DANDRIDGE, Tenn.—Bassmaster Elite Series pro Ott DeFoe sealed the deal today with his second Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open victory on Douglas Lake.
The Knoxville, Tenn., pro went wire-to-wire to win on his home lake in this event and received the top prize of a Triton 19 TrX/Mercury 200 Pro XS rig valued at $45,000, along with $5,291 in cash. He weighed in a 15-pound, 9-ounce limit to finish with 50-3. DeFoe also won a Bassmaster Northern Open on his home waters in May 2014.
DeFoe ran up the French Broad River again with his Tracker tunnel hull aluminum boat that produced 17-4 limits the first two days, but he struggled early today and caught only five keepers all day. However it was enough to clinch the victory. "The water has not been stable all week," DeFoe said. "I was thinking today could be really, really good, just because the French Broad had been falling but there was some extra flow in the Pigeon River this morning and it seemed to kind of throw the fishing off a little."
The local favorite caught his first fish of the day on a bladed jig and his second keeper flipping a black-and-blue 1/2-ounce Terminator Pro Jig with a Bass Pro Shops Elite Chunk. Switching to a Texas-rigged Bass Pro Shops Bull Hog, DeFoe caught his next two keepers and still had three hours to catch his fifth bass. He went to a bank where he had caught big fish in the past and boated a 4 1/2-pounder on the Terminator Jig that clinched the victory. All of his fish throughout the tournament came from 1 to 3 feet of water.
Newcomerstown, Ohio pro Hunter Shryock camped on his best spot today and it produced a 9-14 limit to move him into second place. "I fished the way that I like to fish –junk fishing—and I kind of learned something as the tournament was going on," said Shryock, who finished with 39-13.
Shryock learned he could catch bass as shallow as 6 inches on isolated wood cover either swimming a 1/4-ounce swim jig with a Berkley Chigger Craw trailer or flipping a Texas-rigged Berkley Chigger Craw.
Other top five finishers included Brian Latimer, Belton, S.C., third, 39-11; David Williams, Newton, N.C., fourth, 36-1; and Alex Wetherell, Middletown, Conn., fifth, 33-4.
Using a spinnerbait he bought last night at the Bass Pro Shops in Kodak, Tenn., Barry Brandt Jr. caught a three-bass limit weighing 7-13 to win the non-boater division. The 27-year-old commercial fisherman from Newport News, Va., finished the tournament with 18-4 and took home the first-place prize of a $30,000 Nitro Z18/Mercury 150 Pro XS package.
The $750 Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award on the pro side went to Chad Pipkens, Lansing, Mich., with a 5-11 largemouth. Chancey Hatfield of Mayking, Ky., weighed in a 4-13 largemouth to earn the $250 Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award on the co-angler side.
Ott DeFoe received the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 for finishing as the top pro on Day 2. Finishing as the Day 2 leader on the co-angler side, Jon Abbott of Versailles, Ky., received a Livingston Lures gift pack worth $250.