Boyd Duckett: What a Single Fish Can Mean

What a Single Fish Can Mean
What a Single Fish Can Mean

May 13, 2015

By: Boyd Duckett

Well, I finished the Lake Havasu Elite Series tournament.

On Day 1, I had the most disappointing competitive day I can remember in a long, long time. The next day was better, but it wasn’t good enough. I caught 13 pounds, 3 ounces and that was okay, but it was only good enough to pull me up from 92nd place to 81st place.

Day 2, I was out.

After every event, I try to figure out something that I learned. I think, “What is the takeaway from this tournament?”

In the case of Lake Havasu, I can sum it up in pretty simple terms. One fish catch can make the difference. It certainly can make the difference in a tournament, but it can also make the difference in how a season turns out.

Every angler on tour has a story. No, I take that back. Every angler has many stories, “If just one fish had been three ounces heavier, I would have won;” or “I missed the Classic by one place in the standings. All I needed was one more big fish.”

Most of those stories are true.

I have my own stories. I even talked about them in this column recently. I was discussing tie-breakers. I’ve lost several important tie-breakers. The most important one was two years ago when I didn’t make the Classic.

You think, “Three or four more ounces on one fish might have made the difference in a season?” Anyway, at Lake Havasu I did everything wrong on the first day. I am disappointed in the choices I made and in the result. The worst part of Day 1 was that I ended up one fish short of a limit.

Tough thing, huh? I missed on a couple of fish and fell one short.

But here’s the real “one fish” story.

I ended Monday with just over 10 pounds. Rounding down to an even 10, that means my fish averaged two and a half pounds per fish.

If I had fished just a little smarter, I absolutely would have caught one more fish. (I should point out that in practice on Monday I caught 21 pounds.) For the sake of argument, let’s say the fish that I should have caught was another two-and-a-half pounder. Even if had I caught that fish, I still wouldn’t have made the cut. But I would have finished this event in 63rd place instead of 81st.

More importantly, that would have meant 18 more Angler-of-the-Year points. As of today, I’m tied for 33rd. 18 points would be worth five places, safely inside the Classic cutline.

Here’s the first takeaway: Missing one fish can haunt you for a year.

Here’s the second takeaway: Somewhere I need to catch at least 2.5 pounds that I wouldn’t have ordinarily caught.

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