Already decorated as a state champion bass fisher, Dawson County High School student Elijah “Buddy” Benson was named a Co-Angler of the Year by the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS).
Benson was one of three fishermen in the Southern division selected by BASS as a Co-Angler of the Year. For the upcoming season, BASS will fish as a boater in the Southern Bass Open in 2022. pay the professional fee for Benson to compete in their Elite Series tournaments.
“I try not to think about it too much and not let these things get to my head,” Benson said.
Learning the ropes of fishing from his father and grandfather along the way, Benson said if it were not for them, he would not be the fisherman he is today.
“One time, the three of us were on the lake and we were just fishing, Benson said. “I caught the biggest spotted bass in my life. I was probably around 12 years old and that’s when I realized this is something I want to do.”
It was not until Benson began receiving different accolades and cash prizes in tournaments that he realized he was actually a pretty talented fisherman.
“I was just having so much fun, I didn’t really even think about it or realize I had something to grow on,” Benson said. “When I’m out there fishing for fun, I’m not really taking things so seriously. When I’m in a tournament, I’m really paying attention to my grabs. A lot more paying attention and the mindset has to be more serious.”
Early on in his career, Benson has already faced and overcome adversity, too. The night before the state championship, the boat that Benson and his teammate Braedon Hubbard were supposed to use broke. Luckily, a friend said the duo could use his boat, but it left them feeling uncomfortable.
“We’re fishing, but we’re like ‘Hopefully we do good. It’s not our own boat so it’s kinda weird.’” Benson said. “Well, we went to our first spot and just had them decent and then for the rest of the day we kept losing them. So we didn’t think we had anything won, so it ended up being pretty crazy. It was an awesome day. We didn’t even think we had a chance to win.”
Though waking up at 4 a.m. to 20 degree weather is what Benson said his least favorite part of fishing is, he said his favorite part is continuing to learn about the sport he grew up loving.
“There’s never an end to it,” Benson said. “You can always learn more about it. You can always grow and get better. There’s always someone better than you and there’s something to learn about it all the time.”