Ott DeFoe checked all the winning formula boxes on Day 1 of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods. Before the three-day tournament started, the consensus was that you'd need to have one 20-pound bag, catch at least one 6- or 7-pound bass and average 16 to 17 pounds a day to win.
So DeFoe, the odds-on pre-tournament favorite, weighed a first-place bag of 20-0 pounds, which included a 6-pounder, and he takes a 2-pound, 5-ounce lead over second-place Roy Hawk into Day 2.
"I do know how fickle this lake is," said DeFoe, who lives nearby in Blaine, Tenn. "Knowing it like I do, that's what I know best about it."
The 20-pound bag didn't change his thinking that 48 to 50 pounds will be the winning three-day total. But it gave him room to remain in contention when the fickleness of this fishery strikes DeFoe. He can now have a 12-pound day and still be in the hunt for the title.
But 12 pounds, realistically, is the minimum to survive, and 37 of the 52 anglers didn't hit that mark on Day 1. (Actually 38 didn't, but in 15th place with 11-15 Gerald Swindle got close enough.)
"If you didn't have 12 pounds today, I think it would be hard to win," said DeFoe in response to a press conference question. "I'm not going to say you can't."
It would take a bag topping 20 pounds today to keep you on that 16-pounds-a-day average, if you didn't have at least 12 pounds on Day 1. A 5-bass limit topping 20 pounds as this tournament progresses is increasingly unlikely.