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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/news/2015-04-26-arey-does-it-again

Arey Does it Again

Quaker State pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., wowed the crowed in Rogers, Ark., today with an incredible 17-pound, 3-ounce five-bass limit to come from behind and win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake. This is Arey’s second consecutive Beaver Lake FLW Tour victory. Arey’s final-day surge was enough to surpass two-time reigning Angler of the Year Andy Morgan, who led yesterday but weighed in only 9-08 today and fell to third. Arey’s four-day total was 55-06, earning the pro $125,000. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

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Morgan Maintains His Lead

One of Andy Morgan’s fishing mottos is to make the best of what you have got “in front of you” to survive and fish another day. Beaver Lake doesn’t give much. So when an angler as resourceful as Morgan gets to a lake that doesn’t give out many resources, the two work well together. Instead of worrying about hitting it out of the park or putting immense pressure on himself to come up with a grand winning strategy, Morgan just scraps, scrapes and claws at the ground right in front of him, making the best of what he’s got. Morgan’s performance on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake was a prime example of his “make the best of it” attitude. After burning up the spawning fish he had located in practice during the first two days of the tournament, he was forced to fish by the seat of his pants today – something he thoroughly enjoys. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-gordon-and-gagner-crowned-tbf-champs

Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

Two more anglers qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup today by winning the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Ark., earned the TBF crown on the boater side by catching a three-day limit of 50 pounds, 2 ounces, capped by the largest limit caught today – 18 pounds, 10 ounces. Gordon earned $5,000 for his win, but more importantly, he’ll be competing against the best pros in the business in August at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Gordon also won the TBF “Living The Dream” package, which includes paid entry into the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour, a travel stipend, and use of a wrapped truck and Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 3

Andy Morgan didn’t light up the world on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake, but he caught what he needed to maintain the lead and put a 1-pound, 9-ounce cushion between he and Matt Arey. Most of the rest of the top 20 scrambled today, abandoning their patterns and trying new options to try and make the final-day cut. Here’s how the top five got it done. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-make-way-for-morgan

Make Way for Morgan

“Hidden largemouths” is quickly becoming the buzz term at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac, as those atop the leaderboard are using the term to refer to spawning largemouths that are so well hidden that other competitors never found them. These hidden fish are covered by thick brush, hidden so deep that they were only found during the very rare windows of sunshine during practice or located off the beaten path. The latter are not in obvious pockets or places where one would expect to find beds, but rather out on the main bluff channels where few ever look. On day one, Jacob Wheeler caught hidden largemouths to take the lead. On day two, former Beaver Lake champion Andy Morgan caught hidden largemouths to take over the pole position going into the weekend. His catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces today gives Morgan a two-day total of 28-09 to take the lead by just 11 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

At halftime of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five reads like a who’s who of Beaver Lake. Leader Andy Morgan is a former Beaver Lake champion. Behind him, Darrel Robertson has been very close to winning here with a runner-up finish in 2005. In third is 2014 Beaver Lake champion Matt Arey. Bryan Thrift, in fourth, has never won on Beaver Lake, but has led here before. And finally, fifth-place pro Stetson Blaylock knows his way around this lake pretty well, too, with a couple of top 10s. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-heckman-heads-up-tbf-championship-field

Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

Some bass are still spawning in Grand Lake, and others are yet to make their way up to the shallows, but none of that interests Sam Heckman. Diligent commitment to his postspawn plan here Friday landed Heckman atop the boater field with 34 pounds, 3 ounces and locked up his Southwest Division win at the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship. Saturday, the top boater from each of seven TBF divisions will vie for the TBF National Championship and the “Living the Dream” package that goes with it. The package includes paid entry in the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour as a pro, a Forrest Wood Cup berth and use of a custom-wrapped truck and Ranger boat on Tour for the year, as well as a travel stipend for each event. Seven non-boaters – one from each TBF division – also will fish in tomorrow’s final round for a chance at paid entry into a Rayovac FLW Series division of choice. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-beaver-lake-day-2-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-wheeler-with-a-slim-lead

Wheeler with a Slim Lead

Jacob Wheeler has a plan to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake this week. That plan involves primarily the largemouth species, a target weight of 14 pounds per day and a lot of fish management. Today, Wheeler surpassed his target by nearly 2 pounds with a 15-pound, 14-ounce catch that puts him in the driver’s seat at Beaver Lake, in the lead by just a scant 5 ounces over second-place pro Bryan Thrift. “Largemouths are the way to win here at Beaver Lake,” Wheeler says. “They are the fish to go the distance here, and that’s what I’m focusing on.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 1

Though there were plenty of fish caught off beds at Beaver Lake on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five is rounded out by a group of anglers who relied on sight-fishing very little. Opinions on where exactly bass are in the spawning cycle at Beaver Lake vary greatly from angler to angler, but a few common denominators did come to light on day one. For starters, most agree that one major spawning cycle has already occurred. Plenty of empty beds and a lot of gaunt, postspawn fish at the scale were evidence of that. Second, there are still some bass (of all species) trying to spawn, but the ones left on beds are extremely wary. Finally, the order of difficulty to catch each species ranks as follows: smallmouth bass – extremely easy; spotted bass – not as easy; largemouth bass – extremely difficult. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-griffith-grabs-tbf-lead-

Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

By midday, the prospects were unclear for Jon “Scooter” Griffith here in The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake, but in a roundabout way it provided just the clarity he needed to dial in a pattern that helped him take the day-one lead with an 18-pound, 13-ounce limit. Griffith began his day by sight-fishing the clear water down by the Pensacola Dam. This opening move, he says, gave him some early comfort, as it matched the transparent water he’s used to fishing near his home in Mesa, Ariz. Targeting windblown points, Griffith got his early bites with reaction baits in about 4 to 8 feet of water. Unfortunately, the plan turned out to be less productive than he had expected. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-beaver-lake-day-1-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-tbf-championship-tips-off

TBF Championship Tips Off

The spawn is on at Grand Lake, but that’s not the only game in town. As the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship plays out for the next three days, anglers will find this northern Oklahoma impoundment abounding with lots of fishing options. Brian Maloney, the 2012 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American champion, says he was impressed with what he found in practice. “The quality of fish on Grand is just amazing,” notes the Missouri angler. “This lake continues to put out 3- and 4-pounders, and right now there’s a variety of things we can do. “There are guys sight-fishing for spawning fish, and we’re probably looking at another wave or two of fish coming in soon. I’m sure the full moon coming up in another week or so will move them in.” Adding that the lake currently has fish in all prespawn, spawning and postspawn stages, Maloney thinks that TBF contenders will be greeted by a mix of water conditions typical for Grand this time of year. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-top-10-baits-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

Competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship mostly targeted bass feeding on spawning blueback herring on shallow points and main-lake pockets. Across the board, herring-imitating baits such as soft jerkbaits, swimbaits, topwaters, wake baits and umbrella rigs dominated the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-jig-bite-carries-holmes-on-wateree

Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

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/news/2015-04-20-bryan-slows-down-for-chickamauga-win

Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

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/news/2015-04-20-morfis-dominates-with-34-pound-limit

Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Morfis earned $6,336. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-salzman-cracks-31-pounds-on-guntersville

Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

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