“When I was starting out fishing local events and then the FLW Tour, I had a certain group of companies that were on the top of my radar,” said Elite Series rookie Drew Benton. “Just like most anglers looking for sponsors, I sent out letters to companies and honestly didn’t hear much back. Gary Clouse at Phoenix Boats replied, and I have been with them ever since. The same is true with Bagley’s.”
The old Bagley’s products were staples in bass fishing, but the new Bagley’s products are built with even better quality control and materials, and the confidence you could hear in Benton’s voice echoed that.
“Since I am a Florida angler and Jim Bagley started here, I have been using some sort of Bagley product throughout my career.”
Benton qualified this year to fish the Elites and will be running a Bagley/Phoenix wrap in 2016.
“I feel timing is good for me to move over to BASS and the Elites. The FLW Tour was a great place, but I always wanted to get into the Elites to test myself against the anglers I have followed since I started,” said Benton. “It will be neat to fish against another group of anglers and my only 2016 goal is to make the Classic. I also like the Elite schedule this year too. It fits my style of fishing.”
While discussing bass fishing with Drew, he gave us a list of five Bagley Baits every bass fishing angler should own.
- Bang O Lure – “I have a Bang O Lure tied on from pre-spawn through the spawn and I even use it in the summer,” said Benton. “My two favorite colors are Tennessee Shad and Blue Gill for the obvious reasons—they resemble most common baitfish. I believe targeted casts work best. I like to roll cast this bait on 20-pound mono with a 7-foot medium-heavy power rod. Slight twitches and long pauses, keeping the bait in the strike zone is something the bass cannot stand. It is a great search bait for blind casting in bedding areas.”
- Kill’r B2 – “When fish are on a shallow crankbait bite this is the bait I begin the search with,” said Benton. “It runs 2-8 feet deep, and the secret to this bait is banging it off wood cover. It is the best bait I have seen that comes through and off cover. It floats to the surface quickly when killed and doesn’t hang due to the lip design and wide wobble.”
- Honey B – “The Honey B has rapidly become one of my favorites,” Benton said. “It’s balsa, so you know how it floats but more importantly is how this little bait dives. It dives to 6 feet but because of the tighter action it’s a great early season cold water bait. I like keeping it simple so my color choices are basic, mainly bluegill and shad patterns. I really like the sexy shad color but will add a hot tiger in that mix if the water is stained. The small profile of this bait gets more bites in cold water.”
- Balsa Shad – “I really like this bait early in the year when the water is cold,” said Benton. “I will throw the 5 on spinning gear but will use baitcasting gear for the 7. I mainly fish 45-degree banks and fish them parallel. The tight wobble is perfect for windy clay banks as it mimics lethargic winter shad.”
- Rattlin’ Kill’R B2 – The Rattlin’ Kill’R B2 is a 2 ¼-inch square bill crankbait with a built in rattle and unlike the others mentioned above is a plastic model. The low frequency rattle combined with an aerodynamic design for long casting is a key to this bait. “I use this 3/8-ounce square-bill in shallow water situations as it dives to only 4 feet,” Benton said. “I really like it in grass and dingy water too. When I want to cover water I will make long casts and fish this bait almost like most anglers would a spinnerbait running it over and near targets.”
“If you would have let me, I would have made No. 6 the new Knocker B topwater,” Benton said.
Benton is a Florida State graduate, lives in Panama City, Florida, is married (Amanda) and has a 1 year old son (Cade). He won his first FLW Tour event on Okeechobee on the FLW Tour in 2013.