Angler of the Week: Ott DeFoe - Major League Fishing

Angler of the Week: Ott DeFoe

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January 25, 2018 • Rachel Dubrovin • Archives

Major League Fishing wants you to get to know your favorite anglers! That’s why we’re putting together a new angler profile every week in 2018. Check our site regularly for the latest and send us YOUR questions for the anglers.

This week we caught up with Tennessee angler Ott DeFoe and asked him about the three ‘F’s’: Faith, family, and fishing.

It’s going to be a great year for DeFoe. On the business side of things, he recently added a couple new big-name sponsors, including Mossy Oak and General Tire.

In fact, General Tire just released a series of commercials featuring several of the MLF Pros, DeFoe included. If you haven’t seen the commercials yet, check them out when you need a good laugh. They’re hilarious.

“It was a lot of fun,” said DeFoe. “Edwin and Skeet, they’ve kind of got that down, they’ve been through it so many times. But yeah, for myself and other Select Angler Mark Rose, it was our first time doing that… And it was a good time.”

Even though he enjoyed the commercial shoot, DeFoe says he doesn’t plan on trading professional bass fishing for a career in acting.

“My wife told me I was a terrible actor,” he laughed, “But I don’t think I want to be an actor anytime soon. I’ll stick with fishing for the time being.”

That’s a wise choice because DeFoe is a very skilled angler with a memorable personality. He’s been an MLF fan favorite for years, and now he has his own show on Outdoor Channel called “The Hunt for Monster Bass”.

“It’s all about trying to catch that big one,” said DeFoe.

He says hosting his own show is very different than competing on MLF.

“In competition it’s all about efficiency and making as many casts, to try to catch as many fish as possible,” he explained. “Where a TV show is all about teaching, or explaining what’s going on.”

But what qualifies as a “monster”? DeFoe says it all depends on the location and species.

“A truly monster smallmouth could be a 5 or 6 pounder,” he said, “But a largemouth, you know, a fish that’s over 7 pounds, in my world that’s a pretty large bass. We’re wanting a shot at a double-digit fish, but you also have to know that those fish don’t grow on trees. You can’t go pick one off every day you go fishing.”

DeFoe says you’ll be able to watch “The Hunt for Monster Bass” on April 1, but the exact time slot has yet to be determined. DeFoe says the first episodes were filmed on Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee, and they were fighting extreme cold, wind, and rain.

For DeFoe, faith, and fishing go hand-in-hand. He says it’s important for him to use his platform as a professional athlete and television personality to tell people about God.

You’ll see this verse at the top of his Facebook page, and on some of his jerseys:

John 15:16: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit- fruit that will last- and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

DeFoe said, “A number of years ago when I was reading some scripture, I came across that verse and it really jumped out at me. I’ve always felt like God allows me to do what I do to reach people for him. I get to chase my dream, and get to fish for a living, in order to be able to glorify him, to use this platform to tell people about God.” 

DeFoe believes that God chose him to be a professional angler, so it’s important for DeFoe to make sure that he’s doing it for Him.

“That’s the thing that keeps me grounded,” he said. “Whether I’m extremely successful and have a great day on the water… Or if it’s a tough day, and I go out, and it wasn’t the most glorious day as far as fishing goes, there’s a reason and a plan for all that. I’m going to be exactly where I’m supposed to be in either one of them.”


MLF Pro Ott DeFoe and his family


Ott DeFoe and his family


DeFoe says he recently moved from Knoxville to a town called Blaine, Tennessee with his wife, Jennie, their 10-year-old Abbie and their fraternal twins, Parker and Lizzie, who are 6 years old. Now, they’re in a house that sits along the Holston River.

“Being able to have that water right there in the backyard is pretty handy. The kids can go fish off a bank, or we can get in kayaks, or we can drop the boat in the water and go fish from it,” he said.

He says he loves fishing with his kids more than anything, and the Holston River is their favorite body of water.

“It’s not a world class fishery by any means, it’s not something that you would travel the country to come fish, but I love it,” said DeFoe. “It’s home.”