Gear

Inside Elite Boats: Matt Arey

Welcome to a Man Cave like none other. Inside is a building filled with a Toyota Tundra, a Ranger Z521L and walls lined with fishing tackle and hunting gear.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Welcome to a Man Cave like none other. Inside is a building filled with a Toyota Tundra, a Ranger Z521L and walls lined with fishing tackle and hunting gear.
Here you will find Matt Arey, who designed his Man Cave as an efficient place for storing his truck, boat and all the tools of the trade he uses on the Bassmaster Elite Series.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Here you will find Matt Arey, who designed his Man Cave as an efficient place for storing his truck, boat and all the tools of the trade he uses on the Bassmaster Elite Series.
This side of the Man Cave is going idle. The opposite side gets busy as Arey prepares for archery deer season. In the meantime, come along as Arey takes us on a tour of all the bling, baits and tackle that he uses to compete at the sport’s highest level.
Photo: Craig Lamb - This side of the Man Cave is going idle. The opposite side gets busy as Arey prepares for archery deer season. In the meantime, come along as Arey takes us on a tour of all the bling, baits and tackle that he uses to compete at the sport’s highest level.
“I’ve relied on my Ranger for my entire pro career,” said Arey. That includes 13 seasons on the FLW and Bassmaster tours. “The ride is legendary and the layout and design continues evolving to meet the needs of serious tournament anglers.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “I’ve relied on my Ranger for my entire pro career,” said Arey. That includes 13 seasons on the FLW and Bassmaster tours. “The ride is legendary and the layout and design continues evolving to meet the needs of serious tournament anglers.”
This is where the business gets done. At the bow are two Lowrance HDS LIVE 12 units with support for Active Imaging, LiveSight and StructureScan 3D technologies. Arey uses one of the units for ActiveTarget live sonar.
Photo: Craig Lamb - This is where the business gets done. At the bow are two Lowrance HDS LIVE 12 units with support for Active Imaging, LiveSight and StructureScan 3D technologies. Arey uses one of the units for ActiveTarget live sonar.
Integrated with the electronics is a Lowrance Ghost trolling motor, appropriately named for its brushless technology that is quieter, while providing impressive thrust power and long run times.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Integrated with the electronics is a Lowrance Ghost trolling motor, appropriately named for its brushless technology that is quieter, while providing impressive thrust power and long run times.
Ghost delivers 25% more thrust and 60% longer run time without charging. It also features seamless integration with touchscreen control from the HDS LIVE display. GPS anchoring controls boat positioning on a waypoint, the current location or anywhere on the map.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Ghost delivers 25% more thrust and 60% longer run time without charging. It also features seamless integration with touchscreen control from the HDS LIVE display. GPS anchoring controls boat positioning on a waypoint, the current location or anywhere on the map.
The ActiveTarget transducer is linked to the HDS unit on the bow. High-resolution images of bait and bass, and as they respond to a lure, are key attributes. So are the Forward, Down and Scout views that provide multiple looks below and around the transducer cone, all in real time and high definition clarity.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The ActiveTarget transducer is linked to the HDS unit on the bow. High-resolution images of bait and bass, and as they respond to a lure, are key attributes. So are the Forward, Down and Scout views that provide multiple looks below and around the transducer cone, all in real time and high definition clarity.
Arey favors the T-H Marine G-Force ELIMINATOR Trolling Motor Prop Nut. “It reduces prop noise and vibration, with features that provide longer battery and trolling motor life.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Arey favors the T-H Marine G-Force ELIMINATOR Trolling Motor Prop Nut. “It reduces prop noise and vibration, with features that provide longer battery and trolling motor life.”
The Lowrance HDS units are on Bass Boat Technologies Dual Stack Wedge Bow Mounts, which are custom designed for use on the Ranger Z521L.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The Lowrance HDS units are on Bass Boat Technologies Dual Stack Wedge Bow Mounts, which are custom designed for use on the Ranger Z521L.
On the starboard side of the bow are the foot switches for deploying and securing the Power-Pole Blade shallow water anchors.
Photo: Craig Lamb - On the starboard side of the bow are the foot switches for deploying and securing the Power-Pole Blade shallow water anchors.
On the port side is the T-H Marine HydroWave KVD Unit. “It’s very situational, but has consistently given me key bites that have been critical to my success over the years,” Arey said.
Photo: Craig Lamb - On the port side is the T-H Marine HydroWave KVD Unit. “It’s very situational, but has consistently given me key bites that have been critical to my success over the years,” Arey said.
Prominently displayed on the console are two Lowrance HDS LIVE 12 units.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Prominently displayed on the console are two Lowrance HDS LIVE 12 units.
The clean layout allows Arey to monitor the boat system gauges, with the Lowrance units mounted so he can see over and ahead of the bow for safe boat operation.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The clean layout allows Arey to monitor the boat system gauges, with the Lowrance units mounted so he can see over and ahead of the bow for safe boat operation.
“I really like this touch pad, because among other things, I never have to worry about keeping up with keys,” Arey said. Livewells, the Oxygenator, the drying fan for the storage compartments, and the Start and Stop switches can be controlled with the touch of a finger.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “I really like this touch pad, because among other things, I never have to worry about keeping up with keys,” Arey said. Livewells, the Oxygenator, the drying fan for the storage compartments, and the Start and Stop switches can be controlled with the touch of a finger.
