Bassmaster Eastern Open #4 Douglas Lake Sept, 13 - 15, 2018
Late Fall In Tennessee Could Make Bassmaster Open On Douglas Lake Challenging
DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — When it comes to the lakes operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, timing is usually vital to the quality of fishing.
On Douglas Lake, in particular, “timing” can be a relative term.
This year’s Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Eastern Open on Douglas Lake is actually taking place a week later than last year’s Open on Douglas — and that should mean the fishing will be better. But considering the current weather and water conditions in the area, Tennessee pro and Douglas guru Ott DeFoe says that may not be the case.
“Last year, by the time we had the tournament, we had already had a little bit of cooler weather,” said DeFoe, who won that 2017 event with 50 pounds, 3 ounces. “But this year — even though the tournament is a week later — the fishing could be tougher because it’s been in the 90s every day.
“I also expect the lake to be about 3 feet higher than it was this time last year — and 3 feet can make a lot of difference.”
The tournament is scheduled for Sept. 13-15, with daily takeoffs at 7 a.m. ET from Dandridge Public Boat Ramp. Weigh-ins on Days 1 and 2 will be held back at the ramp at 3 p.m., and Saturday’s championship weigh-in will be held at 4 p.m. at the Bass Pro Shops in Kodak, Tenn.
DeFoe, who won last year’s Open on Douglas by running up the French Broad River in a Tracker tunnel hull aluminum boat, says anglers should expect a very different lake than the one they fished last year.
“I don’t know if it’s because we’ve had a really wet summer or what, but the lake just recently started dropping,” DeFoe said. “The tournament’s later. But the water’s higher, and that’s actually going to make more cover available in shallow water.
“A lot of areas where guys fished last year are going to look completely different now.”
Largemouth anchored DeFoe’s catch during the first two rounds last year, as he caught 17-5 both days to claim the lead going into the final round with 34-10. Then on the final day, he only managed five keeper bites and a 4-pound smallmouth helped punctuate a limit of 15-9 that put him over the top.
Both species will likely come into play again, but DeFoe believes 50 pounds could once again be more than enough for the victory.
“If more than two people have 50-plus, I’ll be shocked,” said DeFoe, who also won an Open on Douglas in 2014. “I was very fortunate to break the 17-pound mark the first two days last year. I think 15 a day this year could honestly give you a chance.”
Smart practice techniques, DeFoe said, will be imperative.
“I’ll probably spend very little time practicing at all,” he said. “Last year, I went the Saturday before the tournament and fished about three or four hours. Then I fished the Wednesday before and only made about 10 casts — and both times I went, I didn’t fish a single one of the places I fished during the tournament.
“With the fishing as tough as it’s likely to be, you just can’t afford to catch too many 2 1/2-pounders in practice that you won’t be able to catch when the tournament starts.”
The hosts for this event are Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson County EDA
and the Town of Dandridge.
Since this is the final Open event of the season, it will determine the remainder of the field for the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Championship scheduled for Table Rock Lake in Springfield, Mo., Oct. 18-20.
The Championship field will include the winners of the four Central Opens, winners from the four Eastern Opens and the Top 10 in season points standings from each division.
The Opens Championship winner and the Top 5 in performance points from each division — determined by an angler’s finish in all four divisional tournaments and the Championship — will be invited to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series. The winner of the Championship and the Top 3 anglers in points from each division following the Championship will be invited to the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in Knoxville, Tenn.
2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia, Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Phoenix Boats, T-H Marine, Carhartt, Livingston Lures, Lowrance
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