June 22, 2008
KNOXVILLE –Team Castrol pro David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., caught a final-round total of 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 11 ounces to win $125,000 in the $1 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour event presented by BP on Fort Loudoun-Tellico Lakes. Dudley topped his closest rival, Team National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., by 1 pound, 4 ounces to earn the win and 200 points toward qualifying for the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup in Columbia, S.C., where the winner will earn as much as $1 million – the biggest award in bass fishing – Aug. 14-17.
“This win means a lot because I won it in a way that I used to think was my biggest weakness, which is deep cranking,” said Dudley, who is fourth on professional bass fishing’s all-time money winning list with more than $2.5 million. “In the past two years, I’ve learned a ton about deep cranking and deep-water fishing, and it has become an obsession with me.”
Dudley said he relied on the baits that had produced for him on his key spot during the previous three days of competition – a 10-inch green-pumpkin Berkley PowerWorm and a deep-diving custom-painted blueback herring-colored crankbait.
Dudley focused his efforts on the final day of competition on a ledge on the upper end of Fort Loudoun Lake that had current sweeping across it. The ledge featured a clean bottom with large rocks on it, and Dudley said he caught seven to 10 keepers off of the ledge Sunday.
“Everything I weighed in came off of that ledge,” Dudley said. “I moved around and let it rest up and fished around and went back and fished it again and then let it rest some more.”
Even though Dudley had fished the ledge with crankbaits previously in the week, he returned to it Sunday and fished it slowly to maximize his catch. Dudley said he fished the PowerWorm slowly and methodically to catch his winning limit.
“When the crankbait bite is on, it means there’s a lot of competition between the fish and you get a quicker bite,” Dudley said. “But as the week went on, I had to go to the dragging-type baits because there weren’t as many fish on it, so there wasn’t a competitive mood, so I had to talk them into biting with slow baits.”
Dudleyopened the tournament Thursday in second place with five bass weighing 20-02. He moved to first place Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 15 pounds, 12 ounces to advance into the final round of 10 pros with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 35 pounds, 14 ounces. On Saturday, weights were cleared, and Dudley caught five bass weighing 14-9 to advance to the final day of competition in second place. Dudley added another five bass weighing 15-02 to his final-round total Sunday.
Martin caught a final-round total of 10 bass weighing 28-7 to claim second place and $50,000.
“I caught some fish shallow earlier during the week, but then the water started fluctuating a lot,” Martin said. “When that happened, I pretty much lost confidence in it.”
Martin said he caught some big fish shallow on the first morning of competition on a Spro Little John crankbait and some fish deep on deep-diving crankbaits. Martin focused his efforts on the final two days of competition on a point on the main river he found during practice, and managed to catch his limits despite losing a few fish. The river point would produce quick smallmouth catches for Martin, and then he would relocate to look for bigger largemouth.
“I fished the smallmouth spot until about 10 a.m. this morning, and then I was through with the smallmouth hole,” Martin said. “I had three fish off of it and then went looking for largemouth. About 2 p.m., I hit a school of largemouth on a deep-diving plug and caught five in a row and basically came in after that.”
Martin said the key to his crankbait success during the week was his setup – a 7-foot, 8-inch Kistler Magnesium rod, Abu Garcia Revo reel and 10-pound-test fluorocarbon line. Martin claimed that setup let him make accurate casts at “crazy long” distances.
Rounding out the top 10 pros were Art Ferguson of St. Clair Shores, Mich. (nine bass, 26-13, $40,000); Brandon Coulter of Knoxville (nine bass, 25 pounds, 11 ounces, $30,000); Hank Cherry of Maiden, N.C., (10 bass, 21 pounds, 10 ounces, $20,000); Team Prilosec OTC pro Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., (10 bass, 21 pounds, 6 ounces, $19,000); Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., (10 bass, 19 pounds, 15 ounces, $18,000); Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn. (10 bass, 18 pounds, 12 ounces, $17,000); Jerry Green of Del Rio, Texas (eight bass, 16 pounds, 05 ounces, $16,000) and Team National Guard pro Ramie Colson of Cadiz, Ky., (seven bass, 10 pounds, 6 ounces, $15,000).
Overall there were 47 bass weighing 117 pounds, 5 ounces caught in the Pro Division Sunday. The catch included eight five-bass limits.
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On Saturday, Barry Isbell of Trussville, Ala., won the Co-angler Division and $25,000 with three bass weighing 9 pounds, 9 ounces followed by Team Berkley co-angler Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., in second place with five bass weighing 9-04 worth $10,000.
Isbell opened the tournament in 19th place Thursday with four bass weighing 7-11 while fishing with pro Danny Correia of Marlborough, Mass. On Friday he jumped into fifth place on the strength of a five-bass catch weighing 10-06 while fishing with Greg Bohannan of Rogers, Ark. He wrapped up his win while fishing with Green.
“This is awesome,” said Isbell, who earned his first win on the FLW Tour. “I’ve been working on it a long time. It really, really feels good to achieve it. These guys are tough out here.”
Isbell said a drop-shot rig tipped with a Purple Winnie-colored Jackall Cross Tail Shad sealed the deal for him on the final day of competition. Isbell rigged his drop-shot with 20-pound braided line and an 8-pound-test leader.
“Jerry had an awesome spot on the river that was a 100-yard stretch that we were fishing,” Isbell said. “They didn’t seem to want his Carolina rig today, and I just pitched over there with the drop-shot right on the rock pile and caught the big one. They just wanted something finessy.
“Actually, I went to go net a fish for Jerry, and when I got back to my rod, the big one was on it,” Isbell added. “That’s kind of how my day went. It was one of those golden days. I couldn’t do any wrong.”
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are Jim Campbell of Maryville, Tenn. (three bass, 6-15, $9,000); Shawn Carnahan of Chandler, Ariz. (four bass, 6-07, $8,000); Dirk Davenport of Delaware, Ohio (two bass, 3-15, $7,000); Dennis Price Jr. of Tinley Park, Ill. (two bass, 3-00, $6,000); Brian Gage of Gray, Tenn. (two bass, 2-03, $5,000); Kyle Lane of Clarkrange, Tenn. (zero bass, 0-00, $4,000); Doug Weiser of Springdale, Ark. (zero bass, 0-00, $3,000) and Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala. (zero bass, 0-00, $2,000).
Overall there were 21 bass weighing 41 pounds, 5 ounces caught in the Co-angler Division Saturday. The catch included one five-bass limit.
Coverage of the Fort Loudoun-Tellico Lakes tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Aug. 10 and 17 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.
The next $1.5 million FLW Tour stop, the Chevy Open, will be held on the Detroit River in Detroit, Mich., July 10-13.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.