UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Dudley does it again

Castrol pro David Dudley of Manteo, N.C., caught five bass Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 7 ounces to claim $65,900 in cash and prizes as the winner of the EverStart Series Northern Division event on Lake Vermilion. Joined by his wife, he accepts his first EverStart winner's trophy.

TOWER, Minn. - Tournament by tournament, lake by lake, 28-year-old David Dudley just keeps establishing himself as one of the best, most consistent pro anglers on tour. The last time he won, at the 2002 Ranger M1, he used a chainsaw to cut his way into the richest-ever payout in competitive bass fishing, $700,000.

There were no chainsaws Saturday in the final round of EverStart Series Northern Division competition at Minnesota's Lake Vermilion, but a defibrillator might have come in handy after Dudley's heartstopping defeat of Mark Zona by 1 ounce to win the Pro Division.

"I was more nervous today than I was at the M1," said Dudley, a fishing guide from Manteo, N.C.

As well he should have been. For a moment during Saturday's tense weigh-in it appeared Dudley and Zona were going to tie. But as Dudley watched his fish on the scale, his weight bobbed up and down, finally settling on 14 pounds, 7 ounces - 1 ounce more than Zona's 14-6. Dudley won by the weight of a few drops of water and collected $10,000 plus a new Ranger boat in the process.

"That more than likely will make the ride home a little bit longer," said Zona, a native of Sturgis, Mich., who won $10,000 for second place. "It's 12 hours, but it's going to seem like two days."

Dudley said he battled a tougher day of fishing in the finals. While Lake Vermilion coughed up five-bass limits all week, including Saturday where all the pros caught limits, the quality smallmouth spawning bite that anglers feasted on the first two days dissipated. Dudley spent a lot of time moving around the lake searching for new fish. And he caught some.

"I had to expand on my area to get the win," he said. "But the key was looking for giant boulders."

Dudley focused his watermelon and green-pumpkin Zoom Super Fluke on smallmouth relating to the biggest boulders he could find along Vermilion's rocky bottom. The tactic garnered him about 30 fish total, but it was his biggest bass, a smallmouth around 4 pounds, that pushed him over the edge.

"Yesterday, I had a blessing in disguise. This big fish came and blew up on my Spook and I missed it," he said. "I went back and caught her today. If she would have taken the bait yesterday, I would have caught her then and I would have never won."

Zona's been there, done that

Zona also targeted smallmouths early with tube baits, but he switched over to Senkos and jigs on a largemouth pattern he'd been saving for the finals because his early limit "had three rats in there."

"I went to the back of a few bays looking for largemouth, and my hands just got shredded," he said. "I had one magic dock where I caught about 10 good fish."

Even so, Zona knew it was going to be tight at the finish. He has seen it happen before. At the 2002 EverStart Championship, Zona held a tie for the lead but ultimately finished in third place after Koby Kreiger weighed in last and almost a pound heavier.

"Well, I guess I'm used to it by now. I did everything I could. When they bit, I caught them," he said. "It was a great week. The top 10 was stacked with talent, and I knew you were going to have to throw a pretty good jab to get them."

Rest of the best

Finishing third in the Pro Division and collecting $9,000 was Art Ferguson III of St. Clair Shores, Mich., who weighed in 13 pounds, 9 ounces.

"The first couple of days, I fished for spawning fish," he said. "Then the last couple of days, I tried to get some release fish out (near Fortune Bay) and tried some other things. I had a great practice and it was a great week."

Fourth place went to day-three leader Kreiger, who weighed in 11 pounds, 4 ounces and collected $8,000.

"It just wasn't meant to be," said the pro from Okeechobee, Fla. "But David and I roomed together last night. I told him that if I didn't win it, I wanted him to."

Fifth place and $7,500 went to the only Minnesotan in the finals, Jim Moynagh of Carver. He caught 11 pounds, 3 ounces.

"I was glad to see Minnesota host one of these things," he said. "It wasn't such a long drive for me."

Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers are Jim Tutt of Longview, Texas, (sixth place, $6,500) with 10 pounds, 11 ounces; Kevin Vida of Clare, Mich., (seventh, $5,500) with 9-5; Ricky Doyle of Keeseville, N.Y., (eighth, $5,000) with 9-0; Dion Hibdon of Stover, Mo., (ninth, $4,500) with 7-13; and Tony Defilippo of Lake Ann, Mich., (10th, $4,000) with 7-10.

The winning attitude

Dudley, who credited his friend Kreiger for much of his success over the past two seasons, said he isn't finished winning yet.

"I've accomplished two of my five goals," he said, referring to his EverStart and Ranger M1 victories. "I also want to win an FLW tournament, the FLW Championship and FLW Angler of the Year (Dudley is currently second in FLW points with one tournament to go).

"If I was to tell you I've had a great year, I'd be lying to you. If I was the best and won every tournament throughout the year, I could say I was having a great year. All I can tell you is that I'm fishing well and putting myself into a position to win. I'm not satisfied yet. That's all I'm saying."

And that's why he's called the Manteo Machine.

Notable

Almost to a one, every angler loved the Lake Vermilion bass fishery. The waterway likely set tournament records for number of limits caught (they're being verified), and tales of hundred-bass days were not uncommon throughout the week.

Hibdon, who's no stranger to bass fishing anywhere, had this to say about Vermilion: "I probably had one of the better bass-fishing days I've ever spent on the water that first day. I caught well over a hundred fish. I've been fortunate enough to come to Minnesota a few times over the years, and these people really know how to take care of their fish. It's just phenomenal. I think there's a fish on every rock. And I think a lot of states could learn a few lessons from Minnesota because it thrives on keeping its fisheries in good shape."

Coming up

The next EverStart Series tournament is an Eastern Division contest at Guntersville Lake in Guntersville, Ala., June 11-14. The next Northern Division tournament will be held at the Detroit River in Trenton, Mich., July 23-26.

Day-four links:

Photos
Final results
Press release
"McNeil tops co-anglers at Vermilion"

Tags: jeff-schroeder  headline-story  2003-06-04-vermillion 

/news/2016-07-27-celebs-seminars-on-deck-for-the-cup

Celebs, Seminars on Deck for the Cup

The 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart in Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 4-7 will be crawling with some of the best bass anglers in the industry – both active pros and bassin’ legends. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to personally wish their favorite anglers good luck before takeoff, snag a picture and an autograph from an industry superstar, or sit in on a seminar. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bass-and-bbq-festival-set-for-forrest-wood-cup-expo

Bass and BBQ Festival set for Forrest Wood Cup Expo

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – FLW is adding some Alabama flavor to the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup with its Bass & BBQ Festival as part of the FLW Expo outside the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, August 6 and 7. The BBQ Festival, presented by WQRV 100.3 The River, will feature four award-winning BBQ teams offering delicious fare to visitors at the Forrest Wood Cup. A portion of all... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bk-s-year-as-the-champ

BK’s Year as the Champ

Brad Knight plans on getting a good night’s sleep before this year’s Forrest Wood Cup on Wheeler Lake begins on Aug. 4. Sounds pretty straightforward, but there have been times during the past 12 months when dozing off wasn’t so easy for the defending Cup champion. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-1000-islands

Top 10 Patterns from the 1000 Islands

High wind and fluctuating water temperatures made things a little difficult for the anglers, but the top-10 pros adapted and utilized the whole playing field to exploit everything from deep smallmouth to shallow largemouth. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-for-win-at-flw-bass-fishing-league-great-lakes-division-event-on-mississippi-river-presented-by-navionics

McCartney, O’Keefe Tie For Win at FLW Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Event on Mississippi River Presented By Navionics

LA CROSSE, Wis. (July 25, 2016) – Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-on-the-mighty-miss

