'Duck Dynasty' star to teach at Crappie University
John Godwin remembers the first time the television folks came to West Monroe, Louisiana, and wanted to film a show about Phil Robertson and his Duck Commander business.
“They came in the spring of the year and we said we would do it,” said Godwin, the shipping manager for Duck Commander who had a role in the "Duck Dynasty" television series. “Phil asked them when they wanted to start, and they said, ‘We are ready to start next week.' Phil said, 'Duck season don't start until November.'”
The television producers were not just interested in filming a hunting show but a show about the Robertsons and their lives.
“Phil looked at me and said (sarcastically), ‘Yeah that will work,' Godwin said. “He said don't worry about this. This is going to be one and done.”
"Duck Dynasty" lasted 11 seasons, much to the surprise of everyone, Godwin said.
“We had no idea,” he said. “It sure took off.”
Godwin thinks it became a huge hit because so many people could relate to the family and the cast of characters.
“I think everybody has got an Uncle Si in the family,” he said. “They got a Phil in the family. They got a Willie in the family, a Jase. I just think they can relate. I think they didn't mind us sitting down and praying and eating together at the end of the show. That is one thing Miss Kay, she really pulls a tight knot on that.”
Godwin will be one of the instructors at this year's Crappie University at Rose State College in Midwest City, which is going to a one-day event this year on Saturday, Feb. 16.
In Louisiana, crappie fishing is huge, although it's not called crappie fishing. Sac-a-lait is the Cajun French name for crappie, and that is how they are known to the anglers below I-10, Godwin said. It is known as white perch to everyone else in the state.
Godwin said he was primarily a bass and bream angler growing up and wasn't a crappie fisherman until he finally tasted them.
“The more I eat some, I said OK, I get it,” Godwin said. “It's manna from heaven. That is what sac-a-lait means, bag of milk. They are just so tender and good.”
"Duck Dynasty" has opened a lot of doors for Godwin, with personal appearances and speaking engagements at events like church Beast Feasts and Crappie University.
“I am booked up until May,” he said.
He also is designing crappie rods for B & M Pole Co. of Mississippi.
Filming "Duck Dynasty" was a lot of fun but a lot of work, Godwin said. Asked how much of the show was scripted, Godwin replied, “You think you could script Si? He is a wild beast.”
Godwin said the television folks scripted some things in the on-camera interviews with the cast, but the story ideas were the Robertsons'.
“We already knew what we were going to do and we would just tell them,” he said.
Godwin now rarely goes anywhere without being recognized. Fans always want him to sign autographs with his catch phrase from the show, “I want a ham sammich.”
“I put ham sammich under my name every time I sign,” he said. “I really do like ham sandwiches. Ham and cheese, that's my favorite. The bread has got to be toasted, and the cheese has got to be melted.”
Godwin still works for Duck Commander and is still making duck calls. And people are still showing up in droves at the shop in West Monroe, Louisiana, although not as much as before.
“They were spending the night at the parking lot,” Godwin said. “We had to move where we were building (duck) calls because we couldn't get in the building. There was lot of ruckus going on at one point.”
Godwin said there has been talk of a "Duck Dynasty" reunion and a Christmas special at some point, but nothing is in the works. "Duck Dynasty" changed his life.
“I never lived so fast one day at a time,” he said. “It's still going. God is still blessing me.”
Godwin said the best thing that came from the show was getting the opportunity to meet so many people, especially so many who love to hunt and fish.
“There is people just like us everywhere,” he said.
• When: 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Feb. 16.
• Where: Rose State College, Midwest City.
• Instructors: Duck Dynasty's John Godwin and crappie guides Todd Huckabee (who guides on Lake Eufaula and Arkansas' Lake Millwood), Barry Morrow (Missouri's Truman Lake) and Josh Jones (Oologah, Fort Gibson, Bell Cow and Birch lakes).
• Enrollment fee: $99.
• To enroll: Contact Rose State College at 405-733-7392 or online at rose.edu\clc.