By MLF Communications Staff
In one of the craziest endings to a tournament in Major League Fishing (MLF) history, Ott DeFoe caught two key fish late in the day to overtake Luke Clausen and win the Sam Rayburn Reservoir MLF Bass pro Tour event in Texas with a final day total of 13 bass weighing 30-02.
The ending was crazy because of the area that DeFoe had been fishing in – a secluded spot way up the Angelina River on the north end of Rayburn. Cellular coverage was extremely spotty, so when Defoe boated a back-to-back fish weighing 2-12 and 2-13 with about 20 minutes left in the event to overtake Clausen, it didn’t register on the ScoreTracker leaderboard until very near the end of competition. His first fish – the 2-12 – tied him with Clausen, and the 2-13 earned him the victory by that margin.
“I just love fishing this time of year,” said DeFoe, who earned his second career Bass Pro Tour victory – both in Texas. “The end of the day was a bit of disaster due to the area that I was in … the service was bad, but the fishing was really good.”
DeFoe said that he found his area on the first day of practice and committed to fishing it for the entire event.
“The very first day of practice I spent up there and got a fair number of bites, and I liked what I saw,” DeFoe said. “I spent the second day of practice down the lake and saw how much boat traffic there was, and there wasn’t much traffic up on the north end, so that is where I committed to. I ended up fishing there every single day.
“I had one really key little spot that there were so many bass in, and really just going through a rotation of baits is what worked for me this week,” DeFoe continued. “My key baits were a square-bill crankbait; I caught some fish on a Rapala DT4, another homemade square-bill crankbait that will eventually be in the OG line from Rapala, a Bass Pro Magnum Fin-Eke Worm ended up being a big player for me, and a Bass Pro Wacky Stik worm was also a big deal.
“I give all of the thanks to God – he gets all of the credit for everything,” DeFoe went on to say. “I just love this time of year – the Easter season is upon us and I am so excited for next week. This week has been incredible, though, and I just can’t believe it. All I can say is God Bless Texas!”
Clausen lost an estimated 5- or 6-pounder in Period 1 that ended up being the difference-maker for him.
“I’ll be thinking about the one that I lost for a long time,” Clausen said. “I knew today when it happened, that fish, if I didn’t win it was going to hurt me pretty dang bad. And it did.
“I really don’t know that I could have done anything different today, other than land that fish,” Clausen continued. “I didn’t have a lot figured out and I knew it was going to be one of those kind of deals where I knew it was just going to be about me going fishing. I could catch them on a ChatterBait and on a stickbait, and other than that it was just grinding it out. I did what I thought I needed to do at the right times and got some of the right bites, but obviously it was not enough.”
There were 63 bass weighing 174-07 caught by the final 10 pros Friday.
Clausen won Friday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 5-03 largemouth that bit his wacky-rigged worm just 20 minutes into Period 3. Connell won the $3,000 Berkley Big Bass award for the largest bass of the event with his 9-05 fish that he weighed in on day 1 of competition.
(Figure at far right indicates weight of angler's heaviest fish of the round)
1. Ott DeFoe -- 30-02 (13) -- 2-15
2. Luke Clausen -- 27-05 (9) -- 5-03
3. Gerald Spohrer -- 26-08 (9) -- 4-10
4. Tommy Biffle -- 20-03 (9) -- 2-15
5. Justin Lucas -- 20-00 (6) -- 3-12
6. Mark Davis -- 19-01 (6) -- 4-03
7. Cliff Crochet -- 14-01 (5) -- 4-06
8. Jeff Sprague -- 8-03 (3) -- 3-02
9. Cliff Pace -- 4-14 (2) -- 2-14
10. Bobby Lane -- 4-02 (1) -- 4-02