Mossy Oak Fishing recently spoke with Ott DeFoe of Tennessee, the winner of the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, about the business of professional bass fishing.
When you won the Bassmaster Classic in 2019, what effect did it have on your family?
My children, my wife, my uncles and my nieces and nephews had people telling them that they saw them on TV and watched me win the Classic. People I didn’t know came up to me and told me how glad they were for me that I had won. I think my kinfolks were more excited about people knowing I was kin to them than I was about winning the Classic. While I was driving down the road, doing the interview for this Mossy Oak blog, a truck driver went by, seemed to know who I was and tooted his horn at me.
As far as me personally, I just thought I was busy before the Classic. But I seem to be twice as busy since then. I’m working with my sponsors, talking to new sponsors and trying to keep up with my fishing and my other responsibilities. I’d always heard that winning the Classic was a life-changing experience, but I really didn’t understand, and nobody could understand, what would happen and how your life would change until you’d had a Classic win and saw how very busy you’d become and would be.
How important was your wife to your fishing business before the 2019 Classic, and how important is she after your Classic win?
Jennie always has been important to my fishing business. I was on the road 200 days last year before I won the Classic, and I’ll probably be on the road more days this year. She handles all the phone calls and my appointments, makes my hotel reservations and works with my sponsors. I know I couldn’t do this effectively without her. For instance, we’ve got the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) show coming up. She will have set my schedule. She also sets up my phone to beep every time I need to leave an appointment to get to another appointment. Then I’m always on time. She allows me to spend my time and energy concentrating on my fishing, and she handles the rest of the business of bass fishing.
Watch Ott DeFoe's journey as a bass fisherman and learn more from his experience on his video series on Mossy Oak GO. Download the app and watch for free!