The Champion Angler Behind Duckett Marine
Boyd Duckett isn't a Guntersville native. In 2013 when the champion angler could have moved anywhere in the country, he chose "Lake City, Alabama" to settle both his family and business.
And he's been keeping plenty busy since.
But we may be jumping the gun here. To understand who Boyd Duckett really is, and how he ended up here, it's best we begin in the beginning.
His story is important because Boyd truly represents the potential of any young man with passion, drive, and dedication. An every-man's hero of sorts.
Now 57, Boyd was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, near the southern edge of the state. His family lived a little south of town. The kind of area a boy loves to get out and explore. Full of fields, and woods and streams.
In fact, Boyd and his brother Errol were exploring one day, barely kindergarten age, when they stumbled upon a small creek. Curiosity and a strong spirit of adventure led the brothers to a small pondwhere they began fishing every day after school.
As the boys got older, Boyd's dad would take the boys and drop them off at various local fishing holes, or perhaps next to a fence around a private property that happened to have a good fishing hole.
"My dad didn't fish ... didn't really like to fish," Boyd says.
Boyd had discovered what would become a lifelong passion in fishing. He couldn't have dreamed of where it would lead.
Boyd continued being a young man in the south, and he continued fishing.
At 15-years-old, before he had his first car, Boyd bought a boat. It was 1975.
"That first boat was the Titanic," Boyd says of the '59 model MFG with the 25 horsepower Johnson motor. "I was king of the sea."
A year later and 30 miles to the south, Boyd fished in his first tournament on Lake Wylie in South Carolina.
But fishing, is only part of Boyd's story. At the same time in his life, Boyd opened a little body shop and began working on cars. Something he had grown up doing and came naturally to him.
"The hardest part was convincing the customers I knew what I was doing," Boyd says.
This was an after school enterprise for about a year, until, in the 11th grade, Boyd left school and dedicated himself full time to his young business.
The body shop work exposed Boyd to an opportunity to do some tank trailer repair work. It paid better and was no harder for Boyd, and at just 22, he sold his body shop and purchased a tank-trailer repair facility in Nashville.
But through this period, Boyd made time to fish. He fished in the Fisherman's Bass Circuit on Lake Wylie at 17, and began fishing the circuit the following year, something he would continue until the mid 80, well beyond his move to Nashville.
Boyd recalls that first tournament he fished on Lake Wylie, "I got a check. Probably the worst thing that could have happened."
Boyd's business in Nashville grew ... and grew, and Boyd branched into tank-trailer sales and leasing.
He also branched into the music business.
Back home in North Carolina, as a teenager Boyd had taken up the guitar and played in a buddy's band. When he wasn't fishing or working on cars, he could often be found plucking his six-string on a local stage.
"I grew up playing and singing out," he says.
So outside of the opportunity with the repair shop, Nashville offered another kind of opportunity for the young musician.
But Boyd is a realist. A man who recognizes opportunity and seizes it, but doesn't try to will it into being.
He found Nashville humbling as a guitarist. " I played and enjoyed it until I got to Nashville," he says.
But Boyd saw another opportunity in music business music ... publishing.
Boyd started API in Nashville in 1985 and quickly added artist management to his music publishing company. Do you like Joe Diffie or Tim McGraw? You have Boyd to thank.
But after a few years of running both companies and fishing the tournament circuit, Boyd knew something had to give.
"I was gone all the time," Boyd says of his hectic travel schedule. "I'd be gone six weeks at a time sometimes."
So in 1989 he sold the repair side of the tank-trailer business, focusing on new equipment sales until 1991, when he got back into leasing.
By this point things were spreading out and Boyd relocated to Demopolis, Alabama in 1993.
He eventually sold the Nashville based API to EMI in 1995 and bought back the repair side of the business he had sold in '89.
The move from Nashville and his departure from the music industry even led to Boyd picking up his guitar again. In fact, he and buddy Paul Garner spent the better part of 8 years playing around South Alabama and the coast.
This was also the time Boyd began fishing the big open tournaments around the southeast.
Reluctant to call himself a pro-fisherman at that point, he was making enough from fishing to call it a respectable living. (Sounds like a pro-fisherman)
But Boyd's not at his best if he's not busy, and both his business and fishing career flourished.
Still living in Demopolis, in 2011, Boyd started Duckett Fishing and began producing high quality fishing rods and reels.
With facilities spread about and nearly 12,000 leased tank trailers on the road, in 2012 Boyd sold ST Leasing, his tank-trailer company, and began thinking about what to do next.
Now able Boyd was considering moving his business and family. At the same time he was putting the finishing touches on a new pet project, Major League Fishing, a made for television fishing tournament for the Outdoor Channel.
"I remember being overwhelmed more than anything I've ever done," Boyd says of the decision to move from Demopolis. "I didn't want to make a mistake."
It's a problem Boyd earned. His successes had put him in a position to live anywhere in the country he wanted, and he labored over the decision, ultimately deciding on Guntersville.
No question Lake Guntersville holds some allure to an angler like Boyd, but that's not entirely why he's here.
"We made our choice, not because of Lake Guntersville, but because of the community of Guntersville," Boyd says.
So the decision had been made and Boyd began looking for a new homestead and a place to move his shipping operation and corporate offices for Duckett Fishing.
For his home, Boyd decided to build on Buck Island and for his business, a new building in the Connor Island Industrial Park.
But with a new town comes new opportunity, and in 2013 Boyd began development of the Spring Creek Point community. He had looked at the property when considering where to build his family's home, and decided to go ahead and purchase, sub-divide, and develop it.
With eight homes completed so far at Spring Creek Point, he has recently purchased and began development of 18 acres at the Point at Val Monte for what will be Duckett Pointe, a zero-lot-line, single family home community with a neighborhood feel.
Designed to be higher end properties marketed as weekend getaways for the affluent of Nashville, Atlanta, and the like, it will be heavily landscaped and have an entirely different vibe than anything Guntersville has to offer now.
Again seeing opportunity, in 2016, Boyd opened Duckett Marine off Brashers Chapel Road in Guntersville, where amongst others, he is a Triton boat dealer. (Triton being Boyd's oldest major fishing sponsor.)
"Everything I've done I've been successful at I did by opportunity," Boyd says.
And Guntersville couldn't be luckier.
There doesn't seem to be any slowing down in Boyd's future, but there is plenty more fun and plenty more fishing ahead for the former Bassmaster Classic champion.
Major League Fishing has become the highest rated fishing show on television, and as of this season, the entire series will air on CBS on Saturday afternoons between 1-2 p.m.
"We're really proud," Boyd says of the show.
At a point when many would be thinking about retirement, Boyd's thinking about balance.
"The only thing I have always been passionate about is fishing," he says. "The only constant, really, in my life."
So what's next for Boyd Duckett ... that's a good question and one there won't be an answer for until the next opportunity presents itself to him.
And how does Boyd Duckett know when the opportunity is right?
"If it feels good we'll do it, if it doesn't, we'll do something else," he says with a smile. "Maybe fish more."