David Dudley, Professional Fisherman, BHS Class of 1993
Updated 4/9/09

David's website:
www.daviddudley.com
More About David & His Family 
Click here for some interesting notes and statistics about David's career

David Dudley - The Closer - Part 1 - December 2008
An in-depth look at why David Dudley is one of the best in bass fishing.

 

David Dudley Wins 2008 FLW Angler Of The Year!
  July 11, 2008


5 TIME WINNER ON THE FLW TOUR AND 2 TIME WINNER ON THE BASSMASTER TOUR.
OVER $2 million in WINNINGS!


2008 Wal-Mart FLW Highlights
1st place! - Fort Loudoun-Tellico Lakes 6/19/08

2007 Wal-Mart FLW Tour Event Highlights:
8th Place - Forest Wood Cup - 8/2/07

2nd Place - Potomac River Competition 6/14/07
16th Place - Beaver Lake Competition 5/17/07
24th Place - Lake Norman Competition 4/26/07
11th Place - Fort Loudoun-Tellico Lakes 3/29/07

Winner of Virginia CITGO Bassmaster Open at Smith Mtn. Lake - October 2004
FLW Outdoors Angler Profile on David Dudley

FLW Outdoors Photo Album for David Dudley
Million Dollar Man - FLW Outdoors Article - October 2003
Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championships - September 2003
 

A cut above at the M1
by Rob Newell - 7.Mar.2002
2002 Ranger M1 winner David Dudley of Manteo, N.C. How David Dudley won the big fishing tournament – and $700,000 – with his chainsaw

On Sunday, Feb. 24, while practicing for the Ranger M1, David Dudley walked around the bank of a backwater pond on the Mobile River. Unbeknownst to him, $700,000 dollars worth of largemouth bass swam about in the small lake.

Dudley was walking the bank because the tiny creek that connected the backwater pond with the main river was completely impassable in a boat. Although the narrow creek was deep enough for a boat, huge downed trees criss-crossed the ditch from bank to bank. At some point a storm, or perhaps a tornado, had pushed six or seven trees down, ensnarling the length of the ditch with a horizontal forest.

When Dudley encountered the wooden barriers that Sunday, his curiosity festered. He wanted to know the origin of the blocked creek. At that point, he got out of his boat and began exploring on foot.

Initially, Dudley discounted the backwater. From shore, the lake looked ideal for bass, but it was nearly 90 miles from takeoff and the miniature forest that rested across the only entrance would take a logging crew to remove.

But after two more days of fruitless practice, visions of 4-pound bass began dancing in Dudley's head. And in Dudley's imagination, those bass lived in the impassable pond.

First attempt: unsuccessful

At daylight on Tuesday, the last day of practice, Dudley set out to do the unthinkable – cut his way into the small pond. Armed with a chainsaw, he began his long journey up the river.

Dudley spent the day wading in 50-degree water sawing and removing logs from the ditch. Then his progress came to a sudden halt.

That last major log that guarded the slough was the biggest. As Dudley sawed into the massive piece of timber, it pinched his saw and broke the chain. Fortunately, Dudley had a spare chain with him. But as he was repairing the saw, he dropped the flat blade (sometimes called the bar) into the creek.

“You might say my temper was running a bit hot by then,” admits Dudley, now that the adventure is over. “I was almost to the lake, and due to my own stupidity, I dropped the blade in the water. The only alternative was to swim for it.”

So Dudley, previously wet only from the waist down, now submerged himself into the chilling water to feel around on the bottom with his bare hands. “The water was pretty cold but I did not feel it. I guess because I was so mad,” he now laughs.

After an hour of searching, a thoroughly disgusted Dudley was unsuccessful in recovering the blade. Dudley knew he could still use a saw in the tournament, however, he would not be allowed to get out of his boat.

“So at that point, I just started moving logs with my bare hands. I knew I had to get the slough clear enough to do my final cutting from the boat. So I cleared the creek of smaller logs on both sides of the big log.”

So absorbed and exhausted from his efforts, Dudley nearly missed registration on Tuesday night. “I got to registration at 5:50, only ten minutes to spare,” he adds.

Second attempt: unsuccessful

While most anglers prepared tackle on Tuesday night, Dudley repaired his chainsaw for the next day's adventure.

On Wednesday morning, Dudley again made the 90-mile voyage to his untapped, yet still unproven, backwater pond. When he got to the giant log, he brandished his renewed chainsaw and revved it up for action.

