You might take a look at these profiles and decide that Ott DeFoe is the least accomplished angler competing during Toyota Trucks All-Star Week, and you'd be right. But you'd also better be careful before you dismiss the young pro from Tennessee. He's tremendously skilled, impeccably poised and nothing seems to intimidate or distract him. Many of the best judges of fishing talent are calling him "the next Kevin VanDam."
Of course, KVD is not finished being Kevin VanDam just yet, and Ott DeFoe needs to win more than one Bassmaster Classic and more than one Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award before he can claim any right to that title, but he's off to a good start. The 2011 Bassmaster Rookie of the Year not only finished fourth in the AOY standings, but did it in the most impressive way he could — by being consistent all year long.
Throw away his 58th-place finish at the Arkansas River, where only Denny Brauer limited every day, and DeFoe's finishes ranged from 5th to 32nd — an astonishingly consistent grouping that led to his runaway win as Rookie of the Year. His fourth place finish in the AOY standings was the best for a rookie since Steve Kennedy was second in 2006.
Part of DeFoe's consistency was due to the fact that he was catching limits at a rate better than anyone else in the Elite Series. In 2011, he led the Elites in bassing average with 4.9600. He'd have scored a perfect 5 but for a tough day on the Arkansas River that saw him bring only four bass to the scales.
And whether he's the next KVD or not doesn't really matter in the big picture. If he can just be Ott DeFoe for the next 20 years, that should be more than good enough to make his mark in the sport.
|Nicknames:||Ott (Arthur is his given name)|
|2011 AOY rank:||4th|
|Strengths:||Power fishing; maturity beyond his years|
|Weaknesses:||Finesse fishing; lack of experience in the spotlight|