“Big Fish” Matt Thompson has become a folk hero of sorts on the Champions Tour.
The gentle giant has made his name defying the status quo and the usual strategy of the every fish counts format by consistently chasing quality over quantity and posting strong finishes against anglers who are often catching twice as many fish in a day.
So, when the Champions Tour announced its new contingency, he Cash Cup presented by MOOLAH ®, which gave anglers the opportunity to win a cash prize for each event for their biggest three fish of the day and larger bonus for their biggest three combined fish of the season it’s no surprise Thompson received several texts saying this award was made just for him.
“I knew that was my game but coming into this year all I wanted was to hold that crystal trophy on stage and I had been so close before so I was trying to adapt and fish a different way that would win me trophies not just (YETI) coolers and MOOLAH ® cash.”
Thompson said the first two tournaments of the season, the Whitefish Chain and Lake Minnetonka he avoided his usual style and opted to chase numbers and it made him miserable, it also left him in a serious hole in the angler of the year points.
“I went home after Minnetonka pretty defeated, and my wife asked me, what are you doing? She said you know who you are, so go be that person.”
Thompson laughed and said “well she was right” so that was his plan at Pelican. After a good practice Thompson felt he had a legitimate shot at winning, but that quickly went out the window when he got the update Adam Rasmussen was running away at a pace never seen before.
“When I heard how far ahead, he was I told my boat official, I guess we should go try and win a YETI, so I changed tactics and got on a really specific pattern that resulted in five bass over five pounds and ten plus bass over four pounds.”
Thompson broke the triple digit weight total for the first time in his Champions Tour career and skyrocketed to the top of the Reel LiveWell app. Win, lose, or draw the focus had shifted and “Big Fish” Matt Thompson had embraced his name and even if it wasn’t a crystal trophy, holding that cash cup over his head was his single greatest fishing accomplishment.
“That’s all I’ve ever wanted man, nothing has ever meant more to me in my fishing career than to stand up there holding that trophy over my head, I never even gave myself a chance to win it until Pelican and I got to do it my way which is pretty special to me.”
Matt even got a little emotional during the interview and said this was the first trophy he’s ever proudly displayed on his dining room table, a fitting centerpiece for the legend in the making.
It appears it’s only a matter of time before Matt Thompson holds that crystal trophy, but in the meantime, he gushed over the MOOLAH ® Cup and thanked all involved. “I can’t say enough about what a cool opportunity it is, thank you Michael (Walters), Scott, and everyone who made it possible for me to get this trophy and I hope to defend my title next year.”