The Story Behind Brandon Coulter's Denim Good Luck Charm - Major League Fishing
The Story Behind Brandon Coulter’s Denim Good Luck Charm
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The Story Behind Brandon Coulter’s Denim Good Luck Charm

Image for The Story Behind Brandon Coulter’s Denim Good Luck Charm
Brandon Coulter with his jean jacket from his childhood. Photo by Mason Prince
October 15, 2019 • Mason Prince • Angler News

Depending on who you ask, superstition can carry a lot of weight in the world of sports. Some athletes may have a simple special pair of socks that they have to wear every game. For others, it may be as complex as a pre-at bat routine.

Regardless of what the superstition is, it’s there to add one thing for the athlete competing: comfort. In the stressful world of professional bass fishing, MLF pro Brandon Coulter’s sense of comfort comes from one piece of clothing from his childhood growing up in Pennsylvania.

During a warm October afternoon on Watts Bar Lake in east Tennessee, Coulter reached into his truck and pulled out a faded jean jacket with a few tears that looked fitted for a small child. On the right side of the chest, a B.A.S.S. patch and on the sleeve, a Weed-Wader spinnerbait patch from the years 1974 and 1975. The backside of the jacket was home to a vintage Mann’s Jelly Worm and Fliptail Lures patches.

The jacket belonged to a 5-year-old Coulter, and it has not left his side during his professional career.

Origins of the Jacket

It’s hard to tell if the rips in the jacket are from the wear and tear of time or the years of riding shotgun on the Tennessee pro’s boat. Coulter isn’t quite sure either. But what he is sure about is when the jacket he stopped fitting into around 1976 made its return to his fishing life.

“I was competing in my first event on the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2015 the first time I put it on my boat,” Coulter recalled. “My mom and my wife got together and brought me the jacket before I left. They did it just to remind me how long I wanted to be a professional angler, and I was finally getting my shot on the big stage. It was and still is really important to me.”

A young Brandon Coulter drives the boat in his jean jacket. Photo courtesy of Brandon Coulter

Coulter’s jacket of good juju has been with him ever since. Through his time on the Elite Series trail to now fishing the Bass Pro Tour, the 13 Fishing pro always has his denim jacket, even though he may have to sometimes check if it’s still there from time to time.

“There are times that I’ll be fishing a tournament and things won’t be going well, and I’ll have to look around the boat to make sure it’s there,” Coulter joked. “It’s my ‘anti-banana’ and there’s no way that I could fish with a clear mind without it.”

Just Like Dad

A young Brandon Coulter with his dad wearing their matching jean jackets. Photo courtesy of Brandon Coulter

Coulter first got the jacket as a gift from his parents to match his club-angler father. Growing up in the urbanized area around Philadelphia, Coulter valued time with his dad (especially fishing) as a way for the two to bond.

“When I was a kid, nothing made me happier than fishing with my dad,” Coulter reminisced. “He had a jean jacket just like the one I had, and I wanted to be just like him. What kind of kid doesn’t want to be just like their dad? He would win club tournaments and I would be out there on the boat with him in that jacket when I was about 5 years old. Now, making it to where I am today means a lot to me, but it means more to me that my dad has gotten to see me do it.”

Even from an early age, Coulter’s dad saw something special in his son and the dream he was chasing. Sometimes to protect his young, impressionable son’s fishing development, Coulter’s dad would have to leave Brandon behind if there were some “novice” anglers on the boat.

“He didn’t want me to pick up bad habits,” Coulter said with a chuckle. “If there were people on the boat that weren’t that good at fishing, he would leave me behind and tell me he would take me next time.”

Denim Determination

Brandon Coulter takes the jean jacket from his youth with him to every event he competes in. Photo by Mason Prince

Whether that help contributed to Coulter turning into a professional we may never know. But what we do know, is that the same 5-year-old from Philadelphia had a dream from the moment he put on that denim jacket, and now it has come true.

Does the jacket bring some good luck? Depends on what you believe. However, seeing that jacket in his boat at every competition gives Coulter the fuel and desire to continue chasing his dream.

“When I see that jacket, I just see the determination and the work it took to get to this point in my life,” Coulter said. “All I’ve ever wanted to do was to be a professional angler. I look back on old pictures that I have in that jacket and I just think it’s the epitome of a full-circle moment. I was a little kid dreaming of fishing on the biggest stages and now I’m here. It’s crazy to think about.”