While Ott DeFoe’s boat got the headlines for getting him to unpressured water, it was his jig that got him the bites to win last week’s Bassmaster Northern Open tournament on Tennessee’s Douglas Lake. DeFoe flipped a half-ounce, black-and-blue Terminator Pro Series Jig to catch most of the fish he weighed, including his biggest, a 4 ½ pounder.
“The water was dirty up there this week where I was fishing and there’s a good bit of current up there in the river,” DeFoe said of his productive area way up the French Broad River – a spot he needed a specially designed tunnel-hull aluminum boat and some daredevil driving to reach. “In those conditions, the fish pull real tight to the cover, so 9 times out of 10, flipping is your best presentation to catch ’em. Up there in that water, I’ve always caught them best on a jig. And there’s no better jig out there for me to be flipping than a Terminator Pro Series Jig.”
Featuring a unique head design, the Pro Series Jig is much more versatile than most jigs. Custom jig-skirt colors, color-matched brush guards, a single rattle and a heavy VMC® Black Nickel hook further differentiate it from other cookie-cutter jigs that all pretty much look the same. They’re available in five sizes: ¼ oz, 3/8 oz, ½ oz, ¾ oz and 1 oz.
Although DeFoe started the tournament flipping a ¾-ounce jig, he soon decided it was too heavy, sticking to the bottom “like an anchor.” So he switched to a half-ounce jig. “In a river situation you want the current to move your bait a little bit,” he explained.
“Bass in a river system are used to their food coming from the same direction all the time,” he explained. “So if it’s totally unnatural, you’re just not going to get a lot of bites. Those fish expect that bait to be brought to them in a certain way. That’s just the way nature does it. So you’ve got to match the speed of that and the direction. So that’s why your weight choice is always very critical and why I went from the 3/4 down to the half-ounce.”
Because a recent rain had muddied up the water, DeFoe chose a black-and-blue color pattern for his jig, which he dressed with a green pumpkin/blue flake chunk-style trailer.
“Black-blue really lets those fish find the bait when the water is stained and muddy like that,” he said. “It rained two days before the tournament. It got dirtier throughout the first day of the tournament. If the water had been clearer, I would have been using more of green pumpkin-orange or something.”
DeFoe weighed in a 15-pound, 9-ounce five-bass limit on the three-day tournament’s final day to finish with 50 pounds, 3 ounces and win by more than ten pounds. All of his fish throughout the tournament came from 1 to 3 feet of water.
DeFoe previously won a Bassmaster Northern Open in 2014 on Douglas Lake, which is located just up the road from where he lives north of Knoxville.