Reel Chat transcript with DAVID DUDLEY - Major League Fishing

Reel Chat transcript with DAVID DUDLEY

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David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., shows off his 2011 FLW Tour Angler of the Year trophy during the final day of Pickwick Lake action. Photo by Gary Mortenson. Angler: David Dudley.
Dudley discusses the A-rig, how to scout unfamiliar lakes, the limitations of pre-fishing and much, much more
May 10, 2012 • MLF • Uncategorized

Welcome to FLW Live Reel Chat. Today we’re joined by Castrol pro David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., who recently took home the top prize of $125,000 after winning the 2012 FLW Tour Major on Beaver Lake.

Dudley’s resume is among the best in bass fishing. The 2011 Angler of the Year is FLW’s all-time leading money winner with over $2.88 million. Dudley’s victory on Beaver Lake was his third FLW Tour win and sixth overall.

Today, Dudley is here to take questions from you, the fans. So, without further delay, let’s get started.

Q: You were a pretty outspoken advocate of the A-rig early on. After winning the Beaver Lake event, do you feel justified that you were right? It seems the like the best pros are still winning with it.
— Nick (Knoxville, Tenn.)
A: I would agree. If you look at the stats, the top-10 has generally been the same. The same guys are still making top-10s this year. For the record, I’m not for the Alabama Rig or against it. I’ve always said, “Give a good angler another tool and he will still have the advantage.” The best guys know when to move and know how to find fish – period.

Q: Why would you even consider fishing for spotted bass on the final day of a major tournament?
— John G. (Springdale, Ark.)
A: Unless you’re on the water with me at that moment, it is easy for you to sit back and question it. When you’re on the water, it is the heat of the moment. Unless you’re out there with me, you don’t know. Tournaments are won by decisions on the water and those spotted bass were still an option for me to get an extra pound or two if needed.

Q: How come you never let Capt. Phil catch any fish?
— William Price (Blacksburg, Va.)
A: Because B-Flat would not give him the “I’m a Loser” crankbait.

Q: What do the numbers mean on your boat?
— Hank (Anderson, S.C.)
A: It’s a way to win an all expense-paid fishing trip with me that will be announced at the Forrest Wood Cup. We’ll go fishing on Smith Mountain Lake by my house. It is also a way to get updates on videos, photos and my thoughts. It’s like Twitter but with texting. So text “Dudley” to 66782. And your personal information will never be given out.

Q: What is your most productive technique for scouting bass on a lake you’re not familar with?
— Anonymous (, )
A: You have to take the time of year into consideration, the season the bass are in geographically and follow your instincts from there. It’s hard to say. The first thing I always consider is the stage they are in – prespawn, spawn or post-spawn. Once I determine what that is, then I go looking for areas that will fit that stage the fish are in – because that’s where you’re going to find them.

Q: Have you found a situation where the Alabama rig doesn’t work? Will it work on the Potomac around the grass?
— Nick (Knoxville, Tenn.)
A: I’ve heard it doesn’t work as good on blueback herring lakes, but I’m still in the learning stage with the bait myself. I’m only four months into this process, so I don’t have the experience under my belt to answer that question truthfully. I haven’t fished the Potomac yet this year. I’ll be trying it soon on the Virginia side, but I won’t know until then.

Q: Why are all the Beaver Lake tournaments won from the Prairie Creek area?
— Sam (Fort Smith, Ark.)
A: Because the Prairie Creek part of the lake typically holds a lot more baitfish and has a variety of structure – more structure than most areas of the lake.

Q: Should I pick you for the FLW Fantasy Fishing event at the Potomac River?
— Matt (Minnetonka, Minn.)
A: All I can say is follow your instincts.

Q: Who makes the most excuses on Tour? Come on Dudley, we all know how much you hate bass pros and their excuses. Let’s hear it!
— Chris (Roanoke, Va.)
A: Man, you’re putting me on the spot. I’m not typically at the weigh-in listening to people when they’re at the stage. But my good buddy Dave Lefebre always seems to lose fish during tournaments. I’ve never seen somebody lose so many fish on tournament days.

Q: I am considering fishing the FLW Tour Majors or Opens in 2013. It seems that due to a lot of the locals, the competition is tougher in the Opens than in the Majors. Do you agree or do you feel cashing a check in the Majors is just as difficult?
— Jeremy Limerick (Punxsutawney, Pa.)
A: The cream of the crop will typically rise to the top. But local anglers tend to have a better advantage when they’re sitting on precise structure out deep. When fish are shallow, there is no local advantage. These guys don’t need any help catching bass in shallow-water tournaments.

Q: Do you have a single go-to bait for the summer when bass are hard to catch?
— Anonymous (, )
A: I like a Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper in green pumpkin rigged on a shaky head or a drop-shot.

Q: David, what do you do when a bass wraps you up in cover?
— Kevin Towery (Metropolis, Ill.)
A: A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. If that means jumping in head first past your midsection, that’s what I’m going to do. Most of my drive comes from providing for my family, so a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

Q: What types of structure/cover were you looking for on Beaver lake to throw the umbrella rig? Also, how do you decide how deep to fish it?
— Anonymous (, )
A: I was looking for 67-degree banks with at least nine pieces of standing timber and wind did not seem to make a difference. As a fisherman, you’ve always got to pay attention to where your bites are coming from and where they’re not coming from. You’re constantly paying attention to different depths and letting the fish tell you what they want. Always be versatile in your search for bass.

