Definitively Dudley

Virginia pro David Dudley notched his second FLW Tour Majors win today at Lake Champlain.

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - David Dudley makes no bones about the fact that he went through a slump. But if anyone needed evidence to prove that he's fully recovered from that downturn, this would have been a good week to be watching. Not only did the Castrol pro from Lynchburg, Va. win his second FLW Tour Major event of 2012 - this one on Lake Champlain, following an April victory on Beaver Lake - but he also clinched the Angler of the Year title. Notably, he's tied with Texas pro Clark Wendlant for the most AOY titles (3), but Dudley also won the points race in 2011, so this year's title gives him the distinction of becoming the only angler in FLW history to win consecutive years. All this, Dudley said, came after some serious soul searching and a firm commitment to recapturing the passion and precision that led to his first AOY David Dudley shows off one of the quality largemouth that helped him earn his second FLW Tour Major event of 2012.crown in 2008. A few years ago, when he found his performance slipping, Dudley did a couple of things to get himself back on track: First, he upgraded his equipment by fitting his boat with PowerPoles and investing in new electronics with all the bells and whistles. That's the hardware part. The other part, arguably the most significant, involved taking himself through an intensive refresher course on what it means to do this stuff for a living. "In 2008, I got a pretty big head because I started looking at my stats and thinking, 'Wow, I'm pretty good,'" Dudley said. "Then, in 2009, I did okay, but I faltered. After 2009 and into 2010, I realized I wasn't doing something right. Typically, I never fish unless I have a tournament, but in 2010 I started bass fishing; going to lakes like Smith Mountain and Buggs Island. It's like a runner who runs 5 miles. You can't just get up and run a 5-minute mile without training yourself. I realized that so I started training myself again. "Even though, I'm thinking about this win now, when it's all said and done, I try to block it out of my head and get myself back to reality and say 'Hey, I need to work harder than anybody else out there'." This week, Dudley's work ethic paid big dividends, as he turned in a dominant performance during which he held off the persistent pressure of good friend and fierce competitor Jacob Powroznik who not only placed second in the tournament, but also finished right behind Dudley in the points race. Dudley stated several times that he feeds off the friendly rivalry he's long enjoyed with his fellow Virginia angler, to whom he bestows high praise. Perhaps this rivalry helped propel Dudley to his Champlain victory. In any case, the numbers were David Dudley fights a big fish to the boat on day fourimpressive. For starters, he led the show from start to finish. His day-one bag weighed 24 pounds and remained the event's largest. Additionally, Dudley was one of only three pros to break 20 pounds twice. He caught an even 20 today and pairing these weights with his second and third day bags of 18-15 and 15-9, Dudley finished with 78-8 and a winning margin of 1-10. In a week that saw many competitors, including most of his top-10 competitors running south to the largemouth-laden grass beds of Ticonderoga, Dudley opted to fish the lake's north end. Fishing shoreline shallows in Missisquoi Bay, Dudley caught his fish on a wacky-rigged worm, a Texas-rigged Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper and a chatterbait tipped with a Berkley Havoc Rocket Craw. Most of his bites came in a couple of feet of water and he rotated his baits based on habitat. "I wasn't fishing spots; I was just going down the bank and I'd just chose my bait based on what I came across, whether it was grass, wood, rock or whatever," Dudley said. Champlain's bountiful waters hold loads of hefty smallmouth, along with largemouth of impressive quantity and quality. While the former roams the entire lake, the latter tends to be concentrated at either David Dudleyend. Dudley decided to stay north primarily to avoid the predictable boat traffic. "What happened this year was everybody heard about the south bite and I think that took a lot of the pressure off the north," he said. "I tried to grind it out up north and it paid off. I still think Ti was the place to be but it got overcrowded and I think that's what hurt it down there. "The first day I went up north and had a pretty good stringer that day," he said. "I knew if I could expand on that a little bit, there were plenty of quality fish up north. Ti, right now, has the better population of fish than up north, but I still caught 50 or 60 today. This is just an incredible fishery, whether you're north or south." Powroznik pushes up to second Hailing from Prince George, Va., Powroznik caught the day's second-heaviest bag (behind fourth-place Roland Martin) and his 20-pound, 8-ounce effort lifted his tournament total to 76-14. His week was one of consistency, as he never dipped below third place (day two) throughout the tournament. Powroznik made the long run to Ticonderoga all week and caught his fish on a variety of baits, including Snapple pro Jacob Powroznik caught all of his final-round fish on a Spro frog.a squarebill crankbait, chatterbait, Texas-rigged Senko and a Spro frog. Today, the