Home field advantage again played a heavy part in the final results of day 2 at the 2014 Bassmaster Northern Open #3 on Lake St. Clair, as Great Lakes regulars round out the top 5: Joe Balog (MI) leading with 47-10 , Chad Pipkens (MI) in second with 43-14, Chris Johnston (Canada) is third with 43-12, Ben Nielsen (MI) is fourth with 42-13 and Elite Series Pro Fletcher Shryock (OH) is fifth with 41-14.
Hullspeed and Gamma Fishing Lines Pro RC Cooper had a solid day one with 18-11, but his day two plans were invaded by another predator on the Great Lakes system: walleye.
“It was a multi-species day” said Cooper, “a giant school of walleye moved into the area where I had my big fish”. Electing to stay in Lake St. Clair and fish the “giant community hole”, Cooper had found enough spots in practice to feel confident in pulling out another 18+ pound day and hopefully make the final cut.
Schools of walleye, however, are impossible to predict, and once they are there, bass become harder to find. “On one drift, my co-angler and I caught 5 walleye in a row, then a 2 pound smallmouth right in the middle of them. I kept thinking, ‘what are they doing here?’”
Cooper lost 4 fish on the day that would have helped raise his wait total past his 31-12, which left him 3 ounces shy of a check in the final Open of the Northern Series. Cooper believes that one of those fish, a solid 4-pound smallmouth, actually was holding on to his drop shot weight rather than the bait, and when it saw the Cooper’s Hullspeed Phoenix, it just simply dropped the weight. “It happens”, says Cooper, “sometimes for whatever reason, they pick up the weight instead of the bait.”
Hullspeed teammate Chad Pipkens is in a prime position to challenge for the title tomorrow, and Cooper, ever the supportive team player, is pulling for him. “Happy to see Chad doing well, I know he made a long run to Erie, but I have no idea how he’s catching them” Cooper joked. “Man, I wish I did!”
As frustrating as it was to miss a check by 3 ounces and have a completely unforeseen natural event like a walleye migration ruin Cooper’s best spots, the Nashua, NH pro is already looking to next year, and plans to fish the FLW tour as well as select Bassmaster Opens after the schedule is released.
Keep up with RC on his website.
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