Benton battles back to win action-packed Bassmaster Elite Series event at Lake M… – Press Release


COLUMBIA, S.C., April 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The night leading up to Championship Sunday at the Marathon Bassmaster Elite at Lake Murray, Drew Benton was angry. He could hardly sleep.

After claiming the Day 2 lead with back-to-back bags over 23 pounds, Benton barely made the cut for the final day after catching just 14 pounds on Semifinal Saturday.

He felt like he had cost himself a potential win. But in his restlessness, Benton had a revelation.

“I woke up four times last night just mad,” he said. “I woke up and I looked at the weights and I was about 5 pounds back. Someone weighed in 26 pounds this week. That was my goal weight, 25 or 26.”

Benton accomplished that goal Sunday, landing a five-bass limit that weighed 26 pounds, 7 ounces coming from behind to win with a four-day total of 87-0. He earned his second career blue trophy and a $100,000 first-place prize.

“I started to — not doubt myself — but wonder if it was ever going to happen again,” said Benton, who earned his first Elite Series victory five years ago on Lake Travis in Texas. “I finished second in an Elite; finished second in an Open I should have won. Am I snakebit? Can I close the deal anymore? So, this feels great.”

Benton’s strategy this week revolved around sight fishing for spawning bass. After seeing 30 pounds of bass on bed the first day of practice, he caught bags of 23-0 and 23-9 the first two days of the tournament.

His primary area not far from takeoff had water temperatures that maxed out around 70 degrees, several degrees cooler than the rest of the lake. That set up perfectly for him to target largemouth with a Texas-rigged watermelon red/green pumpkin laminate Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog rigged with a 5/16-ounce Elite Tungsten sinker and a 4/0 Owner Wide Gap worm hook.

He pitched that bait to beds with a 7-foot-3 extra heavy Phenix Rods MBX and an unnamed baitcaster spooled with 20-pound Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon.

“It was the same general area, but I would rotate through new…