UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Dudley dredges up another win

Castrol pro David Dudley wins his fifth FLW Outdoors’ event at the Wal-Mart FLW Tour event on Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In the sport of professional fishing, some things cannot be explained by words alone: David Dudley is one of those things. The Lynchburg, Va., native has proven time and time again that he is a closer. Simply put, Dudley excels when it matters most. He trusts in his faith, focuses all of his faculties on fishing and taps into his natural instincts to get the winning job done. For the fifth time in his FLW Outdoors career, Dudley closed again Sunday, coming from some 4 1/2 pounds back to win the Wal-Mart FLW Tour event on Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes with a two-day total of 29 pounds, 11 ounces worth $125,000. Yesterday, Dudley seemed undaunted by Art Ferguson's solid day-three lead. It was almost as if he enjoyed the challenge of being pinned down with the clock running out. "I believe in comebacks in bass fishing," Dudley said at the weigh-in yesterday. "Art didn't completely take the wind out of me, but he left me with quite a big hill to climb, and I'm ready for it. "You never know with this type of ledge fishing," he added prophetically. "Art could stumble tomorrow, and I could find a big school and beat him - I'm looking forward to it." And that's exactly how day four played out: Ferguson's hot spot played out, leaving the door wide open, and Dudley walked through it with a final-day limit weighing 15 pounds, 2 ounces to win by just over a pound. "This win means a lot to me because I did it in a way that used to be my biggest weakness - deep cranking," Dudley said after his win. "In the last two years, I've learned a ton about deep-water fishing, and now it has become my obsession. I love it because it has the potential to When it comes to winning, David Dudley is a closer.deliver exactly what happened today - a big win. "And that's why Art's lead did not bother me the least bit yesterday," he continued. "I had the confidence in knowing that if I got on the right school of fish today, I could overcome that lead - I really believed that in my heart this morning, and that's what happened." But Dudley never really found another school of fish today; he just adjusted to rekindle the school that he had fished all week. Dudley's key area this week was a ledge on the upper end of Fort Loudoun. He described it as being a "boulder area" that stuck out into the main river channel receiving current flow. Earlier in the week he blistered the fish on a crankbait, which he refused to name, saying only that it ran 10 to 12 feet deep and that fellow competitor Craig Powers had hand-painted it for him in a "blue-back herring color." Today the crankbait was not as productive, and he had to resort to dragging a football-head jig and a 10-inch Berkley Power worm through his primary area. And while giving up detailed lure information is not exactly Dudley's strong suit, he makes up for it by describing his key adjustment for this tournament in simple terms, which provides some sage deep-water wisdom. "Earlier in the week the crankbait was the deal because the fish were so competitive," he revealed. "But the more fish you take off a ledge, the less competitive they become. And as the week went on, they were much less competitive with each other. With less competition among them, I had to slow down with the dragging-type baits to talk them into biting - and that's what I did today." Visceral knowledge like that is what makes David Dudley a closer and, consequently, FLW Outdoors' leading money winner with a grand total of $2,309,638. Martin comes up short National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., finished second with a two-day total of 28 pounds, 7 ounces.When day-three leader Art Ferguson left the door open with a paltry 7-pound, 11-ounce catch today, Dudley was not the only one who took advantage of it. National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., also crossed Ferguson's threshold with a 14-pound, 13-ounce catch today to take the runner-up position with a two-day total of 28 pounds, 7 ounces worth $50,000. Martin began his week shallow, fishing a Spro Little John crankbait around seawalls where he could see shad activity. But as the water dropped on day two, Martin's shallow-water program began to wane, and he became much more reliant on deep shell mounds on river ledges in Fort Loudoun. He caught his deep-water fish on two deep-running crankbaits, including a DD-22 and a Brian's Bees B-18, but he actually found the areas with a football-head jig. "In practice, I kept a heavy football-head jig rigged up so I could feel the bottom," he said. "If the bottom was soft and mushy, I'd move on. But whenever I felt that rubble, shelly bottom, I marked it." Martin also believes the color and cadence of his deep crankbaits over the shells were key. The shell mounds were 8 to 10 feet deep, and he would dredge the bait into the shells hard and fast. "I normally use chartreuse-blue-back patterns for crankbaits on TVA lakes, but the shad-colored patterns seemed to work much better this week," Martin said. "Also, I was really cranking the bait fast and making it real erratic, which is one reason I think I caught so many smallmouth on it. "I know this sounds crazy," he added. "But I really believe those smallmouth were spawning on the shell bars in about 8 feet of water. It seemed like the closer the full moon got during practice, the more smallmouth I started catching off those bars." Ferguson falls to third After blasting 18 pounds, 11 ounces on day two and 19 pounds, 2 Art Ferguson of St. Clair Shores, Mich., fell to third with a two-day total of 26 pounds, 13 ounces.ounces on day three, Art Ferguson of St. Clair Shores, Mich., sputtered out with just four bass for 7 pounds, 11 ounces today, falling back to third. "It just wasn't the same on that spot today," Ferguson said. "There was no wind. There was no current. The skies were bright and sunny - it just didn't feel the same. I didn't know if I should stay on the spot or leave it, and my timing got thrown off. "Timing is everything with ledge fishing," he added. "Over the last two days, my timing was perfect - today it wasn't." Ferguson's third-place finish was worth $40,000. Coulter fourth Brandon Coulter of Knoxville, Tenn., brought his hometown crowd to a frenzy today when he rallied with the day's best limit - 17 pounds, 2 ounces.Brandon Coulter of Knoxville, Tenn., brought his hometown crowd to a frenzy today when he rallied with the day's best limit - 17 pounds, 2 ounces - but it was not enough to overtake the lead. Instead he finished fourth with a two-day total of 25 pounds, 11 ounces worth $30,000. Coulter's day-four stringer was nearly 11 pounds better than his day-three catch of 8 pounds, 9 ounces. The difference? "I stayed on my milk run a little better today," Coulter said. "Yesterday, with most of the boats eliminated, many of the community holes were wide open, and I got a little distracted by trying to fish too many places. Today, I stayed inside my niche - a five- or six-hole milk run - and I just kept rotating those, and as a result, it was a much better day." Cherry fifth Pro Hank Cherry of Maiden, N.C., ended the event on a strong note with a 13-pound, 13-ounce stringer to bump him to fifth place with a two-day total of 21 pounds, 10 ounces worth $20,000.Hank Cherry of Maiden, N.C., ended the event on a strong note with a 13-pound, 13-ounce stringer to bump him to fifth place with a two-day total of 21 pounds, 10 ounces worth $20,000. Cherry spent the week fishing shallow on flat banks and docks and credited boat traffic with helping his bite today. "I've pretty much done the same thing all week: swim a 1/2-ounce white Dump Truck jig around docks and shallow banks," he said. "Today, when those big cruiser boats started running up and down the lake, it produced a mud line that was even with the ends of the docks, and that seemed to help the fish position right where I could target them best." "Yesterday, the water was actually a little too clear," he added. "But with all the big boats and water-skiers today, it muddied the banks up pretty good and made the fishing much better." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour event on Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes: 6th: Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., two-day total of 21-6, $19,000 7th: Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., two-day total of 19-15, $18,000 8th: Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., two-day total of 18-12, $17,000 9th: Jerry Green of Del Rio, Texas, two-day total of 16-5, $16,000 10th: Ramie Colson Jr. of Cadiz, Ky., two-day total of 10-6, $15,000 AOY race After stop No. 5, Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., still leads the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year race with 926 points going into the final event at Detroit. He now has a 22-point advantage over runner-up Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla.

