Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 12/18/2012

Story by Boyd Duckett - Photo by Dave Rush

I’ve really appreciated the responses and positive feedback I got about the Duckett Comeback Tour that appeared in BassZone for the past year. It was fun (most of the time) to write about, and I think I can honestly say that if I hadn’t forced myself to go through that exercise, I might not have ended up back in the Classic.

I tell you it got tough a couple of times during the year, especially after Elite Series tournament at Toledo Bend, when I finished in the bottom ten. It was no picnic hearing BassZone’s Mark Jeffreys tell me it was the Duckett “Come Back to the Office” Tour. Of course, it was kind of sweet at the end of the year, after I won at Oneida, to be able to say, “Hey Mark, I’m coming back to the office, and this time I’ve got the hardware.”

Boyd DuckettBut, seriously, I appreciated having this forum on BassZone to talk about what I needed to do to turn the worst season in my career, 2011, into one of the most rewarding, 2012.

So here’s what’s now. I’ve been bouncing around a bunch of thoughts and ideas on how to approach 2013. Specifically, I’m trying to establish what my goals will be next year. If you’ve read much of what I’ve written in the past, you’ll know there’s a theme when it comes to setting goals for a season or a tournament. That theme is: Set realistic goals. Winning the tournament, for example, is seldom a realistic goal.

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t try to win tournaments. We all want to win, and that’s an ultimate goal. But if you’re fishing a tournament that has 100 anglers, only one person is going to win. Statistically speaking, that’s a 1 in 100 chance. Kevin VanDam is the best angler in the world, and he didn’t win an Elite Series event last year.

The point is, take a moment before you start a tournament and set a realistic goal. For example, if you find you’ve been rushing, your primary goal might be: Today I want to make sure I don’t fish too quick. I’m going to slow down. (That was actually one of my early season goals.) So then maybe you slow down, your focus is better, and as a result you catch them good. Well, that’s gravy. You caught the fish because you met your primary goal.

Last year, my year-long goal with the Duckett Comeback Tour wasn’t to make it to the Classic or to win an event. My goals evolved as the year went along. At the end of the year, I wanted to fish consistently and with focus all tournament long, to string together good fishing days. In other words, I wanted to start fishing in control again and do it consistently.

My secondary goal all year was to start making Top 50’s. In our tour language, that is referred to as “getting a check.” I wasn’t shooting for the Classic. I just wanted to get back into the top half of the field first. In the end, I was able to make the Classic. But that wasn’t the Step 1 on the comeback trail.

That’s a long way of saying that I haven’t set my 2013 goals. When I do that, I’ll use that as a theme for these Duckett Exchanges.

Actually, here IS my first goal. I’ll set my 2013 goal (or goals) by the time I write the first 2013 Duckett Exchange. And that will be the theme for the year.

Before closing, I’d like to mention something else.

Even though earlier in this column I gave Mark Jeffreys a hard time for not having faith in me, I want to say something nice about an event he hosts. Every November he puts on a fun event called Fish & Chips. It’s a combination fishing and poker tournament that’s nice because anglers get a chance to unwind a little bit and compete in a different format.

The bass tournament was on Grand Lake and the poker event was at the Downstream Casino. We all had partners. My brother, Errol, was my partner. We finished 10th overall, which wasn’t too bad. I’d like to blame Errol for us not finishing higher, but he caught fish and stayed in the poker tournament longer than I did. (Not much longer, but he was still playing when I fell out.)

A bonus is that we got to spend a few days fishing on Grand Lake, which is the site of the Bassmaster Classic in February. In fact, most of the guys that were at Fish & Chips and will be fishing the Classic stayed around for a few days.

That early fishing is a not a big help, because the lake will fish entirely different in February. But it least it gave us time to familiarize ourselves with the geography, which is probably the best thing you can do right now.