“Now bear in mind, I am no Paul Bunyan. I don't know much about cutting big logs,” says Dudley about what happened next. “The behemoth tree again pinched the blade and chain – permanently. The chainsaw was stuck, and I mean stuck solid. I thought I was mad the day before; this time smoke shot out of my ears.”

Dudley was forced into emergency chainsaw removal maneuvers. He unscrewed the motor portion of the saw from blade assembly and left the pinched chain and blade in the stubborn tree.

Qualifying with an overlooked pattern

Now that Dudley had wasted at least an hour of valuable fishing time on a failed plan, he needed a backup area. He ran back down to an easily accessible oxbow lake he had practiced in. He was not excited to find four boats already making the rounds on the primary stretches of cover.

Dudley managed to recompose himself and catch two 3-pound bass. But it was his co-angler that really tipped him off to an overlooked pattern. “My co-angler lost two big fish that day. While I was pitching the deeper bushes and trees, he would pitch up into about eight inches of water and wham – a big fish would bite. When I returned to a shallow twig where he had lost one earlier, I got a bite, too. Then it hit me, the fish were spawning and nobody in the oxbow realized it.”

On day two Dudley mounted the scales with a catch of 15 pounds, 11 ounces from the backup oxbow pond.Dudley's new discovery temporarily relieved him from his role as a lumberjack. On day two Dudley mounted the scales with a catch of 15 pounds, 11 ounces from the backup oxbow pond.

According to Dudley, his competition in the lake was focused exclusively on the deeper bushes and laydowns. But two days of bright sun, calm water, and a full moon had the fish spawning in the shallower unfished pockets of the oxbow.

“I know it sounds crazy because the water temperature was in the low 50s but that is what the fish were doing – spawning. Several times I missed a fish and would come back a few minutes later and catch her. It was like blind sight-fishing.”

Dudley visited the oxbow again on the third day and managed 9 pounds, 11 ounces to qualify for the finals.

Going for all the chips

After qualifying, Dudley had a decision to make: stay in the oxbow or gamble on removing the obstinate log to fish somewhere that he knew nothing about. “One thing is for sure, I was not going to let that log whip me again,” says Dudley. “I went to Wal-Mart, and not only bought a new chain and blade for my old saw, but I brought a brand new Poulan chain saw. Now I had a backup if that log ate my saw again.”

When day four dawned at takeoff, Dudley noticed that the water was up higher than it had been. With that observation, he decided to lay it on the line and go for all the chips – wood chips, that is.

Dudley celebrates his $700,000 M1 victory. (Photo by Jeff Schroeder)Third time's a charm

Now the M1 is history. Dudley finally won his battle with the big log by sawing his way into the untapped backwater. In doing so, he won the tournament.

The 4-pounders, which had danced in Dudley's head earlier in the week, manifested into a catch of 15 pounds, 15 ounces, the heaviest stringer of the entire tournament.

Much could be said for Dudley's raw determination, but in retrospect, Dudley says that not getting in the lake earlier in the week was a blessing in disguise. “It was not a very big place. If I had gotten in there on the first day, I might have fished it out over three days and had nothing left on day four. By keeping me out, that ol' log did me a huge favor; it made me save the best spot for when it really counted.”
 


Statistics and other Miscellaneous Information
As of December 2007
World rankings for David Dudley (from www.bassfan.com )

2007   6th
2006   25th
2005  49th
2004  34th
2003  8th
2002  7th
2001  11th
2000  15th
1999  9th

1998  28th
1997  6th

(There are only 175 professionals in the world. You have to maintain a top 75 position every year to re-qualify, like golf.

Records set by David Dudley:
- youngest to ever fish the BASSMASTERS CLASSIC, AGE 19
- youngest to ever fish in the FLW CHAMPIONSHIP, AGE 21
- youngest to ever win a professional tournament BASSMASTERS, AGE 19
- ranked in top 10 of final round advances
- youngest to ever reach the 1 million dollar mark in tournament winnings
- quickest to ever reach the 1 million dollar mark
  
(THERE ARE ABUT ONLY 7 PEOPLE IN THE WORLD TO HAVE DONE THIS)

Publications David appeared in during 2002:
   7 national magazines featured articles on David
   7 TV shows featured on David ESPN, PAX, OLN.
   
Links
www.daviddudley.com  (on this site you can find a link to my stats)
www.nagsheadfishing.com

Information provided by David Dudley