Major League Masterminds
by Randy Coleman
Ask any of the Major League Fishing anglers what attracted them to the new venture, and any of them will likely tell you of their hopes that televised competitive fishing will allow the public get a closer look at what they do on the water, and what it’s like to compete head-to-head with the best in the business.
According to recent interviews, they believe Major League Fishing has accomplished both by capturing a different element of their sport.
The anglers also will likely tell you that they have nothing but admiration and thanks for how the other professional bass fishing tournament organizations – B.A.S.S., FLW, PAA – have allowed their sport to grow and prosper. But when the 24 anglers were asked if there is room for something new and different to complement what they do on the other tours, the answer was unanimously, “yes.”
Major League Fishing is an evenly split partnership between the anglers and Outdoor Channel. For such a venture to pull together, there had to be long-term vision from both parties. But, if you ask the anglers who the driving force was behind the creation of Major League Fishing, they will point to Boyd Duckett, a former Bassmaster Classic champion and highly successful businessman based in Demopolis, Ala., and Gary Klein, the legendary angler who grew up in central California and now makes his home in Weatherford, Texas.
Duckett owns the guiding hands that have shaped every business decision the anglers have made during the creation of Major League Fishing. Klein has been the heart and soul of the pro anglers, gently encouraging, often prodding, his peers to see the enormous potential of putting together the innovative made-for-television product. Klein and Duckett, with input from every angler, put together the creative format that allows Outdoor Channel producers to get into the heads and the emotions of the anglers.
Over the next few weeks, the Major League Fishing website will offer a series of stories that will take a closer look at Duckett and Klein, the tenacious competitors that directed the pro anglers’ vision for the new organization. The stories will include the anglers’ recollections of a few testy exchanges, on and off the water, that actually set the stage for the friendship and trusting relationship that later grew between the two.
(Part 1) Boyd Duckett: The Businessman Angler
(Part 2) Gary Klein: The Veteran Angler
(Part 3) Duckett, Klein: The Confrontation