Matt Thompson and Tony Hatten are more than just respected Champions Tour anglers, they are both known to be some of the first to step up and help others as teachers and mentors both on and off the water.
So it seemed fitting that these two Champions Tour personalities would share the stage at Forest Lake High School in front of a crowd of seventy plus student anglers, parents, and coaches to give the next generation of anglers advice on putting more fish in the boat.
The pair spoke about fishing offshore and how they approached getting away from the bank and visual cover like docks, lily pads, and reeds to find bigger, more concentrated, and less pressured fish which was a major key to Matt’s success in the Champions Tour Championship on Bay Lake where he finished in second place.
His 2-pound, 11-ounce average in that tournament was over a pound greater than anyone else in the field. “I asked Tony to come to Forest Lake with me simply because you have two guys who fish two completely different ways and it was an opportunity for everyone there to get something from both of us and learn two approaches,” said Thompson.
“What we stressed was that there’s a whole world out there beyond the bank and if you want to be successful as a tournament angler you need to be able to recognize and locate those areas no one else is touching,” stated Tony. “Matt talked about vibrating jigs and Neko rigs while I focused on the differences between jigs like football jigs and flipping jigs.”
Forest Lake Coach Jake Mastell said he was amazed at how engaged the speakers kept the group of young anglers, knowing how difficult it can be to keep the attention of teenagers. He commended both Thompson and Hatten on their ability to recognize and politely call out those shy anglers who wouldn’t normally speak up and coax them to ask questions with small prizes and handouts. Mastell said he felt everyone in the audience learned something, including himself. “I felt like I might have learned the most out of anyone there honestly.”
Both the speakers, and Mastell noted that there was a lot of interest from the parents, with many coming up after the seminar to ask follow up questions or learn more about how to help their children grow in the sport of competitive angling.
Today’s young anglers are afforded many luxuries that previous generations didn’t have.
Both Thompson and Hatten commented on the wealth on information available to those trying to learn more about the sport. “Between YouTube, high school fishing clubs, coaches and mentors, seminars like this these kids just have so much more exposure to advanced techniques and can learn so much faster,” commented Hatten.
Matt Thompson shared a similar sentiment saying “I can’t even imagine how much further along I’d be even now as an angler if I had the resources that these high school anglers do now and I think it’s a great thing.”
Tony Hatten also did a seminar for the Litchfield High School team which he said he’d never previously been in contact with, but coach Dan Anderson reached out and asked if he would speak.
Tony said this seminar was also a great success and he’s even formed a friendship with the coach as they now speak quite often and share information on tactics, lakes, and more.
The Champions Tour is proud to have these two anglers fishing with us and is also proud to support SATT (Student Angler Tournament Trail) and high school fishing around the state.