“I have confidence in my abilities at all times, but I never focus on Angler of the Year,” Dudley said. “I always focus on the tournaments and Angler of the Year falls into place.”
Dudley did not make the cut at the Pickwick Lake event, but the title was unofficially his Saturday.
“I knew I might have won it when I had a 13 ½-pound limit Saturday and then I caught a 4-pounder that bumped me up to 15 pounds,” Dudley said. “When I caught that one I was like, ‘It’s done. It’s over.’”
Dudley said his pursuit of a victory in every event is key to his consistent finishes throughout his career.
“To win Angler of the Year you have to average maybe a 20th-place finish in each event,” Dudley said. “It sounds so easy. If you’re close to 25th in every event of the year, you’re on Angler of the Year pace.
“If you challenge me at something it seems like I try harder at something,” Dudley added.
Dudley finished the season with 1,102 points, 15 points ahead of runner-up National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif. Rounding out the top five were National Guard pro Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., (1,079), Diet Mt. Dew pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., (1,059) and Tom Monsoor of La Crosse, Wis. (1,040).
Dudley began the season with a 9th-place finish at the Beaver Lake event. He followed up with 22nd- and 13th-place finishes at Lake Hartwell and Lake Chickamauga, respectively. He cracked the top 10 again at the Red River event in Shreveport, La., with a 7th-place effort. He then posted his lowest finish of the year, 42nd, at the Kentucky Lake stop. Dudley barely missed the top-10 cut with an 11th-place showing at the final FLW Tour Major event of the year at Pickwick Lake.
To date in 2011, Dudley has notched four top-15 finishes, two of which are top-10 finishes. He has amassed five wins and 31 top-10 finishes in FLW Outdoors competition and won $2.6 million during his 16-year career. Dudley also is the youngest angler in the sport to surpass both the $1 million and $2 million marks.
Coverage of Dudley’s Angler of the Year crowning will be aired with the Pickwick Lake tournament on Sept. 11, 2011 when it is broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.
Previous Anglers of the Year
Angler Year Wins Highest Finish Fishery
Bryan Thrift 2010 1 1st Lake Norman
Clark Wendlandt 2009 3rd Beaver Lake
David Dudley 2008 1 1st Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes
Jay Yelas 2007 2nd (twice) Lake Norman, Beaver Lake
Anthony Gagliardi 2006 1 1st Lake Murray
Greg Hackney 2005 4th (twice) Wheeler Lake, Potomac River
Shinichi Fukae 2004 4th Lake Okeechobee
Dan Morehead 2003 1 1st Beaver Lake
Jay Yelas 2002 3rd Lake Okeechobee
Kevin VanDam 2001 2nd (twice) Lake Okeechobee, Red River
Clark Wendlandt 2000 1 1st Lake Murray
David Walker 1999 7th (twice) Lake Murray, Lake St. Clair
Denny Brauer 1998 5th Kentucky Lake
Clark Wendlandt 1997 6th Kerr Lake
Peter Thliveros 1996 5th (twice) Lake Okeechobee, Lake Seminole
The Walmart FLW Tour Co-angler of the Year presented by Kellogg’s was determined Saturday by the most points accumulated over the six Tour Majors. Spencer Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark., won the Walmart FLW Tour Co-Angler of the Year title and a new Ranger 198VX with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard by one point over Keeton Blaylock of Benton, Ark. Shuffield posted 1,045 points during the course of the season. Patrick Bone of Cleveland, Ga., came in third with 1,035 points.