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Duckett set for Classic

One of Demopolis’ favorite sons is in Shreveport, La. this week preparing for the 2009 Bassmaster Classic. Boyd Duckett, winner of the 2007 Classic, had to put together a strong finish in 2008 to qualify for the 2009 Classic.

“Once you’ve made a Classic, you never want to miss one,” Duckett said of the biggest event in bass fishing. “It’s our Super Bowl. To be considered a top angler, you have to be here.”

According to Duckett, this year’s event will be a little more interesting than previous Classics because of changing weather conditions.

“We’ve had a lot of big changes that are going to make it fish differently than expected,” Duckett said of the action that will take place on the Red River beginning Friday.

The water level is approximately four feet lower than most anglers anticipated. The fish went through an early spawn after last week’s full moon and fishermen are bracing for the impact of a cold front expected to move through the area in the middle of the week.

“It’s a real interesting Classic,” Duckett said. “It’s more difficult for the whole field. But we see a lot of this kind of stuff fishing river systems. I think the guys that are accustomed to fishing river systems are going to have a distinct advantage.”

Duckett and his fellow competitors will take to the water today for the Classic’s official practice day.

While he is well-acclimated to fishing river systems, Duckett said this particular round of changes is more challenging because of the Classic’s rules.

“What’s hurt me the worst is that the Bassmaster Classic, unlike any other event, has a 10-rod rule,” Duckett said. “I usually carry 25-30 (rods).”

Anglers now must bring rods conducive to any challenges they may face while still having backup rods in the event that their primary ones break.

“You’re going to have to be pretty smart when it comes to crossovers,” Duckett said. “I’m just going to try to stay open-minded and move with the fish; try to react to them every day.”

The 2009 Classic gets underway Friday morning and runs through the weekend. Duckett said getting off to a hot start in the event is of the utmost importance.

“It’s really important. You can come back (after a bad first day). But with the psychological pressure of an event like this, it is difficult,” Duckett said. “They always say you can’t win the Classic on the first day, but you can definitely lose it.”