Published By OutdoorsFIRST Media Published September 11, 2017
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Ott DeFoe sealed the deal today with a Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open victory on Douglas Lake.
The Knoxville, Tenn., pro went wire-to-wire to win on his home lake - his second career Opens victory on the fishery - 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. His previous victory on Douglas came in May 2014.
DeFoe ran up the French Broad River again with his Tracker tunnel hull aluminum boat that produced 17-5 limits the first two days. He struggled early Saturday and caught only five keepers all day, but 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 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 Saturday, 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 5 finishers were Brian Latimer of Belton, S.C., who was third with 39-11, David Williams of Newton, N.C., who was fourth with 36-1 and Alex Wetherell of Middletown, Conn., who placed fifth with 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 nonboater division. The 27-year-old commercial fisherman from Newport News, Va., finished the tournament with 18-4 and took home 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 of 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.
DeFoe also 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.
Williams earned the Power-Pole Captain's Cash Award of $500 on the pro side for being the highest-placing angler who is registered and eligible and uses a client-approved product on his boat.
The event was hosted by the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County, Tenn.