UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Kentucky / Barkley Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

20 Questions with Michael Matthee

20 Questions with Michael Matthee
Michael Matthee

(Editor’s note: This story was originally published after Michael Matthee qualified for the FLW Cup at the Costa FLW Series Championship in 2017. Now in his rookie season on the FLW Tour, Matthee just finished second to Jeremy Lawyer at Grand Lake.)

 

“I live and breathe just to catch fish,” says Michael Matthee.

The 31-year-old is a longtime winner in the South African tournament circuits who has earned alpha status in his home country with a blend of undying determination, skill and versatility. Look no further than his meteoric rise in the first ever sanctioned FLW South Africa fish-off.

Matthee swamped a field of 100 competitors to earn a berth in the Costa FLW Series Championship on Kentucky Lake in November, where he finished ninth overall and first in the International Division to qualify for the 2018 FLW Cup at Lake Ouachita.

We wanted to learn more about Matthee and his prospects as a Cup competitor, so we assembled this list of 20 questions.

 

1. Where did you grow up?

I’m from South Africa and grew up in Centurion.

 

2. How did you get started fishing?

My parents are from Zimbabwe, and I spent many holidays there with my grandparents, fishing Kariba Dam, the Zambezi River, Darwendale and stayed often at my grandparent’s beautiful home on the banks of Lake Mazvikadei.

 

3. What types of fishing have you done in southern Africa?

Tiger fishing, deep-sea fishing, specimen carp fishing; those are some of my favorite fish species in southern Africa.

 

4. What inspires you about bass fishing?

From a very young age I was inspired by my grandfather and father. I spent most weekends on the water fishing with them and learning this fantastic sport. As I got older I spent time watching all the pros and following them in the magazines. The American pros inspired me to become a professional fisherman. South Africa is a beautiful country, and I have been blessed to travel throughout southern Africa and meet people that are as passionate as I am about fishing. All these interactions inspire me.

 

5. What is your occupation?

I am currently a self-employed cabinetmaker. I started my business before I left school in 2003, borrowed my dad’s van and tools to do installations of cabinets, and earned enough money to buy my first machine. I started the business in my parents’ backyard, then moved to a very small rented factory. Today, 14 years later, I have my own much bigger factory with 30 employees. It’s hard work, but it allows me to go fishing every weekend, which is my biggest passion.

 

Michael Matthee

6. How does your business work ethic translate to fishing success?

My business is very disciplined. I am proud of our product and our service, and I think this shows who I am and the way I approach fishing.

 

7. What or who caused you to focus on competitive bass fishing?

My first introduction to competitive fishing was as a junior. I earned my Protea Colors* a few times. Then I left competitive fishing to focus on my business. Eventually, I started with competitive fishing when a friend’s father asked me to fish a local club tournament, and from that day forward I was hooked. Now, all I can think of is bass fishing.

*Colors are awarded by a national governing body, South African Bass Angling Association (SABAA) in this case, to anglers who have excelled at the highest level in their chosen sport.

 

Michael Matthee

8. How many tournaments do you fish in South Africa in a year, and what are some of your biggest successes?

Without a doubt, qualifying to compete in the Costa FLW Series Championship through FLW South Africa is one of my greatest achievements. I am also proud to have earned both my South Africa Junior and Senior Protea Colors.

I fish a series of tournament circuits every year that keep me on the water most weekends, including SABAA Divisional, SABAA Nationals, FLW South Africa Gauteng Division and EBass.

 

9. What is your preferred method of bass fishing on your home waters?

Power Fishing. Trolling motor on high, covering as much water as I can.

 

10. What were your top fishing strategies in Africa that enabled you to qualify for the Costa FLW Series Championship?

I fished completely different than the other competitors, always looking for something different. I like to show fish something different than what the other anglers are using. It was tough to qualify because South Africa has so many top-quality anglers.

 

11. What do you have to say about the trend toward international competition?

I joined FLW South Africa for the opportunity to fish in the USA. This was a lifelong dream of mine, and when I qualified my dream came true. It took me about a week to realize that I actually qualified to fish the Costa FLW Series Championship and compete against some of the world’s best anglers. Thanks to FLW, many international anglers have been given the same opportunity. It’s a lifetime opportunity to fish the Costa FLW Series Championship with a chance to qualify for the FLW Cup.

