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Dudley Debates: Finding your fuel

Castrol pro David Dudley waves to the crowd. (Photo by Gary Mortenson)
Castrol pro David Dudley weighs in the dangers of staying in cruise control
18.Feb.2014 by David Dudley

(Approximately once a month, FLWOutdoors.com will be featuring the latest blog installment from Castrol team pro and three-time FLW Tour AOY winner David Dudley. Going forward, fans of FLWOutdoors.com will be treated to a wide array of blogs from a host of different FLW Tour pros heading into the 2014 season and beyond.)

I was recently in a conversation with a friend of mine about people who seem to have a knack for making things happen. As I was listening, he made a statement that made me stop him dead in the middle of a sentence and go back to repeat.

“It’s all about finding your fuel,” he said.

I have heard a lot of motivational quotes before but those three words haven’t left my mind. I have been pondering them for a long time now and it really started me thinking about my career as a fisherman. Being a professional fisherman sure is a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. And looking back on when I fished my best and my worst, I realized that it had a lot to do with how much fuel was in my tank and how close I was to a gas station – metaphorically speaking.

When I had no fuel in the tank and no gas station in sight, I seemed to do my best because I was in a place where I had to find my fuel or my engine was going to die! Overall, there were quite a few times when I found my tank empty, but the most recent was in 2009 and 2010. During those seasons, I was at a point where I definitely wasn’t fishing up to my standards. We were in the peak of the economic depression. I had no money. We had our vacation house foreclosed on, watched a repo truck come and take my camper and truck away, and we had to put up everything we had for sale. I spent the days just hoping that we could scrape together enough each month so that we wouldn’t lose our family home.

It really seemed like we were losing everything. Friends and family were buying us groceries and sending presents to our kids for Christmas. It was a time in my life I hoped to never have to go back to ever again.

Now you would think that there is no way that I could concentrate on fishing with everything spiraling down like that, but somewhere during the 2011 season I found my fuel and won FLW Tour Angler of the Year. Being that low and realizing how out of control it was getting fueled me up with energy to focus and give it my all in a way I previously hadn’t done before. Then, rolling off that energy, I won the Angler of the Year title again in 2012 – a time when I never should have even caught a fish.

David Dudley by the numbersSo what is your fuel? What does it take to start your motor and keep it running? Are you running on low or have you already run out of gas? While searching for your fuel there has to be a desire never to lose. I have said it a thousand times, never be satisfied. Never be satisfied in anything you do or you will hit a plateau and you’ll flat line – and you know what that means ... death.

My worst fishing, my downs, always seem to happen when I get rolling on cruise control and start brainlessly going through the motions. This is extremely easy to do in fishing. You are not paying attention, not sharp and focused on what you are doing at all times and before you know it you are sitting on “E.” Here’s when you want to kick yourself in the butt because you know you have passed 30 gas stations and lost 30 fish during the course of the tournament or season. But had you been focused and aware at all times, you would have been searching for your next fueling station and you could have easily found it. Putting yourself in cruise control, whether in fishing or in life, is always dangerous because it allows you to get distracted – and all the while your needle is going down.

So go out and find your fuel! And keep your momentum going forward – not stuck in neutral.

Never be satisfied!

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