Matt Arey came within two-pounds of winning the 2021 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Ray Roberts, thanks to a strong final day performance that propelled him to a second place finish. Good friend and fellow Elite Series competitor Hank Cherry ultimately won his second Classic trophy, but Arey’s 18-pound limit of largemouth kept things interesting and helped award him an extra $7,500 from Costa Compete + Conserve.
The new contingency program for tournament bass anglers rewards the highest finishing angler in Compete + Conserve supported events. The always-friendly and humble Arey was thrilled to learn he’d be taking home the impressive payout for the 51st Bassmaster Classic.
Along with an angler payout, the Compete + Conserve program includes a corresponding donation to be awarded to one of five freshwater conservation partners that the winning angler gets to choose from. The conservation payout for the Bassmaster Classic is $1,000, and Arey chose the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation to receive the donation.
“As I’ve grown older and matured I’ve realized how important conservation is to our sport, and more importantly to future generations,” Arey said. “I’ve been blessed to enjoy the magic of the outdoors my whole life. I want the same magic to be available to my kids and your kids. For Costa to build a conservation component into the Compete + Conserve program speaks volumes. We all need to follow their lead.”
Arey’s Costa frame of choice is Tuna Alley, and he swaps between two different 580G (glass) polarized lenses based on the conditions. He wore a sunrise silver mirror lens in the mornings and during low light conditions, and switched to a green mirror lens during bright, sunny conditions.
The North Carolina pro has been wearing Costa Sunglasses throughout his 14-years as a professional angler, and swears by the benefits they give him on the water. With Arey focusing on shallow water presentations on Lake Ray Roberts, the importance of his sunglasses and lens combinations were accentuated.
“I was flipping bushes with a jig and using a hollow-belly frog around shoreline grass to catch my fish,” Arey explained. “For the frog fish especially, a lot of the vegetation I targeted was submerged grass that usually isn’t even in the water, but was this week due to flooded conditions. Being able to see submerged grass from a long cast away was absolutely critical and helped me catch several key fish.”
Arey hopes to keep some momentum rolling from the Classic into his last two Elite Series events of 2021, in pursuit of his first Bassmaster trophy and more Compete + Conserve bonuses.
But you don’t have to be a pro angler to benefit from Costa Sunglasses’ new tournament angler rewards program. If you wear Costas and compete in one of a myriad of supported tournaments, you can earn bonus money just like Arey, and it’s absolutely free to register.
For a full list of supported events, to get signed up, or for more information on the new program just follow this link: https://www.costacompeteandconserve.com/ . If you’d rather call than click, dial (309) 202-2018 and ask for Luke.