DeFoe Grinds Out Sudden Death Win, Advances to Challenge Select Championship
By Joel Shangle
April 22, 2018
COLUMBIA, South Carolina – On a muggy, still South Carolina day on a hard-to-pattern power-plant lake, MLF Select Pro Ott DeFoe knew that every bite would count. The East Tennessee pro had gone fishless through Period 1 in the first Sudden Death Round of the 2018 Challenge Select, and as he motored into the lone launch ramp on Monticello Reservoir for the first period break of the day, he made a simple deduction.
“I figured that if there were any tournaments held on that lake whatsoever, they would’ve released their fish at that ramp,” DeFoe says. “It was pretty clear that there weren’t going to be many fish caught that day, so I just kinda decided to stick around the ramp.”
His decision paid off in a ticket to the Championship Round.
DeFoe fished his way east of the ramp for 100 yards to a buoy that marked a manmade fish attractor; his electronics quickly revealed a clump of submerged brush 18 feet down, and an electronic arc that looked like a big fish. DeFoe flipped out a plum-colored Bass Pro Shops Fin-Eke Worm, and a scant minute later had his first fish of the day: a 5-pound, 5-ounce largemouth that propelled him nearly halfway to the day’s cut weight.
Less than 15 minutes later, DeFoe added a 2-1 on a Texas-rigged Bass Pro Shops Stik-O Worm, and then lost another fish that “felt like it was bigger than the first one.”
The Mercury pro would eventually log another 2-1 onto SCORETRACKER, and then break the 12-pound cut weight with a 3-7 to become the first Select pro to advance to the event’s championship.
“That lake obviously had a few big fish in it, but because it’s a power plant lake, the water fell 2 feet during the time we fished it that day,” DeFoe says. “It felt like it changed by the minute as far as how to catch fish, and where they were set up. I just knew that the point I was fishing had fish on it, and I didn’t see any good reason to leave.”
Keith Poche was the only other angler in the round to break the 12-pound cut weight, ending the day with a 3-0 largemouth that gave him the day’s overall heaviest cumulative weight with 13-11. James Watson advanced to the championship with 6-2. Fred Roumbanis (5-2), Randy Howell (4-7) and Michael Neal (1-13) failed to advance.