Chas Champagne and charter boat captain Ty Hibbs, both Louisianians, were having a ball this summer catching jack crevalle and the occasional large speckled trout off the coast of Florida.
Champagne was hopeful of catching tarpon on the new and extra large soft plastic swimbait he created, but the silver kings of the ocean couldn’t be found, so he targeted jacks. As he did, he talked about a new artificial lure sure to pique the interest of saltwater anglers everywhere interested in catching bigger fish. “Big fish eat big fish. Small fish eat small fish,” he said.
Champagne, whose artificial lure manufacturing company in Southeast Louisiana makes the highly popular Matrix Shad soft plastic lure, was using a new 5-inch long swimbait to catch fish that day — a supersized version of the Matrix Shad.
Champagne, Hibbs and Stephen Wicks, a long-time friend and part-owner in the company, designed the new soft plastic to look and vibrate in the water just like the traditional Matrix Shad — and they call it the Matrix Monster.
Champagne is as excited about it now as the day he introduced the Matrix Shad in 2013, and when he did the process in reverse and produced the smaller Matrix Mini in 2016.
The St. Paul’s High School and University of Southern Mississippi graduate said the Matrix Monster, which started in design a year ago to blow it up from 3 to 5 inches, should trigger strikes from speckled trout, bull reds, jack crevalle, lemonfish and even tarpon.
Anglers who go out of Venice to fish the oil field structures in 100-foot depths will want to have a supply of Matrix Monsters, and some bass anglers might want to try it, too, he said.
“We want to offer a product for every fisherman in the world, no matter what species they target,” he said.
The idea is to make a million baits in a few popular colors, as opposed to a few baits in a million colors, he said.
“Matrix Shad has proven itself as a good product. Now we’re offering a lure with the same lifelike presentation for monster fish. It swims exactly like the original one that’s so popular. We’ve already put it to the test and it ended up being exactly what we were hoping it would be,” he said. “So all three lures (Matrix Shad, Matrix Mini and Matrix Monster) swim exactly the same in the water and look exactly the same — except they are small, medium and large.”
The Matrix Monster should hit the market this fall, and they’ll likely disappear quickly.
“It’s a fish-catching machine. It’s a great product,” Champagne said. “I can’t wait to use it on speckled trout, whenever they come in. We just need cool weather.”
If you’re wondering if the Matrix Monster might be too large for speckled trout, Champagne said it isn’t.
“Not if you’re catching 20-inch (speckled trout) or better,” he said.
For sure, it should produce fish in states where anglers rely on bigger artificial lures to put trophy-sized speckled trout in the boat.
“We wanted to create a lure for anglers in other states that like a larger profile bait for speckled trout and redfish. When you go to Texas and Florida, they throw a lot of big swimbaits,” he said.
A 1-ounce jighead “fits it very naturally,” he said, adding that a 5/0 hook also matches up with it perfectly.
And Matrix Monsters are durable, just like the Matrix Shad.
“You can probably catch 100 speckled trout on one. I caught 10 jack crevalle on one the other day. And that’s 20-pound fish,” he said.
As for color names, Champagne said he’ll let anglers decide via a poll on his website.
For more information, go to matrixshad.com.