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Angler Profile

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Josh’s Jump to the Top!

 By:  Glenn Walker

 

Josh Duggan, a Lodi, WI native, has been on the competitive fishing scene for only six years, but in that time he has quickly become one of the anglers who is always in the hunt on the Walmart Bass Fishing League trail.  All four years Josh has fished the BFL’s as a boater, he has been in that magical top 40 (meaning he has qualified for the regional tournament). 

 

This past season was no different for Josh, his focus, drive, planning and skill all played a role in Josh winning the Great Lakes division points title!  Over the course of five tournaments Josh caught 70 lb. 8 oz. of bass and accumulated 1033 points and beat Holman native Jeff Benson by two points.  Josh was very eager and excited to recap his memorable 2008 season for FutureBass.

 

What was the key to your success this season for the BFL’s and winning the points title?
“There are so many key things.  First, Mazanet Marina kept me on the water all year; if I blew a lower unit they had it fixed that day or the next.  I'm a goal oriented person so I set two goals this year with the BFL’s, win a tourney and the points.  I have to give some credit to my roomie, Curt Samo as well.  He works at this harder than anyone I know sun up to sun down and full on until the last cast.  We pretty much compete against each other all year in practice so I have no choice, but to try to our work him in practice.   The other key I really believe is I limited my practice to the two days before the tournament.  Fish positioning on the river changes on a daily basis so fish you found three days ago either moved or someone else found them and they are toast.  Another key is NOT HOOKING FISH in practice.  That takes so much control when you have a school of fish that are willing to eat, are big and may not be there in a couple of days anyway. I have a tough time not hooking them like everyone, but you just have to shake them off, not let them get to many looks at the baits your throwing and move on to the next big school, I usually go whack a bunch of little keepers on the night topwater bite for a reward at the end of a long day.”

 

What was your most and least favorite tournament of the year?
“Prairie, was my least favorite.  Caught a lot of fish but they were small. 

My favorite tourney was the first La Crosse tourney. I think I caught 40 fish over three pounds that day, it was awesome.  In practice catching two five pounders a day was easy but, just did not get the big bite in the tourney.  I thought I had a chance of winning that one but; the bite was so good I ended up in 9th.  Who would a thought 17lbs would almost be out of the top ten!  These guys are good.”

 

What was your most successful and unsuccessful tournament of the year?
“My best finish was my worst tournament, WINNECONNE.  I knew where there were two 4 1/2 lb smallies on two separate beds but, right next to each other.  When I got there, only one fish was left and I caught him on the first cast.  Then took a long run to some largemouths and caught a 3 1/2 right away. At that point I told my co, this tourney is in the bag all I have to do is fill my limit.  I caught my third fish about 20 minutes later and when I put that one in the livewell the two big ones were dead.  I spoke too soon and lost the tourney by 7 oz.  You just don't put yourself in contention to win that often, so you can't make mistakes.”

 

Do you feel this is your greatest accomplishment as a tournament angler?
“I think every win no matter what it is a great accomplishment, I usually set a weight goal per tournament so if I hit it and win that's a great accomplishment to me.  When I set the goal of winning the points, I looked over the all the weights, the other anglers that are consistently in the top ten and their strengths throughout the season.  Some guys are good in the spring and summer but only catch 12 lbs in the fall tourneys and vice versa. There are so many great fishermen in the Great Lakes division that I honestly thought after looking at the amount of money some of these guys have won and how many years of experience I was going up against it seemed like an impossible goal.  I think a great accomplishment would be to back it up with another point’s title that would be great!”

 

What kind of practice and preparation do you put into your tournaments?
“I practice two days before every tourney from sun up to sun down.  Re-rig like everyone else, new hooks on cranks, pre-rig Carolina-rigs. If I'm fishing a football head or a Carolina-rig I usually have 5-6 rods with the same jig or rig I'll be using so I don't have to re-tie for the first five fish or first five break offs. That is huge, re-tying is so time consuming.  If it's a topwater bite, I'll have 5-6 different topwaters on to give a different look if something changes, same with a crankbait bite or spinnerbait.”

Funniest moment of this past tournament season?
“Funniest moment of the year or past five years is when Glenn Walker and I were in Pool 4 and he had a school of smallies going on a topwater.  After he unhooked one and put it in the livewell he was so excited to get his bait back out there that as he cast, he hooked one of his rods and I watched that brand new combo go end over end into the river.  He was so stunned and didn’t know it was his rod or what had just happened.  I could tell because he just watched in with this perplexed look on his face as it disappeared into the river.” 

