Phil Robertson is what Duck Dynasty comes back to. All of the success, the book deals, the TV show, the legacy — it all started with Phil. So what was Phil’s secret?
The answer to that question lies in a story about river rats.
These river rats are not actual rats — they’re people that steal stuff from other river folk. More specifically, they were stealing fish from Phil. Jesus says love your neighbor, but was Jesus including river rats in that command?
Back in the day, before his duck call business found national success, Phil provided for his family by bringing home fish to eat. He and his family needed for him to have a good catch every day. So he was questioning God — why were these river rats stealing his fish, and did he really have to love and forgive them?
He decided to do what was humanly insane — let the river rats win.
In his I Am Second video, Phil tells the story:
One day I heard a motor slow down. These guys pull over to my float, and I’m watching over in the bushes. So I decided I’m going to be good to ’em. But I’m carrying my gun with me. Just in case they’re not good to me. And I’m going to do what the Lord said. I’m gonna be good to ’em.
So I roll up on them, when they just about got my net in their boat. And they look up and they see this guy coming up on them. That’d be me. Wide open.
I said, “What you boys be doing with that net?”
They said, “Oh, is that what that was?”
I said, “Yeah… that belongs to me. Here’s the good news. We’re going raise that net, and whatever’s in it, I’m gonna give ’em to ya.”
They couldn’t believe it. But Phil wasn’t joking — he gave them the fish. And from that point on, the river rats stopped stealing. Phil fought fire with water, hate with love.
Turns out, Jesus was onto something. Because of Phil’s love and generosity to those thieves, he was able to keep fishing and providing for his family. And because he was able to provide, he had the freedom to make that first duck call — which, as we know, started it all.