Dudley in the Driver’s Seat
COLUMBIA, S.C. – In the field of 45 pros hoping to raise the trophy at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Capital City/Lake Murray Country, five have enjoyed that magical moment before. After a strong day-one performance, Castrol pro David Dudley is looking a lot like a man on a mission for No. 2.Weighing in a first-round limit of 17 pounds, 14 ounces, Dudley took an early lead and held off all challengers to finish atop the field by a margin of 3-5.As expected, definitive patterns remained elusive. Very few anglers stuck exclusively with shallow or deep patterns, and Dudley was not among them.
“I went deep and shallow. I think everybody is doing that. I’m mixing it up,” he says. “I have no idea where the next bite is coming from. I’m just flying by the seat of my pants and trying to stay focused.”
Dudley, whose biggest fish went about 4 1/4 pounds, explained that dialing in the timing of his shallow and deep efforts was a work in progress.
“That’s kind of what I was checking today,” he says. “Even though this was a tournament day, today was kind of a practice day. I spent today trying to figure out when I do need to stay shallow and when I need to stay deep.
“I went deep during a certain time of the day. I didn’t get bit, so then I went shallow and got bit,” he continues. “It was a process of trying to figure out the timing. I don’t have it down pat, but today I learned a lot about what I need to do more of.”
Dudley didn’t reveal his specific baits, but he noted that he needed three different lures to secure his limit.
He hit approximately 40 spots and nabbed seven keepers. Offshore, Dudley fished as deep as 30 feet, and on the bank, he targeted a variety of shallow cover.
“These bass aren’t holding on any particular cover,” he explains. “They’re just kind of roaming around. You just hope to collide with them. It may be in between docks. It may be on the dock. It may be some other place. You’re just going shallow trying to find them.”
Dudley says that while he doesn’t plan to return to any of his shallow spots on day two, he will revisit some of his deep structure. He’s hoping to expand on his day-one success – a satisfying way to open the tournament.
“In the Forrest Wood Cup, you need to come out strong,” Dudley says. “If you look at the history of this event, everybody who’s won always has one exceptional day.”
Of his potential to win another title, Dudley appears poised to do whatever it takes: “I’ve always said, ‘Never be satisfied.’ I’ve won one, but if you keep that attitude of never be satisfied, you’re always going to be climbing the mountain.”
Check back soon for a full report from the rest of the top five.
Day-One Top 10
1st Place – David Dudley – 17 pounds, 14 ounces
2nd Place (tie) – Cody Meyer – 14 pounds, 9 ounces
2nd Place (tie) – Bryan Thrift – 14 pounds, 9 ounces
4th Place – Brad Knight – 13 pounds, 7 ounces
5th Place – Scott Martin – 13 pounds, 6 ounces
6th Place – Brent Ehrler – 13 pounds, 5 ounces
7th Place – Anthony Gagliardi – 13 pounds, 2 ounces
8th Place – Andy Morgan – 12 pounds, 10 ounces
9th Place – Jacob Wheeler – 12 pounds, 5 ounces
10th Place – Barry Wilson – 11 pounds, 8 ounces
For complete results, click here.
In the Forrest Wood Cup, 45 pros and co-anglers from the Walmart FLW Tour, Rayovac FLW Series, Walmart Bass Fishing League, FLW College Fishing and The Bass Federation are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field competes in the two-day opening round. After day two, a co-angler champion is crowned and the pro field is pared to the top 20. After Saturday’s weigh-in, the pro field is cut to the top 10. A pro champ is crowned on Sunday, with a $500,000 prize paid to the winner.
For More Coverage
For those who can’t catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.
In addition to FLW Live, FLWOutdoors.com and ForrestWoodCup.com offer real-time updates from the water.
Forrest Wood Cup Event Information
Location: Dreher Island State Park, 3677 State Park Road, Prosperity, S.C.
Time: 6:30 a.m. Takeoff Show; 7 a.m. takeoff
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Colonial Life Arena, 801 Lincoln Street, Columbia, S.C.
Date: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15-18
Location: Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln Street, Columbia, S.C.
Time: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Check out all that FLW has in store at the FLW Expo, including a barbecue contest, free Rodney Atkins concert and a jam-packed tackle show at ForrestWoodCup.com.