PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Castrol pro David Dudley thrives on competition and doesn’t like to lose. The Forrest Wood Cup winner has made history in some of the biggest tournaments in the sport. This week, a confident Dudley started out with a bang and added even more accolades to his already impressive fishing resume.
In April, Dudley told the crowd attending the FLW Tour event at Beaver Lake to “watch out at Lake Champlain.” Dudley didn’t disappoint at the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Champlain (presented by Chevy) this week, as he added to his unbelievable list of achievements in an impressive display of mental toughness and fishing skills against the best bass anglers in the world. At the end of Sunday’s weigh-in, Dudley’s five bass worth 20 pounds even gave him a total four-day weight of 78 pounds, 8 ounces – 1 pound, 10 ounces heavier than second place – as well as a championship trophy and $125,250.
Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., posted a total weight of 76 pounds, 14 ounces to claim second place. Powroznik won $29,126 for his efforts.
“It’s always nice to get a trophy,” Dudley said. “It’s something you own and nobody can take that from you.”
On the first day of competition Dudley fished the north end of the lake because he knew he could catch a quality limit of bass and hoped he could build a tournament strategy there.
“I didn’t go down to Ticonderoga,” Dudley said. “I know the north end of the lake better. This is an incredible fishery no matter if you’re north or south, but south is on fire right now.”
Dudley’s main weapon during the tournament was a spinning rod featuring a rotation of a wacky worm and a Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper. Dudley said he also fished a chatter-type bait tipped with a Berkley Havoc Rocket Craw.
“The Rocket Craw has an unbelievable action to it,” Dudley said.
Dudley explained on stage after his victory how he came to be one of FLW’s most heralded pros.
“I knew when I was young and watched the pro fishermen on TV and said, `I want to be a pro fisherman,’ that it’s what I wanted to do,” Dudley said. “I took it serious and studied the game. I wasn’t going to a pond and just fishing. I was going to a pond to learn.”
The top 10 pros finished the tournament in:
1st: Castrol pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 20 bass, 78-8, $125,250
2nd: Snapple pro Jacob Powroznik, Prince George, Va., 20 bass, 76-14, $29,126
3rd: Blake Nick, Adger, Ala., 20 bass, 74-2, $25,126
4th: Roland Martin, Naples, Fla., 20 bass, 73-8, $20,726
5th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 20 bass, 73-7, $16,776
6th: David Wolak, Wake Forest, N.C., 20 bass, 73-1, $14,006
7th: Joseph Thompson, Landenberg, Pa., 20 bass, 72-7, $13,166
8th: EverStart pro Ron Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., 20 bass, 70-14, $12,326
9th: John Voyles, Petersburg, Ind., 20 bass, 70-13, $11,486
10th: Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., 20 bass, 67-11, $10,646
A complete list of results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Dudley also cemented his third Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year presented by Kellogg’s title in five years Saturday. With the title, Dudley becomes the first pro to win back-to-back AOY crowns. The title is determined by the most points accumulated over the six Tour Majors over the course of the season. Dudley earned $100,000 plus a berth in the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup in addition to the AOY title.
Dudley, who won previous Angler of the Year titles in 2011 and 2008, started the 2012 FLW Tour Major season with a 24th-place showing at Lake Hartwell. He followed that up 59th at Table Rock Lake. He went on a tear after that and won at Beaver Lake, finished third at the Potomac River and then posted a 14th-place finish at Kentucky Lake before winning again at Lake Champlain.
The Angler of the Year title Saturday pushed FLW’s leading money winner past the $3 million mark. He was the youngest angler to the $2 million mark. He has accumulated six FLW wins, 35 top-10 finishes and has qualified for 14 Forrest Wood Cup appearances in his 17 years as a pro. Key wins in Dudley’s career include the 2003 Forrest Wood Cup on the James River, where he won $500,000, and the 2002 Ranger M1 Millennium that brought a $700,000 payday.
Dudley joins fellow FLW Tour angler Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, as the only Tour angler to win three Angler of the Year titles.
Clent Davis of Montevallo, Ala., was awarded the 2012 FLW Tour Rookie of the Year award Saturday, which is awarded to the rookie pro angler who finishes the season with the highest point total.
Overall there were 50 bass weighing 187 pounds, 4 ounces caught by pros Sunday. The catch included 10 five-bass limits.
Chris Hall of Clarks Summit, Penn., won the co-angler division and $25,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 46 pounds even followed by Nick Hensley of Cumming, Ga., in second place with 14 bass weighing 44-4 worth $6,244.
Nick Hensley of Cumming, Ga., clinched the Walmart FLW Tour Co-Angler of the Year presented by Kellogg’s title Saturday and a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard plus an automatic berth into the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup.
In FLW Tour Major tournaments, pros and co-anglers are competing for valuable points to qualify for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 pro and co-anglers in the point standings from the six FLW Tour Major tournaments will qualify.
The Tour stop on Lake Champlain presented by Chevy was hosted by the City of Plattsburgh, N.Y., and the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau and was the seventh of 10 Walmart FLW Tour tournaments of the 2012 season. The 2012 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart will be the next tournament and will be held Aug. 9-12 at Lake Lanier and Duluth, Ga. The event will be hosted by the Gwinnett Convention & Visitors Bureau, the State of Georgia and the Lake Lanier Convention & Visitors Bureau. Boats will launch from Laurel Park in Gainesville, Ga. For a complete schedule, visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Coverage of the Lake Champlain tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Aug. 26 from 1-2 p.m. ET. “FLW” is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.