Classic finally comes home

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Since the first boat launched into the water of Lake Mead on Oct. 20, 1971 in Las Vegas, no angler has ever won the Bassmaster Classic in his home state.

That is, until now.

Boyd Duckett, a 46-year old rookie from Demopolis, captured every angler&8217;s dream Sunday night in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, when his six pound, nine ounce bass weighed in to give him the 2007 title on Lay Lake.

&8220;I&8217;m really tickled about the home state angler thing. We all talked about how great it would be to win in Alabama. We probably had the best chance ever, because there were so many of us that know the lake so well,&8221; Duckett said. There were nine Alabamian anglers in contention for this year&8217;s 37th Annual Classic.

He landed the title with a three-day weight of 48 pounds and 10 ounces, just four ounces more than eight-time Classic contender Skeet Reese.

After catching his five fish limit early in the day Sunday, Duckett moved down river just below the Narrows to catch a three-pounder a little before noon.

Two hours later up river, while tucked away in a small, windy pocket of the lake near Shelby Shores, he boated his monster for the day.

&8220;I&8217;m not really sure with all of this wind if that&8217;s a bite or not, but I thought it was,&8221; Duckett told his cameraman after snapping his line back.

He reset and cast again.

&8220;That&8217;s what I&8217;m fishing for. Look at that beautiful fish. I&8217;ve waited all day for that one…I could have a run at the 2007 Bassmaster Classic right here,&8221; he exclaimed.

And so he did, as the lunker gave him the $500,000 championship.

On the north end of the lake, another first-time Classic contender was making his run at history. A 17-year Federation fisherman, Terry McWilliams was enjoying the warm current produced by Gaston Steam Plant in Wilsonville.

&8220;I fished the power plant all three days and all of my fish but one came from there,&8221; McWilliams said. He finished fourth with 45 pounds and three ounces.

&8220;You are the man,&8221; Reese exclaimed in response.

Reese also poked at third-place finisher and two-time Classic champion Kevin VanDam and Duckett after the final weigh-in.

&8220;You don&8217;t get that many opportunities to win a Bassmaster Classic, unless you&8217;re Kevin… Boyd flat out beat me. I&8217;m happy for him, but I hope his boat sinks next tournament,&8221; he said.

Duckett, who started fishing bass at the age six with his brother Earl on a pond just south of Charlotte, N.C., doesn&8217;t plan on his boat sinking anytime soon.

As he enters his first Elite Tour and continues to operate Southern Tank Leasing, his goal remains the same

&045; 2007 Angler of the Year