McCartney, O'Keefe tie on the Mighty Miss

Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi River presented by Navionics. For his win, McCartney earned $5,540 after bonuses, and O’Keefe took home $3,540. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-country-music-superstar-dustin-lynch-to-perform-free-concert-in-huntsville-presented-by-wdrm-102-1

Country Music Superstar Dustin Lynch to perform Free Concert In Huntsville presented by WDRM 102.1

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Country music superstar Dustin Lynch will perform a free concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at the Propst Arena in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Sunday, August 7, starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in of the world championship of professional bass fishing, the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The concert is presented by WDRM... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-canterbury-s-next-challenge-

Canterbury’s Next Challenge

At the time of writing, Canterbury had been picked by every pundit and 50 percent of players overall, which is a decent bump over Morgan at 47 percent. The dollars attached obviously make a difference, but there’s no doubt that everyone expects great things. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-jay-kendrick-the-rookie-

Jay Kendrick – The “Rookie”

A rookie by designation if not by experience, Forrest Wood Cup contender Jay Kendrick finished 34th in the standings in his first year on the Walmart FLW Tour to clinch a spot in the championship. What makes it even more fortuitous for him is that because the Cup is taking place on Wheeler Lake, he’ll be able to stay at his own house for the event, which is just about 30 minutes from takeoff at Ditto Landing. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-fan-freebies-and-contests-at-the-cup

Fan Freebies and Contests at the Cup

One pro angler is going to win $300,000 at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart Aug. 4-7 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Ala. That’s good for him. For fans, the chance to win is pretty good too. FLW and its partners and sponsors have lined up a sweet selection of giveaway prizes for the Cup and the accompanying FLW Expo, ranging from a tricked-out bass boat to a fishing trip with Jimmy Houston. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-1000-islands-top-10-baits

1000 Islands Top 10 Baits

The top pros from the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands kept it pretty simple to catch both largemouths and smallmouths from this massive fishery that includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Drop-shots, spinnerbaits and jigs all saw action and got it done from the lake to the river. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-penn-state-taps-docks-at-chautauqua-

Penn State Taps Docks at Chautauqua

The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-thompson-co-angler-champ-on-1000-islands

Thompson Co-angler Champ on 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you are from the south and want to escape the heat. That is exactly what co-angler Joe Thompson of Clayton, Ga., did and wound up capturing the top spot in the co-angler division bringing home a Ranger Z117 with a 90 hp motor. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-penn-state-university-wins-flw-college-fishing-northern-conference-event-on-chautauqua-lake

Penn State University wins FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Event on Chautauqua Lake

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-michigan-s-dobson-leads-wire-to-wire-wins-costa-flw-series-event-at-1000-islands-presented-by-mercury

Michigan’s Dobson leads wire-to-wire, wins Costa FLW Series Event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Dobson earned $82,669, including a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-dobson-dominates-1000-islands

Dobson Dominates 1000 Islands

Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-2

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Strong winds limited competition to only the St. Lawrence River on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands, but that was no problem for the majority of the top 10. Even though most of them fished Lake Ontario on day one, they were able to adjust and stay on the fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-dobson-extends-lead-at-1000-islands

Dobson Extends Lead at 1000 Islands

A windy day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands didn’t stop day-one leader Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., from sacking up the biggest bag of the day. Dobson threw down an impressive 22-pound, 3-ounce limit to extend his lead to 5 pounds over Cal Climpson – a noted Lake Ontario maestro. Dobson’s two-day total stands at 46-12, and with lighter winds tomorrow some big bags are expected. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-lake-ontario-out-for-day-2

Lake Ontario Out for Day 2

It is never good when you wake up the morning of a tournament and every flag you see is standing straight out at 3 a.m., but that was the case this morning for day two of the Costa FLW Series event on the 1000 Islands. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-1

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 1

Past experience on this fishery seems to be a big advantage for the top pros through one day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. Scott Dobson leads the way with 24 pounds, 9 ounces, yet there are some serious hammers right on his heels. Dobson fished both the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario for his limit, while others went straight to the lake and stayed there. READ MORE »