knows he can’t win every event, but he’s definitely going into every event with only one goal: winning. “I fish every event to win. Even when things are going bad, I still expect to win. I make all my decisions based on what could win. I am never looking to just get a check. I want to win and if I don’t win, I am not happy.” Dudley says, “I am always confused when I hear fisherman say on day 2, 3 or 4, ‘I’m going to go out and swing for the fences.’ What were they doing on day 1, trying to bunt? I often think other anglers set out to not win.”
Dudley believes every angler wants to win. “If winning is not every- thing, why compete? It’s like baseball - the best hitter’s goal is always to hit a home run, but they also know that if you just continue to make good contact, homeruns will come your way. If anglers are catching fish that are enough to get a check, but not enough to compete for the win, they’ll settle for getting a check. I don’t do that. If the fish I am catching aren’t enough to win, at least what I figure it will take to win, then I make decisions to find the fish that can win.”
Dudley knows that is not easy to do; wins are extremely hard to come by in the fishing world. Dudley explains, “You have to be confident enough in both your mental game and your fishing skills to leave those ‘check line’ fish and go looking for fish that can win. I’ve got a family and bills like everyone else and a check is always nice, but that’s not why I fish. I fish to win and nothing is going to change that. But the checks will also fall into place the same as a single, double or a triple happens in baseball. So far, I have been fortunate enough to make a solid living for my family fishing that way. Regardless of how it has worked out, I couldn’t see myself fishing any other way. It’s my nature to win at every- thing I do.
IT’s noT luCk
Some people think bass fishing has an element of luck; some who don’t understand the sport may even say it’s mostly luck. The truth is that there is luck in fishing. According to Dudley, “The size of the fish is what I say plays a role in luck. Here is an example: I flipped by a stump and caught a two pounder, and then you flipped by the same stump and caught a five pounder. But what increases the luck factor to swing your way? The more a fisherman can set the hook, the odds of him having a bigger bag than you will increase. It’s the same in baseball. A player who makes the most contact will increase his chances of a home run. What’s the difference? We’ve all heard the stories about the big fish that got away. I will point my finger at myself or any other fisherman and say that it was your fault. A lost fish is not misfortune; it happens when the angler does not have the right rod and reel set up or his skill of fighting a fish is not good or he has bad hooks etc. If a baseball player is going to catch a fly ball and he drops it, do you call that misfortune? No, it was his fault. Once a fish is hooked, there is no reason a fish should get off. If the baseball touches your glove, there is no reason it should be dropped. I encourage bass fisherman to go saltwater fishing to sharpen their skills.”
Preparation takes dedication; fishing to win starts well before any event kicks off. It starts long before sign ups and pre-fishing. It starts with tackle preparation, research, and time on the water. Even if an angler does all that, it doesn’t mean he can produce on the water. Dudley