It is an absolute honor for me to get to interview FLW Rookie of the Year Matt Becker. Matt is an amazing angler from my home State of Pennsylvania. Matt had a great year fishing becoming Rookie of the Year and qualifying for the FLW Cup. We talk to him about bass fishing on the place he did both, Lake St. Clair.
First of all, a big congrats on your amazing rookie season. You are from a small town in Southwest PA. How does it feel to be able to compete and be successful at this level of fishing?
Its pretty special to compete on the highest level of the game, especially coming from an area that I could only fish for 6 months out of the year. Not to mention that all southern lakes are nothing like anything up north. So for that, I am proud of myself. Very blessed this year and proof that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.
What were your thoughts going into St. Clair?
Heading into St Clair I was strictly focused on catching enough bass to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup. I had fished it earlier in the year in pre-practice, but never before this year. I knew it was going to be a smallmouth slug fest, so I was excited.
What were the keys in preparation and practice for you prior to the tournament?
St Clair is a very “conditional” fishery. Meaning you cannot do much research or map study to figure out where they might be. You have to show up and fish to find the biggest schools of fish possible. Not to mention play the wind, weather and waves to your advantage.
Did you realize it was going to be quite the slug fest that it ended up being?
I knew it was going to be a slug fest, but I didn’t quite seeing it taking almost 100lbs to win. I was thinking closer to 88 pounds.
How much added pressure did being in the Rookie of the Year race add to the psychology of the tournament?
Honestly, I never even thought about it til after I weighed in on day 1. I was 73 points behind, which is a huge mountain to climb in 1 event. I was focused on qualifying for the Forest Wood Cup.
What section of the lake were you keyed on?
I focused on the North Shore. There were a few boats around, but I had my specific section to myself.
One of your key baits was a Keitech 2.8 Fat Swing Impact. How were you rigging this bait?
I was nose hooking that swimbait on a drop shot. I wanted to keep it off the bottom and out of the grass.
You also used the 4″ Shad Impact. How were you rigging it?
Same as the swimbait. It was all about showing them different baits and colors and keeping it above the grass.
I found your comment interesting that changing colors was key at times. What did you mean by that?
I’m not sure the color mattered so much, but the fish constantly seeing the same bait was getting to them. I would switch colors and get bit instantly. Sometimes just showing them something different spikes their curiosity, and they have to eat it.
Without giving away any secrets, what advice do you have for recreational anglers from your experience tournament fishing St. Clair?
Lake St. Clair is pretty simple. Use your Lowrance Electronics to find the grass and the bait, and the smallmouth are going to be close by.
Rookie of the year in 2018. What’s in store for 2019?
Hopefully more of the same. I’m going to work just as hard and hopefully eliminate some of the bombs from my season and focus on being more consistent and qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup.
Thank you Matt. Will be following to see how all of your hard work pays off in 2019 at MattBeckerFishing.com.