It's 4 o'clock on a rainy Friday afternoon. Most of southern Alabama is sluggish; in many offices, business executives and workers are cocking their eyes at wall clocks, thinking about checking out, maybe even a little early if they can get away with it.
Not true in Demopolis, Ala., in the office of Boyd Duckett, who is standing near his office door, engaged in a face-to-face conversation as his cell phone rings.
"Hey, how are you," Duckett says into his phone. "Glad you called. We need to talk. Can you hang on for just a couple of seconds? I'm almost done here."
Duckett places the phone on a nearby desk and finishes his conversation with Dan Duke, the operations manager of Southern Tank Leasing, the Demopolis-based tank trailer-leasing business that Duckett owns and manages.
"Dan, it's pretty simple. We sold used pumps for $2,500 in 1992, and last week our guys sold two of them for the same price: $2,500. You can't tell me that those pumps aren't worth more in 2010 than they were in 1992," Duckett says to Duke. "Look into that and see what you can do, OK?"
"On it," says Duke.
Before Duckett has the chance to put the cell phone back to his ear, Sean Schuyler, VP of operations for Duckett Fishing — headquartered on the second floor of the Southern Tank Leasing building — walks into Duckett's office.
"Hey, sorry," Duckett says into the cell phone. "Can you bear with me again? I promise this won't be but a second."
Schuyler hands Duckett a prototype microguide fishing rod that is designed to be part of a new signature series. This model will be designed for a member of Duckett's team of pro anglers — a group that includes Kelly Jordon, Terry Scroggins, Tim Horton, Byron Velvick, Jason Williamson and Pete Ponds. Including Duckett himself, six Duckett Fishing anglers sport B.A.S.S. championship trophies; four are B.A.S.S. millionaires.
Duckett takes the grip of the rod into his right hand and "air whips" it a half-dozen times, stares at it, then tells Schuyler that "something's not right about that action. Leave it with me. Let me look at it some more," Duckett says. "I need to take this call."
Duckett picks up the cell phone one more time.
"Really sorry about that. Let me shut the door," Duckett says.
"Not a problem Boyd," says the caller, legendary angler Gary Klein. "Sounds like you're kind of busy."
"Nah, it's not as bad as it sounds," Duckett says. "Just another day at the office."
Check back later this week for part 2 of our portrait of 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion Boyd Duckett.