This week’s Alabama Bass Trail Bassmaster Team Championship profile is the North Division team of brothers Benjie and Johnathon Seaborn. Their 7th place finish in the North Division qualified them for trip to the Bassmaster Team Championship on Lake Hartwell at Green Pond Landing out of Anderson, SC on December 11-14.
Benjie and Johnathon’s dad was a big fisherman in the Redman series and they grew up fishing tournaments together with him. Over time they fished numerous tournaments with him at Smith Lake and the surrounding area. This grew their love of fishing, and the more they fished together, the better they became as a team.
Benjie is the older of the two and when asked who is the better fisherman Johnathon says, “Benjie is more experienced and more of an all-around fisherman, but as a team we fish about as smart as we can fish most of the time.” While they both like shallow water bed fishing, Johnathon prefers crank bait and top water fishing, and Benjie prefers flipping and swim jig fishing.
Their most memorable fishing experience was in 2017 when they won the Smith Lake BASSFEST. They said through the years they have been one fish or one fish on and in the net away from winning big tournaments a few times. That same year Benjie also won a BASS Open as a co-angler. Smith Lake is, of course, their favorite lake because they both grew up there and can remember when there were only a couple lights on the whole lake. Now there is a house in every pocket. They’ve had lots of fun fishing together as brothers, but 2017 was a really good year for them.
The 2019 ABT was the first year Benjie was really able to spend some time preparing and practicing for the events. In recent years much of his time was spent fishing as a co-angler for FLW and BASS Events. The first event on their home lake, Smith Lake, really hurt them though. In practice they were on a good bag but overnight the water rose 7 feet which caused many to have to change their plan for the day. Fortunately, they were able to salvage the day and ended up with a 20th place finish. They were hoping for a better day, but the water rising so quickly overnight hurt their plan. They had a good finish at Weiss Lake and say they were “just one bite away from winning,” but they ended up with a solid 8th place finish. Checks were cashed at three of their five events, so overall they were pleased with their finish this season.
Having qualified to fish the BASS Team Championship is very exciting and with how well the ABT is run and how competitive it is, they consider it an honor to represent the ABT in the Championship. Benjie and Johnathon look forward to the chance to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic saying “it would be a dream come true.” They have some experience on the lake since Benjie fished a couple of FLW Tour events there as a co-angler where he finished in the top 30 each time. Getting out there to practice before the cut off would be ideal but don’t seem too worried about it since the lake fluctuates similar to Smith Lake. They expect they will have to wait to practice the week of the event and figure out what the fish are doing at the time and look to build on that. The weather will be a big determining factor in developing their strategy. They said whatever the weather gives them is what they are going to have to deal with, and they expect it to be freezing. Benjie hopes to capitalize on some of his experience since they can’t really go there and expect the fishing to be one way. They are just going get there and put together a plan.
When asked the popular question of what happens on the last day when you make it to the final day and have to fish head to head, Benjie said he would help his brother as much as possible to win, but as long as one of them made it, that would be ok. Johnathon says he just wants the opportunity to have that problem. He’d be “tickled to death if his brother made it” and he wouldn’t be as selfish as some people would be and give his brother a good chance.
They truly enjoy fishing the ABT and first look forward to the ABT Championship at Guntersville where they feel like they need to do a lot of praying to figure out that lake. They are not backing down from the challenge from the big sticks that will be there; they are ready to see how it pans out. Following this event, they focus will be solely on the Bassmaster Team Championship and giving it their best shot. They “aren’t going to roll over until the whistle blows.”
7th AOY 964
Smith Lake 20th
Wheeler Lake 37th
Weiss Lake 8th
Pickwick Lake 56th
Neely Henry Lake 45th
Other Notable Stats
7th Place Smith Lake
5th Place Finish Smith Lake ABT Championship
Fished ABT North Division 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019