Boyd Duckett – The Comeback Begins

Bucks Skeeter Yamaha

DuckettBlogAs many of you are aware, I had a terrible year in 2011. The only that could improve this year would be a first-place finish in my last BASS competition of this year, the Northern Open, which starts next week on Oneida Lake in Central New York. But even a first-place finish won’t erase what has happened up to this point. After a solid sixth-place finish at the Bassmaster Classic, I was nothing short of awful at least 75 percent of the time.

I bring this up for two reasons.

First, I will be making occasional references to my terrible year, and what I’m planning to do to get better, in the Duckett Perspective on Advanced Angler. I’ll actually be talking about a lot of subjects in the Duckett Perspective, but some of my posts on this Web site will be about actions I’ll be taking to make next year better.

The second reason I bring up my forgettable 2011 season is that on another forum – on BASS, a web site that Advanced Angler sometimes works with – I’m writing about nothing but what I’m doing to get better in 2012. I’ve even given this effort a name: I’m calling it The Duckett Comeback Tour.

It sounds a little bold to proclaim that I’m on a Comeback Tour. It sounds like I know I’m going to rise back to the top of the top of the standings next year in competitive bass competition. And I’ll admit that I believe that’s what’s going to happen. But the reality is there’s no sure thing in our sport. It might happen next year or it might take two years, but I’m confident it’s going to happen.

In my Duckett Comeback Tour effort, I’m asking people to follow the steps that I’m taking as an angler to get back on my game. I’m going to examine what equipment I’m using, the strategies I’ve been employing on the water, the pre-tournament approaches I’ve been taking and the psychological place I’ve been when I’ve started tournaments.

I’ll be grading myself on every aspect of my game. And if I find that I need to make changes, I’ll make them.

I hope you’ll bear with me as I talk about some of these things here, in the Duckett Perspective, and on BassZone in a column known as the Duckett Exchange. You can see The Bass Zone “Comeback Tour” column at at BASS by clicking here.

One conclusion I’ve already come to is something I already knew in principle, and it’s as obvious as it is true. I’ve let business interests get in the way of being fully prepared for competition. There’s no coincidence that 2011 was the busiest year off the water I’ve experienced in decades. Like I say, I knew in my head that I’m spending too much time on other pursuits and not enough time fishing and doing the other things you must do to prepare for competition. But until recently, it was just head knowledge – it didn’t really stick in my gut enough to make me admit I’ve got to make changes. In the past, I’ve used business as an excuse. I plan to quit doing that.

That dilemma has an upside. The fact that I let business get in the way meant that business is good. My tank-trailer operation is going strong, and Duckett Fishing is selling and producing more rods than I would have thought possible for a venture that is actually less than two years old. We’ve been fortunate, and I count my blessings.

But the upside doesn’t quite make up for the downside, which is this: The thing I love the most in life, competing to win bass tournaments, has not been part of the mix. I stunk it up this year because I wasn’t prepared. And since I’m past 50 years old now, I probably don’t have three more decades of competition in me. I better get good again in a hurry.

I mention three decades because that’s how long I’ve been tournament fishing. And in all those years, I can honestly say that the hardest I ever worked at tournament fishing came in 2006 and 2007. Not coincidentally, those were the two best years I ever had. In 2007, I won the Bassmaster Classic and the last BASS major event that was held, at Dardenelle. I also won Ultimate Match Fishing on Outdoor Channel that year. It was fantastic season, and there was one reason – and one reason only – that those things happened. I worked my tail off at being a champion angler.

I also worked hard the next three years, and I made it back to the Classic every. I’ve had five in a row. But I didn’t work as hard in 2008, 2009 and 2010 as I did in 2007. And I worked even less last year, and it caught up to me in a big way. The funny thing is, I actually put in almost as many hours. But I wasn’t focused the way I had been in the past. Not enough hours and not enough focus: that’s a bad combination.

So it’s time to back up, take a hard look at exactly where and how the wagon veered off course, and start fixing things.

I know it’s a cliché when people say, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” But that’s how I feel. And that’s how I’m going to approach tournament fishing – starting now.

NOTE: You can also read this blog on Boyd Duckett’s Web site and you can become a fan on his Boyd Duckett Professional Angler Facebook page.