A bona fide river rat, Ott DeFoe is being picked by some as a favorite in this Classic.
Although this is his first Bassmaster Classic appearance, Ott DeFoe has been mentioned by more than one Elite Series veteran as someone on the short list of anglers likely to win the 2012 Classic here on the Red River.
That's because the 26-year-old Knoxville, Tenn., native was quite impressive in winning the Toyota Tundra Rookie of the Year title on the Elite Series in 2011. He stood out for his level head in competition all year, but especially because of his success on river systems. This year's Classic on the Red River would apear to be right up his alley.
DeFoe sounded like his usual level-headed self after his first day of practice in the Shreveport-Bossier City area.
"It's a little bit colder and a little muddier than I was hoping for," DeFoe said. "I didn't have a smoking day by any means. From what I saw today, the (fishing conditions) should be decent by the time the tournament gets started."
This won't be a repeat of the low, clear-water bass fishing conditions of the 2009 Classic here. DeFoe has competed on the Red River twice before.
"It's in-between what I've seen here," he said. "It's not as high as I've seen it, and it's not as clear as I've seen it. There's only a handful of areas where you're going to find clear water.
"I spent a lot of time just looking around. I'm going to do that again (Saturday). After that, I'm going to start concentrating on the places I plan to fish (during the tournament.)"
DeFoe closed the 2011 Elite Series competition by winning the All-Star event on the Alabama River. Coupled with his year-long success on the Elite Series tour, when he finished fourth in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year point standings, DeFoe established himself as a rising star on the circuit.
He didn't sound like someone discouraged by what he saw Friday. He sounded like someone simply forming a game plan based on the conditions he found at the Red River. And that should make DeFoe someone to keep an eye on when the Classic begins next week.