By BassFan Staff
Good day. Great tournament. Superb season.
All of those adjectives apply to David Dudley, who concluded a monster weekend by catching a 20-pound bag to win the Champlain FLW Tour today. Just 1 day after claiming his second straight Angler of the Year title, he closed out his second victory of 2012 (this one a wire-to-wire job), further cementing his standing as the world's top-ranked angler.
He crushed the hopes of his good pal and fellow Virginian Jacob Powroznik on both counts. Powroznik sacked 20-08 today to finish 2nd in both the tournament (with a 76-14 total) and the points race.
Blake Nick weighed 20 pounds even to move up three places and finish 3rd with a 74-02 aggregate. Andy Morgan sacked 17-08 and ended up 4th with 73-08, winning a tiebreaker over Roland Martin (determined by highest day-3 standing).
Martin, the 72-year-old icon of the sport who won a Bassmaster event at Champlain in 1997, caught a day-best 21-09 stringer and rounded out the Top 5.
Here are the final totals for the anglers who were on the water today:
1. David Dudley: 78-08
2. Jacob Powroznik: 76-14
3. Blake Nick: 74-02
4. Roland Martin: 73-08
5. Andy Morgan: 73-07
6. Dave Wolak: 73-01
7. Joe Thompson: 72-07
8. Ron Shuffield: 70-14
9. John Voyles: 70-13
10. Scott Canterbury: 67-11
Champlain's fish – both largemouths and smallmouths – bit hard and often under the grayish skies of the final day, and that was reflected in the weights. The Top 4 finishers all achieved or surpassed the 20-pound mark and two others cleared 19.
Dudley's victory was the sixth of his career and capped a phenomenal four-event run that saw him finish 1st, 3rd, 14th and 1st. He's now gone over the $3 million mark in career FLW winnings.
The final placements for Nick, Thompson and Voyles were career-bests at the tour-level. Thompson, who completed his second year on the circuit, had never done better than 32nd and Voyles, a fourth-year pro, had a previous high of 27th (achieved at Champlain last fall). Nick had a 12th at Kentucky Lake last year.
The Tour's allotment of 35 Forrest Wood Cup berths were finalized today, and due to double-qualifiers, the cutoff fell at No. 39 on the points list (for the updated standings, click here). That made Jason Christie the last angler in and Mark Rose the first man out. Anglers below the cutoff who'd previously qualified for the event are Shinichi Fukae, Glenn Browne, Thanh Le, Spencer Shuffield and Scott Suggs.
The event was ultimately disappointing for runner-up Jacob Powroznik as he fell just short in both the tournament standings and the Angler of the Year race.
The Cup will be contested Aug. 9-12 at Georgia's Lake Lanier. Dudley will shoot for yet another milestone there as he attempts to become the first angler to win that tournament and the AOY in the same year.
Dudley Pleased with Adjustments
> Day 4: 5, 20-00 (20, 78-08)
Dudley put a choke-hold on this event when he caught 24 pounds on day 1 and never really allowed anyone to seriously threaten his position the rest of the way. He was most happy with the way he adapted to the conditions, which changed daily.
"I could very easily have gotten hung up on the place where I caught those fish the first day," he said. "The coolest thing this week was that I recognized what was happening with the wind and the water, and that's how I was able to keep moving with the fish."
The five he brought to the scale today were all in the 4-pound class (the biggest was 4-10).
"I was culling all day and I probably threw back two 18-pound bags. This morning I got on a roll and my camera guy said I caught 23 (keepers) in 30 minutes. I know I caught at least another 20 after that."
He wasn't sure that he'd won until the final fish was weighed.
"I knew by Jacob's demeanor that he'd caught a big bag and I knew it was going to be close. I was pretty nervous for awhile."
He caught 11 of his weigh-in fish on a wacky-rigged worm, eight on a dropshot rig and one flipping. Full details of his winning pattern, as well as those of the other top finishers, will be published soon.
2nd: Powroznik not Thrilled
> Day 4: 5, 20-08 (20, 76-14)
Powroznik would've liked to have copped at least one of the big prizes he had a shot at this week, but instead watched his buddy Dudley walk away with both of them.
Blake Nick caught two fish that weighed more than 5 pounds each on the final day.
"I had a chance to win the Angler of the Year and win the tournament, and I came up short in both of them," he said. "I'm disappointed and I'm mad. I hate losing at anything I do.
"It definitely adds some fuel to the fire (for the Forrest Wood Cup). There's no end to that guy (Dudley)."
