Matthew Hunsinger

Fishpond Ambassador

Fly fishing has always been special to me.  I always felt that casting a fly to a fish was the only form of fishing to where I wasn’t disgracing such a magnificent creature.  In the salty world, I find this especially true.  All fish here eat bait, whether it be shrimp, other fish, etc.  One can easily head out with live bait, and catch all the fish they want, but to fool a fish with nothing more than fur and feather, now that’s special.

I grew up in Indiana chasing trophy Smallmouth bass and carp with a fly since the age of 8.  I was fortunate enough to come from a long line of warm and saltwater fly anglers.  My Grandfather was a great instructor and fly tyer in Florida.  I suppose my love for the warm water started there.  Through a long process of fishing all over the United States, Bahamas, and Mexico, I have settled in what I feel is the best place in the world to chase large, angry fish, and that is the Florida Keys.

My heart belongs to the Everglades, and the creatures that swim her waters.  The “River of Grass” has always had a spot in deep in my mind that I will never lose.  Protection of this sacred sanctuary is of the upmost importance.  The water that flows through the Glades starts as far north as the Kissimmee River just south of Orlando, through Lake Okeechobee, then through the largest saw grass plains in the world.  The journey that the Everglades’ water travels puts it at great risk for pollution.  The quantity and quality of water is at great risk from large, corporate farming though out all of south Florida.  To ensure that the Everglades is kept as pristine as possible, several organizations fight for that right.  I am a member of the Everglades Foundation and Bonefish Tarpon Trust, among others.  These organizations do a great job of education and lobbying for what cannot speak for itself.

Of the multitude of game fish that the Islamorada and Everglades areas have to offer, I have to give my admiration to the Tarpon.  They to me are the perfect fish.  They hit hard, jump high, and I love to hear screaming drag.  There is truly something special about watching 100 + yards of backing heading to Cuba as fast as possible.  An angler can fish for them is so many circumstances.  I love them from the “micro Poons” of 1-5lbs to the 200lb fish that hunt our waters.  As my boss, Sandy Moret once said, “If you could teach a tarpon to roar, they’d be the perfect fish.”