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Duckett holds strong during Classic

It wasn&8217;t exactly the way he wanted to end his year atop the bass fishing world, but Boyd Duckett is not about to complain.

Duckett, the Demopolis businessman who became the first home-state angler to win a Bassmaster Classic last year with his victory on Lay Lake, struggled on the opening day of the 2008 Classic in Greenville, S.C. and wasn&8217;t able to make the cut.

Yet, Duckett was not the one-hit wonder that is so common among first-time Classic champions. However, he admits he was in a fog for a little while after winning the $500,000 top prize before a capacity crowd at Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.

Although Duckett juggles a successful business in Demopolis &8212; Southern Tank Leasing &8212; and a passion for bass fishing, he didn&8217;t realize how much the Classic title would affect him.

Duckett admits it did take a couple of tournaments to regain his composure.

Of course, that last comment was a considerable understatement. Duckett managed to set a Bassmaster record for winnings in a single year with $850,000 in tournament paydays. He won the Bassmaster Legend, one of the tour&8217;s major events, on Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas, followed by a victory in the made-for-TV Ultimate Match Fishing competition.

In the Ultimate Match Fishing event, Duckett progressed through the elimination rounds and met Texas pro Kelly Jordon in the finals.

Duckett&8217;s attempt to become only the second person to win back-to-back Classics derailed quickly on South Carolina&8217;s Lake Hartwell. Duckett had an opening round that was ruled by Murphy&8217;s Law. He lost fish after fish, the first on a spinnerbait, the second on a Rat-L-Trap and the third on a jig. He ended up with only two keepers at 4 pounds, 12 ounces.

Duckett was able to gain a modicum of redemption during the second round when he weighed in a five-fish limit at 15-2, but the opening-round hole was too deep to be able to advance to Sunday&8217;s final round. He finished in 33rd place.

Although he wasn&8217;t on the lake for the final round, Duckett didn&8217;t have time to rest. He was still busy, promoting products and signing autographs at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo.

After the Classic, Duckett may be able to swing through Demopolis, but he won&8217;t be able to stay long. The first 2008 Bassmaster Elite Series event is the Sunshine Showdown March 6-9 at Leesburg, Fla. When he is home, Duckett said things haven&8217;t changed much.

Despite his new-found fame, Duckett is comfortable in the role.

David Rainer is with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.