Reel Chat with DAVID DUDLEY - Major League Fishing

Reel Chat with DAVID DUDLEY

Dudley shares his thoughts on winning the 2012 FLW Tour Angler of the Year award, reveals his go-to crankbait and chimes in on the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup
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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.
July 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 Lake Champlain.

Dudley is coming off one of the biggest fishing events of his entire career. Not only did Dudley take home the tournament title at the most recent FLW Tour Major at Lake Champlain, but he also made history by clinching the 2012 FLW Tour Angler of the Year crown, becoming the only competitor in FLW history to capture the AOY title in back-to-back years. In addition, Dudley now boasts three FLW Tour AOY titles (tied for the record with Clark Wendlandt), 36 top-10 finishes at FLW-related events, three FLW Tour titles as well as one Forrest Wood Cup victory. Dudley also remains the all-time FLW money leader, surpassing $3 million in career earnings since he began fishing FLW events back in 1995.

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

Q: David, how does your recent Lake Champlain win stack up against some of the other victories in your career?
— Titus Song (New York, N.Y.)
A: They’re all special in their own way. It’s like having multiple children and saying which child was the better child. Every win is very, very special in its own way.

Q: What does it feel like to win the FLW Tour Angler of the Year title in back-to-back seasons? How big of an accomplishment is that for you?
— John Stebbins (San Diego, CA)
A: You know, I’ve always said if there’s not a record out there, I want to make one. If there is a record, I always want to break it. So, to win these titles back-to-back feels great. It really feels good to do something that nobody else has ever done.

Q: At what point in the Champlain event did you realize that you had a really good chance to win the tournament?
— Jim Interlandi (Chicago, IL)
A: After the first day of catching 24 pounds. When I caught that big bag that first day I knew I was on something special. Catching 24 pounds in a northern fishery is just an exceptional bag – that rarely happens. I knew that first day would give me enough of a cushion the next three days in case I slipped up.

Q: Could you elaborate on the successful patterns/strategy you employed on Lake Champlain?
— Pat Zak (Oakland, CA)
A: The first day I was fishing out deep for largemouth with finesse techniques. The second day I realized that the south wind caused the water to rise, which made my deep fish move. So I went shallow and followed the fish up to the bank over the course of the next three days fishing a wacky worm.

Q: I know you’re pretty good friends with Jacob Powroznik. So, were you worried at all about him catching you during the last few days of the Champlain tournament with both the event title and AOY race on the line?
— Pat Zak (Oakland, CA)
A: He’s got a better track record at Lake Champlain than I did so I knew he was going to be a tough hurdle to overcome.

Q: I believe you’re on the only angler to have surpassed $3 million in FLW career earnings. Are you amazed by the amount of success you’ve had over the years because in many respects, it’s virtually unparalleled.
— Thomas Suk (Minnetonka, MN)
A: When I look back at when I first started fishing tournaments and look at what I accomplished now, it far surpasses anything I could have envisioned fishing on the FLW Tour.

Q: What do you think your chances are at winning the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup?
— Jon Pageler (Napa, CA)
A: I feel really good about it. That’s one tournament that’s been eating at my craw. The last time we were there I finished 11th and just missed the top-10 cut. So that’s fuel for the fire for me. I’m out for revenge. And I feel real comfortable at this lake.

Q: How do you think Lake Lanier is going to fish during this year’s Cup? I know it’s taking place late summer, so does that make the fishing a little bit more tricky than usual?
— E.J. Gong (Seattle, WA)
A: Summertime fishing is just tough anywhere you go. Fishing is always going to be down relatively to what the lake’s potential is. But it’s a big lake and we should be really spread out. So that’s good. And I’m really looking forward to it. This lake is full of spotted bass and largemouth and in order to win, I think it’s going to be won by a mixture of both species. To win on Lanier, over the course of four days, you’re going to need both largemouth and spotted bass.

Q: Have you ever been fishing in Colorado?
— Art Maestas (Brighton, Colo.)
A: Yes. I can say it’s one of the best trout fishing trips I’ve ever been on. I was just fishing streams and rivers out there, and it’s one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been to.

Q: What is your go-to crankbait?
— Brian Taylor (Oakley, Calif.)
A: In the spring and fall, it’s the Sebile Flat Shad.

Q: Hey David, what baits would you recommend for for finesse fishing around grass in places as such as the Potomac River, besides a Senko?
— P.J. Pahygiannis (Olney, Md.)
A: Probably a Berkley Havoc Rocket Craw – it’s a smaller size crawdad imitation bait that the fish just can’t ignore when it’s put in front of their nose.

Q: Have you ever gone out on the water with all your tackle and just relied solely on instincts and your gut feelings when it came to throwing different lures during a tournament?
— P.J. Pahygiannis (Olney, Md.)
A: In the last five years I’ve made it a point to have a boat that’s equipped for every situation so my instincts are allowed to overtake the situation and not be trumped by not having the tackle in my boat.

Q: Congrats on your win. I’m having trouble trying to learn how to cast a baitcaster like the pros use. I’m constantly breaking 15-pound braided line and losing lures while casting. I think I have the adjustments right on the reel but do you have any tips on what I’m doing wrong?
— Justin Fowler (Port Leyden, N.Y.)
A: When using braid, use less of a whipping action versue a smooth action. With braid you have to use a continuous smooth motion. With fluorocarbon you can use more of a whipping motion but with braid you should try a continous smooth casting motion.

Q: David, congratulations on your win! I fish a northern lake like Champlain where the smallmouth inhabit the cabbage weeds in the summer, but they are so tough to catch. How would you go about catching them?
— Liam Campbell (Albany, N.Y.)
A: Once you have located a patch of cabbage weeds holding smallmouth, make long-distance casts so you can increase your number of bites. Hit them with the element of surprise.

Q: Congrats on AOY times two! What an awesome accomplishment. What would you say is the biggest “ah ha” moment you’ve had in your fishing career?
— Jim Hartman (Linden, MI)
A: It’s hard to put my finger on one moment but recently it was at Lake Champlain when the water rose and I realized that the fish had moved shallow. And that realization pretty much allowed me to win that tournament.

Q: I read recently that maybe some of your past successes “went to your head.” What do you know now that will prevent that from happening in the future?
— Dave Fuerst (Saint Charles, IL)
A: Don’t read about yourself. What I’ve done is to make a point not to listen to too much talk about how I am as a fisherman. Reading about yourself, whether negative or positive, always has an effect on you as an angler. So I just don’t read about myself at all these days.

Q: David, I see the text Dudley to 66782 on your boat at the tournaments. What is that all about?
— John (Farquhar, MD)
A: It’s a way to keep up and follow me similar to Twitter but through texting. It’s also a way to win an all-expense-paid fishing trip with me at Smith Mountain Lake. The winner will be announced at the Forrest Wood Cup.

Q: David what kind of ledge structure do you look for when pre-fishing for a Tennessee River lake in the summertime? And can you always see the fish on your electronics when you’re fishing a spot?
— Matt (Sheffield, Al)
A: When I’m fishing the Tennessee River I’m not looking for structure when ledge structure is in play. I look for fish and fish only. I don’t look for anything in particular on the ledges themselves, I’m just looking for fish on my depth-finder.

Q: When facing a difficult time or few hours on the water with so much on the line, what goes through your mind and how do approach the remaining hours in a tournament?
— Dave Fuerst (Saint Charles, IL)
A: Different people handle pressure in different ways. For me, the best thing to do is eliminate having pressure at all. For example, I don’t keep my clock on the boat. If I don’t have a clock, I don’t have to worry about the time. You have to live in the moment and ignore the pressure whenever you can.

Q: If you saw a co-angler at the marina on practice day would you let him practice with you?
— Timothy Newell (Jamestown, N.Y.)
A: Rules only allow co-anglers who are participatiing in the tournament to practice. I have a co-angler practice partner already but there are lots of pros who will be willing to take you in their boat if you wait down by the ramp. I’ve done it in the past, but I’m kind of locked into my practice partner right now.

Q: I’m trying to get sponsored. I’d like to know what would be a good place to try first?
— Josiah Powell (Charlestown, Ind.)
A: Sponsors are always looking for a good public image, they want somebody who can speak well and are able to hold up their end of the bargain on the fishing end of things.

Q: What does “Never Be Satisfied” mean to you? How do you apply it to your approach to life and fishing?
— Dave Fuert (Saint Charles, IL)
A: To me, the statement, “Never be satisified,” means that there is always room for improvement. Once you’re satisfied you’re basically flatling and you might as well be dead with regard to your personal growth. P.S. Never be satisfied with you fishing rods either.

Q: How do you feel about the new apparel for protecting your face and chin from the sun? Just wondering because we haven’t seen you wear it yet and some of the other anglers have.
— Abercrombie (Hobucken, NC)
A: I haven’t had a chance to voice my opinion yet on this subject but you should try it living in Hobucken, N.C.

Q: Hey David, outside of being sponsored by Abu Garcia what makes the Veritas and Verdict your rod of choice? What advantages do the longer rod lengths give you in terms of your fishing style?
— Dave Fuerst (Saint Charles, IL)
A: With both brands of rods I have found the actions to be perfect. I can set the hook hard and they are sensitive enough to allow me to feel the bites I need to win angler of the year. P.S. I’ll try to send you one so you can try it out.

Q: Given what appeared to be your random approach to catching fish on Champlain (using your instincts to change up techniques) what do you think the reason the fish were holding in that area and responding to your varying presentations?
— Dave Fuerst (Saint Charles, IL)
A: With the water rising, I knew the fish would head towards the banks. When I went to the bank to see if my instincts were right, I was rewarded with enough bass to win the tournament.

Q: David, how did you find such quality fish in a short amount of time on Lake Champlain?
— Russ Nixon (Lynchburg, VA)
A: Russ, nothing beats experience on the water. Understanding bass movements plays the biggest role in finding fish quickly.

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 Lake Champlain and 2012 FLW Tour Angler of the Year, for giving us his time and insights into bass fishing.