Q: Where are ya from? Tell me about your upbringing?
I grew up in southeast Wisconsin. Middle of 5 kids. My parents met out in Vail here 51 years ago, 50 of these years married. That’s part of my guide story because I’ve been drawn to Colorado since I was a kid.
Between 2-3 grade I moved to Kenosha from Milwaukee. Lake Michigan was 100 yards from our backyard and my dad crewed for a boat on the lake so I got started on sailing at a young age.
Water has always been a part of my life. My father got the sailing from my great grandfather. Boats, Bait and Beer baby!
I started racing when I was 13 and I picked up a paper route to pay for my fishing. My fish of choice was yellow perch. I’d do my paper route and then fish all day since I was so close to the lake.
Our family spent a lot of time traveling around the Midwest. We did the North American 210 Championship when I was young teenager. They changed the rules that year and the second leg won the race, not the first. We placed 1st in the 1st half and 2nd in the 2nd half.
We want everyone to know Wheels won that race. He is THE Champion.
Post college, I got an internship at Copper Mountain for slope maintenance and that’s how I ended up out here. Cutthroat Anglers was doing a casting clinic at Copper and that’s where I learned how to cast from Trapper Rudd. A south paw teaching a south paw.
I bought a rod from Walmart, broke it right away and ended up buying a rod from Cutthroat (A Sage LE). I’m 28 at this point in the story and started fishing a lot from there. The first couple of years I really didn’t get the drifts but Todd Brown really helped me progress from fly fishing to fly catching. I quickly got in to it and started travel fishing as well.
I was working at a survey company in 2008 in the summer, ski shop in the winter. I eventually got bored surveying and a guy named Shaun Daily ended up giving me a part time job at Cutthroat.
We're saving the rest of Wheel's answer on this question for Part 2.
Q: When did you start becoming a gearhead?
I’ve always been a gearhead. Podium Sports was my tipping point and got me thinking of the gear from a “what its made out of” and how does it really work. That job also taught me to share that knowledge with the people around me.
Q: Tell me about the sailing?
A: It’s kind of like fishing. It’s never the same day out there. The weather is variable, the water changes because of that and it can be a mind game. There are a lot of tactics in terms of boat set-ups and it's extremely competitive. It's very challenging and I like to think of it as a chest game on water.
Q: Favorite type of fishing in Colorado?
A: Float fishing because of a lot of things. There are a lot of areas to access and the scenery is always changing. I like fishing in every form more and more tactic wise. There are days I love the dry dropper, days I love throwing the dry or the meat. Sight fishing is closest to my heart and has drawn me to the saltwater a lot on my time off.
Matt guides for us full time during our busy season and works at Podium Sports in the winter. Thanks to Wheels for the awesome interview and give the shop a call at 970-262-2878 if you want to book a trip with Wheels!