Ott can breathe

Category: Tournament

 Jun 3rd, 2014 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jun 3rd, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Pressure can be both a positive and a negative for a competitive angler. Take Aqua-Vu pro Ott DeFoe for example. Heading into a recent B.A.S.S. Open event on Douglas Lake DeFoe was no shoe-in to make it to the 2015 Bassmaster Classic. Sitting in 28th in the Elite Series Angler of the Year (AOY) points, DeFoe needed to perform cleanly to maintain that position or improve it to secure a Classic berth.

Well, the rules for Classic qualification include a “win and you’re in” policy. If you bomb the entire Elite Series season but win an event, you make the Classic. That also applies to the Opens, as long as you fish the entire season of the division you won. Guess what? Ott won on Douglas Lake and is now qualified for the Classic, as long as he fishes the rest of the Northern Opens.

The stress is gone for DeFoe.

DeFoe getting busy (Joel Shangle)

“Heading into the next Elite Series event, Chickamauga, there is no stress for me,” said DeFoe. “By winning Douglas Lake, I now have breathing room since I am qualified for the Classic. Sure, I still need to fish the final two Northern Opens, but I was planning on doing that anyhow. I’ll fish those to win.

“Same with every Elite event for the rest of the season. I will fish to win, of course depending on how my practice goes. It would sure be nice to make something great happen and have another win on the Elite side and also climb up in the AOY points. Either way, winning Douglas Lake is a very good thing.”

As previously mentioned, next up for DeFoe is BASSFest on Lake Chickamauga. DeFoe believes deeper water is the key to winning on Chickamauga in June. However, Ott isn’t planning on fishing much to find bass during practice.

“I think almost everybody believes Chickamauga is going to be won in deep water,” said DeFoe. “I just can’t imagine it being won any other way this time of the year.

“In my three days of practice, I plan on maybe fishing a few hours in total. Since I am already Classic qualified, I plan on going for the win if I can find the right fish. I will spend all of my waking hours scouring that lake to find as many different and unique spots to get on winning fish. I’ll hardly spend anytime fishing.

“I’ll use my Humminbird to locate the areas I’m interested in and then I’ll drop my Aqua-Vu camera down to take a look. If the water clarity is good enough, I don’t need to try and catch those big fish. I can use the Aqua-Vu to assess the quality of the fish. It is a very important tool for me to zero in on fish without sore-mouthing them before the tournament starts.”

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