DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — Ott DeFoe has high hopes of winning the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Opens on Douglas Lake.
After a successful day of practice, the Tennessee native has added confidence that he could excel on his home lake.
“I didn’t get a big stringer of fish, but I had a solid day,” DeFoe said. “I bounced around and tried a lot of different stuff. Today was a nice change. It’s been tough to get them lately.”
Last week, the Knoxville resident fished a tournament on the same lake during which cold weather affected the bite.
“It was very one-dimensional last week,” DeFoe said. “It’s warming up a good bit now and finally getting nicer. That’s opening up more things we can do.”
DeFoe says he has fished Douglas several hundred times and considers the nearly 45-square-mile impoundment one of his favorite lakes.
“The lake gives you a lot of options — a lot of different ways to catch fish,” DeFoe said. “You can fish deep or shallow. It’s got a lot of good fish in it. It was aggravating last week, when it was really tough to get bit. That’s frustrating to me because I know how many fish live here and how easy it can be to catch them.”
DeFoe missed the first Southern Open due to a scheduling conflict. A win at this event would not secure his entry in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic because anglers are required to fish all Opens in their division to punch a ticket to the Classic.
Still, he would like to take home the trophy Saturday. He describes his ideal fishing climate on Douglas as mostly sunny with 5- to 15-mph winds — a good steady breeze. While the Alabama Rig dominated last week’s tournament, DeFoe, who finished seventh, isn’t committing to any lure at this point.
“I don’t think it’s the only way to go,” said DeFoe, who has targeted some successful areas on the lake for bigger largemouth. Today, he brought in “a couple between 3 and 4 pounds and one heavier than 5.”
“We have a 70 percent chance of rain the first day of the tournament, but if the water gets warm enough before the rain gets here, the fishing will be good,” he said.
The Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open No. 2 will be held April 4-6 with daily launches at 7 a.m. from The Point Resort, 122 Boatdock Drive, Dandridge, TN 37725. Weigh-ins will be held on Day 1 and Day 2 at the same site beginning at 3 p.m. On Day 3 (Saturday), the weigh-in will be held at 4 p.m. at Bass Pro Shops, 3629 Outdoor Sportsman’s Place, Kodak, TN 37764. (All times are Eastern.)
The events are free and open to the public.