 

HAHA, I’m glad I could put a little humor on that day of fishing on the river for you.  I again want to thank you Josh for a great day of fishing and conversation.  I think we truly did have one of the most up and down days of fishing ever!

 

Most frustrating moment of the season?
“That's a tossup between killing fish and losing at Winneconne and Pool 4.  At the Pool 4 tournament my lower unit went out at 9 am, had 13 1/2 pounds and had to limp back to the weigh in. There was such a good bite it could have been so much better had I been able to fish seriously for a few more hours.”

 

What was your go to lure or presentation this year?
“Frog, if all else fails throw a frog and catch fish. But honestly I used a spinnerbait, football head, rig, crankbait, topwater, swimming jig, flipped, rattle trap and buzz bait.  Basically every lure designed put a fish in the boat.”

 

So would you categorize yourself as a junk-fisherman?  I know that on the river, you have to be versatile and have to do many things to put yourself into the contention.  
“Yes, I like to make sure I'm not missing something and to me that means throwing a lot of baits at 'em.  If I am fishing a wing dam with a rig and they're not biting, I don't just go to the next wing dam.  I throw different kinds of crankbaits, or a spinnerbait, frog, swim jig, football head, Senko, some kind of topwater etc.  Everything I have until I can either find out what bait they want or just determine it's a dead wing dam or wing dams are dead.  I can't tell you how many times I have come back to the dock or a weigh in and the winner of the tournament was fishing the same exact structure just a little differently!  That got old, really fast. The Big Bucks Championship this year in La Crosse was a classic example of that.  We were all over big smallies and just could not get them to commit.  We over looked one of the single most common ways for catching cold water smallies and we bombed!”

 

What tournament plans do you have for 2009?
“Still in the works, probably BFL, I just don’t want to go to Fort Madison for the regional, maybe Central or Northern opens or the Strens. The only schedule I like out there, up here is the BFL.”

 

Just curious what is your aversion to fishing Ft. Madison?
“It's a good fishery but every time I've been down there I have had total confidence going into the tournament and then wham, I catch one or two fish in an entire day.  It just blows my mind.   One of my goals this year is to adapt to Fort Madison, we'll see.  I think one of the differences between fishing like a pro and fishing like an amateur is taking what they give you and making the best out of it.  Someone has to win; I may as well quit whining about the water and just go fishing!”

 

What other tournaments did you fish this year?

“Big Bucks Bass team tournaments.  We won that division but, didn’t have the best year of fishing, that's for sure; it was an off year on the Madison chain.”

 

Has the thought of ever turning pro crossed your mind?

“Yeah, but I don't even know if I know what that means up here in the north.  Being able to compete up here and down there I think are two different things especially against guys who already know the water.   I'll just keep on fishing and see where it takes me, no plans.”

 

What do you feel are your strengths as an angler and your weaknesses?
“My strength is that I love to fish.  I can fish from 5 am to 9 pm and still not want to get off the water.  I hate getting off the water, which is why my boat always looks so bad; I don’t feel like wiping it down in the dark.

My weakness is probably sticking out in one spot too long convinced they are still there and just need some coaxing. That can kill you and when you burn time; you come in with nothing or next to nothing and look like a rookie.”

 

 Who do you credit for helping you get where you are today as an angler?
“My Grandpa Pierce and Duggan who shared my passion for fishing.  My dad, who bought me my first GLoomis and Diawa baitcaster when I was 10.  My wife, who runs our businesses and takes care of our daughter while I'm gone,  Mazanet Marina for keeping me on the water, Tom and Bill are great and have really gone out of their way to keep me and some of the other guys on the water.  Curt Samo who has taught me a lot of little things that turns into big things.  All my fishing friends that I have learned or still do learn from every year, even one little thing sometimes turns into a tournament win; Tim Willihnganz, Brian Saari, Greg Gravagol,, Russ Cable, Larry Hildebrandt, Stuart Smith, Scott Zagrodnick, Tim Theobald, Steve Simer, John Stafford, Dan McGarry, Bill Baker, Matt Hargarden and TJ Maglio.”

 

“Thanks Glenn for asking me to do this, it was fun to kick back with a beverage on a cold snowy day in January and reminisce about the past season and of course all that did was send me to my fishing room to start categorizing baits I think will be key for next year!  See you all then!”

 

Josh, thank you again for answering the questions and again congrats on the great season that you had.  I know we’ll be seeing you in the winner’s circle this season.  I also want to thank you for a great-day on the water in Wabasha and thanks for laughing with me as that rod/reel combo sunk to the bottom!