Recent blogs: November and December … Looking at my fishing; Major League Fishing
Analyzing my Fishing
It’s no secret that for the past few months I’ve been diagnosing my fishing game, top to bottom. I’ve been writing about it and talking about it during interviews.
I’m trying to get to the bottom of why I had such a lousy year in 2011. The way I see it, it’s time to re-evaluate your game when you go from five straight Classic appearances, including one victory and a second Super Six finish, to standing on the outside looking in. It’s a bad feeling.
The good news is that when you start looking at yourself with a sharp, critical eye, you’re bound to find some things out about yourself.
Well, I’ve learned a couple of things so far. The first thing is that I’m spending way too much time on business and not enough time taking care of what should be my primary business: competitive bass fishing. But, to be honest, that one was obvious. Between making sure Southern Tank Leasing (my tank-trailer leasing operation) and Duckett Fishing are running smoothly, time gets eaten up. But I knew before I started this self-evaluation process. I’ve been fighting that battle for years. It had to be something else.
Well, I recently found a second problem. When I’m on the water, I’ve been rushing everything. I actually didn’t even realize that I had been speeding up just about every technical thing I do while fishing. My bait has been winding up too high, and I’m just generally not on target. That’s the short version.
Well, I had a great opportunity to test the “rushing myself” theory a few weeks ago. I was involved in two events. The first was the Fish and Chips tournament in Oklahoma. The second was an event I’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time: Major League Fishing’s first tournament.
The good news is that at both events I slowed down my motion, forced myself to focus on the task hand and started catching fish again.
One reason I tell you this is that I’d like to encourage you to watch what I did at the Major League Fishing Challenge Cup. Even more important, you’ll get to see what 23 other great anglers did, too. You can see this during the first Major League Fishing web-based pay-per-view broadcast.
I haven’t been this excited about a broadcast event in a long, long time – maybe ever. I’m going to watch this as a fan. I was there competing, but I didn’t see what we’re going to see on the pay-per-view. I want to watch how the great anglers that competed in the event went about their business. And that’s what you and I will be able to see.
You’ll be able to get inside Kevin VanDam’s head, and that’s no easy task. You’ll get to see Aaron Martens and his sometimes unorthodox methods of finding fish. You’ll get to see how Shaw Grigsby, a self-proclaimed underdog on Lake Amistad, handles a body of water that’s been out of his element in the past. You’ll get to see the competitive juices get going when Ike and Skeet have just one day to figure out one section of a lake.
The pay-per-view is going to cost $2.99 an episode. What you’ll be buying for $2.99 is something that’s never been offered on any video or how-to program. You’ll watch the pros FIND fish. Most people can catch them. The game is all about finding them. And that’s what the pros do that almost no one else can: find them in a hurry. If you’ve ever fished a tournament, you know that’s probably worth more like $299 instead of $2.99.
I promise you, absolutely promise you, it will be worth both the time and a couple of bucks.
As I said, I was actually there. And I still can’t wait to see it.
Pay per View Learning
I mentioned on this blog a couple of weeks ago a few of the format and rules aspects that we’re going to use when we kick off MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING. After I wrote that piece, I got to thinking that there is one part of MLF that we, and by we I mean the anglers, haven’t been talking about. And we need to start doing it.
That part is the web-based pay-per-view that’s going to be offered. We’ve determined that we’ll offer MLF for $2.99 per broadcast. I think that’s a bargain, and here’s why. You’re going to get a lot of user-friendly information when you watch a Major League Fishing broadcast.
Before I go further, I should say that we still don’t have the dates set for the pay-per-view. But we’ll announce those soon. I just want to make sure it’s on your radar, because it’s on mine. Even though I’ll be participating in the tournament, I will absolutely be watching the PPV.
What MLF is trying to do is give you a look at what it’s like when some of the best anglers in world get dumped on a body of water with no practice, and they have to go find fish – a lot of fish. I’ll be watching because I want to see what Skeet and Ike and Aaron Martens and a bunch of other anglers are going to do in that situation. I want to see how their minds work. And you’ll be looking at the same thing I’ll be seeing.
