I connected with Matt Barbeau on Instagram. Matt is catching some very impressive fish from Ontario’s 705 area code. Matt shares his loves of fishing with us in this interview.
What are your earliest fishing memories?
I started fishing at 7 years old. My brothers bought me a spin caster and a tackle box and I took to it right away. My first true fishing memory was catching walleye out of a little tin boat. Chartreuse twister tails and orange jigheads were the ticket that day!
Your Instagram is a consistent showcase of big fish after big fish. Do you consider yourself a trophy angler?
I would consider myself to be a trophy angler. The thrill of a big fish always gets you going, and knowing you did exactly what you needed to do to catch that specific fish is a satisfying feeling as well.
The key to catching big fish is literally just time you put in on the water. Studying the specific species and recognizing what you need to look for are huge factors in catching giants. But nothing replaces time spent on the water. Also, invest in a good fish finder and learn how to use it! I always try to find big fish spots, learning where big fish like to hold and how to read your graph will help you immensely.
You fish the 705. While this area can be filled with secret back lakes, are there any bodies of water in your area code that you love to fish and are willing to talk about?
Honestly, my favourite body of water to fish is the St. Mary’s river. It is one of the most unbelievably diverse bodies of water in North America. It holds pretty much every freshwater species in the Great Lakes. It is such an incredible trophy fishery, yet it gets no credit other than it’s famous salmon and trout runs! It is a very underrated fishery.
I don’t think people appreciate the diversity of fish that inhabit the waters of the 705. What is your favorite species to chase?
Musky, no question about it. Why? Because they’re the apex predator. There are very few fish that can provide a fisherman with more excitement and adrenaline than a musky. To watch a 50 inch fish come flying out of the water on a massive topwater is a sight worth seeing! Plus they are a challenging fish. They tend to be a bit moodier than Pike so I enjoy that aspect as well.
Again, time on the water hunting these fish is key. Looking for key structures such as rocky points/shoals, sand bars, weed beds, basically anything that is a “change,” in structure is going to hold these fish. Massive baits and patience are the 2 biggest things you need if you are looking for the fish of a lifetime!
What is your second favorite species?
Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, definitely. They just fight so well for their size. They can provide some hectic action and there are just so many techniques and behaviours wrapped up in one fish.
In my eyes, bass fishing can make you a more complete angler. You need to learn how to place casts, learn how to fish structure, learn what locations the fish will hold on at different times of the year, etc. It relates to everything and I can honestly say bass angling has made me a better overall angler!
I love the fact that you fish out of a canoe as I am a canoe angler myself. What do you enjoy about fishing from a canoe?
Well as much as I would like to be fishing out of a nice, comfy boat… I do enjoy that I can get into remote lakes and fish what very few people get to fish. I can also creep up into the hard to reach spots while I’m fishing for largemouth bass. Basically, I can get where a lot of my friends can’t! I also love how tippy my canoe is because it keeps my reflexes sharp.
Have you done adaptations to the canoe or added accessories that help you?
I have added some comfy swivel seats and a trolling motor. I also run a decent graph to aid in finding fish and structure. Overall, it is a pretty sweet little rig that has seen a ton of fishing!
Who are the companies you pro staff for?
Enigma Fishing – Where can I start? The rods are so incredible for a great price. They are a bass first company that has any technique specific action covered. The rods are light, durable and super sensitive and have made me into a better fisherman. The rods aren’t only great for bass though, I have found a purpose for all of mine, from panfish to musky, they have a rod for you!
Eurotackle – great ice gear! I had the pleasure of using their plastics and tungsten jigs all winter and really cleaned up on a ton of species. Their panfish specific line really just works for everything! They have a full summer line of bass gear as well as giant swimbaits and plastics!
Johnston Lure Company – Big baits, big fish. They make some of the best musky lures out there, the owner will do customs as well which is a massive benefit, the pricing is as amazing as the craftsmanship!
Thanks Matt. Keep up the great catches from the 705!