Boyd Duckett – The Comeback Tour Start

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DuckettBlogI was staring at my calendar yesterday and noticed that I haven’t had a day off since January 15. What it made it worse is that it looks like I won’t have a day off until April 7.

I promise I’m not asking for sympathy, partly because I’ve enjoyed most of those work days. A lot of them have been fishing-related work days, and those days are almost always pleasant. For example, I spent time in Florida practicing for the Elite Series tournaments we’re having this week and next week. There are certainly worse things to do than practice, but preparing for a major tournament is actually work. And that’s especially true this year.

If you’ve run into me at any events or seminars recently, or if you read some of the things I’ve written during the past six months, you might know that I’m on what I call the “Duckett Comeback Tour.”

The Comeback Tour started this way. In 2011, I had the worst year I’ve ever had professionally. Aside from a top six finish at the Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans to start the season, I was nothing short of awful. Didn’t even come close to qualifying for this year’s Classic.

So I decided I would put some pressure on myself by declaring this a comeback year. I’ve tried to talk about this comeback effort whenever I can and let people know some of the steps I’m taking to correct what went wrong in 2011.

Now comes the first test. We’re fishing in Florida, my personal fishing hellhole. I’ve never fished well in Florida, so if there is any challenge that will put a comeback tour to the test, it is opening the Elite Series on the St. John’s River followed by a tournament on Lake Okeechobee.

But for the first time ever, I think I’m mentally ready. There are several reasons I feel good about these next two weeks. First, I’ve practiced on location. Second, I spent almost three months cleaning out my garage and my truck and paring down the amount of tackle I’m going to fool with this year. That means I’ll be a lot more organized. Third, I’ve spent a lot of time of time getting mentally locked in, which is essential.

As important as those things are, however, the fourth thing I’m doing might be the most important. And that is: I’m trying to set realistic goals.

My No. 1 goal for the season is to get back to the Classic. I made it five years in a row before missing this year’s Classic in Shreveport. I never want to miss it again – so getting back there is the primary goal for the season. But to get back to the Classic, I have to start well. I can’t tank in Florida the way I did last year. So my goal the next two weeks is to make the cut.

That might not sound too ambitious, but here’s the thing. My fishing game didn’t fall apart in one day, and it’s not going to come back because of some magic wand. Hard work, persistence and focusing on tasks in front of me are the keys to regaining the confidence necessary to get back on top.
And believe me, the real key is confidence. Small steps leading to bigger steps will help bring back confidence.

So I’m shooting to make the cut at the St. John’s River. That’s the next step on the comeback journey. After that, I’ll aim for some higher finishes.