Drew Benton Wins First Elite Series Title at Texas Fest on Lake Travis

Drew Benton Wins First Elite Series Title at Texas Fest on Lake Travis
Drew Benton Wins First Elite Series Title at Texas Fest on Lake Travis

Professional angler, Drew Benton used two different fishing patterns in the 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest, leading him to take home first place and a $100,000 prize

Drew Benton of Panama City, Fla., capped off an impressive week with a Championship Sunday five-bass limit that weighed 16 pounds, 15 ounces to win first place and $100,000 at the 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The third-year pro finished in fourth place at his first tournament as a Bassmaster Elite Series contender; today he bested the Top 108 bass anglers in world with a four-day weight of 67-15.

Benton’s final day didn’t start out as planned.

After a minor rule infraction, he had to endure a 15-minute delay at takeoff, which he feared would impact his morning bite.


“It was a stupid mistake on my part,” he said. “But over the past couple of days, I was catching my best fish during the first 15 to 20 minutes of the morning in a marina up Lake Travis. I was sharing water with Marty Robinson, and he graciously agreed to let me have that area to myself, even after I sat in the penalty box for 15 minutes. That was huge, and I'm grateful he worked with me.”


Benton was sure to acknowledge Robinson’s generosity and sacrifice, although he later found out that due to the cloudy, rainy weather the action in his marina had faded.


“I’m confident the weather this morning really suppressed the shad activity that had the bass feeding so heavily during the previous mornings,” he said. “The weather also kept the pleasure boaters off the water, which allowed me to fish some areas that were otherwise unfishable.”

The 30-year-old angler had two different patterns going: One in the morning and one in the afternoon.

“I found some fish during practice that helped me throughout this tournament,” he said. “But I really didn’t put it together until later in the day on Day 1. I was using a walking topwater presentation that was working well throughout the day, even in the hot sun and clear skies. I decided to give it an hour during the first day, and it paid off.”


Benton was using a 7-foot, 1-inch Phenix Rods Feather casting rod paired with a Lew’s Team Pro Magnesium Speed Spool baitcaster in a 7.5:1 gear ratio loaded with 65-pound Smackdown Seaguar braid.

His topwater lure of choice was a Bagley Knocker B rigged with Owner No. 2 trebles that caught bass around docks in marinas, over schooling bass, near bushes and along rocky shorelines that were protected from the wind and boat-traffic wake.

“I’ve been close to winning one of these before,” he said. “And I know it’s been said before, but everything has to go right to be the last man standing at a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament. If it’s meant to be, and it’s your time it’s going to happen.


“This is a dream come true, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to win this thing,” Benton said. “Things were going my way early on, and I felt that momentum swing my way. I knew that I had to be smart with every cast. This was an awesome win for me and my family.”

Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., caught 16-2 pushing his four-day total to 64-8, which was good enough for second place and valuable Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points.

“I spent most of my time up the Colorado River fishing water that was dirtier than the rest of the lake,” he said. “Most of my fish came on a 7/8-ounce silver jigging spoon that mimicked the plentiful shad in the lake. I also caught a few bass on a custom topwater prop bait when they were on the surface chasing bait.”

Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss., caught a 10-5 largemouth bass on the first morning of the event. That fish held up as the tournament’s biggest bass, and earned Pace a brand new Toyota Tundra pickup valued at $50,000.

That big bass helped Pace finish in third place, which is a position he held down all four days of the event.

“That was the very first fish I caught during the first morning of the tournament,” Pace said. “I caught that bass from 27 feet of water on a Carolina rig with a V&M Drop Shad in green pumpkin.”

This tournament was held under a unique format where the fish were immediately weighed, recorded and released. However, each pro could bring one bass back to weigh-in if it measured over 18 inches. A $1 million purse was paid out to the entire field.

Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., was awarded $1,000 for the leading the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race at the end of the event.

Gerald Spohrer of Gonzales, La.,? earned the Power-Pole Captain’s Cash Award of $1,000 for being the highest-placing angler who is registered and eligible and uses a client-approved product on his boat.

Benton also won the Toyota Bonus Bucks Award of $3,000 for being the highest-placing eligible entrant in the program. The second-highest-placing eligible entrant, Pace, received $2,000.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Memorial Day sale offers 15 percent off everything website-wide. Coolers

Get Ready for Summer with Cordova Coolers

May 23, 2019

Memorial Day sale offers 15 percent off everything website-wide.

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on. Bass

MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

G&F Online Staff - May 20, 2019

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

How does one go about getting rid of chiggers and treating chigger bites? Your first line of defense is insect repellent with DEET to keep chiggers at bay. But when you do get a few chigger bites, use Chigarid to treat them. Hunting How-To

How to Treat Chigger Bites

Lynn Burkhead

How does one go about getting rid of chiggers and treating chigger bites? Your first line of...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Minn Kota's Brad Henry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that there's much to like in the new Minn Kota Riptide Terrova saltwater trolling motor that comes with I-Pilot and an 87-inch shaft.

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance's Lucas Steward shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead what all of the fuss is about in the brand new Ghost trolling motor being brought to market by the Tulsa, Okla.-based fishing equipment manufacturer.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options. Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range

Celebrate the start of summer with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Memorial Day Recipes for Your Outdoor BBQ

OutdoorChannel.com Staff

Celebrate the start of summer with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these...

See More Stories

More News

2019 edition, now available, commemorates ethical sport and productive science. News

IGFA ‘World Record Game Fishes' Celebrates 80 Years

Jack Vitek - July 15, 2019

2019 edition, now available, commemorates ethical sport and productive science.

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere. Records

State Records Reported in Maryland, Michigan

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere.

We reviewed these new boats that stand out for value, reliability and made-for-fishing action. Boats

Great New Fishing Boats for Southern Comfort

G&F Editors - February 21, 2019

We reviewed these new boats that stand out for value, reliability and made-for-fishing action.

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×