The 2022 Champions Tour Angler of the Year has two items on his to do list for the 2023 season, “win an event, and win a Championship…only two goals I have,” said Matt Thompson.
People would possibly peg Thompson as a favorite for the season opening event on Big Stone, as it’s a big bass fishery with shallow water, rock, and vegetation. “I do well, and love fishing visual rock…the lake sets up similar to Pelican.”
“I can’t wait to get the 2023 season going, I enjoy the people I meet and love how humbling the format of the circuit is.”
Long time Champions Tour angler, and multiple time winner, Matt Peters is excited to have a new lake on the schedule, with the Tour going to Big Stone. “I have personally never been there so it’s going to be fun to learn and see how it shows out. June could be a bit interesting with the way spring is laying out, we may hit it right at post spawn which may cause us to see the bite a little tougher than some guys expect, but I do still expect lots of big fish to be caught and some pretty good number’s all things considered,” said Matt.
While the 2023 Champions Tour has plenty of new faces, some of which are just getting out of high school or are in college, the Tour does feature some of the Midwest’s long standing bass fishing icons, one of which is Jim Moynagh.
Moynagh still competes nationally in the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, but loves fishing the Champions Tour, as “it has one of the best risk/reward ratios regarding entry fee/payout,” said Jim. “I’m looking forward to another Champions Tour season, as I’m repping the old guard ferociously, and all the young punks better bring talent and dedication to hang,” smiled Moynagh.
The 2022 Championship winner, Noah Schultz is excited for the 2023 season and the larger (65 angler) field size. “I’m looking forward to meeting the new guys, but it makes me nervous since some of them are hammers,” joked Noah.
“And I’m excited to let Sobi be my deputy, because I’m not retiring from sheriff!”
Schultz likes the schedule this season since it is primarily dominated by largemouth, as “smallmouth are still foreign to me,” said Schultz.
Schutlz feels that Big Stone will be a grinder. “I think if a guy gets 20 bites, he will be sitting very good at the end of the day.”
Hunter Wendt, a local to the Whitefish Chain would be on the short list of favorites for that event, along with the Pro-Am event the day following the Tour event on the Whitefish Chain. “I’m excited to get the ball rolling after last year coming so close to winning the boat,” exclaimed Hunter. “I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been, the lakes look awesome, and I love the competition that is coming into the Champions Tour this season.”
Looking ahead to the Whitefish event, Wendt says that the end of July could be hit or miss, “but I personally think that the lake is going to fish tough due to the pressure before the tournament, but it will still take 60 to 70 pounds as always.”
Echoing Wendt’s thoughts on the Whitefish event being on the tougher side is defending Whitefish Champion, Matt Peters. “I think it will get pretty beat up in practice and the boat traffic in July is very heavy. It fishes smaller than it looks especially after the lake split. The X factor will be whether you can get a group of fish to yourself without having to go shallow,” commented Matt.
The day following the Tour event, we have the Pro-Am event and Hunter is really excited for this and thinks that some big smallmouth will for sure come in to play for this event.
Thompson’s first year on the Champions Tour began on the Le Homme Dieu Chain, where Matt started off his YETI Big Bass streak with a mammoth 7 lb 6 oz largemouth. But that finish still bothers Matt, and he looks to have a better showing this time around.
Also looking for redemption on the Le Homme Dieu Chain is Moynagh, who was runner up the last time the Tour visited the Alexandria Chain of Lakes. “I should’ve won that event and want that win this year.”
And while the location of the 2023 Champions Tour Championship has not been announced yet, it is known that the winner will yet again walk away with a Skeeter Boats/Yamaha Outboard package, Moynagh is determined, “Yes, I will qualify for the Championship, and yes I will challenge for first.”