UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Tuesday Tour Update: Dudley unplugged

Castrol pro David Dudley shows off his 2012 FLW Tour Angler of the Year bounty.

(Editor's note: FLWOutdoors.com managed to speak to David Dudley by phone while he was out on the water during a routine crappie fishing outing before the Beaver Lake FLW Tour event.) With over $3.2 million in career FLW earnings, an astounding 37 top-10 finishes, four FLW Tour wins, a 2003 Forrest Wood Cup title and three FLW Tour Angler of the Year awards already in his back pocket - including back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012 - it's pretty much a given David Dudley will go down in history as one of the greatest anglers of all time. In fact, for the better part of a decade, it seemed as though Dudley could do no wrong - turning in one stellar performance after another en route to earning a sea of accolades, accomplishments and tournament-fishing hardware virtually unmatched in the industry. However, this season, things have not gone quite according to plan for the current resident of Lynchburg, Va. Surprisingly, the reigning AOY champion currently finds himself in 80th place overall in the year-end standings after uncharacteristic 65th-place and 104th-place finishes during the opening two events of 2013. So, what's wrong - if anything? While it's demonstrably unfair to overanalyze an angler's struggles over a small sample size spanning just two events, this isn't just any angler we're talking about. No, we're talking about David Dudley - viewed fairly or not as an impregnable fortress of confidence, principled outspokenness and unlimited fishing skill and savvy. Anyone who knows Dudley knows that he does not take losing lightly - whether it's competing at the Forrest Wood Cup, participating in a friendly poker tournament or firing up an informal racquetball match with some of his fellow anglers during one of his rare moments of "relaxation" before the start of the next Tour event. And, not surprisingly, Dudley continues to make it quite clear that he is far, far from satisfied with his results to date. "I can pretty much say that this year (stinks) so far," said Dudley. "I hate the way my season has gone; what else can I say? When you go from winning the FLW Tour Angler of the Year two years in a row to finishing the way I did during the last two tournaments, it's hard." Although Dudley wasn't happy with his performance on Lake Okeechobee during the first event of the season, he said he was downright distraught by the time the second FLW Tour stop had concluded on Lewis Smith Lake. "When I left (Lewis) Smith Lake my heart hurt so bad; it felt like I'd just broken up with my high school sweetheart or just lost my favorite hunting dog," said Dudley. "I know where I am talent-wise and when you're not (living up to that), it hurts. I'm aching badly right now.' So how doesn't the "Manteo Machine" account for his recent struggles? Castrol pro David Dudley watches on-the-water video of himself onstage during weigh-in. Dudley finished the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup in fifth place."For me, the hardest thing to fight off is when you get to the top, how do you continue to motivate yourself to do better? I always say, `never be satisfied,' but I think I've kind of fallen into that trap. I get motivated when people talk smack to me. Put a challenge in front of me and I'll (respond). Put me in second place and see what happens. So my main challenge is to get motivated again. I've got to step up and do better." To be sure, Dudley's early season struggles began right out of the gate on Lake Okeechobee. However, because the "Big O" is a rather unique fishing environment (a place where one cast and one double-digit fish can propel you atop the leaderboard at any one given moment) Dudley said he wasn't overly concerned with his 65th-place finish there. Mind you, he wasn't happy about it either. "The way I look at Okeechobee is that it's an up and down lake. You can take some of the greatest anglers in the world and you'll see that of their worst finishes, a lot of them happen on Lake Okeechobee," said Dudley. "For me, I've had some good finishes there and some horrible finishes there. I basically call Lake Okeechobee a `luck factor' lake. Look at the top-10 finishers on that lake during any one given season. You'll see some people you'll know but a lot of names you'll go, `Who?' There is so much luck involved on that lake that it drives me insane. You'll get John Doe who catches maybe five or six 2-pounders and then, all of sudden at the end of the day, catches a 10-pounder. Now he comes back to weigh-in with 19 pounds and he beats David Dudley. But did he really fish better than me? I don't think so. This year on Okeechobee I caught a lot of fish but I never got that big bite. So that pretty much sums it up for me." While Dudley was able to shake off his Florida finish to a certain extent, his performance that following month on Lewis Smith Lake clearly has been a lot harder to digest. And, as a result, it spurred on quite a bit of good, old fashioned soul searching. "I think I know where I went wrong. I was out of shape. I hadn't been fishing enough. It was my own fault," admitted Dudley. "I knew what I had to do there and I just didn't do it. If you're a marathon runner, you can't expect to be able to compete if you don't practice. And I think that was my problem. So what am I doing now? I've been out on the water fishing every day since that Smith Lake tournament - well, almost every day. And that's what I have to keep on doing. I need to get back in shape." Although the Castrol pro is known for setting his personal assessment bar higher than most, Dudley is also a realist - acknowledging that he's fairly pessimistic about his prospects of climbing back into the AOY race given the remaining FLW Tour schedule. "I don't really like the rest of the season (schedule)," said Dudley, arguably one of the most candid and outspoken members of the FLW Tour. "With the exception of Beaver Lake, the (remaining) tournaments are going to be graphing tournaments. So I don't like where we're going and I don't like the time of year we're going (to those venues)." While Dudley understands that his own chances of a three-peat are remote at best given his difficult start, that doesn't mean he doesn't have a strong opinion on the shape of the race as it stands now. "If things stay relatively the same as they are now and Andy (Morgan) and (Brent) Ehrler are battling at the top for the angler of the year race on Lake Chickamauga (in June), you can mark this down: The race will be won on the boat draw," said Dudley in no unequivocal terms. "If Andy gets a better boat draw, he'll win; and the same with Ehrler. The reason is that there are only about 30 good fishing holes on the entire lake and everybody is going to be competing for one of those spots. So whoever gets the best boat draw is going to be in (the driver's seat) to win AOY." Although he is still seen by many as a veritable fishing machine, and rightfully so, Dudley has demonstrated this season that he is also very human. "It's not like I have a secret formula or anything," said Dudley, arguing that he's going to have to continue to put forth his best effort and do whatever it takes to turn the season around. "Honestly, I've just got to keep my head down and keep fishing. It's that simple." While the FLW Tour field is undoubtedly relieved not to see Dudley sitting atop the standings for a third straight year, the news is not all good for his fellow competitors. Because you see, Dudley finally has found what he's been searching for all season - a brand new challenge. And we all know what that means ...

