Ott DeFoe was crowned the 2019 Bassmaster Classic champion with a three-day total of 49 pounds, 3 ounces caught on the Tennessee River.
Ott DeFoe raised the trophy over his head on the biggest stage in bass fishing, and officially reached the pinnacle for bass anglers in front of a hometown Knoxville crowd.
DeFoe caught a five fish limit totaling 18 pounds and 14 ounces, enough to win the 2019 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK's Sporting Goods.
An emotional DeFoe weighed in his fish in the fourth-to-last position, meaning he had to sit in the hot seat for three more anglers. The leader after Day 2, Jacob Wheeler, finished with 45 pounds, 5 ounces, good for a second place finish.
Newcomer Jesse Wiggins made a late push with a Day 3 bag of 17 pounds, 4 ounces, but that was only enough to finish in third. 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion Mike Iaconelli finished fourth, and hinted that he will likely delay any retirement thoughts after his impressive showing.
Apparently a chance meeting between DeFoe and Keith Poche at a portable toilet resulted in DeFoe's plan taking shape, and it certainly worked out.
"God used a full bladder and Keith Poche," said DeFoe. He used a spot mentioned by Poche most of Day 3.
Four of his first fish from Day 1 were caught on a lipless crankbait, and a bladed jig in chartreuse and white carried him through Day 2 and 3, and he caught a fish that give him a chance to cull his livewell at 2:59 p.m. ET. He was due back at the dock by 3:40 p.m., so it was essentially his last catch of the day.
It was his 20-pound limit on Day 1 that put DeFoe in the position to finish strong, and his hard work and hometown advantage paid off. This was his seventh Bassmaster Classic appearance.
The takeoffs at Volunteer Landing and weigh-ins at the Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville for the three day event were among the top attended in Bassmaster Classic history, according to Bassmaster.com.