The HDS units are secured to the console with a Bass Boat Technologies Dual Dash Mount.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The HDS units are secured to the console with a Bass Boat Technologies Dual Dash Mount.
Former FLW Tour pro Van Foster Jr. is the man behind BBT. Units are designed for specific boat brands and models.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Former FLW Tour pro Van Foster Jr. is the man behind BBT. Units are designed for specific boat brands and models.
Behind the steering while are SeaStar Pro-Trim levers, allowing Arey to keep both hands on the wheel. Engine trim and jackplate can be controlled by the fingertips.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Behind the steering while are SeaStar Pro-Trim levers, allowing Arey to keep both hands on the wheel. Engine trim and jackplate can be controlled by the fingertips.
A T-H Marine Hot Foot is Arey’s choice for power control of the Mercury 250 Pro XS.
Photo: Craig Lamb - A T-H Marine Hot Foot is Arey’s choice for power control of the Mercury 250 Pro XS.
The roomy cockpit, floored in non-skid SeaDek, provides plenty of space for accessing the forward and rear decks.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The roomy cockpit, floored in non-skid SeaDek, provides plenty of space for accessing the forward and rear decks.
Custom-fitted premium marine upholstery, Soft Ride Seating (SRS), and bucket seats with a center storage provide comfort and convenience. The seats are made in Flippin, Ark., at the factory.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Custom-fitted premium marine upholstery, Soft Ride Seating (SRS), and bucket seats with a center storage provide comfort and convenience. The seats are made in Flippin, Ark., at the factory.
A dedicated storage compartment for soft plastics enables Arey to quickly find what he needs for any given fishing scenario.
Photo: Craig Lamb - A dedicated storage compartment for soft plastics enables Arey to quickly find what he needs for any given fishing scenario.
This roomy center storage compartment gets a lot of use and provides much inspiration.
Photo: Craig Lamb - This roomy center storage compartment gets a lot of use and provides much inspiration.
“My wife, Emily, has made a poster like this for me ever since I began my pro career over 13 years ago,” Arey said. “It’s a daily reminder that when I’m having a bad day on the water about what is really important in my life.” Arey’s daughters Reese, 9, and Wren, 4, added their personal touch to the artwork.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “My wife, Emily, has made a poster like this for me ever since I began my pro career over 13 years ago,” Arey said. “It’s a daily reminder that when I’m having a bad day on the water about what is really important in my life.” Arey’s daughters Reese, 9, and Wren, 4, added their personal touch to the artwork.
The compartment is filled with all categories of hard baits and terminal tackle.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The compartment is filled with all categories of hard baits and terminal tackle.
Spare Costa del Mar sunglasses, SD cards for the Lowrance units, and small tools and other odds-and-ends are stored for quick access in the center console between the driver and passenger seat.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Spare Costa del Mar sunglasses, SD cards for the Lowrance units, and small tools and other odds-and-ends are stored for quick access in the center console between the driver and passenger seat.
In a storage behind the driver seat is T-H Marine G-Juice additive for the livewell, a fire extinguisher and lots of tools. “The biggest mistake I see guys do on the water is not having enough tools,” Arey said.
Photo: Craig Lamb - In a storage behind the driver seat is T-H Marine G-Juice additive for the livewell, a fire extinguisher and lots of tools. “The biggest mistake I see guys do on the water is not having enough tools,” Arey said.
This rear storage compartment stretches across the stern. A spare prop and Relion Batteries are located there.
Photo: Craig Lamb - This rear storage compartment stretches across the stern. A spare prop and Relion Batteries are located there.
Arey favors the Relion RB100, a 100 Ah deep cycle lithium battery weighing in at only 30 pounds.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Arey favors the Relion RB100, a 100 Ah deep cycle lithium battery weighing in at only 30 pounds.
Arey has relied on the T-H Marine ATLAS Hydraulic Jack Plate his entire career. “The first one on the market and just as reliable and well-built now as it has always.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Arey has relied on the T-H Marine ATLAS Hydraulic Jack Plate his entire career. “The first one on the market and just as reliable and well-built now as it has always.”
Arey got this idea from some of his peers with the same idea. “I had this floor drain installed during the build, and it’s well worth it.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Arey got this idea from some of his peers with the same idea. “I had this floor drain installed during the build, and it’s well worth it.”
The Z521L is powered by a Mercury Pro XS 250 horsepower outboard. Nearby are the Power-Pole Blade 10-foot shallow water anchors. “I prefer the 10-footers and really don’t see why more guys don’t use them,” Arey said. “Every extra inch or foot of use can really make a difference.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - The Z521L is powered by a Mercury Pro XS 250 horsepower outboard. Nearby are the Power-Pole Blade 10-foot shallow water anchors. “I prefer the 10-footers and really don’t see why more guys don’t use them,” Arey said. “Every extra inch or foot of use can really make a difference.”
Between the twin garage doors is a special memento. Each time he pulls out for a tournament, Arey reads this message.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Between the twin garage doors is a special memento. Each time he pulls out for a tournament, Arey reads this message.
“Emily found it and gave it to me for inspiration,” Arey said. “I see it before heading out on every trip, and it means a lot.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “Emily found it and gave it to me for inspiration,” Arey said. “I see it before heading out on every trip, and it means a lot.”
With the tour over, Arey gets back to his fall passion. That is planning archery deer hunts.
Photo: Craig Lamb - With the tour over, Arey gets back to his fall passion. That is planning archery deer hunts.