The passing of a pioneer
  |  First Published: July 2003

Strudwick’s Matt Thompson, 38, died suddenly on May 21

SECTION: Tournament news




A dream is a vision with possibilities, and very few people actually get to see their dreams come true.

Various reasons keep most of us from actually realising or committing to the responsibility and risk that associated with a venture the size of Strudwick and the success that it has, and will continue to enjoy, is mind-blowing. Strudwick were the first people in the fishing trade to support me and that gesture will be in my mind forever. While ever Struddy is making tackle, I’ll be doing my all to see it keep strong. Loyalty and commitment deserve the same in return.

Strudwick’s mastermind was Matthew Thompson and if money was the centre of his attention, he would have stayed an accountant. He was born to fish and to be a success in whatever he had in mind, and he did it with a sense of humour. Thommo’s partnership in an accountancy business had some very high-profile clients relying on him to get them out of the poo and sort out their finances. If you never met the man, you couldn’t understand how infectious his laughter and personality were. His constant smile and jovial persona had you feeling relaxed yet enthused, no matter if you were talking business, fishing or whatever.

Thommo had little time for back-stabbing, whingeing and people who weren’t up-front and honest. He taught me self-control and to watch people like that bring themselves undone. If Matt hadn’t taught me these things, I probably wouldn’t be working in the trade now.

His widow, Emma, and daughters, Sophie and Georgie, were the loves of his life, along with Strudwick. This was obvious to those who knew him. Many times we would be sitting out the back of their home having a beer, and out would wander a mini-Thommo, grasping a custom-made 2’6” high-modulus Struddy rod. The kids caught the fishing bug early, it seems, and their Dad’s passion will surely live on in them.

The strength that Emma has shown us all has been awe-inspiring. While we were all blubbering messes, this amazing woman focused on the great life they had together and the privilege we all had of knowing him and being able to call him a mate. Emma will devote her attentions to Sophie, Georgie and Matt’s third child she is carrying.

Strudwick partners Pete and Rhyllis Campbell, will take over the reins and guide this company onward and upward. People involved in the Australian fishing tackle industry have pledged their support more than ever and although many rod importers would love to see Struddy fade out, none of us who has any say in it will let that happen. With Pete and Ryl remaining at the helm, things will continue to evolve and grow.

Thommo’s dream and unrelenting drive will not be for nothing – all who were, and still are, involved with Struddy will work our guts out to keep it on the upward climb it is enjoying. Pete, Rhyllis, Dean Butler, Rod Harrison, Mark Williams, Eric Grell, Chris Ingle, Ben Kennedy, myself and many others will continue to proudly fly the Strudwick banner, always remembering and missing the man who made it possible for Australia to have a world-class fishing rod label to call our own.

– Dave Hodge


The Fatman, as Matt Thompson called himself, with a Glenbawn bass caught on one of his self-designed masterpieces.

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