Boyd Duckett – Catching a lot of fish at Oneida

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DuckettBlogWe started the Northern Open on Thursday, and I had as much success in this first round at Oneida as I had failure in the final round last week at the Elite Series event on the St. Lawrence River.

Last week, I said this sport is extremely humbling. I said that after I caught one fish on my final day of competition.

Thursday, on the hand, was a good day. The opposite of a week ago. I caught so many fish my arms are sore. I probably caught 30 or 35 fish that weighed three pounds. I was culling all day.

But after telling you what a great day it was, I probably should add that if I had caught a really big one or two, I might be doing better than fifth place. I ended up with 16 pounds, 9 ounces. Not bad, but not as good as the leader, who’s got more than 20 pounds.

There’s no doubt, though, that I was catching a lot of fish. I was on schools, and I was bringing them in with a few different methods that, I’m sorry to say, I probably shouldn’t talk about.

Here’s why: When an angler is hot – and today I was hot – a lot of other anglers notice. Everybody in your general area of the lake notices. We see it when a guy is smoking hot, and we want to know what he’s doing.

The closest thing I can think of to this is how baseball players and managers try to steal signs. A player that has a gift for stealing signs is valuable, because you get a huge advantage if you know what’s coming. Sign stealing is legal. Everybody on the field expects it.

It’s the same with anglers. If I see a competitor catching one fish after another, I’ll take a hard look in his direction. It’s easy to tell what style he’s fishing, but I’m also interested in what bait he’s throwing. I won’t cruise right up another guy’s boat to find out, but I’ll see what I can learn from a respectful distance.

And that brings us back to Thursday. I know that I’m doing a couple of things differently than most everyone around me, what I’m doing is working. So I’ve got to try to hide how I’m fishing. If a hot angler gives away his strategy, he gives away his competitive advantage. The other anglers are so good that if they find out that a certain pattern is working, they will clean out the area.

I’d like to be in this tournament on Saturday, the final day, with a chance to win. I feel pretty confident that in the second round I can equal the weight that I caught in the first round. Actually, I would hope I could do better, even if I don’t catch nearly as many fish.

My goal is to bring in at least one big fish and to hit 17 pounds. I don’t know if it will happen, but that’s my goal.