Matt Chipperfield, Team Eye Strike
What do you like most about fishing? The puzzle. Solving the riddle. Wiring the bite. Understanding the why, how, where and when. Patterning fish is what keeps me coming back. Sure, I enjoy seeing monster trout eat topwater plugs. I love stalking a redfish from the tower. I really love watching a tarpon go ballistic on the end of my line. But, it’s the science behind the fish that feeds my addiction. Anyone can go fishing. Anyone can catch a fish. Not everyone can tell you why that fish ate, where it will be next, how it will behave throughout the year or when you can expect the best results. The difference between your average fisherman and an elite angler is the anglers appreciation for the science behind the fish. Respect the biology.
How did you get started with fishing? My path to becoming a full time guide is a little different than most. I wasn’t raised as a fisherman. I was an athlete and a surfer. Organized sports and chasing waves dominated my childhood. Everything I know about fishing was gained by first hand experience through trial and error. I remember targeting redfish for the first time as a kid and trolling for kingfish off the beach with some friends. But, I didn’t become serious about the sport until my college years in St. Petersburg, FL. My roommate, Tyler Capella, was a lifelong angler and was on the fast track to becoming a professional guide. I had a two man kayak and we would paddle out to the flats, mangroves and passes of the Gulf of Mexico. It was here I was introduced to stalking fish in the shallows and learned how to present artificial lures. This was a game changer. Fooling a fish with a piece of plastic was intoxicating. I caught my first tarpon, my first snook and learned more in four years than I had in the previous eighteen. I graduated, moved back to Jax, competed in local inshore tournaments, started guiding and the rest is history.
What are your other interests? Surfing. Traveling. My dog, Kilo. Live Music. Crossfit. Tournament paintball. Paddle boarding. Diving/Snorkeling. If it is in saltwater I’m probably into it. I stay active and seek out new experiences. Too many things to do in this world, too little time in this life.
What’s your favorite Eye Strike Fishing product? The 1/8 oz and 3/16 oz gold trout eye jigs and Texas eye jigs. I use the trout eye jigs exclusively inshore and have started throwing the Texas eye jigs in the grass flats of Mosquito Lagoon, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville flood tides and any other fishery that requires a weedless rig to prevent hang ups. Simply put, the trout eye works better than any other standard jig head and the action you can achieve from the Texas eye in heavy grass is a game changer.
What is something most people don’t know about you? The first time I poled a skiff was on a brand new East Cape Glide during a charter. My client Ted just bought the boat and wanted me to push him. He was unaware I had never been on a tower before. I figured it out on the fly and we caught some quality redfish. Sometimes you gotta fake till you make it.
Anything else you’d like to add? Yeah, don’t tell Ted.