Ott DeFoe clinched victory over 52 top anglers at the tournament, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, after he managed to catch five bass Sunday that weighed 18 pounds, 14 ounces, bringing his total for the three days up to 49-3, Bassmaster.com reported.
The fishing pro was awarded with a $300,000 prize and an impressive trophy at the 49th annual competition.
The event drew a record-breaking 153,809 attendants, according to Bassmaster.com.
The 33-year-old was considered a favorite from the start of the event, having grown up fishing in the waters of Fort Loudon and Tellico Lakes where the tournament took place, but he still can’t believe he went home with the trophy, he said to Bassmaster.com.
“This is a dream come true — a dream I’ve had since I was a 9-year-old kid,” said DeFoe, who now has six career victories with B.A.S.S. “When we came over here and did the walk-through the day before the tournament, I actually imagined hearing my name after the words ‘Bassmaster Classic champion.’
“For it to happen now … I just keep thinking I’m gonna wake up,” he added.
Though DeFoe did start off strong catching 20 pounds during Fridays opening, including a 6 pound largemouth — the largest catch of the day.
“I was making it a lot prettier than it is to start with,” DeFoe said of his Storm Arashi Vibe lipless “rusty paw” crankbait, which he decorated with orange, red and black sharpies. “That’s definitely a confidence thing, but I altered the color of the bait pretty substantially to give it a lot more orange and red.”
Though Saturday, DeFoe seemed to stumble a bit after switching up his bait and relocating to fish at a shallow boat dock.
Jacob Wheeler came closest to overtaking DeFoe with a three-day weight of 45-5.
In total, DeFoe has won over $1.6 million in fishing tournaments, according to his Bassmaster profile.