Tags: article 

/tips/2015-08-28-planned-power-outage-in-ky-office

Planned Power Outage in KY Office

A planned power outage is in effect around the Benton, Ky., area causing phone lines and internet to be temporarily unavailable. It should last until roughly 5 p.m. CT. Do not call the help line or try to register online during this time. Instead, if you'd like to sign up for an event call the tournament director for the particluar tournament you'd like to fish. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-27-state-fish-art-contest-best-in-show-winner

State-Fish Art Contest Best in Show Winner

McKenna Litynski, 12, likes to draw, but she admits her older sister, Brenna, is the better artist and the one who teaches her most of what she knows. Both are pretty talented, though, especially considering they’ve each been state winners in previous years of the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest presented by FLW. They both did so again in 2015, but McKenna did something this year that her older sister hasn’t: She won best in show. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-26-top-10-baits-from-the-forrest-wood-cup-

Top 10 Baits from the Forrest Wood Cup

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-25-2015-bass-bbq-festival-results

2015 Bass & BBQ Festival Results

The Bass and BBQ Festival presented by KSSN-FM took place in conjunction with the Forrest Wood Cup in Hot Springs, Ark. The two-day competition was sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS), which boasts more than 19,000 members worldwide and is the largest organization of barbeque and grilling enthusiasts. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-22-white-wins-tbf-junior-world-championship

White Wins TBF Junior World Championship

West Virginia’s Tyler White hit the mother lode of schooling bass to win the 2015 The Bass Federation Junior World Championship Aug. 21-22 on Arkansas’ Lake Hamilton. In doing so, he topped a hard-fishing field of 39 TBF junior state champions ranging in age from 11 to 15 years old, and claimed a $2,500 scholarship to the school of his choice, plus a $250 Cabela’s gift card. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-22-huntsville-wheeler-lake-to-host-2016-forrest-wood-cup

Huntsville, Wheeler Lake to Host 2016 Forrest Wood Cup

FLW and the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) announced Saturday that Huntsville, Ala., will be hosting the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing, Aug. 4-7, 2016, on Wheeler Lake. This event marks the first time that the Forrest Wood Cup has visited Wheeler Lake. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-21-young-leads-tbf-junior-world-championship

Young Leads TBF Junior World Championship

Kentucky’s Hunter Young worked the “ceiling” with a vengeance to sack a five-bass limit weighing 8 pounds, 12 ounces and claim the overall lead on day one of the 2015 The Bass Federation Junior World Championship on Arkansas’ Lake Hamilton. The event is being held in conjunction with the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. “My day went pretty well, even though I lost a few fish that cost me more weight than what I had,” he says. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-21-flw-sanctions-mexican-bass-tournaments

FLW Sanctions Mexican Bass Tournaments

This morning, FLW signed an agreement with LUTCOM SA DE CV, of Mexico City, Mexico, to bring its internationally sanctioned bass fishing tournaments to the United States’ southern neighbor as part of the International Division of the Rayovac FLW Series. The agreement was signed by Jaime Luengo, president and CEO of LUTCOM SA DE CV, and FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel during the FLW Morning Show before the day-two takeoff of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-13-british-bbq-star-heading-to-hot-springs

