Ott DeFoe Wins the 2019 Bassmaster Classic

Category: article

 Mar 25th, 2019 by sworrall 

Modified Mar 25th, 2019 at 10:11 AM

Humminbird® and Minn Kota® Pro, Ott DeFoe, Utilizes One-Boat Network™ Technology to Win 2019 Bassmaster Classic

When the Tennessee River was announced as the location for the 2019 Bassmaster Classic last year, Humminbird and Minn Kota pro angler Ott DeFoe was quickly named the odds-on favorite to win the tournament by prognosticators, media and competitors alike. After all, he grew up fishing these waters and a channel of the river now runs through the backyard of his home just outside of Knoxville, Tenn.

When it comes to the Bassmaster Classic, however, past history on a body of water doesn’t always translate to success. The 2019 Classic in particular, with rapidly changing spring conditions on the Tennessee River, was a tournament where fishing memories could be more dangerous than beneficial.

Knowing this, Ott looked to his Humminbird and Minn Kota products in his One-Boat Network to find and unlock ideal locations on his way to being crowned the 2019 Bassmaster Classic Champion.


“Even on a river I know so well, my fish finder and trolling motor were critical to my success this week,” DeFoe said. “For me it started with mapping using the FishSmart app on my phone, which I used to identify likely spots for the conditions we were facing. Once I have that data as my baseline, when I’m practicing or when it’s crunch time in the tournament where every single cast counts, the Humminbird 360 is my eyes under the water.”

DeFoe came out of the gate strong catching 20 pounds on the first day of the tournament by fishing offshore rock structures identified by 360 Imaging® on his Humminbird HELIX 12 bow unit.

“The first day, I was catching my fish off shallow offshore structure where not a lot of other guys were fishing, DeFoe said.

“They were sneaky, subtle spots. I could find the areas on my LakeMaster maps, but 360 imaging allowed me to quickly and efficiently pull up, drop my Ultrex, run my 360 and see those rock transitions, which was a big competitive edge.”

On the second day, a strong north wind interfered with his pattern and DeFoe switched to fishing shallow boat docks with less success weighing in just 10 pounds, 5 ounces. DeFoe credits his rough day two as the best thing that could have happened to him in the tournament.

“I told Dave Mercer on the stage day two that I’m in a dangerous position because I don’t have anything to lose and I have everything to gain,” DeFoe said. “I was really excited to go out the final day and just go fishing.”

Heading into the final day, DeFoe sat in fourth place 2 pounds, 5 ounces behind the leader, Jacob Wheeler, when he decided to abandon his plan from the first two days and moved to fishing the outside wall of a marina. Utilizing his Minn Kota Ultrex® trolling motor and Humminbird HELIX units, DeFoe was able to navigate the full perimeter of the marina en route to an 18 pound, 15-ounce bag on the final day.

“With the marina, again Humminbird 360 played a big part because there were little steps that stuck out from the break wall and that’s where most of those fish were holding,” DeFoe said.

“Regardless of the current or wind, I was able to hit Spot-Lock on my Ultrex and make cast after cast at those steps with my 360 Imaging operating the whole time no matter the direction my trolling motor was facing.”

Those final 18 pounds were enough to propel DeFoe past Wheeler and help him capture a dream he’s been pursuing since he was nine years old, as he was crowned the 49th Bassmaster Classic Champion in his hometown.

With the technological innovations in the fishing industry since the Bassmaster Classic was first held in 1971, preparation, strategy, and practice are forever changed in tournament bass fishing. It’s these technological advances that have led to increased competition between anglers where identifying and navigating hidden structures can pay big dividends as it did for Ott DeFoe this past weekend.

“I live here, I’ve fished here my whole life, but being able to see exactly what’s going on under the water with Humminbird 360 Imaging, I knew right where to make every single cast,” DeFoe said. “The rock transitions were really subtle, not big depth changes, but with Humminbird imaging, I was able to pick it up and that’s what sealed the deal for me.”

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