January 17, 2011

My Interview with Elite Series Angler Ott DeFoe

Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, TN is preparing to make the switch from the FLW Tour to the Bassmaster Elite Series.  He’s a young guy, but has been fishing at the top level for a few years now.  With over $400,000 in earnings with FLW Outdoors alone, he is a rising star.  He is happy to be making the switch to the Elites and to try to fulfill his childhood dream of fishing the Bassmaster Classic. In addition to fishing full-time, he is also a guide on some of the best lakes in the country in East Tennessee.  I had the chance to talk with Ott to see how he is preparing for the new season.

TB:  Tell me about the name Ott.
OD:  It’s actually a nickname. My real name is Arthur, but I was always called Ott.  It’s after my Great Uncle, his name was Ott. 

TB: Now, you’re a young guy (25), but it seems like you have been around forever.  Tell me about your progression from the BFL’s all the way to the Elite Series.
OD:  I started fishing the BFL’s when I was 16 and finished in 13th when I was 17.  From there, I started fishing the EverStarts and then the FLW Series in 2006.  When I was 21, I qualified for the FLW Tour and fished the tour until 2010.

TB: Ott, congrats on making the Elite Series.  What do you think about the change from FLW to B.A.S.S.?
OD: Thanks.  I grew up watching Bassmaster on TV and reading the magazine so this is a dream come true.  There are some really good fishermen on both tours and I know the competition will be strong.  The biggest difference between both tours is the points structure.  On the Elites, you get rewarded for higher finishes with bonus points.  FLW uses a straight points system and really rewards consistency.  Now, I am going to have to try to get some good finishes in order to make it to the top of the standings. 

TB: I notice a lot of great fisherman come from the East Tennessee area, what makes the fisherman from there so good and what lakes do you fish in that area?
OD:  I think the biggest thing about the area is the diversity of the lakes.  I think the style of fishing in our area really helps the anglers who are raised there.  We fish Douglas Lake, Cherokee and Ft. Loudon/Tellico lakes.  They are all very good fisheries.  I am really happy about a new partnership I have with the Jefferson County Chamber that will allow me to share the news about the great fishing in my area. 

TB:  I see Douglas Lake is on the B.A.S.S. Southern Open schedule this year.  What do you expect from that event?
OD:  Douglas is a great lake for numbers of fish.  For that tournament, I think everyone will have a limit; both pros and co-anglers.  It’s a unique lake and the fish will be shallow and offshore.  Basically, someone can fish however they feel comfortable.  I think there will be several 20 lb bags brought in and it will take close to 60 pounds to win it.

TB:  I have noticed you fishing out of an aluminum boat a few times, like at the Bassmaster Southern Open on Lake Seminole and the Forrest Wood Cup on Lanier.  What is your strategy for that?
OD:  I take a look at how the lake is fishing.  If the weights are low and the fishing is tough, there is a great chance to do well up a river.  It is really my preferred way to fish, anytime there is current I feel like I can catch them.  I have a great setup for it, a Tracker tunnel hull.  It’s great because you can kind of get away from everyone and sometimes have an area all to yourself.

TB: I see you are sponsored by Citrus Stick rods.  Tell me a little more about the rods.  They are definitely bright and unique.

OD: They are a flash green color and that really helps with the brand recognition, but they are really great rods.  They are well balanced and priced right, around $150.  They have some new things coming out and I am really excited to be working with them.

To learn more about Ott and to see news from his latest tournaments, check out his site ODFishing.net

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