its all really trial and error.some guys say buy the best looking decoys you can afford.others say buy cheap.same with ammo and choke tubes.ive hunted duck as a kid with my dad and after a break from duck hunting i started back up a few yrs ago.its all about learning everytime your out.im not a rich person and me and my dad have done very well over the yrs with cheap ammo, cheap decoys, and cheap calls.pattern you shot gun work on your calling, and one thing that helps your spread is a jerkcord cheaper then a mojo.most people will also say you need a dog.dogs are great and if you can afford one go for it.i make shots on ducks that are right over decoys so i know they will fall were i can get them but that also means i pass up on some shots that might couse me to lose the duck.if your looking to buy your own stuff now is the time to buy in the off season.
this is all very good advise. as for chest puffing. that comes with every "sport". you're smart enough to know the difference between a sincere hunting partner and the "other" types. if they've "been there and done that", move on.