MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Ott Defoe was the picture of calm as he worked a stretch of the Alabama River on Day One of practice of Toyota Trucks Championship Week.
“I’m not too worried, I’m actually pretty excited,” he said as he tossed a buzzbait. “I get more and more excited all the time because of the format; you’ve just got to beat one guy. Everyone’s got a shot.”
The first guy standing in Defoe’s way, however, is former Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year and Bassmaster Classic champion Mike Iaconelli. Iaconelli has a history on the Alabama River, but Defoe doesn’t.
Defoe is known for his shallow-water prowess while Iaconelli is proficient with a spinning reel. Defoe isn’t fretting, however.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time. He’s got experience here, so that’ll be a hurdle,” he said. “The river has got a fair number of fish, and so far I like the quality that I’ve seen. I’ve seen in the past here where they may catch a big sack but the weights as a whole aren’t really good, but they’re here.”
Defoe didn’t do any “homework” for the Lake Jordan tournament and finished second, so he figures he can keep that streak alive.
“It’s a little late in the game for any sort of in-depth study,” he said. “If I find something that I like, I’ll get on Google Earth and check into it further; it’s a lot more efficient than trying to get into each one of these little backwaters.”
Many Elite pros are picking Ott to do well. Jeff Kriet commented that Defoe can catch shallow bass as well as anyone. Alton Jones is putting his money on Defoe and so are Steve Kennedy and Keith Poche.
Watch for the “River Otter” to live up to his name this week.