Like many serious bass anglers, Mercury Pro Team member Ott DeFoe long dreamed of building the ultimate fishing garage. So, when he and his wife, Jennie, built their dream home in East Tennessee, creating the perfect “home office” for his fishing career was a central part of their planning process. The Mercury Pro put a lot of thought, time and energy into getting it right, and while there are a few things he’d do differently with the benefit of hindsight, in general he believes the design he created has made him a more organized and effective angler.
Check out the video below for a complete tour DeFoe’s garage. The video, along with the following highlights, might serve as inspiration for creating your own ultimate fishing garage.
Garage and Overhead Door Size
The proper building size depends on your budget, your needs and the space. DeFoe designed his 60-by-42-foot building to hold two boats and a tow vehicle while still having room to grow.
One miscalculation that DeFoe made was in the size of his overhead doors. They’re 10 feet wide, which sounds like a lot until you’re backing in a boat trailer that’s about 9 feet wide. He wishes he’d gone with 12-footers.
“Knock on wood, I have not hit a door yet, but it’s a tight fit,” he said.
Still, the four bays give him a lot of room for his gear. His NITRO® tournament boat sits in the bay that’s easiest to back into from the large concrete pad out front, and his tow vehicle sits next to it. His river boat is in the next bay.
Heating and Cooling the Garage
Tennessee is not the equator, but it’s not the Arctic, either, so DeFoe had to plan for a wide range of conditions to keep his boat warm in the winter and cool in the summer. That started with precast concrete walls plus additional insulation.
Because it’s a big open building, DeFoe found gas heat to be the most effective way to warm the structure and keep it comfortable. He has air conditioning for the summer and supplements by opening the four overhead doors and three rear windows for cross-ventilation.
Planning the Interior
While DeFoe’s garage is exceptionally neat, it’s not necessarily a matter of form over function. He put ample consideration into how it could best serve his professional needs in every way.
That starts with trench-style floor drains running the length of the boat. They’re tied together with sloped floors, which channel water away from his boat and trailer.
While there are numerous outlets around the garage to fulfill his many power needs, the pro deliberately placed one outlet in the ceiling, directly above where the rear of his boat sits when it’s parked in place. That way he can drop a short cord to recharge his batteries, eliminating the possibility of tripping over a long cord or getting it tangled as it snakes across the floor.
The interior of the walls is sheeted with 1-by-6 tongue-and-groove planks. They give it a rustic, outdoorsy look and are strong enough that DeFoe can drive a nail or screw directly into them to hang various items, without having to locate a stud for anything but the heaviest items.
Tackle Organization is Key
Whether he’s headed to flip grass at Florida’s Lake Okeechobee or drop-shot for Great Lakes smallmouths, DeFoe must have the right tackle in his boat and truck, and he must be able to select and load it efficiently. His solution was to design large rolling racks using 4-by-8-foot sheets of pegboard material.
“This is something you can do in any garage,” DeFoe said.
The wheels allow him to move in the racks he needs based on the season or fishing destination, so the right tackle is close to the boat. And they keep his tackle well organized.
Finally, the garage was built with an oversized closet beneath a set of stairs, making valuable use of a space that might otherwise go unused. He uses the closet to store tackle trays plus wet or bulky items that don’t have an assigned spot, which keeps the main garage neat and uncluttered.
Ultimately, DeFoe says he’s happy with his fishing garage.
“Having everything in there makes me a more efficient angler,” he said. His consistency on the tournament trail, supported by top-notch equipment and an extremely high level of versatility, is the result of careful design.