He got an untold number of bites down in Ticonderoga today. His bag was topped by a 5-pounder and he had one of that size get away.
"From about 11:45 to 1:30, I know I had over a hundred blowups on my frog, and I probably caught three-quarters of them."
3rd: Nick Overcame Hardships
> Day 4: 5, 20-00 (20, 74-02)
Nick managed a 20-pound bag despite having two trolling motors go awry on his FLW-supplied, final-day boat. By the time that problem was rectified by a tournament official, he'd missed the early-morning time window when he'd boated his largest specimens on previous days.
"It probably didn't take as long as it seems to me like it did, but it was long enough to screw me up mentally," he said. "I'd been catching my best fish in the first 30 minutes, and that was gone.
"But other than that, I had a great tournament. It was awesome."
His bag was topped by a near-6-pounder and he had another one that was over 5.
"That biggest one was hooked right in the top of the head. They were just swiping at the crankbait and missing it."
4th: Lighter Bites for Morgan
> Day 4: 5, 17-08 (20, 73-08)
Morgan said he got at least as many bites as he did on day 3, when he weighed 20-02, but the ones today weren't nearly as big.
Andy Morgan was happy to post a good finish on a Northern fishery.
"I really don't know what the deal was," he said. "A lot of them were 2-pounders. I weighed two 4s, but then the other three were just 2 3/4 or so.
"I didn't lose but one fish all week, and I'm not sure that one would've helped me. I was fortunate to fish very clean all week long."
He was a happy to log such a high placement, as Northern fisheries that contain smallmouth are often his nemesis.
"I'm really pleased with it. Coming up here, I always fear the worst – I kind of dread it, actually. For once I made some good decisions north of the Mason-Dixon Line."
5th: All 4s for Martin
> Day 4: 5, 21-09 (20, 73-08)
Like Nick, Martin encountered a boat problem this morning – the propeller shaft broke on the way to Ticonderoga. Fortunately there was a staff boat right behind him and he was able to toss his gear into it and get on his way.
"On a normal tournament day, I wouldn't have had that option," he said.
He nonetheless managed a bag that contained no fish under 4 pounds.
"I probably caught 30 fish today. I caught them all on jigs – I couldn't get the big ones to hit the frog. I caught a limit on it, but they were all in the 3s."
The event marked the conclusion of his first tour-level campaign since 2005. He began the year with a 7th at the Okeechobee Tour Open, but then had no finishes higher than 97th in five outings prior to this one.
"I had some terrible luck this year. My (co-angler) put a fish in my livewell at the Potomac and my engine blew up at Kentucky Lake. Those were two bad tournaments there."
> Day 4 stats – 10 anglers, 10 limits.
Day 4 (Final) Standings
1. David Dudley -- Lynchburg, Va -- 24-00 (5) -- 18-15 (5) -- 15-09 (5) -- 20-00 (5) -- 78-08 (20) -- $125,000
2. Jacob Powroznik -- Prince George, Va -- 20-12 (5) -- 18-01 (5) -- 17-09 (5) -- 20-08 (5) -- 76-14 (20) -- $29,126
3. Blake Nick -- Adger, Al -- 19-10 (5) -- 17-03 (5) -- 17-05 (5) -- 20-00 (5) -- 74-02 (20) -- $24,926
4. Andy Morgan -- Dayton, Tn -- 18-11 (5) -- 17-02 (5) -- 20-02 (5) -- 17-09 (5) -- 73-08 (20) -- $20,726
5. Roland Martin -- Naples, Fl -- 15-05 (5) -- 20-10 (5) -- 16-00 (5) -- 21-09 (5) -- 73-08 (20) -- $16,526
6. David Wolak -- Wake Forest, NC -- 18-02 (5) -- 16-04 (5) -- 19-03 (5) -- 19-08 (5) -- 73-01 (20) -- $14,006
7. Joseph Thompson -- Landenberg, Pa -- 18-09 (5) -- 20-09 (5) -- 16-07 (5) -- 16-14 (5) -- 72-07 (20) -- $13,166
8. Ron Shuffield -- Bismarck, Ar -- 16-12 (5) -- 18-05 (5) -- 19-03 (5) -- 16-10 (5) -- 70-14 (20) -- $12,326
9. John Voyles -- Petersburg, In -- 17-10 (5) -- 17-03 (5) -- 16-14 (5) -- 19-02 (5) -- 70-13 (20) -- $11,486
10. Scott Canterbury -- Springville, Al -- 18-12 (5) -- 15-08 (5) -- 17-14 (5) -- 15-09 (5) -- 67-11 (20) -- $10,646