Ott has obviously distinguished himself as consistently one of the best fishermen on the MLF Bass Pro Tour all the while denying that anything sketchy involving those yellow minion dudes or grey aliens happens underneath his fortified and heavily armed garage...👀
If you're not familiar, TN apparently has some of the most "weird" stuff/critters of any state in the country....
Anyhow, had some Qs for him, here we go:
1. Moving to 5 fish – did it or did it not matter much in what happened in terms of who did well vs prior years?
> "I think a little bit. The last year of every fish counts , Dustin Connell won 3 tournaments and I think he may have had 1 top 10 this year and maybe a Redcrest top 10. I feel like that was noticeable....
> "I don't think he would care that I would say that. I just feel like as far as a difference in one season...I feel like he is an obvious one to point out.
> "Matt Becker we never saw in every fish counts. All we have on him is 5 fish...hard to tell where he would've landed if it was all fish counts.
> "Other than that, I feel like the same guys did well [with 5 fish vs every fish counts]."
2. What's the difference now between winning and coming close? Seems like it's tighter now.
> "Yeah it has to be at this point because you can only count 10 fish when you're down to the winning part of it [the last 2 rounds of each tourney, after weights get zeroed]. The restrictor-plate racing that the 5-fish limit is definitely comes into effect, so you can't have those blowouts.
> "We did have some close ones with every fish counts – Dustin's wins at Mille Lacs, Wheeler winning at Travis...Bobby winning at Redcrest. We still had some really close ones with every fish counts. But it's definitely all gonna be close when you're only counting 10 fish.
> "Redcrest was the exception because it was a 3-day cumulative weight. ...the final day Thrift had a pretty commanding lead for Norman so everybody expected him to win – except him...."
[😆 That's true about Thrift!]
3. You, John Cox and some other pros don't use forward-facing sonar (FFS) much or at all and still do well. On the other hand, a lot of guys who win are using it. Where do you come out on it right now?
> "I think everybody needs to totally dedicate their whole fishing career to FFS. They need to do nothing else. I think suspended bass is the wave of the future – open water, not around cover, that's the wave of the future.
> "That's what all of my competitors need to do, and there could be a small dose of sarcasm in that."
4. When more and more fish get wise to FFS, do you think we'll be fishing micro baits for bites or will guys be back to jigs, crankbaits and more power stuff again?
> "We've definitely already seen the trend of using small neutral-action stuff to catch those fish.
> "At first [with FFS] the main thing everybody threw year-round was the jerkbait – just tie on a jerkbait, throw it by a dock, twitch it by it and they'd bite it. Now you have to swim something that looks like shad that has no boot-tail...whether it's smallmouth at Champlain or largemouth at Guntersville. That's what you have to do to get them to bite.
> "I think that trend will continue, but hopefully it'll cause bass do what people do and run for the hills...run for cover again at some point...."
5. None of your Ott's Garage baits are that big. Are you fishing smaller crankbaits now or have you always done that?
> "I've always done that truthfully. The bulk of my crankbait fishing has always been smaller stuff, especially in the depth range all the baits are.
> "The [Rapala OG] Slim is a 6' bait, the Deep Tiny is a 6-7' bait. For the most part, most of our crankbaits in that depth range are smaller.