonathan Van Dam and Jacob Wheeler over the three days of competition. Adjusting to the conditions was the key to winning the event. Pickwick Lake produced tough conditions as water levels would rise and fall and rise again, forcing anglers to adjust to the conditions. Against Elias, Watson fished shallow with a vibrating jig to advance to the next round. With the water levels down several feet, Watson was forced to fish differently, going a bit deeper fishing a lipless crankbait to get the bites in order to take down Jonathan Van Dam to advance to the championship round. In the championship round, Watson fished shallow again with a vibrating jig and was able to get the quality bites needed to best Jacob Wheeler and to win the UMF Title. This is the third career win for Watson during his professional career.

“To beat those guys, I had to adjust every day. My VIRTUS/Jewel rods were able to adjust with me. I was able to go from the swim jig rod that I used for fishing a vibrating jig to the deep diver cranking rod for my lipless crankbaits, and then back to the swim jig rod with the vibrating jig to close things out. It took those adjustments to get the win,” said Watson.

The key rods that Watson used during his incredible run at the title were the Red Diamond Swim Jig Rod and the Red Diamond Deep Diver Rod. Watson chose to use the Swim Jig rod because it offered just the right tip to make the vibrating jig easy to cast while also being able to load up extremely well to really pin those fish, and at 7’2” it had the right length to make those key casts at targets. When fishing any treble hook bait it is super important to use a rod that has a real moderate bend and good flex, but especially when you have a lipless crankbait tied on you also need power. The Virtus/Jewel Red Diamond Deep Diver rod gave Watson all the tools he needed in a rod in order to land those key fish on his second day of competition. In both rod models Watson opted to use the Winn Grip. “When fishing with moving baits I really enjoy the comfort of the Winn Grip, and I especially enjoyed using the Winn Grips during UMF do to the harsh and ever changing weather conditions. It just made it so easy for me to maintain a good grip on my rod,” said Watson.

“Congratulations to James. We’re glad he is part of the VIRTUS/Jewel team. He really excelled under tough conditions,” said Gayle Julian, owner of Jewel Bait Company. Find your VIRTUS/Jewel Rod at

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