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East Tennessee native finds himself near the top of pro fishing rankings

The pro-angler has been all over the country fishing at some of the best spots that are known, but says he never will move from his home here in East Tennessee.
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 11:40 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Ott Defoe grew up in the Strawberry Plains area, and learned how to fish on Douglas Lake. A Jefferson County High School graduate, and a former employee of Wilson Trucking, has now found himself in contention for the top spot on the Bass Pro Tour.

His most recent win netted Ott $100,000 and now has him third in Major League Fishing standings. After the win, he didn’t buy anything flashy. His first purchase was a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. A grilled deluxe combo to be exact.

Over the years, this East Tennessee native has more trophies than he can count and now resides in Grainger County. The first fish he ever remembers catching was at Douglas Lake, and it’s the same spot where he won his first trophy at 15-years-old.

But not every moment in this 35-year-old’s career has been wins and confetti. Back in 2019, Ott started getting shortness of breath and after a major Bass Pro victory and learned later that his mitral valve in his heart needed to be repaired. Ott says it ultimately took about eight weeks to regain his full strength again but called the situation “all a part of God’s plan”.

As far as tips go, Ott recommends that you keep aware of your surroundings, don’t be afraid to change the bait you have if nothing is working, and move if you are not having any luck. He says that if you want a good time out on the water here in East Tennessee, you can go to some of his favorite spots which are Cherokee, Fort Loudon, and Douglas Lake.

The pro-angler has been all over the country fishing at some of the best spots that are known, but says he never will move from his home here in East Tennessee.

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