by David A. Brown
FLW PRESS RELEASE
Of all the angling axioms that drive our decisions, few top the wisdom of following the food. Exemplifying this simple, yet undeniably productive strategy, David Matual posted a three-day total of 65 pounds to win the final event of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division on Lake Erie.
Fishing Canadian waters, Matual targeted shallow reefs northwest of Pelee Island. He had three different areas, all within a few miles of one another.
The spots looked good, from a structural standpoint, but it was the presence of baitfish — a lot of baitfish — that convinced him to commit.
|Mutual big bag secures win by a 1/2 pound. (Photo: FLW)|
“I was around a school of fish that were so jacked up that every morning when I got there, I saw them busting on the surface,” Matual says. “My spot just got better every day.
“I didn’t bring any topwater baits, but I wish I did; we had so many splashes.”
Initially, Matual fished the shallow reef areas in about 10 feet, but astute observation helped him dial in the sweet spots.
“In the beginning, on the first day, we set up shallow and we were getting some smaller fish; but I noticed a lot of the bass were busting behind us,” he says. “So I moved out a little deeper to that 15- to 18-foot range and that’s when we started connecting with the bigger ones.
Matual caught most of his fish on a drop-shot with a Berkley Gulp! Minnow and a Jackall Crosstail Shad on a 1/0 Gamakatsu drop-shot hook and a 3/8- to 1/2-ounce weight. He also used a 3 1/2-inch tube on a 3/8-ounce lead head with a 90-degree line tie.
Despite the temperance and moderation he displayed the first two days, Matual says his main spot’s productivity was off the chart.
“I didn’t push it on day one and day two, so really don’t know how aggressive they were,” Matual recalls. “I got my weight and got out of there. I pushed it a little further on day two and then today, I really leaned on ‘em.”
Matual’s day-two co-angler caught a smallmouth that weighed 6-9 and his day-three co-angler caught the twin – Matual’s biggest went 5-9. He caught about 10 keepers on day one, a dozen on day two and 20 on day three.
“It’s a good week when you’re complaining about a sore thumb,” Matual says.
On day one, Matual placed 11th with 18-11. The next day, he moved up eight spots to third with the tournament’s heaviest sack – 23-25.
Matual also caught the heaviest bag of day three — 22-6 — and claimed the top spot by a 7-ounce margin of victory over Jared Rhode, who led day one and shared the day-two lead with Dave Lefebre. He will take home a check worth a cool $31,429 for his effort.