 

12. Was the championship your first trip to America?

It was my first trip to the USA.

 

Michael Matthee

13. After qualification, what was your preparation plan? Was it difficult to make practice arrangements? And how much practice did you get?

I didn’t have much preparation. Three days before I left for the USA I was fishing SABAA Nationals here in SA. I did a lot of internet research on Kentucky Lake and a lot of mapping homework. I only had three days practice, one day from a tinny (aluminum johnboat) up at Kenlake Marina and two days on a Ranger boat I borrowed from FLW.

 

14. Who are your heroes in the world of bass fishing? Did you get to meet any of them at the championship?

Denny Brauer, KVD, Gerald Swindle, JT Kenney and Bryan Thrift. I was very fortunate to meet Bryan.

 

15. What did you think of Kentucky Lake?

Wow. It’s massive. Completely different from any of our fisheries in South Africa. It’s an amazing Lake. I caught seven different species of fish.

 

MICHAEL MATTHEE

16. What pattern did you develop, and how did it hold up during the tourney?

I developed two main patterns. Firstly, I targeted medium-depth water around 6 feet near schools of shad with a Zara Spook Jr. Secondly, I used an umbrella rig around deep bluffs and sand humps, covering lots of water, looking for bites. In practice, I found fish on rocky banks in medium to deeper water. Once I figured out where the fish were holding I would try and duplicate that on my electronic maps, looking for contour lines and channel edges.

 

17. How does fishing in Africa compare to American waters? What, if any, adjustments to your style had to be made?

I found that it was totally opposite to our fishing in Africa. We don’t have large roaming schools of shad here, and the baitfish we have do not school the same way, so I adjusted my strategy by using my deep-sea experience, finding baitfish to find bass.

 

18. Now that you qualified for the Cup at Lake Ouachita, what are your thoughts? Are you confident?

I am honored and grateful to be representing South Africa at the 2018 FLW Cup and hope this will take South Africa’s bass fishing to the next level. I must admit, I am a little intimidated to be fishing the biggest competition in bass fishing, but will put my heart and soul into the Cup.

 

19. What will you do to prepare for Lake Ouachita? Do you have plans in place?

I will do a lot of homework and mapping and research on the lake. I do not have any plans in place yet but plan to travel across the ocean and practice for at least seven days.

 

Michael Matthee

20. What are your future plans? Any thoughts of joining the FLW Tour?

The plan is to fish the FLW Cup in 2018 and join the FLW Tour in 2019. The only things stopping me from joining the Tour in 2018 are some business matters.

Tags: george-robey  article 

Takeoff Delayed at Lake of the Ozarks

Takeoff Delayed at Lake of the Ozarks

The final Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Lake of the Ozarks – which is presented by Evinrude – was originally slated to begin at 7 a.m. CT this morning, but Mother Nature had other plans. A massive thunderstorm has been rolling through Osage Beach, Mo., this morning bringing heavy downpours and lots of lightning. READ MORE »

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. The Letter of Intent (LOI) sets in motion the most significant brand merger in competitive bass fishing history, linking a tour and original, award-winning programming featuring the top professional anglers in the world to an extensive grassroots organization that serves tens of thousands of competitive anglers from high school and college students to weekenders and tour pros.  READ MORE »

How the MLF Acquisition will Affect Me

How the MLF Acquisition will Affect Me

The Thursday announcement of Major League Fishing’s acquisition of FLW signifies a historic shift in the landscape of competitive bass fishing. Here’s an overview of how the competitive circuits of FLW will operate. READ MORE »

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

It was sweet redemption in many ways for the Texas legend who still owns and operates his Houston-based HVAC company despite spending so much time on the tournament-fishing circuit. Redemption for missing out on the FLW Cup in his first season. Redemption for what Grand did to him earlier this year on Tour (dropping from sixth to 41st with only one fish on day two). And, in a way, validation for a career filled with big accomplishments. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 3 Airs Friday 

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 3 Airs Friday 

Join FLW for a Rapala Varsity Bass watch party on Friday, Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. CT for the premiere of Episode 3 in the series. READ MORE »

Valdivia is Best in the West

Valdivia is Best in the West

California pro David Valdivia has consistently finished near the top of the standings in the Costa FLW Series Western Division. This year he finally won his first Strike King Angler of the Year award, and he did it by just one point in the standings. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

