Editor’s Note: In 2019, Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tennessee, won the Bassmaster Classic on the Tennessee River and $300,000 in February, 2019. In mid-March of 2020, Defoe won $100,000 on Day 3 of Stage 3 of the Bass Pro Tour event, which is a part of Major League Fishing on Lake Fork, Texas, and the Championship Round on 1,799 acre Lake Athens near Athens, Tex. On the last day of the tournament, DeFoe boated 69 pounds and 12 ounces with 23 scorable fish. DeFoe also weighed in the biggest bass caught that day – 9 pounds, 6 ounces. “That bass and most of my big ones were caught on a Rapala DT10 Crankbait (https://www.rapala.com) in a new color called Biggs Shad that will be available in the summer on 12-pound test XPS fluorocarbon line (https://www.basspro.com/) with a Bass Pro (https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/bass-pro-shops-crankin-stick-split-grip-eva-casting-rod) 7-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy action crankin’ stick with a Johnny Morris Platinum 6.8:1 reel.” To learn more about Ott DeFoe check out (https://www.facebook.com/pg/ottdefoe/about/?ref=page_internal). What DeFoe learned can help you at your next tournament or on your next fun bass-fishing trip.
John E. Phillips: Why didn’t any of the other competitors find those bass under the bridge?
Ott DeFoe: I’m not really sure. I’d been under this same bridge, at this same spot three times before, during that day of competition. Each time I went under the bridge, I looked at my depth finder to see if there were any bass holding there. I didn’t spot any. I think the reason I found them was I was looking for them at exactly the right time that they decided to gang-up on that ledge. I found those fish later in the day when I only had 1-1/2 hours left to fish. Often when you have only 1-1/2 hours left to fish, you want to fish in the same spot to get as many casts in before you have to go back to the weigh-in. I started catching those bass at 4:45 pm. I think there were bass around that bridge all day long, but not until just before 4:45 pm did they all decide to school-up there. But those bass hadn’t been feeding heavily, until the time I saw them in late afternoon – possibly at a time when the most shad were coming under the bridge.
Phillips: Did you catch that 9 pounder out of that same school of bass?
DeFoe: Yes, I did.
Phillips: How many pounds of bass did you catch and release before you discovered this school of bass?
DeFoe: I’d only caught 12 pounds of bass, and I think I was down to sixth place for the event. I was 22 pounds away from first-place leader.
To learn more about bass fishing, check out John E. Phillip’s book, “Catch the Biggest and the Most Bass in Any Lake,” at http://amzn.to/Xd7qez, available in Kindle and print versions and
Tomorrow: When Ott DeFoe Started Catching Bass on His $100,000 Day in the Late Afternoon