In this Angler Profile, we get to know Virginia’s Ben Hudson. Ben shares with us his favorite Virginia waters to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass along with his favorite methods to use. Ben also tells us about his work with a great bass fishing website, TheBassCast.com.
When did you start fishing?
I’ve honestly been fishing since before I can remember and before I could walk. My dad is a tournament angler too, so I’ve grown up around competitive fishing my whole life. Besides my dad, watching Denny Brauer and Roland Martin on TV with the Bassmasters as a kid had a huge influence on me wanting to be a tournament angler.
One of my earliest memories of being a tournament angler was fishing the “Like Father, Like Son” trail with my dad and making the championship event on Lake Guntersville.
How was your 2017 tournament bass fishing season?
2017 had its ups and downs. Smith Mountain Lake, which is my main tournament lake, was overall very disappointing for me in the fall with no money finishes despite a strong start in the spring.
The highlight of 2017 was probably being able to take my fishing on the James River to a new level catching multiple bass over 6 pound and a couple of 18 and 19 pound bags out of the James. The most special part of 2017 was to know I cashed checks on all 3 bodies of water I competed on in 2017 at some point during the year, Smith Mountain Lake, Leesville Lake, and the James River.
What were some of the highlights from your fun time on the water?
I really enjoy fishing for crappie and hunting for citations in my home state of Virginia. I finally caught my first 2 pound plu crappie out of the James in the early spring last year. I’m currently working on trying to get my master angler 1 patch for 5 citations in Virginia, in which I currently have 4, largemouth bass, crappie, rock bass, and flathead catfish. My goal for this year with recreational fishing is to catch a citation smallmouth bass and/or yellow perch.
How has the 2018 bass fishing season started out for you?
It’s been bittersweet so far. I fished as a co-angler in a BFL event on Buggs Island a few weeks ago, but I struggled big time, while my dad caught 18 pounds plus back home in a local tournament on Smith Mountain. I decided to stick to Smith Mountain Lake for awhile after that. We just caught over 16 lbs with a 5 1/2 pound hog last week in a local tournament. So hopefully I’m back on track fishing team tournaments with my dad as we head into the heart of the 2018 season.
What boat are you fishing out of?
I’m currently fishing out of a brand new red/silver Triton TRX 19 with a 200 Mercury ProXS. I just got it back in February of this year and absolutely love it. My dad and I took a vacation day off work to drive down to Perry, Georgia from Virginia to pick up the new Triton.
I love the large beam and wide width of the bow on the new model Triton most of all. I feel like it helps break up waves in rough water better than most brand boats making for a smoother ride.
What are your favorite Virginia largemouth bass waters?
Smith Mountain Lake, Leesville Lake, Buggs Island, and the James River are my favorites since I tournament fish on them. Some of my other favorites though that are less known are Ivy Lake in Forest Virginia, which is actually where my personal best largemouth came from. Ivy Lake has since become a privately owned lake so I’m not allowed to fish it anymore sadly, it was the practice waters for the Liberty University bass fishing team before it became privately owned. Sandy River in Farmville Virginia is another body of water I really enjoy fun fishing on, knowing that this small 10 hp or less body of water can put out heavyweight largemouths makes fishing there always exciting.
What are your favorite baits for largemouth bass on your favorite waters?
My favorite bait is hands down a jig. It’s what my dad taught me to fish growing up and is my favorite because it’s very versatile and can be fished anywhere. But mostly because it’s an excellent big fish bait. I throw jigs nearly year round. The biggest key to a jig is making sure you match the hatch well paying attention to detail with the skirts/trailers and fish the bait with confidence.
I also enjoy throwing topwater in the summer. Pop Rs are my favorite, along with buzzbaits and the Zoom Horny Toad. I also throw a jerkbait sometimes on Smith Mountain in the early spring. Translucent and natural colors have been working best for me on these baits as I mostly fish clearer water.
What are your favorite Virginia smallmouth bass waters?
A lot of people outside of Virginia don’t realize that Smith Mountain Lake actually has a pretty good smallmouth population. 3 to 4 pound smallies are not uncommon there, and I’ve seen 5 pound plus smallies before in Smith Mountain Lake.
The James River is obviously known for smallmouth, but the section we fish the most actually has largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass in it. Catching the “trifecta” is fairly common there. I’ve seen citation size fish in the James off all 3 species so its a really fun and versatile place. My dad actually caught what would be the VA state record spotted bass out of the James a few years ago but it was deemed a hybrid of a spotted/largemouth bass by an expert at Auburn University.
What are your favorite baits for smallmouth bass?
Most of the big smallmouths I’ve caught on Smith Mountain have been on the same jig I use for largemouths, the Chameleon Purple jig by Dave’s Tournament Tackle. Smallies can be unpredictable there but the most likely areas are rocky points and shallow chunk rock.
In the James, I’ve caught my best smallies in the heavier current with brighter colored worms, wacky rigged and on shakey heads. Mostly around big boulders and deeper “holes” in the current.
Tell us about the site TheBassCast.com. What do you do with this fishing website?
TheBassCast.com is a fishing website that is owned by my friend and co-worker Brian Carter. The website offers tournament results from local events across Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as bigger Bassmaster and FLW results.
They also promote fishing companies and offer tip videos and original fishing stories. I write fishing stories for the website that I find interesting along with several other writers and contributors as well as writing product reviews of new products on the market. I also make some of the fishing tip videos and my own videos of fishing just for fun on the website for people to enjoy.
Its definitely a great website anglers should check out. Its full of original and interesting bass fishing content. I do what I can to help promote the website, and myself as well in the partnership.
Make sure to check out The Bass Cast as well as check out Ben on Instagram @Ben_Hudson_Fishing. Thank you Ben for letting us learn about your fishing. Good luck in 2018!