Q: What info would you give someone who wanted to start fishing FLW events? I’m 18 and was wondering which circuits were better for me to start with.
— Aaron Funk (Nevada, Mo.)
A: FLW has every level to train you up to become a professional. The best way to train yourself is not to fish your local division, but instead fish a nearby division. Because if you just keep fishing the same lake, you’re not going to learn anything.

Q: David, I have read where you do not get too deep into pre-fishing. Do you keep your bait selection simple as well and just use the basic colors?
— Michael Galcik (Schuylerville, N.Y.)
A: My color selection is very simple. I like green pumpkin or watermelon when its sunny. I like green pumpkin and watermelon when its cloudy. I like green pumpkin and watermelon with the barometric pressure dropping … ha ha ha. Do you get my drift?

Q: David, I’m a big fan. What is your favorite lake in Arkansas to fish and what is your favorite pattern on that lake?
— Joshua Schmidt (Cabot, Ark.)
A: Lake Ouachita has been very good to me over the years. Whatever suits your style, you can find a way to fit it. My favorite pattern depends on the time of the year, but I like video gaming with a drop-shot out deep.

Q: Would you say that you are easy for a co-angler to fish with?
— William Price (Blacksburg, Va.)
A: I always have a great time with my co-anglers. Typically during tournaments I’m pretty dialed in so it does make it tougher for the co-angler in the back. But I would hope at the end of the day they can see my decisions and my approach and find value in that.

Q: If you could put two baits in your tackle box what would they be?
— Ethan Sleeman (Stanley, N.Y.)
A: I would say a squarebill crankbait and a shaky head.

Q: Dave, you’ve been on top for a while now. In your opinion, what separates you from all the other great anglers on tour today?
— Kevin Thomas (Miramar, Fla.)
A: The mental toughness and the decision making is what seperates good anglers from average anglers.

Q: Which FLW Tour stop are you looking forward to the most and why?
— Wesley (Statesboro, Ga.)
A: It would have to be the Potomac River. It’s a special fishery for me as I grew up fishing there as a kid and have a lot of good memories. I also love me some shallow-water grass fishing.

Q: David how do you handle fishing failures on those days when you just can’t catch `em?
— Kevin Towery (Metropolis, Ill.)
A: In life you always have to learn from your mistakes. Failures should always be seen as a positive. Take what you learned from that day and go out there the next with a positive attitude.

Q: What is your favorite technique for post-spawn bass in clear lakes?
— Joshua Schmidt (Cabot, Ark.)
A: I would probably say a wacky worm. It looks like an easy, slow-moving meal that they can gobble up without much effort.

Q: Would you recommend flipping a shakey head on docks during the spawn?
— Abercrombie (Hobucken, N.C.)
A: Yes, that can be a very powerful technique. But I would target the shallow side of the docks during the course of the day.

Q: Do you have any tips for fishing Smith Mountain Lake during the post-spawn?
— John (Roanoke, Va.)
A: Fish the outside edges of the boat docks and look for deep-water perch beds.

Q: What is the best way to deal with “claim jumpers,” short of throwing an anchor overboard and filing a protest at weigh-in time?
— Chris Walworth (Lagrange, Ind.)
A: This is a growing sport and there are more and more tournament anglers entering every year. So the truth is that we’re going to be faced with this more and more. The best advice I can give you is to have more than one spot for a tournament.

Q: David, how much stock do you put into pre-fishing for a tournament? I seem to find fish in practice only to have to scrap the whole thing on tournament day and start fresh anyway. What advice can you offer for a productive practice? Thanks.
— Jeffrey Bullinger (Sapulpa, Okla.)
A: When it comes to deep-water fishing, prefishing can do you some good. But when fish are in shallow-water stages I tend not to prefish as much as weather conditions change the fish dramatically. My suggestion is to limit your practice time during shallow-water tournaments.

Q: I heard you give sight-fishing classes. I would like to know how to get in on this rare experience.
— Abercrombie (Hobucken, N.C.)
A: Visit my website, to learn more.

Q (MODERATOR): I saw on your website that you offer fishing trips where you coach people in their on-the-water decisions and prepare them mentally. Can you provide some more details?
A: It’s a trip where I teach anglers how to be mentally strong in their decision making on the water. I prepare them in their approach for all fishing techniques. I sharpen their skills on cranking, sight-fishing and reading their graphs, etc. I knew how much it meant to me when my dad, who was so mentally strong, went out of his way to teach me so I want to carry that on and help other anglers.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in tournaments on most lakes this year? Here on Kentucky Lake it seems miserable this year and a few pros even commented yesterday that the lake feels like Guntersville with all the boat traffic.
— Mike Russell (Benton, K.Y.)
A: Yes, I’ve noticed the increase in participation in fishing in general. It’s understandable why there are more anglers out there because this is the most fun sport in the world.
Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have to chat with David Dudley today. Thanks, once again, to all the fans who tuned in and participated in today’s Reel Chat. And a special thanks to David Dudley, the recent FLW Tour winner on Beaver Lake, for giving us his time and insights into bass fishing. Check back shortly for a complete transcript of today’s FLW Live Reel Chat.