FLW Tournament winner David Dudley poses with his family after taking home the $125,000 first prize last weekend.
They came, they fished, they caught ‘em. The final FLW Major fishing tournament of 2012 concluded last weekend on Lake Champlain with outstanding results. The competitors caught bags and bags of five fish limits and dozens of 20-pound stringers, the bench mark of a great day of bass fishing. Hang around any group of pro fisherman very long and the “dock talk” soon turns to how many 20-pound limits were caught in practice. Seldom does the hype turn into reality. Instead, the after tournament talk is usually all about how many big ones were lost and where did the fish all disappear to. Last weekend, however, the talk around the FLW Fun Zone on Saturday and Sunday at the Plattsburgh State Field House was all about how great the fishing was and how many big bags of fish were caught. One would have to wonder who really got caught, the fish or the fisherman, as many of the pros spoke about how they couldn’t wait until next year and a return to Plattsburgh.
As he expected (along with many tournament insiders) David Dudley won the tournament taking home the $125,000 grand prize along with another $100,000 for his third FLW angler of the year championship.
Not bad for a week’s work.
There is no fisherman on the circuit more competitive than David Dudley; he’s often quoted that “second place is the first loser” even though second place paid Jacob Powroznik a shade over $29,000. I would take second place any day! Not David, “Never be satisfied” is his working motto.
But, then again you have to know David. He comes by his competitiveness naturally. His dad, James, was a very successful Mid-Atlantic tournament fisherman, bringing David to tournaments as a youngster. I remember James approaching me at a Bass-a-rama Fishing Show in Richmond, Va. when David was 16, encouraging me to sign David to a pro contract. Really, at 16? Well, after meeting David and realizing his passion for the sport, I did offer him a contract, but he didn’t accept because it wasn’t large enough and to his credit he accepted a contract with my competitor for the same money because he was already using their products.
You just knew he was going to be good. He’s a natural and has great fishing instincts. His competitors say he has a lucky horseshoe hidden somewhere on his body. Heck, I think he’s part fish. Two years ago, I was paired with David in a tournament. Things weren’t going well, fishing was tough and we weren’t getting bites. Then, all at once David decides to put the trolling motor on high, pulled up to a tree stump, cast, and bang! He catches a 6-pound largemouth. He zooms to another spot and bang! I catch a 3- pounder and he catches another keeper. As I said, I think he’s part fish.
To his credit he is a wonderful father to five young Dudley’s. The family often comes to the tournaments and helps hold the big checks and trophies. He kept them busy at Plattsburgh last weekend. Me, I was looking behind the kid’s ears for their gills.
The 2012 Forrest Wood cup presented by Wal Mart will be the next tournament and will be held Aug. 9-12 at Lake Lanier in Duluth, GA. Don’t be surprised if David is holding another trophy supported by the little Dudley’s. For those wanting to watch the FLW TV presentation of this tournament, tune in on Aug. 26 to NBC Sports channel at 1 p.m.
Howard Hammonds is a guide and experienced bass fisherman living in Westport. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.