RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — Scoring his second BASS victory in 2007, Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, Ala., outlasted the 50-angler field at the Bassmaster Legends presented by Ramada Worldwide to win the $250,000 top prize. The 47-year-old posted a two-day total of 30 pounds, 1 ounce, which was enough to hold off strong surges by Jason Quinn of Lake Wylie, S.C., and three-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year winner Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.
Duckett kicked off the season with a victory at the season-opening 2007 Bassmaster Classic on Alabama's Lay Lake. In his two victories this season and other winnings from the Bassmaster Elite Series, Duckett has earned nearly $850,000- the most an Elite Series angler has earned in BASS history.
Quinn caught five bass that weighed 14-7 for a two-day total of 29-5, while VanDam caught five bass that weighed 16-0 for a total of 28-8. For Duckett, winning the Legends validated his presence on the Bassmaster Elite Series Tour.
After the Classic, Duckett had two disappointing Elite Series finishes but since has rebounded to post four top 10 finishes. In the Angler of the Year standings, Duckett is in 10th place.
"I don't know what else I can do, except win Angler of the Year next year," Duckett said. "After I won the Classic, I had a lot of stuff going on. If you're not 100 percent when you put your boat in the water, these guys will beat you. This is an amazing group of anglers and if you stumble, you'll go from seventh to thirty-fifth just like that. You realize really quick just how good these guys are."
On Saturday, Duckett fished primarily offshore structure, but he couldn't find bass in the deep water Sunday. After striking out in the first two holes of the designated six-hole course, Duckett said he'd seen enough. He switched to a heavy jig and flipped shallow grass. He timed his adjustment perfectly.
"I started out in Hole 6 and caught one under a boat dock," said Duckett, who qualified for the Elite Series via his performance in the 2006 Bassmaster Tours, which have recently been re-branded as the Opens. "I spent all my time in Hole One (the next hole) fishing deep and didn't get anything, and I didn't get a bite in Hole Two. That was all I could stand."
From then on, Duckett said he flipped a 1 ½-ounce Tru Tungsten jig in grass mats. He also used a 3/16-ounce Tru Tungsten jig with a 7-inch, electric blue Berkley Power Worm.
Quinn said he has no regrets for his performance. He put himself in position to win and did all he could do to seal the deal.
"I fished a good tournament and had two really good days," Quinn said. "I got a lot of quality bites, but I could never get the one really big bite that I needed. I stayed focused the entire event, and this will give me a little momentum going into my next tournament at Toho (Lake Tohopekaliga). Anytime you go anyplace in August and catch them like we did here, you feel good about it."
Quinn said his primary pattern was flipping a ½-ounce, black/blue Tru Tungsten jig. The one-time BASS winner's best fish were suspended in deep water under bluffs.
"I went in with an open mind today," said Quinn, 35 "I started out in a hole I didn't have any luck in yesterday, but I saw some things I liked, but the current was the big thing for me. Where I had current, I caught fish."
VanDam, who will look to top California's Skeet Reese in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings at the final Elite Series event on Florida's Lake Tohopekaliga, scored another top finish. He has 73 top 10 finishes in his illustrious career thus far.
"I managed to put a few things together today," said VanDam, 39. "But I had a little hiccup yesterday and the ultimately cost me."
Rounding out the top six competitors who all finished Sunday was Saturday leader Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu, Ariz., in fourth with 26 pounds, 3 ounces; two-time BASS winner Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif., in fifth with 23 pounds, 0 ounces and 2007 Elite Series winner Tim Horton of Muscle Shoals, Ala., in sixth with 16 pounds, 11 ounces.
Bassmaster Elite Series anglers will next head to Florida's Lake Tohopekaliga Sept. 13-16 for the Sunshine Showdown presented by Allstate Boat Insurance and the final Elite event of the 2007 season. The event will determine who wins the prestigious Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, the Toyota Rookie of the Year award and which anglers qualify for the 2008 Bassmaster Classic.