John's Journal...

More Keys to Winning Bass Tournaments with Boyd Duckett

Learn Your Weaknesses and Strengths

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: At the end of August, 2007, the 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion, Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, Alabama, won the B.A.S.S. Legends tournament and $250,000 at Arkansas’ Lake Dardanelle, bringing his total winnings in bass tournaments during 2007 to nearly $1 million. Never before has a tournament bass fisherman won as much money in as short a time on the B.A.S.S. circuit as Duckett. Besides finishing in the top-10 in eight, 2007 B.A.S.S. tournaments, Duckett also won the Ultimate Match Fishing Tournament, earning $76,000, and the Bassmaster Classic, earning $500,000. “I’ve won abouClick to enlarget another $115,000 this year in Bassmaster Tour Elite events,” Duckett says. At this writing, Duckett has won a total of $961,000 for 2007 and still has one tournament left to fish before the end of the year to possibly break the $1 million mark in one year from tournament winnings. He’s also currently in 10th place for Angler of the Year, which will pay about $20,000.

Question: Boyd, do you think that fishing on the level you’re bass fishing on is as inspired and as creative as an artist who paints a masterpiece, a playwright who develops a great play or a poet who finds ultimate truth in words that rhyme?

Duckett: I think there definitely are similarities. I know that when I was fishing at the state and the regional amateur levels, I believed too much that bass fishing was primarily based on mechanical skills. I was convinced that Kevin VanDam could fish a jerkbait so much better than I could that there was no way I Click to enlargeever could compete with him. I believed because Gerald Swindle could skip a jig 29 feet under a boat dock that only sat 4 inches off the water that I couldn’t do that or compete against him. I believed that Denny Brauer could fish a jig so much better than I could that I never could beat him. But not until 4 or 5 years ago, whenI started winning a lot of tournaments around Alabama did I realize that I could take my skills, which were legitimately not as good as these great pros, and still compete with them.

I know that mechanically I’m at the bottom of the field with these great bass fishermen against whom I compete. I believe if you’re going to get better at what you do, whether it’s in sports or business, you must first recognize your weaknesses. I’m not mechanically better than some of these fishermen. For instance, Aaron MartensClick to enlarge is probably one of the best drop-shot fishermen in the world. I’m not as good at drop-shotting as Aaron, I can’t pitch a jig as accurately as Denny Brauer can, and I can’t cast at the rapid-fire rate that Kevin VanDam does. I realized that I couldn’t do these things. So, I had to look within myself and find and/or determine what my strengths were in bass fishing.

Question: Boyd, what do you think your strengths are in tournament bass fishing? What do you believe allows you not only to compete against the best bass fishermen in the world but also have a chance of winning?

Duckett: I believe and have learned that the biggest factor in winning bass tournaments is being able to make the right decisions when you’re on the water, while you’re fishing. I’ve learned that the ability to concentrate and remain focused allows me to make those right decisions. Even though I’m handicapped mechanically, I can win.

Tomorrow: Lessons from the Legends Tournament

Check back each day this week for more about "More Keys to Winning Bass Tournaments with Boyd Duckett"

Day 1: Get Mentally Ready
Day 2: Learn Your Weaknesses and Strengths
Day 3: Lesson from the Legends Tournament
Day 4: Make Decisions to Make the Cut
Day 5: Play Chess to Catch Bass



Entry 422, Day 2