Senko produced a quick limit, but after a key location change, he put the frog to good use and stayed busy upgrading to his final weight. On day three, he and fellow competitor Koby Kreiger had discussed an area where Powroznik had found thickly matted grass. Finishing 13th, Kreiger encouraged Powroznik to give the spot a look, as he had seen several large fish blow up in the mats. "Today, I left what I was doing and went over there around 11:30 and I never moved the boat the rest of the day," he said. "I mean, I didn't move one inch this way or that way and I probably caught them on every other cast. "It was just the biggest mat in the area and there was a lot of fish off the bank. They just moved up and down under the mat. I caught them until I couldn't catch them anymore." Nick gets cranky, takes third Blake Nick, of Adger, Ala. also had a strong performance on Champlain. He started day one by bagging 19-10 and taking sixth place. He rose two spots on day two with 17-3, but slipped back to sixth a day later after catching 17-5. In the final round, his 20-pound bag allowed him to regain the spots he had Nick loads the net. lost plus a little more, as he finished third with 74-2. Noting that Ti's grassy habitat reminds him much of Lake Guntersville back home, Nick said his knowledge of shallow grass habitat served him well in this northern lake. Nick's final-round performance was particularly impressive, as his day was nearly derailed by a lost trolling motor prop - a setback that occurred before he could make his first cast. Fortunately, he was able to figure out a way to salvage his day by using a tactic with which he's very comfortable. "I had been catching them on a swim jig, but they got off of that," he said. "I figured out that I could catch them on a squarebill crankbait," he said. "It really wasn't complicated. I did what I do." Martin moves up to fourth Bass fishing legend Roland Martin improved from ninth place to fourth on day four.Things didn't begin so well for Roland Martin, as the legendary bass angler from Naples, Fla. found himself in 68th place after catching 15-5 on day one. However, the cagey veteran quickly showed why he's still a threat on any lake in the nation, as he improved to ninth on day two, held that spot for day three and them climbed up to fourth in the final round by catching the day's heaviest bag - 21-9 - and posting a total weight of 73-8. "I was fishing a jig in the grass (at Ticonderoga) and I got a 20-pound limit early and then all I could do was catch 3 ¾-pound fish one after another," Martin said. "I couldn't cull and get an advantage because they were all these little fish. I was hoping to get a 5- or 6-pound fish, but it just didn't happen." Morgan slips to fifth Taking the fifth-place spot was Dayton, Tenn. pro Andy Morgan, who has racked up more top-10 finishes (51) than any other FLW angler. Morgan placed 14th on day one with 18-11, improved to 11thTennessee pro Andy Morgan spent his day in the north end of the lake and wound up in fifth place. a day later with 17-2 and reached his highest spot (third) on day three after catching his biggest sack of the event - 20-2. He added 17-8 today and finished with 73-7. Morgan spent his first two days down at Ti, but he shifted gears on day three and joined Dudley in Missisquoi. He caught his final-round fish on a 1/2-ounce War Eagle jig with a Zoom Super Chunk trailer, a Spro popping frog, and a 3/8-ounce Strike King swimming jig with a Swimming Fluke trailer. Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the FLW Tour Major event on Lake Champlain: 6th: David Wolak, of Wake Forest, N.C., 73-1 7th: Joseph Thompson, of Landenberg, Penn., 72-7 8th: Ron Shuffield, of Bismarck, Ark., 70-14 9th: John Voyles, of Petersburg, Ind., 70-13 10th: Scott Canterbury, of Springville, Ala., 67-11

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/news/2015-04-25-morgan-maintains-his-lead

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 »

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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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/news/2015-04-20-lanter-wins-on-rend-lake

Lanter Wins on Rend Lake

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/news/2015-04-19-top-10-patterns-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Murray

As contestants in the FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray discovered last week, fishing the blueback herring spawn can be backbreaking work. All that stooping over to grab a different rig to cast at bass busting their favorite forage, and then quickly straightening, is hard on the old spinal column. Flexing up and down is what it took to contend in the championship, however, as bass couldn’t make up their minds whether they wanted their grub served on the surface or closer to the bottom. Typically, the collegians were fan-casting Carolina rigs, umbrella rigs, hard jerkbaits and even crankbaits to likely looking points and broad flats. Sometimes they caught fish with such random prospecting, but perhaps more bass were taken when anglers found themselves within casting distance of blowups and were quick enough to grab a soft jerkbait rig or topwater lure and virtually spoon-feed it to the fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-gamecocks-win-college-title

Gamecocks Win College Title

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