Studley Dudley an easy-to-work plug

There’s no need to take a long run to catch all the speckled trout you could ever want.

Speckled trout had better run and hide this summer because, if they don’t, a new topwater lure is sure to give them a mouthful of steel and hard plastic.

Those fish that can’t resist topwater lures are going to meet something that doesn’t give.

They’ll have to watch out for a deadly artificial lure with a manly name — the Studley Dudley made by one of the most recognizable names in saltwater fishing along the Louisiana coast. The Studley Dudley, being manufactured in North Carolina as you read this, is the pride and joy of charter captain and artificial lure designer Dudley Vandenborre.

The 49-year-old Slidell angler said his newest creation should be on the market by the first week of June. He has been tweaking this and correcting that (such as the right tint to colors) for several months before turning Studley Dudleys loose on the public and the unsuspecting fish.

These are exciting times for an angler who has been catching 60 to 70 speckled trout, with a lot of 3s and 5s, on a consistent basis lately.

“Oh, yeah, I’m always excited about a new lure. I think it’s going to do real well. It’s got a lot of promise to it,” Vandenborre said the first week of May.

The last step to marketing it was being completed at the time. Vandenborre was deciding on the package design for the topwaters. The package, he said, has the following slogan: “Jerk it, Twitch it, Walk it & Hang on!”

That’s good advice for anyone using the Studley Dudley. Prototypes have proven deadly, just as effective on the surface as Vandenborre’s Deadly Dudleys have been under it since he and Dee Geoghagen, his partner at V&G Lures, introduced that extremely popular soft plastic artificial lure in 1999.

Now speckled trout fishermen and speckled trout have something else to think about, thanks to Vandenborre.

“I’m always experimenting with baits. I have a fascination with catching on something that’s not alive. But I’m not a purist … I’ll fish with live bait,” he said.

If Vandenborre has his druthers, and he does, he’ll fish with artificial lures. Most of the time what he ties onto the business end of his fishing pole is a soft plastic.

“I’m a soft plastic man by heart. I would rather fish with a soft plastic than a topwater,” said the man whose Deadly Dudleys have secured a soft spot in the hearts of anglers everywhere.

As a fishing guide the last seven years, Vandenborre realizes many people he takes fishing are unable to “walk the dog” on a topwater lure, which is one reason he shies away from topwaters.

He got to thinking about that several years ago, and figured if somebody came out with a topwater that was easy to walk, then his clients could throw it and there’d be some back-slapping fun all around as fish smash into the topwater.

So he dreamed up the perfect topwater in his mind, one with a little bit of bend downward in the butt to slow the slide as it moves across the water with a sweep of the rod tip. He angled the hard-plastic body “ever so slightly in the back” in the mold to satisfy his plan.

“You’d be amazed how a little bend in the back causes a drag on it so it doesn’t slide left or right,” Vandenborre said.

And he can get a wiggle 8 inches wide with it walking the dog, he said.

The Studley Dudley also has a loud rattle that he says sounds like that in an empty spray paint can, heavy duty hardware including a premier split ring, and two heavy Duty 3X cadmiun hooks (a No. 2 treble hook in the front and a No.1 treble hook in the back).

Vandenborre said it weighs a little more than 5/8 ounces, which is what he’s going to list it at.

At first the topwater with large, red eyes will be available in six colors that ought to slay ’em along the coast — bone, chartreuse, croaker, mullet, pink shrimp and red/white. Another line of colors will be available soon after its introduction, he said.

Vandenborre knows many places to catch yellowmouths on the Studley Dudley. One of them, he said, is around Goose Point.

“The biggest trout I’ve ever seen came from there,” he said, noting that a gill netter hauled in a 13-pounder there once years ago as well as a 12-pounder. If there are big ones like that there, they’ll probably go bonkers over the Studley Dudley.

For more information on the Studley Dudleys and other V&G Lures products, call (985) 847-1924.

About Don Shoopman 493 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.

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