The Leader in Pro Bass Fishing News!
Facebook Twitter

Teenager leads Day 1 at BFL All-American

Teenager leads Day 1 at BFL All-American

SENECA, S.C. – Cool weather greeted anglers Wednesday morning at Lake Hartwell and the bite started out slow, but after the scales were closed one angler stood alone atop the leaderboard at the 40th annual BFL All-American Championship on Lake Hartwell. Anchored by a stout 5-pound largemouth, 18-year-old boater Elijah “Buddy” Benson of Dahlonega, Ga, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Wednesday weighing 19 pounds, 9 ounces, to jump out to the early lead.

Benson, who competes in the Bulldog Division, will start Day 2 with a 1-07 advantage over second-place boater Emil Wagner of Marietta, Ga, who caught five bass totaling 18-02. Of the 98 competitors – 49 boaters and 49 co-anglers – competing in the event, 50 anglers weighed in a five-bass limit.

"I caught most of my fish early – before 10 o’clock – just running and gunning down the lake on brush,” said Benson, who said he fishes Hartwell a couple of times every week and calls it his home water.

Benson said he caught most of his bass on main-lake points and humps with topwater baits and a swimbait.

“The weather was perfect for what I was doing today,” Benson said. “I’m hoping I can repeat it. I’m hoping I can stay consistent at 18-plus (pounds) a day.”

Wagner got off to a shaky start, but quickly adjusted to Hartwell’s conditions, and his day turned around with the change in approach.

“It started off super slow, and I did my typical missing fish and losing fish,” Wagner said. “I filled a limit really quick – between 8:30 and 9. Around noon I made a critical adjustment and culled out almost everything I had. I lost quite a few big ones, too. I think I know what to do for tomorrow.”

Wagner, who guides on Lake Lanier, said he spent a lot of time searching for “special” offshore spots with his graph. Those spots, along with a knowledge of Lake Hartwell, kept him within striking distance of the lead.

“I fish up here a decent bit,” Wagner said. “I wouldn’t say I’m a local, but I have fished here quite a bit. I feel really good about (tomorrow). I had some motor issues today, and as long as they don’t impair me the next two days, I think I can be pretty consistent.

“I said it would take around mid-50s to win it, so I think if I catch 18 a day and maybe catch 20 one of the days, I’ll be pretty close,” Wagner added.

Here's a look at the initial Top 20:

1st: Buddy Benson, Dahlonega, Ga., five bass, 19-09
2nd: Emil Wagner, Marietta, Ga., five bass, 18-02
3rd: Anthony Johnson, Excelsior Springs, Mo., five bass, 18-01
4th: Matthew O’Connell, Brooks, Ga., five bass, 17-04
5th: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., five bass, 14-11
6th: Tyler Trent, Nathalie, Va., five bass, 14-01
7th: Cade Laufenberg, Onalaska, Wis., five bass, 14-00
8th: Jimmy Neece, Jr., Bristol, Tenn., five bass, 13-08
9th: Nick Ubelhor, Jasper, Ind., five bass, 13-01
10th: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., five bass, 13-00
11th: Ian Leybas, McAlester, Okla., five bass, 12-15
11th: Brian Laclair, Denton, Md., five bass, 12-15
13th: Jack Daniel Williams, Kingsport, Tenn., five bass, 12-14
14th: Jeremy York, Conyers, Ga., five bass, 12-05
15th: Andy Fryer, Sidney, Ohio, five bass, 12-03
16th: Chandler Todd, Wake Forest, N.C., five bass, 12-02
17th: Travis Harriman, Huntsville, Ark., five bass, 12-01
17th: Dave Hodges, Farmington, Ark, five bass, 12-01
19th: Edward Gettys, Dover, Tenn., five bass, 12-00
19th: Keith Estes, Spring Grove, Va., five bass, 12-00

Latest News

Video You May Like