John's Journal...

Boyd Duckett: The Man Who Won the 2007 Bassmaster Classic and How He Did It

How Duckett Planned to Fish the Classic

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, Alabama, the 46-year-old owner of a tank trailer leasing and repair company and avid bass fisherman, never attended a Bassmasters Classic until the one he won in February, 2007 at Alabama’s Lay Lake near Birmingham. “I made a decision when I started professional bass fishing that I wouldn’t attend a Classic until I could fish in it,” explains Duckett. How did Duckett win the 2007 Bassmaster Classic, and what can we learn from Duckett? We saw other tournament pros use this same tactic that Duckett did – not fish for ghost bass. That’s why Duckett didn’t practice on Lay Lake. Then he wouldn’t try to catch bass in the same places where he’d caught them when and if he pre-fished the lake. Actually Duckett probably spent less time on Lay Lake this year than any other tournament pClick to enlargero who fished in the 2007 Classic. But rather than telling Duckett’s story, let’s let him tell you how, why and where he won with 48 pounds, 10 ounces and took home $500,000, beating out second-place Skeet Reese, who had 48 pounds, 4 ounces and won $45,000 and third-place Kevin VanDam, who won $40,000 with his 45 pounds, 4 ounces.

Phillips: How old were you when you first started fishing?
Duckett: My brother Earl and I started fishing when I was about 6. We had a pond we used to walk to through the woods and fish when we were small.

Phillips: Boyd, Demopolis where you live has two very-distinct rivers that run together, the Warrior aClick to enlargend the Tombigbee. How did fishing those two river systems help you fish the Coosa River’s Lay Lake successfully?
Duckett: The Warrior River in and around Demopolis has lots of water willow grass just like Lay Lake has. I learned to fish for bass in the water willow grass on the Warrior River near Demopolis and used that knowledge to fish Lay Lake. But I didn’t fish Lay Lake using local knowledge. I went into this tournament with a completely-open mind. I didn’t even practice on Lay before the cutoff of December 1, 2006. I just wanted to keep an open mind in this tournament and chase the bass every day, according to the conditions I found on the lake each of the tournament days. I fished many places in this Classic that I’d never been to before. I wanted to fish like this because I’d learned that when you fished a tournament, if you fished every day as though it was the first daClick to enlargey you’d ever fished a lake, you could find and take more bass than if you had a game plan and attempted to work that game plan. I try not to get the mindset that bass will do a certain thing or act in a certain way. Instead I try to deal with the conditions as I find them each day.

Phillips: When and how did you catch your big bass on the last day of the Classic? When you caught that 6-pounder, did you think you’d won the Classic?
Duckett: I told my cameraman who was in the boat with me this last day of the Classic after I had my limit of bass, “If I get a 5- or a 6-pound bite, I’ll win.” I knew about how many pounds of bass everyone else was catching, and how they were fishing. I felt if I could catch that one big bass I could win the 2007 Classic. Skeet Reese caught more bass than I thought he would. He was a great fisherman, and I certainly underestimated him.

Tomorrow: The Rest of the Classic Details

Check back each day this week for more about "Boyd Duckett: The Man Who Won the 2007 Bassmaster Classic and How He Did It"

Day 1: The Boatyard Interview
Day 2: Duckett’s Classic-Winning Pattern
Day 3: What Duckett Accomplished
Day 4: How Duckett Planned to Fish the Classic
Day 5: The Rest of the Classic Details



Entry 394, Day 4