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Ott DeFoe: Confessions of a River Bass Fisherman

Ott DeFoe

Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tennessee, near Knoxville, won the 2019 Bassmaster Classic and $302,500 fishing the Tennessee River on Fort Loudoun and Tellico lakes, March 11-16. Ott is known by other bass anglers as a river fisherman. 

My definition of a river fisherman is an angler who loves to fish current (moving water) for bass. Most rivers almost always have some form of current flowing through them. Current is very important to me because I have a very short attention span. When a river has current running through it, I know exactly where the bass should be positioned to attack bait. 

The bass won’t be out in the middle of the heavy current. They’ll be behind rocks, brush, logs or some other type of structure that breaks the current. Generally, this structure is so close to the current that when the bass see bait in the current, they can dart out from behind the slack-water barriers where they’re holding and eat that bait. I know when I locate those kinds of places in a river that if I cast my bait to pass in front of the bass, then if a bass is holding there, it will take my bait. If a bass doesn’t take my bait, the fish isn’t at home. Then I need to go somewhere else and pinpoint another current blocker to cast my bait to, since the bass should be holding there.

I guess the way I’ve picked up the name of being a river fisherman is because I’ll practically go to the ends of the earth to attempt to locate water with current coming through it. I know I can catch bass in a river, since bass will only concentrate in specific spots on a river. I understand too that if I put a bait in front of the bass, it will attack if it’s home. 

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