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Duckett hauls in Top 15

After pulling in Friday as the clubhouse leader, Demopolis angler Boyd Duckett hit many of the same hardships that befell much of the field on his way to finishing 12th at the 2009 Bassmaster Classic in Bossier City, La.

“It’s a lot better than ‘08,” Duckett said of the finish. “In ‘08 I made a fatal decision that took me out of it on day one. I was two bites out of winning the Classic even on Sunday.”

Duckett finished day one this go-round with a 20-3 mark that put him in first place by a pound with two days left to fish.

“I had picked an area that I felt like had everything it needed,” Duckett said of his choice spot from the first day of the Classic that also saw four competitor boats in the area. “There were still plenty of fish to make it the three days with 20 pounds each day.”

Then Saturday came and the features of the Red River began to take over. According to Duckett, the river’s size and layout did not allow comfortably for the competitor boats and spectator boats, creating a traffic jam that affected the fishing area of a number of anglers. Duckett equated the situation to a golf tournament in which spectators ultimately obstruct play.

“The gallery’s on the green,” he analogized. “These boats were floating all in this stump field. It was just a nightmare. We ran the fish out of there and right into the pond where Skeet (Reese) was.”

Reese, who eventually won the Classic, benefitted greatly from the evacuating fish, pulling in 22-9 on day two.

The congestion and fleeing fish sent Duckett and others in search of new hotspots.

For Duckett, the venture was unsuccessful as he continued to encounter areas where other competitors had homesteaded.

“When I left and started running around, I ran into that situation because everybody had already homesteaded,” Duckett said. “Everybody in the Top 5 (finishers) pretty much fished their water.”

The lay and size of the river created a number of problems for the anglers.

“The Red River fishes very small,” Duckett said. “It doesn’t allow us to fish with the standard etiquette and ethic we’re used to fishing with. It’s too small to hold a Classic I guess is what I’m saying. The place fishes like a bathtub.”

Duckett said the situations in which anglers were required to intrude upon one another’s territories during the Classic have led to some tensions within the circuit.

“There’s 100 arguments over this Classic,” Duckett said. “You’ve got guys hating each other.”

The 2009 Classic will also be remembered for the presence of Kim Bain-Moore, the first woman to fish in a Bassmaster Classic.

“That was huge history,” Duckett said. “Prior to the Classic, it was the biggest thing in bass fishing. It was very controversial. It definitely got a lot of publicity.”

Bain-Moore finished 47th, four spots out of last place.

The Classic came on the heels of a Florida event in which Duckett was pleased with his finish.

“I’ve got a lot of positive momentum,” Duckett said.

While his 2009 Classic will be marked by a much better performance than his 2008 showing, Duckett pulls no punches about his feelings regarding his finish.

“There’s no difference between second and 50th place in the Classic,” Duckett said.

Duckett said he intends to fish all of the Elite Series and Professional Anglers Association events in 2009. His next tournament will be the Battle on the Border, which will run from March 12 through March 15 on Lake Amistad in Del Rio, Texas.