Boyd Duckett – Enjoying an Almost-forgotten Feeling

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DuckettBlogI’m back at home in Guntersville, Alabama, after a bunch of weeks on the road. I haven’t written a column since my last competition, which was the Elite Series Angler of the Year Tournament at Sturgeon Bay.

So I feel good on a couple of fronts. It’s nice to be off the road – finally. And it’s nice to know that I fished well enough to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic.

Even though the Sturgeon Bay event wasn’t memorable in most ways, it was absolutely memorable in the best way: After a two-year drought, I sealed a Classic berth.

I didn’t understand that it was pretty much a foregone conclusion before the event that I would make it into the Classic. I had figured that I needed to finish around 40th. Turns out I actually only needed to finish somewhere in the 47th to 48th -place range. With 50 guys fishing, I figured I could handle that.

And it worked out fine. I had a pretty good bag the first day, and that sealed the deal.

 

I had lost track during the past two years how cool and exciting it is to qualify for the Classic. For a while, I was making it almost every year. I only missed the Classic once in my first six years on the Elite Series tour. But then I fell short two years in a row.

One of those years, I barely missed qualifying for the Classic on Guntersville, my home lake. And I can’t remember anything I’ve ever experienced as a competitor that I hated worse than hanging around the house with the Bassmaster Classic happening on Guntersville Lake right in front of my eyes.

Boyd Duckett Lake Guntersville Stage (Custom)So now I’m back in, and I absolutely promise you that I will never, ever take this feeling – the feeling you get knowing that you earned your way into the Classic field – for granted. It’s a fantastic feeling, partly because it amazes me every year how many great anglers there are that don’t make the field.

 

The last leg of the season’s journey was a little strange. Going into the Sturgeon Bay event, I was a little nervous. The fishing in practice was about three shades worse than terrible. I thought, “Guys are going to ‘zero’ here.” And an even worse thought was that I could be one of those guys.

And now that it’s over, I’ll say that it was, indeed, the most difficult smallmouth tournament I’ve been involved in.

I don’t know that much about Sturgeon Bay, but I’ve read that it’s good in the spring. In the fall they scatter. It’s not like Lake Erie, where you have a lot of vegetation and shallow water.

The tournament was tough for everybody. I found a really good group of fish on Day 1. I was in an area with Bobby Lane, Jason Christie, Greg Hackney and Jacob Powroznik, We all had decent bags on Day 1.

Day 2 came around and there weren’t many fish left, but there were a few big one. Unfortunately, I only caught one.

On the final day, we all kind of figured the spot might re-energize. Well, that didn’t happen. Collectively, we zeroed on that spot. We all had to go somewhere else to get a bag.

Fortunately, I found some fish and was never in any trouble of falling to the bottom of the leader board.

So, I reached the first goal we all set for ourselves when the Elite Series season starts. And when the Classic rolls around, I’m going to enjoy being back in the game.