Boyd Duckett – California Delta Wrap Up

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DuckettBlogAs I was putting my gear into my truck and getting ready to head to Lake Havasu in Arizona, where the next Elite Series event is going to be in a few days, I was thinking about the tournament we just finished.

It was on the California Delta, and I guess WE didn’t all finish it at time I’m writing this, because 12 anglers competed on Sunday. I got knocked out on Saturday.

I didn’t consider it a great event. I never got onto the big fish I needed to compete for a top 12 finish. I wasn’t able to get to the bedding fish, and they were the prizes, And even though I had no trouble getting the attention of some big floaters, I couldn’t catch them. Not this week. I spent every day scrambling.

So all in all, it was a pretty lousy event, wouldn’t you think?

But the answer to that is no, it wasn’t a lousy week at all. In fact, it was pretty good. I finished 33rd out of 112 anglers, and I did this in the California Delta where I’ve had some historically awful finishes.

Yes, I had to scramble and fight for everything. But as I scrambled, I kept my head, and I put together three steady, highly unspectacular days. And in the end, those three unspectacular days were good enough for me.

Let me put it another way, I went looking for big bedding fish on Day 1, and I couldn’t get to them fast enough. Too many anglers. So I went to Plan B and stayed with it. As a result, my Day 1 finish of 56th went to a Day 2 finish of 42nd place. On Day 3, I kept scrapping and moved up another nine places.

So I didn’t’ get the big bed fish I wanted. And I had trouble getting the other big fish I found to bite. But I finished in the top third of the field.


Boyd Duckett on Day Three at the California Delta - photo by Dave Rush - The BASS ZONE

Boyd Duckett on Day Three at the California Delta – photo by Dave Rush – The BASS ZONE

There is, obviously, a lesson in that.  And that’s what I was thinking about as I was packing my truck.

The lesson is that all pro anglers at the Elite Series level know how to have a good tournament. We all know how go out there and smash them when we’re in the groove.

What we don’t all know is what to do when we’re having a bad tournament. Most of us don’t know how to fight through adversity day after day – and then come out ahead.

I’m pretty happy to have done that this week at the Delta. The way I fished the tournament is the way I should have fished the last event, which was on my new home lake at Guntersville.

I thought I knew where to go on Guntersville, but I found that the fish weren’t in their usual places. I was stubborn, though, so I just kept on going after places that I was familiar – spots I thought were tried-and-true. It didn’t work. I should have done at Guntersville what I did in the Delta. I should have quit trying to force the issue, and I should have “gone fishing.”

Dean Rojas, who’s on my Duckett Fishing team, is on top of the Angler of the Year points. I’ve watched Dean, and I think that in the past couple of years he’s learned something valuable. He’s learned how to avoid finishing events in 70th or 80th place.

At every event, he’s taking what the fish will give him. His instincts are dead on right now. When his plan isn’t there, he’s moving on at the right times.

That’s something KVD has always done been better than the rest of us.

The big thing, and I’m hope I’m learning, is to get what you can get. Make the best of all competitive situations.

Good decisions can keep you out of 80th place.

You know, when you think about it, there are a lot more tough tournaments than there really good ones. It’s all in how you work through them.

Here’s the result for me. Right now, I’m in the top fourth of the field in Angler of the Year points. Because I’m usually a slow starter, it’s the highest I’ve ever been sitting after three events. That’s the good part.

If I had fished smarter at Guntersville, however, maybe I’d be 10 to 15 places higher in the standings.

That, unfortunately, is the other reality.