Drew Benton is one of the rising stars in professional fishing, and fishermen who might need a little help with catching the big ones will have a chance to get some advice from him.
Benton will be featured during next weekend’s 63rd annual Kansas City Boat & Sportshow, which runs Jan. 19 through Jan. 22 at Bartle Hall.
Benton will discuss techniques that he learned in Florida, ones that can be effective in the Midwest, during his talks on the seminar stage at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20, 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 and 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 22. He will also do a seminar on his style for getting fish to react to bait in shallow water at 12:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 and 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 22.
Benton is coming off a successful rookie season in the Bassmaster Elite Series, but fishing wasn’t always his main sport.
Benton played baseball and was a catcher for Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla., but that is as far as he got on the diamond.
“I was kind of getting burned out with the baseball thing,” Benton said, “but I was still so competitive that I needed something else to do.”
Benton got his first boat and started entering local fishing tournaments near his home in Panama City while he was still finishing high school. Then after giving up baseball following two years of junior college, he entered more tournaments and earned enough to pay his way while getting a degree at Florida State University.
After getting a degree in marketing, Benton made it to the Fishing League Worldwide tour in 2013. He earned $100,000 while winning his first tournament on Lake Okeechobee in Florida and went on to become the FLW rookie of the year.
He spent three years on the FLW tour before joining the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2016, when he earned rookie of the year honors for that level.
“I have been real blessed to do what I love,” Benton said. “I get up in the morning and go fishing. It’s a good life.”
The 2017 Bassmaster Elite schedule includes a stop at Lake Okeechobee during Feb. 23-26 and Benton’s first appearance in the Bassmaster Classic during March 24-26 in Houston. It will be meaningful for Benton that the weigh-in for the Classic will be at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.
Until the 2017 season starts, Benton is glad to do events like the Kansas City Boat & Sportshow to help promote fishing.
“It’s part of the whole gig as a pro fisherman,” he said. “You have to try to grow the sport and help people catch fish.”
Kansas City Boat & Sportshow
WHEN: Next weekend: 2-9 p.m. on Jan. 19, noon-9 p.m. on Jan. 20, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Jan. 22
WHERE: Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City
ADMISSION: $12, free for children 15 and under
NEW IN 2017: Attendees who meet weight restrictions can try the Flywire Zip Line and fly 200 feet across the show floor at up to 20 mph.
FOR THE KIDS: There will be an indoor trout pond for youngsters 12 and under.
MORE INFORMATION: The show’s website is KansasCitySportshow.com