Every so often I like to talk about one of the other anglers, but I don’t mean talk about like in gossip. Instead, I mean to talk about them in a different kind of way, one that gives you a perspective on who and what they are. This week we’ll look at last week’s Open winner on Douglas Lake, Ott DeFoe.
Serious bass tournament fishing is comprised of a relatively small and closed group of men. We all know each other and we all have long fishing histories. Every angler fishing the Elites has scores of anglers around from their past — old club guys, B.A.S.S. Nation guys, that sort of thing. They know us. They knew us before we made the Elite Series.
I’ve always believed you can tell a lot about a professional angler by how he is treated when he returns home to fish his home waters. After last week, I think we know a lot about Ott DeFoe.
No one at that tournament could help but notice how the crowd reacted to him. His supporters were everywhere. Anglers from his past were there to root for him. His family and old work friends were there, too. Darn near everyone claimed to know him well. “Good friend” was something you heard over and over.
And so, even though I don’t claim to know Ott well, I can pretty much tell you he’s a good guy. When the people from your old neighborhood like you, and want you to win, it says something about you, something positive.
Well done, Ott!
I didn’t make the cut last week but I did have a great experience. After the (my) final weigh-in Chris Bowes asked me to take a couple of guys out for a Diet Mountain Dew experience. (That’s a fishing trip in case you didn’t know.)
They were super guys with reasonable fishing skills. I was especially impressed with their ability to concentrate. You know, a lot of anglers lose their focus if they don’t catch a fish right away. That didn’t happen with these men. We went about an hour early on without a bite. They didn’t waver. They kept their heads down and kept fishing.
As luck would have it, we finally found some decent fish. Once the bite started they turned a little competitive. I got a kick out of that because it was good natured, just enough to keep things interesting but not so much as to spoil the day. I had a great time and I think they did, too.
I want to close this week by reminding everyone about the importance of fish care during the hot weather. I weighed a dead fish each day on Douglas. It cost me a check. More importantly, however, we lost two future giants.
One of them I couldn’t do anything about but the other might have been saved if I’d been a little quicker to add ice and chemicals to the livewell water. Please, don’t wait like I did. Get on the ice and chemicals immediately.