Massachusetts Bass Anglers

Fishing and Catching and Perspective with Matt Shutta

Massachusetts angler Matt Shutta knows how to fish and catch. More than that he has a great perspective on the meaning of fishing in his life and the life of others. Read on and you will see what I mean.

It looks like you have a nice little fishing rig. What are you fishing out of and what are the things you like most about your boat?

Thanks! I’m fishing out of a  Lund 17 BASS with a Mercury 40HP outboard, and Motorguide pro series 70 lb. thrust trolling motor. It has an older Lowrance Sonar only unit and a Garmin  551DV that I actually won on Facebook!

I love that even though the boat is small, it’s rod locker stores up to 7.5’ rods! Having that storage allows me to bring along extra rods/reel combos when I hit the water, and not have them all have to be on the deck.

The Garmin is awesome too! It’s not a top of the line unit, but the clarity of what it shows is fantastic!

Another thing I love about the boat is the fact that I was able to get a great deal on it; it’s my first boat and I would probably not have been able to buy it if I didn’t get a deal. I bought the boat in the middle of getting engaged/married, buying a home with my wife, renovating the home, and buying a new truck.. I would probably still be fishing from my kayak if I didn’t find this one.

Looks like you have a cool fishing partner. I recently tried to take my dog fishing and it didn’t go so well. What type of training did you have to do or was she a natural fishing partner?

My dog’s name is Paisley. She’s about a year and a half old, she was born 2 days after my birthday!, and is a German Shepherd/Coonhound mix. My wife and I rescued her from a shelter in Tennessee. She’s our first dog and definitely one of my best friends!

We trained her ourselves, and she is very well behaved and smart, however, she’s a natural when it comes to the boat. She loves being out on the boat and watching the wildlife, watching me casting…hopefully catching, and laying in the sun. She was a natural, but for another dog I think getting them out on the boat as a puppy would be key. Just float around with the trolling motor and pay attention to them mostly; don’t run the outboard unless they seem calm. If you can get them acclimated to the boat it’s a great feeling to be able to enjoy their company while out on the boat!

matt-s-01Lots of bass and some big ones on your Instagram account. What are your favorite bass waters to explore and what makes each so special to you?

My home water is the Connecticut River near Holyoke, Massachusetts, but I regularly fish that river from that point all the way up to New Hampshire/Vermont. The river is pretty diverse along the length of it, and it has helped me learn how to catch bass different ways.

I don’t get to travel to new water as much as I’d like to lately, but I have a decent amount of places I travel to within an hour or two of home. I love fishing Somerset Reservoir in Vermont, especially in the fall. It’s absolutely gorgeous up there. Last year I spent 7 hours up there fishing nothing but a walking topwater bait and must have caught one every 5 casts; I never put the topwater down!

Another place I love to go is a pond you have to hike into and I only bring a frog rod with me when I go. You have to cover up completely to keep the mosquitoes away and wear waterproof boots to hike through swamp areas, otherwise it’s going to be miserable. Even though it’s hit or miss on the frog bite, getting away from everything near civilization is worth it.

I grew up fishing the Connecticut River in Gill, Massachusetts, some people may know this as Barton’s Cove, and that has to be one of the most special places for me to fish. I caught a 4-8 there from a canoe with both my parents which hooked me back on fishing in my early teens. I’ve caught a limit weighing over 28 lbs from there. My wife caught her personal best 5 LB 6 oz. largemouth bass her first time freshwater fishing in 10+ years with me there. And the very next day we shared a boat with my father and landed dozens between 3-5 lbs from there.  That same day I caught my personal best 7 lb 4 oz largemouth with both of them there, and my wife netted it for me. It was one of the most special weekends fishing ever.

Smallmouth or largemouth, you can only pick one to fish for next year. Which one do you pick?

I’d pick smallmouth. The reason for that would be that I feel less confident targeting smallmouth than I do largemouth, and if I could only fish for smallmouth all next year I’m sure I would even things out!

matt-s-05What are your favorite techniques for fishing smallmouth?

This year I have discovered the power of the River2Sea Whopper Plopper, and that would definitely be at the top of my list! Smallmouth and Largemouth HATE it and have to kill it! I’ve used that with great success targeting smallmouth on the river. I would also mix in a walking bait with that for when they are schooling; that’s a fun way to catch ‘em. Also, it’s a little less popular these days, but I like fishing with jerkbaits; a lot of the time you can’t beat that for numbers. A variety of X-rap’s, KVD/KVD Deep, and LuckyCraft jerkbaits are what I primarily have in my jerkbait box.  If those weren’t working, I’d be throwing a dropshot with a Roboworm or Dream Shot.  I also like throwing a curl tail grub, Power Team Lures, in the fall/winter; I’ve had pretty good success with it on the rivers when the snow starts to fly.

If you can have one fishing gift under $200 this holiday season, what would it be?

Man, I have so much fishing gear and I seem to not even use a lot of it over a year.. If I had to ask for something, I would ask for that person to spend the money on a good all-purpose rod and reel combo, and fill a small tackle box with an assortment of starter tackle and give it to someone they know who can’t afford to buy it for themselves. I know how much bass fishing means to me, and how much I enjoy it.. To be able to give someone that gift would definitely put a smile on my face.

This year my wife and I are doing an “adopt a family” instead of buying gifts and encouraging our families to consider it as well. If you’d like to keep your gifts in the bass fishing area, look into donating to Don Barone’s “Tackle The Storm”, or Mike Iaconelli’s “The Ike Foundation”; those are great people doing great things!

As a music fan, you can share your boat for one day with any musician. Who are you picking and what about them do you think would make them cool to fish with?

I don’t know if he’s a fisherman, but I’d love to spend a day with Aaron Lewis. The area he’s from is near where I grew up, and he just seems like the type of guy I’d be friends with. I’ve been a fan of his music back since the Staind days, and I would love to talk music with him. I have a broad range of music genre’s I listen to and it would be cool to hear how/why he transitioned to the country artist he is now. Also, I don’t ever drink beer while fishing, but I think this trip would have to be an exception!

I love the answers I get. So many times they are not what I expect. Matt’s answer about how he would spend $200 is not one I was expecting, but I think you agree that there isn’t a better answer. Thank you Matt!

Keep an eye on Matt’s fishing with his Instagram page.