Pro Bass Angler Matt Newman talks big baits and bigger fish
Matt is both a trophy bass hunter and FLW pro
introduction to Matt Newman, the trophy bass fisherman, came a few years
ago while reading an article in BassWest USA that described his epic day
on the water in which he caught 27 consecutive largemouth bass over 8
pounds. It was an eye-opening read and one that inspired me to dedicate
some serious time into throwing big baits. I got to meet Matt in person
at ICAST where we exchanged information and agreed to talk at a later
date in hopes of bringing all of you the following interview. Here is
our conversation with Matt Newman.
Matt thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
Tell me, what is your first memory of going fishing, and at what point, did you
develop into the trophy catching fisherman you are today?
Newman: My first memory of fishing
was when I was 3 years old. My uncle took my mom and me but we didnít catch
anything. A few months later my grandma took me and I was hooked. I fished
avidly my whole life but never could catch a trophy largemouth. In 1993 I got to
go fishing with Dana Rosen and he showed me the fist big trout lures and I
watched him catch 3 ten pounders in one day. From then on I was fascinated with
these big lures and the monsters we were catching on them.
Most anglers catch one of these lunkers a
year, Matt caught 27 consecutive fish over 8lbs!
Cal: That day you had on the
water a couple of years ago where you landed 27 consecutive fish over 8 pounds
is legendary. Congratulations again on just an unbelievable experience. But
besides your typical haunts in Southern California, what other lakes across the
country, or even around the world, have you tried your trophy fishing approach
and how successful has it been for you?
Newman: I havenít got to travel
back east to fish yet, but have fished most of the west. I have had success with
most places I have gone. I have even caught some nice ones at lake mead on a
Huddleston. I have caught good fish almost everywhere I have tried on swimbaits
but have found dropping down to 6" baits seems to get bit better than it does in
the So Cal lakes. Last year I went to England and caught some really nice pike
on swimbaits, which opened everyoneís eyes out there. They work everywhere you
just have to figure out what the big fish on that lake are relating to and get
it in front of them.
A lot of our readers are just catching on to the swimbait craze and their first
questions, of course, are about the tackle. Can you share with us, the evolution
from your first swimbait stick to what you're using now?
Newman: My first swimbait rod was
a Fenwick Musky rod, which I still have. I went through tons of different musky
rods some good some terrible but always hated how bulky they were. I recently
got together with a musky rod Co. Fig Rig and we came up with a Bass swimbait
rod. It is 7'5" long with normal bass rod guides a slimmer cork handle and is
the lightest rod I have ever felt. It is a pleasure to fish all day long.
How about the same progression you went through
with the fishing reel?
Newman: I started with the Shimano
Calcutta 400 but quickly got tired of how heavy it was. Its a great reel but too
big. I them started using the Corsair and the Cardiff because they were smaller
and lighter. They are not as smooth but they fit in my hand much better.
Recently Shimano came out with the Curado 300, which is a perfect size reel, but
the gear ratio is a little too high for slow rolling baits during the winter
months. I love it during the spring and summer. (Iím not sponsored by Shimano, I
just like them)
Matt demonstrates the swimming action of the Tru-Tungsten
swimbaits on the ICAST show floor
What type of line do you use when fishing these big baits?
Newman: I always use Izor line
Platinum in 20 and 25 mono. I use it because of its low stretch and abrasion
resistance. I also use their braid for top water trout baits in 65lb.
Cal: The baits, there are so
many different swimbait products out there today including the new Tru-Life
swimbait by TruTungsten that you showed us at ICAST. For someone just getting
started in the technique, where do you recommend they start so they can build
confidence in this technique?
Newman: For someone starting out
with swimbaits I would suggest using a floater and slow sinker. The fast sinking
baits can be very affective but are very frustrating to use because they are
constantly snagging up. The Tru life baits will give the versatility to new
anglers to because it gives them a 3 in one. By removing or adding the tungsten
balls inside you have a floater, slow sink and fast sink bait. Starting off with
a floating bait was key to me and my trophy bass hunting. It allowed me to see
where the big fish were living and how they reacted to certain bait movements.
One good piece of advice is you can never take too long to reel a floating bait
in. I have taken up to 5 min a cast with stop and go retrieve with great results
Matt shows us the new Tru Tungsten swimbaits
There are 4 seasons in the year. For Matt Newman, how many seasons are there for
swimbait fishing and how to you approach each?
Newman: There are 4 seasons to
swimbait fishing as well. During the winter there is a top water bite but the
deep bite can get really good. As spring rolls around the fish get shallow and
start to pack up which makes them easy to catch with floaters and slow sinkers
once you find them. During summer the big fish start to single out and you can
catch them many different ways but you can fish fast and cover water. Then the
fall the top water has its days but the deep bite can go off.
What other techniques,
besides swimbaits, do you rely on through the year to catch fish?
Newman: I have the reputation of
being a big bait guy only, which can be true sometimes but I grew up worm
fishing and I still love doing it. I learned how to fish a worm from Mike
Brakebill (roboworm) who I consider to be one of the best, and I still love to
go out with him and wack them on worms all day. Other than that I will fish
anything that I can catch a fish on. I love to experiment.
Southern California is home, not only to some great trophy bass fishing, but
also some fantastic saltwater fishing opportunities. Do you ever get out to the
ocean and if so, what is your favorite saltwater species to pursue?
Matt may have once been a saltwater angler but
with bucketmouths like these it is no wonder he's hooked on
professional bass fishing and the pursuit of lunkers
Newman: I used to fish
salt water a lot I even used to guide locally in the kelp beds. I do
love the action and power of tuna. Itís so exciting to see 40- 100lb
fish exploding on bait and then realize it's yours. The last 5 years I
have been so busy chasing bass around I donít have any more time to do
Which species of fish are on your "someday" list?
Newman: My someday species has to
be a Tarpon. I have hooked a few before but never landed one and now its
becoming personal. I love to watch them flying through the air.
Cal: Well, that's about it.
Thank you Matt, for your time. Is there anything in closing that you'd like to
say to our readers?
Newman: Swimbait fishing is easy.
So many times I get people coming up to me and asking what is the secret. There
isn't one. You just have to commit. Pick a day and do it all day. You will be
amazed what you can learn in one whole day of throwing it. Pick a slow sinker
and just roll down the bank, keep your eyes peeled and hold on.
TackleTour would like to thank Matt Newman for taking the time to chat with us
and give us some insight into the growing craze of fishing with big baits.