Thirty-two-year-old Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tennessee, fished his first bass tournament when he was nine, and he’s continued to fish bass tournaments for 23 years. He first started fishing on the Bassmaster Elite Circuit in 2011, when he won the Rookie of the Year title and the All Star Tournament. In 2016, he won the Mississippi River Elite Series tournament. He’s won several Bassmaster Open tournaments and qualified for seven Bassmaster Classics. DeFoe is a member of the Mossy Oak Fishing Team where he saw an opportunity to partner with a company known for outfitting outdoors people with the best patterns for their outdoors pursuit.
I have had great success as a professional bass fisherman and I give God all the glory. His divine intervention has been the key to my success.
I think another reason I've been successful is that I attempt to keep bass fishing simple. I try not to think about tomorrow until tomorrow gets here. I don’t think about yesterday, because that day already has passed, and I can’t do anything about it. When I'm fishing, I only think about the next bass I'm hoping to catch. After I catch that bass and put it in the boat, I generally don’t think about that bass, but concentrate on catching the next bass. Our Bassmaster tournaments are four days long, and I try to fish one day at a time, fish for only one bass at a time and make the most of every day I have to fish.
When I'm fishing a tournament, I usually don’t venture off to using a new technique or a new lure or listen to what other contestants are telling me that they believe are the best patterns and the most productive lures to use that day. I just try to fish like Ott DeFoe knows how to fish. For me, that’s the nuts-and-bolts and meat-and-potatoes kind of bass fishing. If I have a bad first day of fishing in a tournament, I may venture off the path.
I fish a spinner bait, a jig and a crankbait. I use lures that my grandpa taught me to fish with years ago. That doesn’t mean I won’t fish new lures. One new lure that was really hot for me this year was the Spy Bait, a fairly new lure and new technique for bass fishing. I’ll mix the new lures into my fishing as I feel I need to, but basically, I fish to my strengths and use the lures and the techniques with which I feel I'm the best.
The Spy Bait is a minnow-type hard bait with no lip that sinks, and the body resembles a jerkbait. It uses a very subtle finesse technique. It has a prop on the front and the rear of the bait and looks much like a Devil’s Horse topwater lure. I’ll cast this bait out and let it fall to the depth where I think the fish are holding. Then I’ll slowly reel it back to the boat. As I retrieve the bait, it will rock back and forth under the water. It was extremely effective on many of the smallmouth lakes we fished this past year. I believe it’s just as effective on largemouth and spotted bass.