Without any shred of doubt, Matt Zudweg is one of the most (probably is #1 actually) supremely multi-talented individuals that I know. Possessing more creativity in his left pinky finger than I have in my entire being, Matt is able to inspire through his art work, popular sticker creations, t-shirt designs, and innovative fly patterns (Click here to view his work). That creativity, along with the enormous attention to detail that he exhibits, undoubtedly allows him to achieve great success in not only his creative business but also when he provides his expertise to clients on the river for a day of fishing.
When he’s not guiding clients to enjoyable days on the water, exercising his artistic abilities, or reconditioning classic ski boats, Matt is a leading advocate for Michigan’s precious resources, working tirelessly to preserve and protect our fisheries.
It’s obvious that Matt is extremely passionate about his crafts, but its his humility, humbleness, friendly demeanor, and genuine enthusiasm for sharing great experiences that makes him a great guide, and even better person.
As a new feature on Michigan Fly, we will be highlighting a new guide each week – please see the end on how to contact to book a trip.
What Rivers Do you Guide on Primarily?
Since 2003 I’ve guided exclusively on West Michigan’s Muskegon River.
What’s your favorite method of fishing to deploy when guiding?
For steelhead my favorite and primary method of fishing is swinging flies with a Spey Rod. For trout, I’m also primarily using switch rods and swinging wet flies (unless of course there is a good surface bite)… although I am a slightly bigger fan of hucking a big streamer for the big guys, if conditions are right. For bass my favorite method is fishing large poppers into nooks and crannies or a streamer fished just under the surface. The take is what does it for me so I tend to be drawn to the method that creates the most exciting strike, although most of those methods are the more challenging ways to produce numbers of fish… I’m ok with that though.
Species of fish that you guide for?
Steelhead, Bass and Trout
What’s your favorite thing about guiding?
The teaching aspect probably. I never really pictured myself as a teacher until maybe 7 or 8 years ago. One of my kids was taking one of those tests to see what kind of job they’d be good at, so I filled one out as well. I was surprised at the time when it said I should be a teacher, but that conclusion has made much more sense to me ever since. I also love the camaraderie.
Favorite bank lunch to prepare for clients?
A good steak and some grilled pineapple.
If you could be in a band, which one would it be?
Definitely something bluegrass and from days gone by like the Osborne Brothers or Flatt and Scruggs. I’ve wanted to learn the banjo for some time now, but I’m not sure I have the musical talent to ever make that happen.
Do you believe that Disney World is a people trap operated by a mouse?
Ahh, this is a question always in the back of my mind, I’ve just been waiting for someone to finally ask it. I’ve come to the conclusion that it absolutely is a people trap and most likely run by a large herd of mice with ambitions of world domination.
What do you believe makes a guided trip with you a unique experience?
I believe my good humor, positive attitude and undying passion for making my clients better anglers is something that I have to offer.
What makes a good client?
The “ideal” client to me is someone who is easy going and looking for a great overall experience on the river. They are motivated to become a better caster and angler, and they prefer angling methods that target the most aggressive fish, rather than using methods that may be more productive for numbers of fish. I have been so blessed to have mostly clients who fit that description.
The “perfect” client also shows up in a 69 Charger painted Hemi orange and let’s me do some donuts at the boat launch.
Have you ever pondered the fact that fish see people as aliens? We hover above their environment, in a ship and pull them from their dwellings into the sky?
Of course I do. After a certain amount of time fishing alone I think that thought crosses every anglers mind and they come to the same conclusion.
If your life was turned into a movie, who would play the part of you?
Probably Jase Robertson. He seems to have a similar sense of humor, he’s a fair skinned fellow like me and he already has a gnarly beard.
What else would be helpful for people to know about you?
I love people, but hate crowds. I’m very comfortable around 2-4 people. I love making balsa poppers, antiqued furniture and vintage style signs. I had a life changing moment when I was 18 and dedicated my life to following Jesus. I’ve been married 22 years to the most incredible woman and we have 3 kids that mean the world to us. I feel older than I look but am trying to reverse those. Some people call me Pastor but I’m not officially a Pastor and have no plans to be at this time. Many call me “Z” or “Zuddy”, nicknames I’ve had since childhood. I still jump up and down clapping my hands when a client hooks a swung fly steelhead… it just never gets old. I’ve got a thing for Toyota 4Runners and I’m super thankful for all the opportunities that I’ve been given in this life. How’s that?
How does someone contact you to book a trip?
Through Feenstra Guide Service www.feenstraoutdoors.com or my personal website www.zflyfishing.com or by email firstname.lastname@example.org or even by calling/texting at 231-206-7660 or just yelling my name very loudly.