Boyd Duckett – St Clair Saturday Scorecard

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DuckettBlogThis wasn’t how it was supposed to end. After a year of following a conservative, mostly solid strategy – one that was designed to make sure I locked in a Bassmaster Classic berth – I might be watching it swim away.

I was supposed to be feeling good right now, enjoying the fact that I fished pretty well all year. I should be thinking about my Classic strategy. But I can’t do that now, because I’m not in.

The good news is that I’ve still got a chance. There are a few scenarios that could play out in the next couple of Open events, including me winning next week’s Northern Open at Sandusky, that will still give me a ticket to the Classic.

On the other hand, I can’t run from the fact that I could have locked in a berth by fishing really well either at the St. Lawrence River or at the Lake St. Clair event (Detroit). I did neither, so at least for the moment, I’m on the outside looking in.

The really frustrating thing is that Duckett Fishing’s headquarters will soon be in Guntersville, which means I’ll be living on the lake by the end of the year. I’d hate to have to watch the Bassmaster Classic on Guntersville from my back porch.

You know, we’re in the business where one or two ounces over the course of a season can make a difference. With me, I’m now one point out of contention based on the Angler of the Year points. To be even more specific, I’m three ounces out.

It seems like every year an angler has that kind of story to tell. This year, it’s me.

I wrote a Saturday Scorecard item recently that said I pretty much sucked at the St. Lawrence River. It was my worst score of the year.

But I can’t really say that about the Detroit event. I actually fished ok, even though in the end the result was about the same at both events.

It’s funny that I can think of a hundred things I would have done differently on the St. Lawrence. But if I had to fish the Detroit event again, I can’t think of much I would do differently, aside from catch the three-and-a-half pounder that I lost on Friday.

I made a good choice to go to Lake Erie, and I fished it conservatively. I had 17 pounds the first day and almost 14 the second day. I needed 15.

I did that without running all the way to Pellee, Island, which is in the middle of Erie and a long way. I made a shorter run.

The winners came from the long run, but it was a gamble that I didn’t think I should take. Because even though the winners came from there, had I gone there would have been a good chance that I wouldn’t make it back.

That’s where Aaron Martens went, and he didn’t make it back the last day. Shaw broke his boat. Brett Myers broke his boat. These were the odds: Six or seven took the long run, and only five made it back.

Given everything I know, I’d probably do the same thing again.

Here’s what’s even more frustrating.

Matt Reed and I fished the same shoal. Neither of us did anything wrong. During the last part of the second day, I hooked a three-pounder and it got off. He immediately hooks a four-and-a-half. But since I lost mine, I fired right back in there where he hooked his, and I get got what I think it a pound-and-a-halfer. Well, it turns out it’s more like two-and-a-half, and I need it. I had him in my hands, but he got away. I just couldn’t put him in the boat.

That was the one I needed.

SATURDAY SCORECARD FOR LAKE ST. CLAIR

FINISH POSITION – Scorecard Rating: 3

If I win, I get 10 points. If I finish in the top 10 percent of the field, I’ll get 9 points. If I finish in the top 20 percent (but not top 10 percent), I get 8 points. And so on. At St. Clair, I finished 64. That gets 3 points.

DECISION-MAKING – Scorecard Rating: 8

Again, I’m not terribly disappointed in what I did. You have to base this on what you know at the time, not what you know in the end. It should have been enough. If you look back and say you’d fish it the same way again, it had to have been the right decision.

FOCUS AND COMPOSURE – Scorecard Rating: 7

I felt pretty good both days. The second was worse because I knew the bites weren’t there. But I didn’t panic.

PREPARATION – Scorecard Rating: 8

I did my homework. I executed the game plan I intended. I’ve said all year that sometimes the end result doesn’t tell the story. This is one of those times.

PRACTICE – Scorecard Rating: 5

Although it wasn’t totally the wrong thing to do, I’ll say that I did waste some practice time. I went to Huron this first day, because I thought I would find fish. I didn’t, so I lost a day

SATURDAY SCORECARD FOR THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER: 33