Coppin capitalizes in pro debut
Muskogee, Okla. — Clayton Coppin copied a page out of Stephen Browning’s playbook to take the pro division lead in the Bass Pro Shops Central Open finale on the Arkansas River.
“I have a little magic tree,” Coppin said. “About three or four years ago we were here and I did really well out of it.” Bassmaster Elite Series pro Stephen Browning claims he also had a magic tree on the Red River that produced the key fish he needed to win 2013 and 2014 Central Opens. Coppin’s magic tree yielded a five-fish limit weighing 16 pounds, 8 ounces for the Oklahoma angler fishing in his pro division debut.
The 43-year-old co-owner of a lawn care service business was on the waiting list to fish this event but got his chance when a friend helped him recruit a co-angler. “I barely got in,” said Coppin, who missed out on practicing this week. “I was really nervous. I was on the bubble and didn’t know if I was going to get in the tournament or not, so I took my chances and stayed home and mowed some yards.”
When he arrived at his first stop this morning, Coppin noticed the river had dropped about a foot and his fish weren’t biting. He was about to leave the area when he saw the magic tree. “All of a sudden I just made a hard right to the tree and on the first cast caught my big fish and it just went from there,” he said.
While other competitors said their fish had moved away from cover due to the cloudy weather Coppin found the opposite was true at his magic tree. “They were nosed up on it,” he said.
After catching his limit from the tree, Coppin left the hot spot even though he had a small keeper to cull. “I’ve got other spots so if the water just stabilizes for me the fishing will be better,” he said. “We know a cold front is coming in but I don’t think it is going to affect me. I think it is going to affect the fish though. I just hope it pushes more shad into the area.”
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