By Pete Robbins
Ott DeFoe, the 2019 Bassmaster Classic champion, has spent thousands of hours on Douglas Lake, and has seen it change over the past few years. While the fish population remains healthy, there aren’t as many 6- and 7-pounders as in years past.
Despite that, he said that big baits
will be the way to go at the upcoming Big Bass Tour event from October 6-8.
“The lake hasn’t gotten clear,” he said. “But a lot of guys are winning these days on glide baits and big topwaters. That big stuff is producing.” In a five-fish tournament, he’d lean on them heavily especially in the case of cloudy and/or windy conditions, but in a one-fish event like this one, the weather matters less. He’d choose one or two and glue those rods in his hands. “It could happen anytime, anywhere.”
He believes that more of the 5-pound and larger bass live in the mid- to lower section of the lake. As you go up the rivers, and fish shallower and with more traditional lures, “the chance of a 5 goes down, but the chance of a 3 ½ or 4 goes up. You’ll still get paid, but maybe you won’t win the boat.”
The other thing that has changed for him is where the bass live. Of course, as the water drops he’d focus on transition banks and isolated pieces of wood with water on them. However, whereas 20 years ago he “wouldn’t slow the boat down” to fish a boat dock, now they’ve become “the thing.” There are increasing numbers of them, and the key is figuring out which ones consistently hold bass.
For those anglers who can’t bring themselves to do the big bait thing, he recommends a rock jig or football jig.
“There’s always a population of crawfish-oriented bass,” he explained. “They’ll eat that, and day in, day out those fish will be better than average. The water is clean but not clear, so I’d recommend something brown or green pumpkin with orange, nothing crazy.”
Expect there to be multiple bass in the 5- to 6-pound class. Indeed, A fish under 6 pounds has won the Douglas BBT the last three years. In 2019, there was a 6.09 and there were 7+-pound bass weighed in every year from 2015 through 2017. One of those giants could show up again, and it would be a shame to waste a 5- or even 6-pounder against it. Make sure to pay attention to the live leaderboard if you’re angling for big money, or even if you just want to slide in and get an hourly check. This is a great opportunity to catch a lot of fish and get paid.
Berkley Picks for Douglas
Anglers fishing the Big Bass Tour at Douglas will have a lot of options, but big baits are playing an outsized role in recent events there. If you can get your hands on one, consider the Berkley Powerbait Nessie or Cull Shad
. They’re new, so the fish won’t have seen them. Glue that rod in your hand and cover water.
Alternatively, big topwaters should bring bass up from the depths. Try a Berkley Choppo in Bone or HD Threadfin Shad
. If the skies are dark, Maverick is a good choice. Another great surface option is the Berkley Drift Walker – thanks to its three trebles it hooks slashing bass and keeps them pinned throughout the fight.
If you’re headed up the river to escape boat traffic, a Berkley Slobberknocker
will get the job done, but if you’re staying down toward the dam, pick out a non-bladed jig that fits your needs – everything from the Skippin’ Jig for docks to the Football Jig