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Georgia angler wins BFL Wild Card at Pickwick

Georgia angler wins BFL Wild Card at Pickwick

Buddy Benson of Dahlonega, Ga., brought a two-day total of nine bass to the scale weighing 34 pounds, 3 ounces to win the BFL Wild Card on Pickwick Lake in Alabama. For his victory, Benson earned $12,610, including the $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus. Benson also earned one of the final berths into the 2024 BFL All-American.

The Wild Card tournament is a last shot at the All-American for BFL anglers who didn’t qualify for a Regional Tournament.

“I had never been to Pickwick this time of year,” Benson said. “I’d fished there a couple of times during the summer, but that’s it. My confidence wasn’t very good going into the tournament. I tried all practice to make it work and never caught a limit. Every time I did get a bite, though, it was a big one. So I knew during the tournament if I could make it, they would be the right ones.”

Benson said he focused on bass gathering on a hard spot, next to the river channel on the south end of the lake toward the dam. Every fish he caught during the event came off of that spot, on a Damiki rig.

“There were a bunch of fish on the spot, but they were super stubborn,” Benson said. “I wasn’t getting many bites, but when I did get them, they were big smallmouth – most were 4-plus pounders.”

Benson's lack of confidence faded as the 4-pound smallmouth kept coming to his bait.

“I had just caught my fifth fish and I was pumped because I had finally caught a limit,” Benson said. “Then I saw another one on my graph, and I fired over there and caught another 4-pound smallmouth. When I put it in the net, I told my co-angler I might have just won the tournament.

“This feels awesome,” Benson added. “I’ve been close to winning a couple of times, and it’s great to finally get the win. It feels really good to prove myself away from my home area.”

Here at the totals for the All-American qualifiers:

1st: Buddy Benson, Dahlonega, Ga., nine bass, 34-3, $12,610
2nd: Jackie Flack, Cullman, Ala., 10 bass, 33-13, $2,305
3rd: Brian Wilson, Nancy, Ky., nine bass, 31-12, $2,506
4th: Jake Lee, Powell, Tenn., 10 bass, 30-15, $1,076
5th: Bo Quinnie, Duncanville, Ala., seven bass, 26-10, $922
6th: Scott Towry, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., eight bass, 26-4, $845

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