Cedar Rapids fisherman has unique technique

Doc Matthews will demonstrate at Eastern Iowa Sportshow

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A former fishing guide this weekend will unveil a new angling technique he said will outfish most other methods.

Doc (his given name) Matthews, 60, of Cedar Rapids will describe and demonstrate the “DocSet” fishing method at his booth at the Eastern Iowa Sportshow at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

“This is not a lure. It’s a technique. And I’m telling you, it works,” said Matthews, who discovered and refined the technique while guiding at Arkansas resorts in the 1970s and ’80s.

Fishing the clear waters of the White and North Fork rivers, Matthews said his frequent observations of feeding fish revealed a common denominator.

While avoiding baits and lures offered via many common presentations, the fish would eagerly hit food that drifted to them naturally, Matthews said.

“I think it’s a genetic response,” he said.

After considerable thought and study, Matthews said he has figured out a way to duplicate what he calls “natural drift.”

Unlike most other rigs in which the hook is tied to the line in a fixed position, the “DocSet” utilizes fixed beads that allow the hook or lure to slide about 18 inches up and down the line.

As the angler lifts the rig off the bottom, the hook moves up the line. When the rig is dropped, the hook, unencumbered by any other weight, slowly settles back to the bottom, presenting what he calls “natural flow” that fish find much harder to resist than a lure being pulled more rapidly toward the bottom by an attached weight.

Matthews, a former pilot, likens the rig to an airplane’s wing flaps, which slow the plane’s descent, facilitating safe landings.

As bass anglers well know, fish often strike the lure on its initial descent.

“With this technique, you can make the same drop 10 times on a single retrieve,” he said.

Matthews said confirmed anglers, who have invested a lot of time and money to perfect standard techniques, will be less open to “DocSet” than neophytes, who have no preconceived notions of how to fish.

Matthews said he has shared the technique with friends and family, many of whom have urged him not to go public with it.

But Matthews, in declining health and believing successful fishing improves people’s lives, said he wants to teach the technique to as many people as he can in the time he has left.

The UNI-Dome show will be his first public exposure of the technique, which he will be demonstrating at a vendor booth he has rented for the occasion.

To pay his booth rental fee and other expenses, Matthews hopes to sell lanyards equipped with fishing aids and safety devices such as a signal light, whistle and compass.

Iowa’s biggest sportshow, as it bills itself, runs from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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