JASPER, Texas – Judging by the numbers you’ve seen this week on SCORETRACKER®, you can plainly see that Ott DeFoe is having a strong week on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Through two Qualifying Rounds at the Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage One presented by Power-Pole, the Tennessee pro connected with 25 scorable largemouth for 59 pounds, 11 ounces.
That was good enough to win DeFoe an automatic entry into Friday’s Championship Round, where he’s competing for a $100,000 payday.
But if you dig a little deeper into DeFoe’s week thanks to SCORETRACKER™ Insider, you’ll pick up some clues about exactly how he’s catching his fish, his patterns, and small details that will enhance your knowledge of the competition (and possibly bolster your own know-how on catching bass in East Texas).
You’ll be a true “insider.”
I have a confession: Those of us who work at MLF have kept a closely guarded secret for years.
We have backend access to real-time information about every scorable bass that goes on SCORETRACKER® during an MLF competition. The second an MLF official enters a catch into SCORETRACKER®, it comes to a real-time display that shows us details of every fish scored on the Bass Pro Tour and Cup competitions.
Bait. Depth. Cover. Time. We know all the who, what, when, where and why of the highest level of professional bass fishing. If you sign up for a FREE MLF Fan Pass membership, you’ll have access to that same system: SCORETRACKER™ Insider is included in Fan Pass membership.
When you pull up DeFoe’s SCORETRACKER™ Insider log for the week at Sam Rayburn, you’ll see that 15 of his 25 scorable bass in the Qualifying Rounds came on a bladed jig (60%), far and away DeFoe’s most productive bait. He caught seven of 11 fish on Day 1 on a 3/8-ounce chartreuse/white bladed jig with a Bass Pro Shops Super Shad trailer, and eight of 14 scorable fish on Day 2 with the same bait.
He also caught four fish on a shallow-diving crankbait (2 to 6 feet), three fish on a swim jig, two on a Neko rig and one on a frog.
If you look at the SCORETRACKER™ Insider time stamp, it’ll tell you that DeFoe caught two quick fish on a crankbait to start the week and then committed to the bladed jig for the next three hours before finishing off Day 1 with a swim jig and frog. SCORETRACKER™ Insider also tells you that he fished the same cover for most of the day: a road bed.
“I fished one spot for about and hour and a half, and it was just a rotation of baits,” DeFoe said. “It was just a progression, sitting there throwing different baits at the same spot.”
DeFoe’s three biggest fish came on the vibrating jig, which is why he started Day 2 with that bait instead of the crankbait (a prototype Rapala Ott’s Garage/OG bait). He caught six fish in short order before switching up the second half of the day with a Neko rig, squarebill, swim jig, etc.
“I caught a pretty good number of fish on the crankbait, but the average was better on the vibrating jig – that’s why I started with that (vibrating jig),” DeFoe confirmed. “I caught a couple of nice ones on a Wacky Stick-O and a squarebill, but it was still just a rotation of baits, trying to keep the fish fired up.”
Definitely rotate back through them all.
As of this writing during the Championship Round, DeFoe is clearly making adjustments on the fly. He’s caught fish on four different baits, he’s alternating between docks and laydowns, throwing a bladed jig, Neko rig, crankbait and worm. So far so good: DeFoe clings to a slight lead heading into the afternoon.
You can follow along with those adjustments. Click here to become an MLF member and sign up for your free Fan Pass membership to get access to SCORETRACKER™ Insider.