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New Anglers Expand 2024 Yamaha Marine Pro Team

Posted 2/28/2024

Kennesaw, Ga., Feb. 28, 2024 – Yamaha Marine welcomes anglers Drew Benton, Brandon Cobb, Kyoyo Fujita, David Gaston, Robert Gee, Wesley Gore, Justin Hamner, Trey McKinney, Kyle Patrick, Cole Sands, Bryant Smith, JT Thompkins, Matty Wong, Trent Palmer and Hilary Martin to the freshwater and saltwater Pro Fishing Teams for 2024. The 15 anglers will join current Yamaha Pro Team members to compete in various professional tournament trails across the country. They will represent Yamaha’s premium brand position and serve as ambassadors for the sport of competitive fishing.

“Our new Pro Team members not only lead the sport on and off the water, they also share Yamaha’s high standards of sportsmanship, conservation and ethics,” said Connor Megan, Pro Staff and Sponsorship Supervisor, Yamaha Marine Engine Systems. “We look forward to watching them this season and wish them best of luck during competition.”

Benton, named 2016 Bassmaster® Elite Series Rookie of the Year, holds two Bassmaster Elite Series Champion titles and 17 Bassmaster top 10 finishes. Entering his eighth year as a full-time pro angler, he has over 100 tournaments under his belt. The Panama City, Florida native attended his first bass fishing tournament at age 16.

Cobb enters his ninth year as a Pro Angler in 2024. With 64 tournaments under his belt, he has 19 top 20 finishes and 12 top 10 finishes. During his first year competing in the Elite Series, Cobb became a two-time Bassmaster Elite Series Champion.

Fujita, now entering his second year on the Elite Series, won the 2023 Dakota Lithium Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain in 2023, marking his fourth top ten placement for the season. On the Japanese professional bass scene, Fujita is a multiple-event winner and four-time Angler of the Year. He resides in Yamanashi, Japan, near Lake Kawaguchi.

Gaston began going to local fishing tournaments in his hometown of Sylacauga, Alabama with his father and siblings when he was only nine years old. To date, his career includes 39 tournaments with five top 10 finishes. He is also a 2024 Bassmaster Classic® Qualifier.

Knoxville, Tennessee angler Gee has two top 10 finishes and qualified for the Bassmaster Elite Series through the Bassmaster Opens. He received a degree in agriculture business and economics from the University of Tennessee® and competed on the bass fishing team in three collegiate divisions. He took home many top 10 finishes and was the Tennessee B.A.S.S.® Nation Bassmaster Collegiate State champion at Pickwick Lake in 2019.

Gore became a full-time angler in 2020, competing in a total of 21 Bassmaster Open tournaments with two top 10 finishes, five top 20 finishes and 7 top 30 finishes. He is also a Bassmaster Opens EQ Qualifier and joins the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2024. 

Hailing from Northport, Alabama, Hamner is a two-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier marking his third year as a pro angler.  With experience in 39 Bassmaster tournaments, he has five Bassmaster top 10 finishes.

Recent high school grad Trey McKinney, a Bassmaster Opens EQ Qualifier has four Bassmaster top 10 finishes, one third place finish and two second place finishes.

Cooperstown, New York native Patrick has two top 10 finishes and took the title at the 2023 St. Croix Bassmaster Open at Lake of the Ozarks. He is a Bassmaster EQ Qualifier and will fish the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2024.

Second year Elite Series professional Cole Sands finished third in the overall 2022 Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year standings and qualified for the 2023 Bassmaster Classic. The Tennessee native captured numerous college bass tournament wins on Lake Chickamauga.

Smith hails from Roseville, California, and enters his second year as a full-time professional angler. During his rookie year in 2023, he broke a 25-year-old record weighing in the heaviest single-day, all-smallmouth catch in Bassmaster history (29-05) at the Minn KotaÒ Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River.

Elite Series Rookie JT Thompson, the 2023 Bassmaster Opens Elite Qualifier Division Angler of the year, amassed seven top 25 finishes and a second-place finish at the 2023 St. Croix Bassmaster Open at Watts Bar. The Myrtle Beach, South Carolina angler started fishing tournaments at age 5 and won his first tournament by age 6.

In 2021, Wong won the TNT Fireworks® B.A.S.S. Nation Championship earning his invitation to the 2022 Elite Series. The Honolulu, Hawaii native has two top 10 finishes and took home a third-place finish at the 2023 Folds of Honor® Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River.

Entering his fourth year with The National Professional Fishing League® (NPFL), Cumming, Georgia angler Trent Palmer is the 2023 NPFL champion at Saginaw Bay.

Following in her pro angler father’s footsteps, Hilary Martin is attending the University of Alabama® where she is competing in the Bassmaster College Series. In high school, she qualified for the Bassmaster Highschool National Championship.

Yamaha Marine products are marketed throughout the United States and around the world. Yamaha Marine Engine Systems, based in Kennesaw, Ga., supports its 2,000 U.S. dealers and boat builders with marketing, training and parts for Yamaha’s full line of products and strives to be the industry leader in reliability, technology and customer service. Yamaha Marine is the only outboard brand to have earned NMMA®’s C.S.I. Customer Satisfaction Index award every year since its inception. Visit


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