MLF Embedded: DeFoe Almost Went Skin Diving During Sudden Death Win
By Joel Shangle
April 23, 2018
COLUMBIA, South Carolina – Midway through Period 2 of the first Sudden Death Round of the 2018 Challenge Cup in Columbia, South Carolina, Ott DeFoe very nearly lived up to his nickname: “Otter”.
Fishing a deep brush pile near the launch ramp at Monticello Reservoir, DeFoe tied into a fish that he insisted felt “definitely bigger” than the 5-pound, 5-ouncer he had just put up on SCORETRACKER. But the fish bulldogged DeFoe down into the brush and stuck there, leaving the Tennessee pro with a decision to make: “Do I go in the water after him or not?”
“I was pretty sure that fish would put me over the cut weight, so I definitely thought about it,” DeFoe admits.
DeFoe had fought the fish for roughly a minute before it made its way into the brush, and had tinkered with it another minute as he contemplated going into the water after it, like MLF Cup competitor Jeff Kriet did during a 2016 event in Florida. But unlike Kriet’s shallow dive under a dock – Kriet eventually emerged with a 2-pound largemouth – DeFoe’s fish was in 17 feet of water and potentially wrapped around multiple pieces of brush.
“In the spur of the moment, I was about 60 percent (ready to go in),” DeFoe admits. “I asked my boat official about the penalty for getting out of the boat, and had started to take my mic out of my pocket. And then I thought ‘What if there are more lures in that brush pile? You dive down there, you get hooked, and then you drown.’ That didn’t sound like such a good idea after all.”
DeFoe eventually yarded the hook out of the fish’s mouth, which ultimately didn’t affect his round: he was the first to break the cut weight, finishing the day with 12-14 and advancing to the Championship Round.
DeFoe’s winning gear
DeFoe caught all four of his Sudden Death fish on two baits: a Bass Pro Shops Fin-Eke Worm (Plum color) with a 1/16-ounce tungsten Swagger Tackle Nail weight, fished on No.2 VMC Neko Hook; and a Texas-rigged Bass Pro Shops Stik-O Worm (Sooner Run color) on a 3/0 VMC Heavy Duty Worm Hook and a 3/16-ounce Swagger tungsten sinker.
His rod/reel setup for the Neko rig was a 7-2 medium Bass Pro Carbonlite rod and a size 30 Carbonlite spinning reel spooled with 10-pound Bass Pro XPS Hyper Braid and a 10-pound XPS KVD Signature Series 100% Fluorocarbon leader.
His setup for the Texas rig was a 7-2 medium heavy BPS Titaniuum 8 rod with a Johnny Morris Platinum 8.3:1 reel, spooled with 30-pound Hyper Braid and a 17-pound XPS fluorocarbon leader.