Boyd Duckett – 2015 Year in Review

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DuckettBlogIt seems strange that every year we finish our competition season and just when you think life will slow down it picks up.

After we finished the Elite Series season, we filmed another competition for Major League Fishing. Ever since then, I’ve been playing catch-up with business. Seems it’s the same cycle every year.

And speaking of end-of-year business, I’m just now getting around to writing a wrap-up of the pros and cons of my competition year.

I always try to do two levels of analysis. First is what I call the surface analysis, which is a 30,000-foot look at whether I met goals I established before the season started. The wrap-up in this column is a surface analysis. Over the next couple of months I’ll look a little deeper at specific strategies and decisions that I made this year and make determinations on how those choices affect what I’l do in 2016.

But about this year, when I look at my overall performance, I can summarize it pretty quickly. It was mostly positive. I had a few bad tournaments, but it ended well.

It’s almost a broken record when I say that every angler’s first goal is to make the Bassmaster Classic. I say it’s a broken record because we all say it. In the back of our heads we think about winning tournaments and making a run toward Toyota Angler of the Year. But when we’re realistic, we’ll tell you that halfway into the season the pecking order is established. There will only be a handful of anglers with a chance to win Angler of the Year.

As a result, our realistic make-able goal is to be in the top third of the Elite Series field, because being in that group means we’ve staked a spot in our Super Bowl – the Bassmaster Classic.

What makes me feel that my year was a success is the fact that I went into the final tournament needing to catch only one fish to secure a spot in the Classic. Although I didn’t actually know that until I got to that final event, which was at Sturgeon Bay, I felt good to be in a position that was mathematically strong.

I would felt better about the season if I’d been in position to win an Elite Series tournament or two. I was in a strong position to win the two Northern Open events I fished, but I didn’t come close to winning an Elite Series event.

Looking back at the season as a whole, a few of the takeaways were about other people and events.

(1) I enjoyed seeing Kevin VanDam have a good season. He’s a friend, and I’ve been a fan of his career for a long time, so it was really enjoyable to see him get back to fishing more like I’m used to seeing him fish. Watching him struggle in 2014 was kind of like watching Peyton Manning after he got injured. I would be thinking, “Man, he’s just not himself.” This year KVD caught them, and the fishing world was back in its orbit.

(2) I also very much enjoyed watching Aaron Martens have another phenomenal season. Another Angler of the Year season. I believe that Aaron has overcome those tendencies in his personality that in the past held him back. It looks like he’s found a way to manage his game. And he’s going to be hard to beat.

Another thing that makes me happy for Aaron is that he doesn’t change. He’s the same person he was 10 years ago. And I fully believe that if he wins Angler of the Year for the next five years, he’ll still be the same guy.

He’ll also still be afraid that you’re going to be beat him.

(3) From an anglers’ perspective, I like the direction of sport. I like the fact that Bass continues to try taking us to new venues. We have fished some places that were difficult to manage, such as the Delaware River and the Sabine River. But we’re also getting new venues, and that’s a good thing.

(4) I also like the growth and the fan appreciation for Major League Fishing. Our MLF guys will tell you that the show continues to be a huge fan favorite. We can’t go anywhere without people wanting to discuss MLF. That also is good for our sport.

So I’d have to say that this has been a good year. The Classic is right around the corner, and thank goodness I’ll be there fishing.