Shelby pro angler shined on water, and in woods this year
2019 has been a pretty good year, outdoors-wise, for BASS Elite angler Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., especially compared to 2018. Arey finished 16th in the FLW Tour standings in 2018, his last year in that trail. Moving over to the Bassmaster Elite Series for 2019, Arey had an impressive year on the water, finishing 10th overall in his first year on that trail.
And in the woods, Arey completely blanked for 2018. An avid bowhunter, the bass fishing pro said he had several good deer he was scouting on camera. But he was not able to make a connection with any of them.
That all changed on the season opener of 2019, when Arey arrowed a buck he estimated at easily 130 inches. He trailed that trophy most of that night and into the next day. Unfortunately, that buck disappeared.
“I had a good blood trail and I jumped the buck once, and then it (the blood trail) just stopped,” he said. “I had to hit the road for the next Elite stop, so I quite honestly have no idea what happened to that deer.”
In mid-September, Arey redeemed his season by tagging another 130-class buck he had nicknamed “Big Brow” while hunting on a piece of private land near his residence on a Thursday evening before heading out for the last two Elite Series events.
Arey offers advice on seeing more bucks on stand
“He just happened by my stand at 20 yards and I was able to tag him,” said Arey. “I was pretty familiar with this buck because he had shown up regularly on trail cameras through the summer.”
After returning from the final Elite Series event in October, Arey started on his final buck. Hunting in Cleveland County, he arrowed a 4 1/2-year-old, 120-class buck sporting 10-inch G2s. In Arey’s words, it was a nice way to end his season.
“That was a new deer on camera, so I didn’t know much about him,” he said. “He started daylighting and he and I crossed paths on an afternoon coming off the full moon.”
Having dubbed this buck “Scout,” he patterned the deer eating acorns and put a 125-grain Ramcat fixed blade broadhead through both shoulders with his Hoyt Carbon Spider bow.
Since tagging out in October, Arey has spent some time in the stand looking for a couple of choice does to finish filling up the freezer. But he said the bucks won’t leave him alone.
“I’ve got a good tip for seeing more bucks on stand,” said Arey. “Go ahead and tag out, then start hunting does. I’ve had some really nice deer walk by, but they’ll just have to wait until next year to get their turn.”