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Pro Bass Angler Matt Newman talks big baits and bigger fish

Date: 9/14/08
Interview: Matt Newman
Location Southern California
Interviewer: Cal



Matt is both a trophy bass hunter and FLW pro Angler

Introduction: My 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. 

Cal: 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.

Cal: 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.

Cal: 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

Cal: 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 year round.    

Matt shows us the new Tru Tungsten swimbaits at ICAST

Cal: 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.    

Cal: 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.   

Cal: 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 it.   

Cal: 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.









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