Drew Benton Takes Over Lead At Bassmaster Texas Fest At Lake Travis

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JONESTOWN, Texas — Drew Benton of Panama City, Fla., caught an impressive five-bass limit that weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces during today’s semi-final round to take command of the top spot at the 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at Lake Travis.

Benton, the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie of the Year, pushed his three-day total weight up to 51 pounds.

With $1 million in total payout, $100,000 of which to be paid to the top finisher, the tournament champion will also earn a coveted berth in the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in Knoxville, Tenn.

Benton said he’s focusing on the Lake Travis bass and not the blue championship trophy or the paycheck.

At least not yet.

“I’ve still got a full day of fishing ahead of me, so I can’t afford to think about how much winning would mean to me at this point,” Benton said. “Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard it is to win on the Elite Series, and I want it badly. It’s just important that I stay focused throughout the day.”

Benton said he was able to isolate a couple of productive fishing patterns over the past three days of competition — both time-of-day dependent.

“The low-light action early in the morning has been critical to my limits,” he said. “The morning bite has been lasting longer each day, and with a chance of rain and cloud cover likely all day tomorrow, I think my early pattern could stay strong for quite a while.”

The 30-year-old pro explained that during the afternoons when the sun was out, he caught his fish along banks where the water was calm.

“When the wind and boat traffic would push waves against the shore, the water would get muddy, and the fish would stop biting,” Benton said. “Today I learned I could replicate that pattern in more protected stretches of water once the waves became more regular. It paid off this afternoon.”

Benton believes if he can catch 15 to 17 pounds, he’ll be tough to beat.

“This lake can be unpredictable. One day you could catch 25 pounds, and the next, only 6 pounds for five bass,” he said. “I’m keeping that in mind during the final day, but I think I’m on the right fish in the right locations. Things just have to go right tomorrow, and I’m confident.”

Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., dropped back to second place following today’s competition. He produced a five-bass limit that weighed 12-15, bumping his total weight up to 48-6.

“I had a pretty good day,” he said. “I caught more fish than I could count, but I just never caught a big bass. This lake is full of fish, and they love to bite. I think there are so many small bass that dominate the feeding, you really have to cover water to find the big ones.”

Wheeler said he’d be starting Championship Sunday right where he likes to be — in the hunt.

“I have a shot at the win tomorrow, that’s all I can say,” he said. “It’s really hard to predict what I need to win this tournament — it could be only 12 pounds, it might be 26. I do think the right fish are in my fishing areas, and I think I can catch them. But we’ll have to see how it shakes out.”

Cliff Pirch weighed in the biggest bass of the day, a 7-1 largemouth, but that fish trails the heavyweight of the tournament, a 10-pound, 5-ounce bass caught the first day by former Classic champion Cliff Pace. If no one catches a heavier bass Sunday, Pace will win a new Toyota Tundra pickup truck valued at $50,000.

Pace held down third place for the third day in a row, this time with a total of 46-3. Rounding out the Top 5 are Brent Chapman in fourth place with 43-5 and Bobby Lane in fifth with 43-2.

Takeoff will begin at 6:15 a.m. CT Sunday morning at Jones Brothers Park in Jonestown, Texas, and final weigh-in will take place at the same location beginning at 3 p.m.

2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Title and Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, T-H Marine, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Carhartt

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Elite Partner: Black Velvet Canadian Whisky

2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Beneficiary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Local Hosts: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Gulf States Toyota and the City of Jonestown, Texas

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Series presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

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Media Contact: JamieDay Matthews, 205-313-0945, jmatthews@bassmaster.com or Dave Precht, 205-313-0931, dprecht@bassmaster.com
2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 5/17-5/20
Lake Travis, Jonestown TX.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 3

Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$

1. Drew Benton Panama City, FL 15 51-00 110
Day 1: 5 13-15 Day 2: 5 16-13 Day 3: 5 20-04
2. Jacob Wheeler Harrison, TN 15 48-06 109
Day 1: 5 17-04 Day 2: 5 18-03 Day 3: 5 12-15
3. Cliff Pace Petal, MS 15 46-03 108
Day 1: 5 19-08 Day 2: 5 13-04 Day 3: 5 13-07
4. Brent Chapman Lake Quivira, KS 15 43-05 107
Day 1: 5 16-01 Day 2: 5 11-08 Day 3: 5 15-12
5. Bobby Lane Jr. Lakeland, FL 15 43-02 106
Day 1: 5 21-02 Day 2: 5 09-02 Day 3: 5 12-14
6. Ray Hanselman Jr Del Rio, TX 14 42-15 105
Day 1: 5 21-15 Day 2: 4 12-02 Day 3: 5 08-14
7. Clifford Pirch Payson, AZ 15 42-03 104
Day 1: 5 11-10 Day 2: 5 15-08 Day 3: 5 15-01
8. Jamie Hartman Newport, NY 15 41-12 103
Day 1: 5 11-07 Day 2: 5 15-05 Day 3: 5 15-00
9. Jason Christie Park Hill, OK 15 41-02 102
Day 1: 5 10-10 Day 2: 5 21-13 Day 3: 5 08-11
10. Keith Combs Huntington, TX 15 40-06 101
Day 1: 5 12-06 Day 2: 5 10-10 Day 3: 5 17-06
11. Marty Robinson Lyman, SC 14 40-04 100
Day 1: 4 13-07 Day 2: 5 15-05 Day 3: 5 11-08
12. Gerald Spohrer Gonzales, LA 15 39-10 99
Day 1: 5 13-02 Day 2: 5 13-07 Day 3: 5 13-01
13. Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI 15 38-13 98 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 15-09 Day 2: 5 14-11 Day 3: 5 08-09
14. Casey Ashley Donalds, SC 14 37-13 97 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 15-00 Day 2: 4 11-10 Day 3: 5 11-03
15. Jared Lintner Arroyo Grande, CA 15 37-07 96 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 08-11 Day 2: 5 16-07 Day 3: 5 12-05
16. Gary Klein Mingus, TX 15 37-05 95 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 10-01 Day 2: 5 16-12 Day 3: 5 10-08
17. Takahiro Omori Emory, TX 15 37-02 94 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 13-04 Day 2: 5 11-12 Day 3: 5 12-02
18. Kelly Jordon Flint, TX 15 36-13 93 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 15-12 Day 2: 5 07-05 Day 3: 5 13-12
19. Jeff Kriet Ardmore, OK 15 36-11 92 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 12-14 Day 2: 5 14-03 Day 3: 5 09-10
20. Hank Cherry Jr Lincolnton, NC 15 36-06 91 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 14-13 Day 2: 5 14-13 Day 3: 5 06-12
21. Jake Whitaker Fairview, NC 15 36-05 90 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 10-11 Day 2: 5 17-00 Day 3: 5 08-10
22. David Mullins Mt Carmel, TN 15 36-02 89 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 15-15 Day 2: 5 11-06 Day 3: 5 08-13
23. Mark Daniels Jr. Tuskegee, AL 15 36-02 88 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 09-15 Day 2: 5 13-01 Day 3: 5 13-02
24. Skeet Reese Auburn, CA 13 36-01 87 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 13-06 Day 2: 5 13-07 Day 3: 3 09-04
25. Jacob Powroznik North Prince George, VA 15 35-12 86 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 19-05 Day 2: 5 08-06 Day 3: 5 08-01
26. Josh Bertrand San Tan Valley, AZ 15 35-07 85 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 19-05 Day 2: 5 08-02 Day 3: 5 08-00
27. Rick Clunn Ava, MO 15 35-05 84 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 13-09 Day 2: 5 10-15 Day 3: 5 10-13
28. Mike McClelland Bentonville, AR 15 35-04 83 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 09-15 Day 2: 5 11-08 Day 3: 5 13-13
29. Brent Ehrler Redlands, CA 15 35-03 82 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 13-03 Day 2: 5 14-03 Day 3: 5 07-13
30. Greg Vinson Wetumpka, AL 15 34-13 81 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 13-08 Day 2: 5 12-02 Day 3: 5 09-03
31. Chad Pipkens Lansing, MI 14 34-10 80 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 11-13 Day 2: 5 12-00 Day 3: 4 10-13
32. Steve Kennedy Auburn, AL 15 34-08 79 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 15-13 Day 2: 5 09-05 Day 3: 5 09-06
33. Jason Williamson Wagener, SC 15 34-05 78 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 09-15 Day 2: 5 13-15 Day 3: 5 10-07
34. Ish Monroe Hughson, CA 15 34-02 77 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 11-01 Day 2: 5 13-13 Day 3: 5 09-04
35. Greg Hackney Gonzales, LA 15 33-12 76 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 11-05 Day 2: 5 12-10 Day 3: 5 09-13
36. Michael Iaconelli Pitts Grove, NJ 15 33-11 75 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 11-13 Day 2: 5 14-13 Day 3: 5 07-01
37. Stephen Browning Hot Springs, AR 15 33-11 74 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 11-12 Day 2: 5 09-13 Day 3: 5 12-02
38. John Murray Spring City, TN 15 33-09 73 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 13-11 Day 2: 5 08-01 Day 3: 5 11-13
39. Robbie Latuso Gonzales, LA 14 33-08 72 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 11-09 Day 2: 5 14-06 Day 3: 4 07-09
40. Chris Lane Guntersville, AL 15 33-00 71 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 14-05 Day 2: 5 08-08 Day 3: 5 10-03
41. Andy Montgomery Blacksburg, SC 15 32-13 70 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 08-06 Day 2: 5 14-15 Day 3: 5 09-08
42. Jordan Lee Grant, AL 15 32-13 69 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 12-06 Day 2: 5 12-15 Day 3: 5 07-08
43. Bill Lowen Brookville, IN 15 32-01 68 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 10-12 Day 2: 5 14-10 Day 3: 5 06-11
44. Shin Fukae Palestine TX JAPAN 15 31-07 67 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 13-07 Day 2: 5 10-06 Day 3: 5 07-10
45. Brandon Palaniuk Hayden, ID 15 30-13 66 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 15-13 Day 2: 5 06-13 Day 3: 5 08-03
46. Jonathon VanDam Gobles, MI 14 30-10 65 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 10-05 Day 2: 5 11-14 Day 3: 4 08-07
47. Adrian Avena Vineland, NJ 15 30-07 64 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 08-10 Day 2: 5 14-07 Day 3: 5 07-06
48. Justin Lucas Guntersville, AL 15 30-02 63 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 08-06 Day 2: 5 13-02 Day 3: 5 08-10
49. Gerald Swindle Guntersville, AL 15 29-15 62 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 14-09 Day 2: 5 07-01 Day 3: 5 08-05
50. Chris Zaldain Laughlin, NV 14 29-14 61 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 08-12 Day 2: 4 14-12 Day 3: 5 06-06
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Totals
Day #Limits #Fish Weight
1 91 507 1173-03
2 91 502 1110-04
3 46 245 524-03
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228 1254 2807-10