The final five T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournaments took place over the weekend, bringing BFL regular-season competition to a close. Regional tournaments will kick off Oct. 10, and by the end of the month the majority of the field for the 2020 All-American will be set.  READ MORE »

Wild Card set for Kentucky Lake

Wild Card set for Kentucky Lake

Fishing League Worldwide, the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, announced Sunday that the 2019 T-H Marine BFL Wild Card tournament will take place on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky, Nov. 8-9. The two-day event, hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, will launch from the Kentucky Dam Marina in Gilbertsville. READ MORE »

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Scott Dobson has earned a pile of accolades up north, but this year, he earned his biggest title yet. Winning the Strike King Angler of the Year in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, the Clarkston, Mich., angler finished third at Lake Champlain, 13th on the Potomac River and wrapped the season and the title with a second-place showing on the St. Lawrence River. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 3

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 3

The third round of T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournament action saw smallmouths, spotted bass and largemouths all make an appearance as six divisions put a bow on the season with their respective two-day events. Here’s a quick recap of what all played out in the action spanning from the Detroit River down to Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

Buy a Hat, Help USA Bass 

Buy a Hat, Help USA Bass 

Bass fishing fans have a chance to help the USA Bass team achieve its goal of winning the 2019 Pan American Championship in Canada next month. To help fund the effort, USA Bass, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, recently launched a limited edition hat drive with the goal of selling 1,000 USA Bass hats. READ MORE »

A High School Kayak Tournament Experience 

A High School Kayak Tournament Experience 

A recent high school kayak bass fishing tournament showcased the potential of kayaks to get more young anglers on the water and competing. READ MORE »

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Fishing just her second full season as a co-angler in the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division, mother of two and first-grade teacher Kate Hough was planning and preparing for a chance to do something no woman has ever done in her division: win Co-Angler of the Year. Instead of preparing for the Super Tournament on Lake Hartwell on Sept. 28, however, Hough is simply fighting to leave her hospital bed. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 2

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 2

The second weekend in September saw seven more T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) divisions conclude their seasons with two-day Super Tournament events. From the Tennessee River to the St. Lawrence River and a few places in between, here’s a quick look at how the seven events were won. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Matt Reed

Check-in Time: Matt Reed

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Texas pro Matt Reed.  READ MORE »

When to Fish the Flashy Swimmer

When to Fish the Flashy Swimmer

In April, FLW Associate Editor Justin Onslow documented how Gross likes to cut the belly of his two favorite hollow swimbaits – the Scottsboro and the Zoom Swimmer – when rigging on a weedless hook to achieve a high hook-up ratio. However, that article didn’t break down where and why Gross prefers to use the Beast Flashy Swimmer hook versus a standard weighted, weedless swimbait hook. So we reached out to Gross for more info. READ MORE »

FLW Mourns Passing of T. Boone Pickens

FLW Mourns Passing of T. Boone Pickens

Businessman T. Boone Pickens, who in 2010 partnered with FLW to promote an alternative energy plan to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, passed away Wednesday at the age of 91.  READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 1

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 1

College football, hooded sweatshirts and the conclusion of the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) regular season are what come to mind as the calendar turns to September. This past weekend, six divisions put a feather in their cap for the year with their two-day Super Tournament events – where the payouts are bigger – but, more importantly, it’s the last chance to accumulate points to qualify for the Regionals this October. READ MORE »

Harris Chain to Host 2020 College Championship

Harris Chain to Host 2020 College Championship

Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes will host the 2020 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship. The tournament, set for Feb. 26-28, will showcase the top collegiate anglers from across the nation. READ MORE »

Martin Makes Young Angler’s Wish Come True

Martin Makes Young Angler’s Wish Come True

A feature published this morning by Dennis Anderson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (startribune.com) details the story of a 10-year-old Minnesota boy named Colby, whose wish was to get to meet and fish with FLW Tour pro Scott Martin. Colby, who suffers from a rare autoimmune disorder, got his wish on Wednesday thanks to Martin, Minnesota-based 3M and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Together, they treated Colby’s family to a weeklong vacation, and Martin guided the young angler to a day of fishing for bass and northern pike on Mantrap Lake near Park Rapids, Minn. Martin has been in the Land of 10,000 Lakes for the last week or so filming for various video projects. READ MORE »