Consistency is one of the defining characteristics of any Angler of the Year. To earn the title, one must be consistent not for one event, not for two, but for an entire season.
This year, Ryan Matylewicz had one of those seasons.
The 2023 EKF season took us to some of the Northeast’s most premier fisheries, and Cayuga lake is arguably at the top of that list. Known for its world-class fishing and trophy bass, Cayuga Lake churned out fifteen limits over 90 inches, and many more close to it, at our first event of the year. Ryan’s limit of 96.75 inches, however impressive, was only good enough for third place—the first of four top-three finishes in 2023.
Following Cayuga Lake, EKF stopped at the famed Lake Champlain where challenging weather presented difficult fishing conditions. Ryan’s ability to adapt allowed him to net a limit of 97.75 and a second-place finish.
The third event of the season took EKF anglers to the St. Lawrence River, known to many as Smallmouth Disneyland. With many anglers fishing the river for the first time, the competition was wide open for those who located quality fish. Ryan’s 92.75 inches of fierce river smallmouth was enough to secure his first-ever EKF victory!
The final regular-season event of the year took anglers to scenic Messalonskee Lake and Great Pond. With both bodies of water known for their impressive smallmouth bass population, it presented anglers with a difficult decision on tournament day. Ryan decided that Great Pond would provide him the best opportunity for success, a decision that would pay off, landing him once again in third place with a limit of 94.5 inches.
With four strong finishes, Ryan was well-positioned in the Angler of the Year standings heading into the championship event on Lake George.
October brought shorter days and dropping temperatures after a period of record-breaking highs in the Adirondack region of upstate New York. Anglers had to come up with multiple strategies to provide them with the best chance to take home the championship trophy.
After day one, Ryan found himself sitting in sixth place and well-positioned in his pursuit of Angler of the Tear.
The second day of the championship saw anglers resorting to their backup plans and making on-the-fly adjustments. While Ryan remained consistent between both days, other anglers stumbled on day two. This opened the door for a fifth-place championship finish and the well-earned title of 2023 EKF Angler of the Year!