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Matual Masters Erie

David Matual of Chicago, Ill., leaned on his spot hard and sacked up the biggest bag of day three weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces. For his final-day rally he claimed the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division victory on Lake Erie with a three-day total of 65 pounds, fending off Jared Rhode by a mere 7 ounces. Drop-shotting over shallow reefs delivered all of Matual’s fish and earned him a check worth more than $31,000. READ MORE »

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Lake Erie Day 3 Midday Update

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Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

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Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

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Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

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Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

Jared Rhode played his cards and the gamble paid off better than expected, as the pro from Port Clinton, Ohio, took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie with a limit catch weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

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Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

Winds have subsided considerably since practice, but Lake Erie’s still showing her temperamental side to Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division anglers fishing the last divisional event out of Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

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Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

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Knight Slays Ouachita

Lancing, Tenn., pro Brad Knight won the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita with a four-day total of 51 pounds, 12 ounces. In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., Knight weighed in 11-07 on day four to surpass Jacob Wheeler, who started the day with a 12-ounce lead. Fishing in just one area all four days, Knight locked up the first win of his FLW career. He earned $500,000 for his victory and pushed his career earnings total to more than $688,000. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

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Wheeler Back in Front

Jacob Wheeler loves Lake Ouachita. It’s where he fished his first Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, and it’s where he’ll take the tournament lead into the final day of competition at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Wheeler, the 2011 Cup champion, led this tournament on day one and slipped a couple spots on day two. He now has a very slim 12-ounce lead over Tennessean Brad Knight. The anglers will square off tomorrow on Ouachita starting at 7 a.m. against the rest of the top 10 pros for the top prize of $500,000. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

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Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

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Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »