Boyd Duckett – It’s a Humbling Sport – Especially When You Make Mistakes

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DuckettBlogThere are two ways to wrap up what happened to me on Friday during the Elite Series tournament on the St. Lawrence River.

One, this is a humbling sport.

Two, I thought I was completely done with days where I finish 93rd in the standings. Apparently, I’m not.


I’ve already gotten a couple of calls from folks that figured my boat must have blown up. But, sad to say, that wasn’t the case. I just didn’t catch them.

On Day 1, I caught 15 pounds, 11 ounces. That’s not great in this field, but it put me right on the edge of the cutline.

On Friday, I actually had bigger and better bites. I just couldn’t get them in the boat.

I had seven bites total. Four either broke off or jumped the line and two were not hooked in the mouth, which is how you have to catch them. So in the end, I only caught one on Friday, which was 3 pounds, 12 ounces. Of the ones I lost, three of them were at least four pounds.

Overall, this tournament is playing exactly as I figured it would. The big bites are far southwest of Waddington, New York, where we launch. I went with the flow. I was around the fish. But I’ll say it one more time: I just didn’t get them.


In these columns, I’ve said many times recently that you have to go out and try to do the best you can do. If you make good decisions and fish focused for a full day, it doesn’t matter what the results show. You’ve had a good day.

If I think about Friday in those terms, I’d have to say I did NOT have a good day fishing.

I made a couple of mistakes.

Boyd Duckett Bassmaster Classic Media Day - photo by Dan O'SullivanThe first mistake was gambling too long for big smallmouth bites. It was a windy, tough day to fish, but every 30 minutes or so I would get a good smallmouth bite, one that would have helped me stay in the game. But as I mentioned, something happened every time and I didn’t get them in the boat.

I made a bad decision to stay out there keep trying to boat the big smallmouths.

I had places where I could have gone to pull in four two-pound largemouths. And that brings me to my second mistake. Knowing that I could have salvaged four two-pound keepers, I should have gone after them. But I was influenced by the fact that wind was blowing like crazy, waves were crashing in the boat, and I would have had to run about seven miles to get those four smaller fish.

So I gambled on getting bigger smallmouth. I lost the bet.


Let me emphasize that the four smallmouth are not what an angler needed to finish high in this event, but those fish would have helped me in the points race. In post-game analysis, I tell myself that I had an almost four-pounder, so if I had caught four two-pound largemouths I would have finished with about 12 pounds, instead of 3-12 for the day.

Those eight extra pounds today would have helped me finish around 70th instead of 93rd.

I wouldn’t have made the cut with 70th place, but I also wouldn’t have put myself in nearly the big hole I’m now in on Angler-of-the-Year points. Now, I’m going to need two huge finishes in our last two events to make the Classic field.

I’ve done it before, but I didn’t expect to have to finish in the Top 20 in the last two events this year to make it.

Oh, well. As I said, this sport is humbling.