John's Journal...

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

The Rest of the Classic Details

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 pro 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: Boyd, how did you catch your big fish?
Duckett: You’ll have to excuse me, I haven’t had much sleep. I bounced back and forth bClick to enlargeetween fishing the Rat-L-Trap, which was my confidence bait, and flipping the Chigger Craw, which was my big-bass bait. Now I did catch a good number of big fish on the
Rat-L-Trap, but I knew I had to fish for pre-spawn bass to catch bass big enough to win. I knew that the Lay Lake area would have a full moon 8 or 10 days after the Classic. And regardless of what the water temperature did, the bass would be looking for a place to spawn.

I’m primarily a sight fisherman. A lot of my success as a bass fisherman has come from sight fishing for bass. So I knew that the bass had to be near the spawning areas, even though they weren’t there yet. I searched for spawning flats that had good bottoms where the bass could spawn. I checked out the bottoms in the regions where I’d normally be sight fishing when the bass would go to the beds. Then I’d pull out to the first grassy areas away from those spawning flats to look for the big females that were staging and getting ready to spawn. And those were the places I fished.

Phillips: This is a two-part question. Were you doing anything different with the Click to enlarge
Rat-L-Trap to catch your bass, and what does it feel like to be a native son and win the Classic in your home state?
Duckett: I’m really tickled about being a home state angler and winning the Classic for the State of Alabama. There were eight of us from Alabama in the Classic. We all talked about how great it would be if one of us could win this Classic for the state. We felt like we had the best chance ever, not because we knew the lake that well, but because we had eight Alabama anglers in the Classic. But I had a lot of confidence that I could win this 2007 Classic before I came here. Of course, I feel that way in most of the tournaments I fish in, although I don’t always win.

To answer the Rat-L-Trap question, yes, I was fishing the Rat-L-Trap differently - really, really slow. I’d cast it out and fish it like it was a jig – letting it go to the bottom and then barely crawling it across the bottom. It would pick up trash on its hooks every time I cast it. I was constantly cleaning all the trash off the hooks and hanging my jig up. In
really-cold water, bass won’t chase the Rat-L-Trap if it’s up off the bottom. But if this lure is just bouncing across the bottom, the bass will come and get it.

Phillips: Where did you catch your bass that won this Classic?Click to enlarge
Duckett: Three of my bass were flipping fish I caught below the narrows on Lay Lake. The whole Classic was about flipping for bass. I’d catch my limits on the Rat-L-Trap and then cull my Rat-L-Trap fish with the bass I caught on the Chigger Craw. I spent most of my time flipping. I could always catch the Rat-L-Trap bass early each day, but then when it came to finding the big bass, the bites were few and far between. However, I had to catch them flipping.

Phillips: What was your gear setup?
Duckett: For my flipping setup, I’m fishing with a 7-1/2-foot Airrus N-Sync rod, an Abu Garcia reel, 65-pound-test Stren Super Braid line, a No. 5/0 hook, a 1-ounce tungsten sinker and a Berkley Chigger Craw. The Berkley Chigger Craw is black with red flake. I was cranking with a 7-foot Airrus medium-action crankbait rod and throwing
15-pound-test Trilene fluorocarbon line.

Phillips: What time did you catch your 6-pounder on the last day of the Classic?
Duckett: I caught it at 2:00 p.m.

Phillips: What size was the Rat-L-Trap were you using?
Duckett: I was fishing a 1/2-ounce orange with a brown back Rat-L-Trap. Every flipping fish that I got came on the Chigger Craw, including the 6-pounder that anchored my string.

Phillips: What went through your mind after you caught the big fish that last day at the Classic?
Duckett: I felt I had good chance to win if Kevin Van Dam didn’t have a big string, and Skeet Reese didn’t catch a big fish. I was also afraid that Terry Scroggins might surprise everyone with a big fish because he was a really-good flipping fisherman. But the other guys didn’t catch their bass they needed to win.


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 5