Kopcok Twins Win Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit Detroit River Tournament
Apr 17th, 2012 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Apr 17th, 2012 at 12:00 AM
April 14, 2012-Trenton, MI-Twin brothers John and Michael Kopcok of Maidstone, Ontario, finished strong to win a big-fish slugfest among 196 anglers from 12 states and one Canadian province at the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit’s Detroit River tournament.
“We’re ecstatic!” said Michael, moments after the brothers held off a last-minute charge by another hard-fishing team of brothers, Kenneth and Jerry Fox Jr. After a great start of 37.39 pounds landed team Kopcok (cop-check) in third place on Day One, their 34.30-pound Day Two basket gave them a 71.69-pound total weight.
The win earned them the $15,250 first-place cash purse, plus the $500 Lowrance Electronics HDS/Elite DSI contingency, $500 Berkley Baits Berkley Tackle Package and $160 U2/Oxygenator awards. Plus, presenting sponsor MotorGuide awarded the winning team a state-of-the-art MotorGuide TR82 Digital bowmount electric trolling motor, with built-in Lowrance transducer, valued at $1,150.
“Lake Erie was good to us,” added John. He explained they caught many of their fish on the big lake’s Brest Bay, trolling crankbaits and spinner rigs in slightly stained water. They also jigged the Detroit River’s Trenton Channel, landing walleyes on 3/8- to ½-ounce leadheads tipped with Berkley Gulp! Minnows. In both areas, he credited their Lowrance HDS Gen2 electronics for revealing fish-holding structure and schools of hungry walleyes.
Jerry Fox Jr., of Algonac, Michigan, and Kenneth Fox, of New Baltimore, Michigan, finished second with 70.50 pounds, worth $6,400 plus a $1,000 Cabela’s gift card from the Cabela’s Angler Cash Program, $1,000 Ranger Cup award, and a pair of Okuma Dead Eye rod-and-reel combos for being the highest-placing Premier (earlybird) Team. In all, the top 20 teams shared more than $60,000 in cash, sponsor bonuses and Big Fish Pot winnings.
Set for April 13-15, the team-format tournament allowed anglers to fish Michigan waters of the Detroit River and Lake Erie. With such world-class water available at prime time in the walleye’s annual spawning migration, trophy fish and heavy bags were expected-and anglers were not disappointed.
A full 873 walleyes weighing 4,479 pounds crossed the scale in the catch-and-release event. Big fish was a 10.69-pound behemoth brought in by Tim McFarland of Connersville, Indiana, and Geoff Church of Connersville, Indiana-worth more than $1,150 from the Big-Fish Pot.
Walleyes were winners as well. The Cabela’s MWC donated $15 per boat, for a total of $1,470, to the Downriver Walleye Federation to aid its efforts to protect local fisheries. In turn, the group supplied an army of volunteers to assist with tournament operations, led by federation president Danny Bloxem. Since 1992, the MWC Conservation Fund has donated more than $300,000 to fisheries-enhancement projects.
Weigh-ins were held on the shores of the Detroit River at Elizabeth Park in Trenton. Following Friday’s weigh-in, the Cabela’s MWC, National Professional Anglers Association, Pure Fishing and Zippo Outdoors presented a Youth and Family Fishing Clinic, giving away free rod and reel combos, tackle and a Zippo Outdoor Family Camping Pack.
This was the second of nine Cabela’s MWC qualifying tournaments in 2012. Open to diehard anglers regardless of club or sponsor affiliation, the remaining schedule includes Lake Pueblo at Pueblo, Colorado, April 27-29; Lake Erie at Huron, Ohio, May 18-20; Mille Lacs Lake at Isle, Minnesota, May 31-June 1; Lake Winnebago at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, June 29-July 1; Lake Oahe at Pierre, South Dakota, July 28-29; the St. Mary’s River at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, August 24-26; and Cass Lake, Minnesota, out of Stony Point Resort, Sept. 14-16.
The Cabela’s MWC is open to all anglers regardless of club or sponsor affiliation. Registration costs $650 per tournament per two-person team, and remains open through the Sunday prior to each event. Payouts are based on the number of teams fishing each event. Overall in 2011, the Circuit paid back more than 120 percent of entry fees in cash payouts, team of the year awards, sponsor contingencies and winnings in the no-entry-fee Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Championship. To register or for details, call (877) 893-7947; visit masterswalleyecircuit.com, or email [email protected].
Founded in 1984, the Cabela’s MWC is the oldest team tournament circuit in the walleye world. It has a rich history of intense competition on top destinations, plus youth outreach and a lasting legacy of conservation. Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is in its 11th season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, MotorGuide, Lowrance, Zippo, NBC Sports Television Network and the North American Fishing Club. Associate Sponsors include: Berkley Trilene, Okuma, O2 Marine Technologies, Reflections, The Walleye Federation, Worldwide Marine Insurance and RPM Outdoor Sports.