DeFoe Says Strategy Will Be Critical At Fertile Douglas

Published on 10-01-2022

There’s no question that a lot of quality fish will be caught during the upcoming Big Bass Tour event on Douglas Lake, said BPT Pro Ott DeFoe. The issue, he said, will be finding the right quality to distinguish yourself from the pack.

“’Big fish’ is going to be a relative term,” he said. “The numbers are still great, but it’s pretty safe to say that a 3-pounder will get paid just about every hour. A random 5-pounder or two could easily show up, but it’s a very real possibility that a 4 ½ or 5-pounder will win the boat.” Indeed, in 2020 and 2021, it took 5.04 and 5.36 to take top honors. Last year there were four fish over 5 pounds weighed in, which means that one spit-up shad or crawfish can be a difference maker of thousands of dollars. That will make it critical to preserve fish health and of course to weigh them in during the “right” hourly window.

DeFoe said that the good news is that the fishing – which has been consistently good of late – is just going to get better. The forecast shows a number of cooler nights coming up, with low in the 50s and daytime highs in the 70s, which should lead the bass to put the feed bag on. That would lead him to look in the upper section of the lake, which is his usual stomping grounds anyway. “I’d be in the river for sure. I know big ones live up there. Some people don’t like to fish up there, they’re worried about scratching their boat.” He noted that the river sections tend to cool a little bit more quickly, which provides added reason for making that commitment.

“You could catch a quality fish up there on a bladed jig or a topwater,” he said. “For topwaters, usually a walking bait is the best choice, but a Plopper-style lure could also be very good.” Whether throwing a topwater, a crankbait or a swimbait, he’d tailor his color choice to water clarity, but when in doubt he likes a green gizzard hue. That’s even true when the bass are chasing threadfin shad, which he said have a bit of green in them.

“Even though I’d look in the river, there’s still the opportunity for a big fish down lake,” he explained. He’d key on shallow targets like brush, covering water looking for a reaction strike.

One other pattern that he’d expect to come into play is the lake’s several large marinas, where forward-facing sonar and a spoon or vertical soft plastic could be deadly.

“If you’re dialed in with your electronics, that could be a good option,” he said. “There are three or four good-sized marinas. I don’t fish there too much, but it could be won in one of them. It will come down to a timing deal because there’s limited real estate. You may want to start there before line’s in and then wait it out. You might have to hole sit.”

This is a tournament where the scales are expected to churn quickly and furiously and any angler – even if they don’t catch a tournament-winning fish – can expect to get paid if they just play the odds and time things right.