Matt Arey and Scott Canterbury are best buds on the Bassmaster Elite Series, and like their peers, both anglers want nothing more than for the other to succeed. That is the common thread among all the pros in this series, and what makes them all fundamentally click as “bros.”
Arey and Canterbury are among the Elite Series pros whose careers started elsewhere, but they were drawn to the same thing with B.A.S.S. That was, and is, the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in bass fishing.
“Early on I remember watching The Bassmasters TV show and wishing to compete in the Bassmaster Classic,” said Arey.
The desire to do what it takes to get there began before watching the show. Arey acquired more definitive goals along the way.
“When I was 5 or 6 years old, my guidance counselor asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up,” he recalled.
The answer was a professional bass fisherman.
Canterbury was fascinated by the drama and action that unfolded on the show, and the idea of fishing competitively intrigued him. At age 10, he joined his dad in a company tournament, and the experienced ignited his competitive spirit.
“That was all it took and from then on, I was all in on trying to making a living doing what I loved the most," said Canterbury.
Canterbury and Arey each amassed $1 million in FLW earnings before joining the Elite Series. Both are in their sophomore seasons and already have Classic appearances on their resumes. Here is more about what makes them click.
How did you meet?
Matt: We met fishing the FLW Tour about 10 years ago. I started a year before he did. Then we shared a mutual sponsor with Quaker State. We started doing more promotional things together, and then we became more actual buddies.
Scott: We both fished the FLW Tour together, and then we got on the same team with Quaker State. We grew closer from there, and especially so when we moved over to B.A.S.S.
What made you decide to be running mates?
Matt: When we were given the great opportunity to come over from FLW, we knew guys were already working together. When you are competing against this class of anglers, two heads are better than one. It’s a must to quickly break down a body of water. The sooner you do that, the better off you both will be.
Scott: In this sport, you’ve got to have someone who you can trust, who you can talk to about things. He’s always been straight up with me, and we fish a lot of the same ways. It’s been really good for us and goes beyond the competition. Our families get along really well, our wives are also good friends. It’s become just a really good friendship over the years.
How do you work together?
Matt: We share everything. It helps us both in the long run. We try to maximize everything we learn in practice to maximize our finishes. Last season, there were several tournaments where we only placed one or two places apart. I knew the relationship was going to be something special. We just work together so well.
Scott: We talk a lot and communicate about what’s going on. We do that before we even get to the tournament. We talk how we are going to break down the lake before practice. Then, we talk a couple of times during the day, then we break it down at night. We do that every day. I feel like you are better off when you’ve got someone to talk to, figure things out together. But you’ve got to be straight up about it, both sides, to make it work.
Describe him as a competitor?
Matt: Relentless. It’s one of those things that you learn as your career progresses, to never be satisfied until you are all the way to the top. When the pedal is down, he presses it harder. And it paid off last season with the Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.
Scott: Matt can break it down really quickly in practice. He’ll know something in the first couple of hours, whereas it takes me awhile to dial it in. He removes the variables so he can get focused on a game plan. He’s not a big risk taker like me. Matt wants to be as good as he can and be consistent. I really admire that about him.
What’s he like without the game face?
Matt: He is just a good old, laid back southern boy. He likes his college football and hunting. We are both nearly identical in that regard. He’s just really easy going, easy to get along with. The kind of guy you want to hang out with.
Scott: Matt is an awesome friend, and he will do anything for you. He puts faith first, then family and fishing.
What do admire about him?
Matt: Scott has a big heart. He is somebody who truly cares about your well-being and success. He’s gone out of his way to help me out. Last season at Lake Guntersville I finished third, thanks to him. He doesn’t put himself first. He does that for others.
Scott: Matt is just a great family man, good person all around. He’s always been good to me and my family. Hopefully, we’ve built a friendship that will last a lifetime.