Matt Becker (@mbeckerfishing on Instagram) lives in Pittsburgh, where he was born and raised. He also happens to be the 2018 FLW Tour Rookie of the Year.
“I’ve been fishing since I was born,” he says, laughing. “My dad got me into it.”
Go out with his dad, Matt started fishing in a pretty typical way — streams, ponds, bait on hooks.
“My dad had a little boat,” he says. “That got us into fishing some smaller lakes.”
Later on, they joined a local club.
Those early tournaments fueled Matt’s competitive nature. Matt remained pretty serious about fishing throughout his childhood.
“It’s pretty much all I’ve ever wanted to do,” he says.
Unfortunately, Matt’s high school did not have a fishing team, so he had to find his own way.
“I never did anything with school,” he says. “They didn’t have any fishing clubs, so I pretty much had to do everything on my own, basically.”
During high school, however, he was able to fish at a much higher level.
“When I turned sixteen, I was able to fish in the adult leagues,” Matt says. “And that’s when I started fishing tournaments on my own.”
“2019 will be my second year as a pro angler,” he says. “I do ten or twelve tournaments a year.”
Even when he’s not in a tournament, though, Matt’s out on the water.
“I’m always going somewhere, practicing for a tournament or checking out a fishery,” he says. “But I just don’t do a whole lot of fun fishing right now.”
Lake Erie is where Matt feels most comfortable.
“It’s one of my favorite spots,” he says.
When asked why, he responded, “Well, first, giant smallmouth.”
“I guess I just understand how they set up in Erie better than anywhere else, their movements and everything,” Matt says. “I always seem to have good success there.”
Of all his tournament appearances, winning the 2017 1,000 Islands tournament in the FLW Costa Series is the one that stands out most to Matt.
“Winning 1,000 Islands gave me the financial ability to be able to fish professionally,” he says. “If I hadn’t won that tournament, I wouldn’t have been able to fish the tour last year. It one hundred percent launched my career.”
During the 2018 season, Matt was successful enough to be honored as the FLW Tour Rookie of the Year.
“That was cool,” he says. “They looked at my average across seven tournaments, and even though I had an up-and-down, roller coaster year, I had a lot of strong finishes. And it’s cool to have the highest average over seven events.”
Matt is hoping his momentum will get him off to a strong start in 2019 — and so do we!