DeFoe credits Poche for "divine intervention"

Divine intervention came in the form of Keith Poche yesterday, according to Ott DeFoe. The first-day leader and tournament favorite is back in the lead today with 16-14 at 12:30. After adding another 3 1/2-pounder to his livewell and culling a smaller keeper, DeFoe gave credit to a chance meeting with Poche yesterday for his success this morning.

DeFoe explained that he was walking across the parking lot, headed toward a port-a-potty, when he saw Poche, who was frustrated by all the big fish he'd lost when fishing at the Fort Loudoun Dam Marina that day. It's within the rules for anglers to get advice from other competitors, and Poche told DeFoe he ought to give it a shot today. Later, Poche officially missed the top 25 cut after two days, finishing 36th.

"If I hadn't had to go to the bathroom, and Keith hadn't been standing there about to pull his hair out, who knows where I'd be right now," said DeFoe on "Bassmaster LIVE." "You can't beat divine intervention."

DeFoe’s magic marina

Ott DeFoe is currently leading the final round of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, thanks to a pattern he learned from Keith Poche.

Four of the fish in his livewell came from Ft. Loudon Dam Marina, just a few hundred yards from the dam itself. The water is murky, but not ugly, and the temp is 52.5 and climbing.

I’d say it’s as ideal of a location for another cull, or big kicker fish. He’s caught two over 4 pounds and a couple others in the 2+ range. But, it may have given up all it will for today. His larger fish came from the front wall of that front boat house, within 75 yards of the shoreline while slow rolling a bladed jig.

Seems pretty specific.

Regardless, he’s got plenty of good spots along the trip back to Knoxville, and if I were to guess I’d say he’s not totally comfortable yet, but he’s feeling good.

DeFoe ain’t done yet.

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Moving time

We followed Jesse Wiggins down to Gallagher Creek, but we were a little too slow. Another photographer told us that he caught one on his first cast.

As I typed this he landed another, but it didn't help. He is consistently getting bites but needs a difference-maker or two.

The culling continues

Wiggins shows no signs of slowing down. He just landed four more back to back to back to back off,the same point.. Two helped, two got unceremoniously dumped back into Fort Loudoun. His culling beam is getting a workout.

Still chewing for Wiggins

Seventy five yards into the creek, Wiggins hooked up in front of a brushy laydown. He flopped it onto the carpet and then got down to the hard but profitable work of culling. He tossed one headfirst back into the water and got back to casting. He is having a banner day but a 5-pound bite could be a separator.

Smallies continue to surprise Wheeler

Jacob Wheeler has put a 3-pound smallmouth bass in his livewell this morning. No one is more surprised than Wheeler about his smallmouth success this week. Over the first two days, his 10 bass weighed-in have included 8 smallmouth bass and only 2 largemouths. He weighed all smallmouths in his 17-pound, 11-ounce bag yesterday.

"If you would have told me that at the start of the tournament, I would have said no way," Wheeler said yesterday. "It had been hard to catch a smallmouth (in practice), even a non-keeper."

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To the dock

Ott DeFoe just added a 2 1/2- and a 4 1/4-pounder to his day’s total. Make that a third at 2 as well. A limit in the boat should put him at the top of BASSTrakk.

Just don’t trust BASSTrakk completely.

He’s fishing along a marina boat dock that he thanked Alabama angler Keith Poche for. Evidently a pattern DeFoe learned from Poche.

He’s slow-rolling a 3/8-ounce bladed jig to run at a position just beneath the underside of the dock. With today’s sun, the pattern makes perfect sense.

Onto big fish now. DeFoe on top

Ike with a big crowd

Mike Iaconelli is fishing in Turkey Creek just a mile from where I grew up. I counted nearly 100 people watching him from these train tracks and the banks below.

Eric Lopez, Chad Culver, can we count these folks in the attendance numbers today? 

One of the spectators told me they watched Bassmaster LlVE yesterday, recognized the location, and came here to watch Ike in person today. Shortly after this photo was taken a train came rolling down the tracks and everyone quickly scattered. Might the rumble of the train fire up the shad?

MDJ loves Rat-L-Traps

Mark Daniels Jr. has been catching his fish this morning on a square-billed crankbait. But you can expect a lipless version, specifically a Rat-L-Trap, to be Daniels' lure of choice soon. It's what he caught four of his five bass on yesterday, including the 6-pound, 3-ounce big bass.

"It ain't no secret. Everybody knows I love to throw a Rat-L-Trap," said Daniels yesterday. "I've been catching the majority of my fish on a Bill Lewis Original Rat-L-Trap. Red crawfish is the color.

"What's really key to know on that bait is that I'm changing out the hooks. I think it's so, so, so important and overlooked. I'm throwing Owner ST-56s, which is their short shank. They're the same size - No. 4s - that are standard on them.

"Everyone knows a Rat-L-Trap is notorious for losing fish. I had four bites on a Trap (Saturday) and I didn't lose any of them. If you saw it on 'Bassmaster LIVE,' I didn't panic when that (6-3 big bass) came to the top. Usually, with a fish that big, I'm praying, please don't come off. But I could see that she had the front hook in the mouth and the back hook underneath the chin and was never coming off. I just took my time."