I don’t want to sound like a carnival barker, but are you kidding me? It will be a $2.99 seminar. This a great deal. I keep thinking about Aaron. I won’t say much about this, but I will tell you that Aaron has an unconventional way of finding fish. Since I’m usually competing against him and don’t really get to watch him operate, I’m going to enjoy seeing him zero in on where the fish are. I think you will, too.
I’ve been telling people that I can’t wait to see Dean Rojas working with his frog when there shouldn’t be a frog bite out there. And I’m going to get to watch Denny go to the banks and start flipping. I know Denny sometimes sees things I don’t see. I might not be able to do exactly what they’re doing, but I promise you I’m going to learn some good stuff.
I’ve told the other anglers to be on notice. I’m going to steal from them. And I’ll be better in the second MLF event than the first one because of what I learn.
One other thing that I think you’re going to see is how the great ones fish under serious pressure. We did a test run a few weeks ago. Mike McClelland, Jeff Kriet and I went out and fished a few periods under the MLF format. And I can assure you that you have never seen tournament pressure the way you’ll see it when you know you have to stop fishing at the end of a period. We’ll have three periods every day, and every period is a tournament unto itself.
I can’t wait. And I can’t wait to watch it.
Boyd Duckett - MLF Format Details
The first MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING event is going to take place soon. And it would be putting it mildly to say that the anglers are excited about what’s going to take place. Major League Fishing, which is a partnership venture between Outdoor Channel and 24 of the world’s best bass anglers, has been an evolving process. The evolution started the first day we discussed the idea and the format and rules are still being tweaked.
The basics are in place. The initial event will be the Challenge Cup - six outstanding days of competition, all carrying an elimination element. We have 24 anglers total, and the 24 will be divided into groups of eight. Days 1, 2 and 3 will involve eight anglers (each day) competing on an area of water that will be disclosed to them the day before the event. It will be different areas each day. Each day, four of the eight anglers will advance.
That leaves 12 anglers still in the competition. On Day 4, six of the 12 anglers will compete, with two advancing. Same deal on Day 5 – the other six anglers will compete and two will advance. In an interesting twist, MLF will introduce a cutline for Days 4 and 5. The first two anglers to reach the cutline win the day.
At this point, you have a four anglers still in the game, and those anglers will compete for the championship on Day 6.
There will be leader boards available at all times to the competing anglers. If I’m fishing, I’ll know where I stand. There will be boat judges riding with every angler. Penalties will be enforced by making anglers sit out the action for the amount of time allotted for his penalty.
And all bass caught (so long they are what MLF calls “score-able” size) will be recorded. There’s no five-fish limit here. When a bass is caught, the boat judge will determine the weight, record it into the electronic system, and the angler will release the bass back into the water. We’ve done a test. This process can happen in 30 seconds.
Those are the basics. But the fine tuning is not done – and it shouldn’t be. Since this is a new venture, we want to make sure we’re not stubborn about how we implement our rules and penalties. And this week we decided to change direction on one of them.
We initially said that MLF was not only waving encroachment rules, we were going a step further by telling anglers it’s just fine if they want to ease up on another angler and fish beside him. This invoked elements of NASCAR. Our logic was that this is a made-for-television project, and we want to make this interesting for viewers. What could be more entertaining that “rubbing rails” on the water. And at first, our anglers loved the idea.
But last week we did a final check with the anglers. We asked this question: Is there anything about our format that makes you uncomfortable? And overwhelmingly, we decided that even though it would be awfully entertaining to see the world’s top anglers fishing right on top of each other, that element of our game simply wouldn’t promote good sportsmanship. So we’re changing direction.
Here’s how we believe we will address it. An angler in competition will have the right to drop a buoy and claim a spot. As long as his buoy is in place, the angler must stay with 50 yards of the buoy – and no other angler will be allowed to enter the space. Other anglers will be allowed to cast inside the 50-yard radius, but they cannot drive their boats into the area. If they does, they will be penalized.
If the angler dropping the buoy chooses to leave the area, the buoy goes with him. It’s only his territory temporarily.
I mention this for two reasons. One, I wanted you to understand that we’re trying to offer an innovative product when we produce a Major League Fishing event. But on the other hand, we we don’t want to this to be gimmicky. We want sportsmanship to be part of this deal, because it is the real deal.
And it’s coming soon.