I recently had the opportunity to catch up with fellow Tennessean and Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Ott DeFoe, 28, from Knoxville. Ott has been fishing professionally now for six years and is living his childhood dream. He has established an impressive track record with over $650,000 in winnings between the FLW and Bassmaster Elites. He made a splash into the Elites in 2011 by winning Rookie of the Year. In 2012, he finished second in Angler of the Year points and the Bassmaster All Stars Championship. Ott has already qualified for two Bassmaster Classics and placed fifth in his first Classic in 2012. He is proving to be a consistent contender on the trail and I got to ask him some questions about his career and bass fishing in general.
Cass: First of all Ott, I know you are a busy man, so on behalf of the Ultimate Bass thanks for taking time to do this interview. How did you get into bass fishing?
Ott: Growing up, I always watched “The Bassmasters” on TNN. Then, when I was 9- years old we went to the Bassmasters Classic and that was all it took!
Cass: What is your favorite fishing memory?
Ott: I make a new memory every time I have the kids in my boat.
Cass: Who were your fishing idols growing up?
Ott: Jay Yelas and Hank Parker.
Cass: What is your favorite lake or river to fish?
Ott: The Holston River in Tennessee.
Cass: What is the biggest bass that you have ever caught and what lure did you catch it on?
Ott: It was a 10-9 pounder on Lake Toho during a Southern Opens tournament. I caught it on a 4-inch Berkley Power Hawg in watermelon red.
Cass: You’ve been very successful at the local, regional and now the national level. What do you credit your success to?
Ott: Faith, family support, and determination
Cass: What is your fishing strength?
Ott: Shallow water power fishing.
Cass: What is your weakness?
Ott: Fishing standing timber.
Cass: We constantly learn things that make us better when fishing. What one thing did you learn this year that you feel will make you better next year?
Ott: I have a lot more confidence in a drop shot after my 3rd place this year on the St Lawrence River using one.
Cass: What is your favorite search bait?
Ott: Terminator spinnerbait.
Cass: When searching for fish, how long do you use a lure before switching to a different lure?
Ott: It depends on the situation. It typically isn’t a lure problem; it’s usually a location problem. If the fish aren’t there you can’t catch them.
Cass: What is your go to bait when the fishing gets tough?
Ott: Small shallow running crankbaits like the Rapala DT-4.
Cass: How many casts will you make to one piece of cover without getting a bite before moving on?
Ott: Up to 15 times depending on the situation.
Cass: Do pro anglers have fishing secrets, like special lures, that they don’t share with anyone?
Ott: Umm maybe…
Cass: Some anglers don’t take time on the boat during tournaments to eat. Do you? If so, what do you eat?
Ott: Yes, Nutella and jelly sandwiches, beef jerky, and any kind of chocolate!
Cass: Do you have any fishing superstitions, Bananas, favorite shirt, etc?
Ott: I never put water in the livewell until after I have caught a fish.
Cass: If you could be the tournament director of the Bassmaster Elite Series for one day and change a rule, what would it be?
Ott: The single boat rule! I would like to use my aluminum Tracker boat if need be.
Cass: We have all done stupid stuff when it comes to boating and fishing. For example, I showed up for a tournament once and left all of my rods in the garage, and of course we’ve all left the plug out of the boat a time or two. Do you have any similar stories that you are willing to share?
Ott: On more than one occasion I have ran out of oil or been extremely low during practice and competition!
Cass: I remember you throwing a jerkbait during the Classic in Shreveport/Bossier City on the Red River in 2012. I’ve got to admit, I never saw that coming into play on the Red River. Can you talk a little about that and why you choose a jerkbait?
Ott: It fit the situation I was fishing. The water was pretty clear and the fish were in a pre-spawn pattern. This goes to show that you should never let preconceived notions influence your decisions.
Cass: What one piece of fishing advice can you offer to the weekend angler to make them better fishermen?
Ott: Get on the water every chance you can, even if it’s just for 30 minutes!
Cass: What advice would you offer to young anglers aspiring to make it to the pro level?
Ott: Get an education and don’t let anything get in the way of your dreams. It takes hard work, dedication and determination to make it!
Cass: I see that Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tennessee is on the 2014 Elite Series schedule. Do you have much history on that lake? What do you think will be the winning pattern on that lake in June?
Ott: Actually, I have very little history there. I have spent less than 10 days on that lake and I expect it to be a deep water ledge fishing event.
I concluded the interview thanking Ott for sharing is thoughts, and wished him luck in the 2014 season. Ott was thankful for the opportunity to share information with Ultimate Bass.
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/casscaldwellfishing