good stuff 870.
Quack - you can really help yourself by putting in some time scouting and watching the birds. i recently had the pleasure of attending a seminar at our local waterfowl festival where Jim Ronquist for RNT Calls spoke on a topic that applys to this situation. the following is what i remember on the subject as laid out by Jim. i hope i am getting it all right. lol.
first, he talked about finding the flyways in your area. not the big migratory flyways, but the number local flyways ducks use to travel between feeding and resting spots. once you know where they are flying, find out what places along that flyway they like to use in different conditions. ie: they may like one end of the body of water in certain weather conditions, but may be a mile away on the other side of the lake in others. Bottom line was this, there are 3 ways to hunt ducks.
Be where they want to be - hard to go wrong here. the ducks are coming and only you can stop them.
Be where they don't mind going - maybe they didn't want to land here to begin with, but they see your dekes and hear you calling and think, "hey..that's not a bad spot. let's go there instead."
Be where they don't want to be - hope you brought a couple of sandwiches and a thermos of coffe. you're in for a long day.
as for deke spreads. personally, i like to use the most natural spread i can. like 870, i will try to imitate ducks at rest or at ease. since i try to be where the ducks are going to go anyway, dekes are more for confidence and to dictate their landing spots as opposed to actually attracting them in, so i don't worry too much about visiblity at a distance.
Friends Don't Let Friends Shoot Mossbergs.