A MAN FOCUSED ON SUCCESS
He had been fishing tournaments off and on since the 70's but he’d decided never to attend a Bassmaster Classic unless he was fishing it. Today he has a successful tackle business, and Jacob Wheeler, perhaps the best pro on the water today, is fishing with Duckett rods. Boyd Duckett was one of the driving forces behind the founding of Major League Fishing, and none of this would have been possible if a 46 year-old "Rookie" hadn't won the Bassmaster Classic in February, 2007.
He qualified for the Classic through B.A.S.S. (now Elite) tour events, but Duckett didn't even practice on Alabama’s Lay Lake before that tournament because he did not want to get caught trying to catch bass in the same places where he’d caught bass pre-fishing a lake that was likely different by tournament time. Despite living in Alabama at that time, he had not had a lot of luck on Lay, and probably spent less time on that Lake than any other tournament pro who fished in that 2007 Classic, but there he was hoisting the trophy after weighing 48-10 and beating out second-place Skeet Reese by 6 ounces and KVD by a little over 3 lbs. Now that's a great win for a first time Classic qualifier who used a Berkley PowerBait Chigger Craw and a Rat-L-Trap to catch his fish.
The North Carolina native dropped out of high school in 11th grade with big plans. Barely out of his teens in 1982, he had already saved about $60,000 from his work repairing automobiles, which evolved into truck repairs as a fabricator. He had an opportunity to develop a business plan for a repair shop for tank trailers that appeared on the market in Nashville, Tennessee. He took that plan to First Tennessee Bank who loaned him $565,000 to buy the business. That loan moved Duckett into the tank trailer repair business which evolved into buying and selling used tankers, and ultimately the tank rental business which he built up to 11 locations before selling it a few years ago. Duckett was also a singer/song writer during his formative years in North Carolina which got his foot into the music industry in Nashville. Along with a trio of partners, he did some song publishing that evolved into a talent management company. When the partners sold the business to EMI in 1995, it was one of the largest independently owned music companies in country music.
Despite all the business success, fishing was still his passion. He had fished competitively for a long time, traveling to compete as early as the 1970s. His real goal was to be able to compete for the Angler-of-the-Year title on the B.A.S.S. circuit. Duckett had been fishing tournaments almost every weekend for 20 years, fishing most nights after work practicing his “mechanics”. Duckett said if he could flip a jig and cast a spinnerbait as well as the top pros, he could beat them. But his business ventures took all his time and he realized that he wasn’t going to realize his fishing dreams running a business and fishing part time.
At the age of 45, he decided to commit himself to do whatever it took to take his fishing to the next level. He dedicated himself to becoming more focused, and he did research before each tournament to eliminate what he called “mind clutter”. His preparation taught him to trust his intuition out on the water. He believed if he was mentally prepared, focused, and did his planning, he could handle whatever was needed for the win. The approach paid off for Duckett in 2006,
when he qualified for the 2007 Classic.
He then began one of he most impressive seasons in Bass fishing history when he won that 2007 Bassmaster Classic becoming the first fisherman in history to win the championship event in his home state. Later that year, he added a second major to his resume by winning the Bassmaster Legends tournament on Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas. That same year Duckett took the Championship in the Ultimate Match Fishing competition, which pitted the top pros from the BASS and FLW circuits against one another. He ended the year with $864,000 in winnings on the BASS circuit, a single-season record. Since then, he has registered a total of four wins, 24 Top 10s, 43 Top 20’s and more than $1.8 million in career winnings.