When DeFoe was in high school, he started tinkering in his garage to make balsa-wood crankbaits.
“Eastern Tennessee and balsa-wood crankbaits go hand in hand,” he said. “A lot of people use them and they catch a lot of bass.”
DeFoe had a head-start in his lure designs. His friend’s dad made popular balsa crankbaits and he showed Ott how to turn a chunk of balsa wood into an attractive crankbait.
DeFoe remembers one of his first efforts.
“We went out and used it in a tournament and three of the five bass we weighed in were caught on that bait,” DeFoe said.
For a while that flat-sided bait was his secret weapon. But eventually word got out and his balsa-wood crankbaits were in demand.
Today, DeFoe’s inventions are mass-produced by Rapala as part of their OG (Ott’s Garage) line. The OG Slim 6 and the OG Tiny are thin, flat-sided baits known for their tight side to side action and a thin bill that provides a sensitive feel of bottom structure.
DeFoe takes pride in the designs that he has come up with, but he takes no credit for the paint job they bear.
“I’m no artist,” he said with a laugh. “Even when I was making my own baits, I would have someone else paint them.”