British BBQ Star Heading to Hot Springs

Now, a little barbecue and a little bass fishing are nothing out of the ordinary for Southern folks in the summertime. But Shea’s not Southern. He’s not even American. Shea is one of the premier British competitive cookers, and he’s traveling with his crew – the British Bulldogs BBQ team – across the Atlantic to test his slow-cooking mettle against some of the very best pitmasters in an event sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS). READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-11-weekend-wrap-up-aug-10-2015

Weekend Wrap-Up – Aug. 10, 2015

The dog days of August are pretty well upon us now. Last weekend the BFL Illini and Northeast divisions were both in action, but that was it. Of course, there is still plenty to pay attention to as the Forrest Wood Cup gets closer by the minute. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-10-houston-rebuilding-lake-after-dam-failure

Houston Rebuilding Lake After Dam Failure

One of pro bass fishing’s true legends has vowed to rebuild it. In the process, he plans to resurrect what might have been one of the best private trophy bass fisheries the state of Oklahoma has ever seen. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-04-technical-issues-due-to-service-provider-outage

Technical Issues Due To Service Provider Outage

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-24-walmart-bfl-tournament-preview

Walmart BFL Tournament Preview

The 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League season will continue with a tournament on Saturday, July 25, when the Shenandoah division takes on the James River. Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing for top awards of up to $8,000 and $3,000 respectively in the one-day event. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-22-how-to-fish-the-prop-bee

How to Fish the Prop Bee

The Brian’s Bees Prop Bee isn’t the most popular topwater bait on the Walmart FLW Tour. Rather, it’s more limited in scope. It’s a niche bait. When a tournament falls into the window where the Prop Bee shines, however, it’s one of those “you-gotta-have-it” baits that is practically a shoo-in to produce a few top-10 finishes. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-16-flw-tournaments-headed-to-china

FLW Tournaments Headed to China

FLW announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Sunny Lake (Beijing) Sport Development, LLC, from China to begin sanctioning FLW bass fishing tournaments in the Eastern Asian nation at a contract signing today at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando. The agreement was signed by FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel and Gang Li, vice president of the Florida Culture Exchange Association (FCEA), representing Sunny Lake Sport Development. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-10-walmart-bfl-tournament-preview

Walmart BFL Tournament Preview

The 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League season will continue with two tournaments on Saturday, July 11. The Great Lakes division takes on the Wolf River Chain and the Michigan division stops at the Detroit River for an event presented by Navionics. Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing for top awards of up to $8,000 and $3,000 respectively in the one-day events. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-10-5-frog-tactics-that-work-now

5 Frog Tactics that Work Now

Beyond the simple joy of slamming hooks into the mouth of a shallow, surface-feeding bass, frogs also offer technical advantages that allow anglers to capitalize on some of the best big-bass action of the summer. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-martin-earns-first-aoy-title

Martin Earns First AOY Title

Prior to the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season, Scott Martin had banked a total of three top-10 Angler of the Year finishes in his 15-year career as a pro. It was impressive, but not indicative of his greatness. The truth of the matter is that Scott Martin was a winner, always taking risks in search of equal reward. That risky fishing has led Martin to more than $2 million in earnings, a Forrest Wood Cup win and four Tour-level wins. But the gambles burned him often enough that he never earned AOY. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-birge-dominates-roy-race

Birge Dominates ROY Race

Zack Birge isn’t wasting any time filling out his tournament-fishing resume. The Oklahoman won the 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake last fall then joined up on the Walmart FLW Tour for 2015 and went on a season-long tear that earned him the Rookie of the Year award. Birge, alongside his wife, Kristina, was presented with his ROY trophy this afternoon on the weigh-in stage at the Potomac River tournament, where he finished in 77th place. He finished 29th overall in the AOY standings to best a group of 18 rookies. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-27-flw-signs-contract-for-south-korean-tournaments

FLW Signs Contract for South Korean Tournaments

At the day-two weigh-in of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River, FLW signed a contract that inked an exclusive licensing agreement with MirooNamoo Media Group from South Korea to begin sanctioning FLW bass fishing tournaments in the Eastern-Asian country. South Korea will run a series of FLW tournaments that advance anglers, who are citizens of the host country, to a new International Division at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship beginning in 2016. Two anglers will compete as pros with FLW providing Ranger boats, and two will compete as co-anglers. The top pro award at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship is $95,000, including a Ranger Z518C if the pro is Ranger Cup qualified, and the top co-angler award is a Ranger Z117. READ MORE »