SUMMARY TABLE

Name

Image

Price

Rating

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OKUMA
Battle Cat
OUR TOP PICK

Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rods (2-Piece), 10-Feet/Heavy

4.9  /5

BNM
Silver Cat
BEST VALUE

BnM Silver Cat Catfish Series Rod 7ft 2pc Casting

4.8  /5

SHAKESPEARE
Wild Cat

Shakespeare 1423941 Wildcat Cating Rod, 7' Length, 2pc, 12-25 lb Line Rate, Medium/Heavy Power

4.4  /5

TEAM CATFISH
Thunder Cat

Team Catfish Thunder 8' Heavy Action (1pc Casting Rod)-TC8HC

4.6  /5

OUR TOP PICK

Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rods (2-Piece), 10-Feet/Heavy

Overall Rating

4.9 /5

Build Quality

5.0

Grip & Comfort

4.8

Durability

5.0

Portability

4.8

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General Impression

The Okuma Battle Cat may sound more like a video game character, but there is no doubt that it is one of the best catfish rods currently on the market. Practically all of the anglers who have got their hands on a Battle Cat swear by the quality of the heavy-duty catfish fishing rods. The true appeal behind the rods is the supreme comfort and convenience that they provide. 8 foot Battle Cat models are crafted with a 6 inch foregrip and 14 inch rear grip to give anglers plenty of hand space. This is further complemented by the E-Glass blank, which provides an incredible level of sensitivity.

While the rod is revered as one of the greatest while it is in action, it is one model that is fairly difficult to transport. The 2 piece sections come together near the base of the handle, which leaves anglers with a piece which is roughly 6 feet, and another around 2 feet. Nevertheless, the rod’s performance elevates it far above other good catfish rods.

Specifications

BRAND: Okuma
PIECES: 2 Pieces
PRIMARY MATERIAL: E-Glass
LENGTH: 8 feet
ACTION: Heavy
ROD WEIGHT: 17.4 ounces

PROS

  • Double foot welded guides
  • Comfortable EVA/cork handle
  • Convenient hook keeper
  • 2 piece connection near handle not mid-blank

CONS

  • Difficult to transport
BEST VALUE

BnM Silver Cat Catfish Series Rod 7ft 2pc Casting

Overall Rating

4.8 /5

Build Quality

4.6

Grip & Comfort

4.8

Durability

4.7

Portability

4.8

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General Impression

The BnM Silver Cat is a top-performing piece and no doubt the best cheap catfish rod of 2020. The Silver Cat is a 7 foot fiberglass rod that just delivers great results – plain and simple. Its fiberglass blank provides incredible flexibility that bends in all the right spots when a monster fish takes the bait. And unlike similar sized graphite rods, the fiberglass blank stays strong and durable even after excessive use.

Of course, no catfish rod review of the Silver Cat would be complete without mentioning its glow-in-the-dark tip. Those who angle for the semi-nocturnal beasts can watch the tip clear into the night, and see the very moment that a fish takes the bait. Though it isn’t the number one best rod for catfish on this list, it is certainly a worthy contender that any budget-conscious angler can surely appreciate.

Specifications

BRAND: BnM
PIECES: 2 Pieces
PRIMARY MATERIAL: Fiberglass
LENGTH: 7 feet
ACTION: Moderate-heavy
ROD WEIGHT: 8.6 ounces

PROS

  • Flexible and durable fiberglass blank
  • Glow-in-the-dark tip
  • Ceramic guide inserts
  • Graphite reel seat

CONS

  • Somewhat stiff

Berkley MudCat Casting Fishing Rod, 7' Medium Heavy -2pcs

Overall Rating

4.8 /5

Build Quality

4.6

Grip & Comfort

4.6

Durability

4.8

Portability

4.8

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General Impression

The Berkley MudCat is a relatively new model that has started to make big waves in recent years. Like many of the other popular brands of today, Berkley goes above and beyond to satisfy its devoted fans. And the MudCat is yet another lineup of poles that can be found at a fair price, yet with a far higher level of quality than many cheap catfish rods.

The 2 piece fiberglass rod is constructed with fiberglass and double footed guides that ensure no angler heads home with a busted piece. It is further equipped with a shrink wrap handle, which provides a soft and slip-resistant grip for those angling for the big ones. Those who equip the MudCat with a Berkley casting reel may find the blend to be the best catfish rod and reel combo when angling on a budget.

Specifications

BRAND: Berkley
PIECES: 2 Pieces
PRIMARY MATERIAL: Fiberglass
LENGTH: 7 feet
ACTION: Medium-heavy
ROD WEIGHT: 12.3 ounces

PROS

  • Double footed guides for increased strength
  • High-quality 2 piece connection point
  • Comfortable shrink wrap handle
  • Ultra-durable fiberglass blank

CONS

  • Plastic reel seat washers

Ugly Stik Catfish Casting Fishing Rod

Overall Rating

4.6 /5

Build Quality

4.6

Grip & Comfort

4.5

Durability

4.8

Portability

4.6

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General Impression

When it comes to great catfish casting rods, many anglers think of Ugly Stiks – and for plenty of good reasons.

Ugly Stik catfishing rods follow the same pattern as nearly all of the other Ugly Stiks, with a composite blank material that is manufactured out of both graphite and fiberglass. The end is equipped with a clear tip for added sensitivity, and the guides are fashioned out of stainless steel. Yet unlike the other Ugly Stiks for freshwater species, the catfish casting rod is slightly longer to provide more leverage.

Nonetheless, the rod still functions very much the same as the other models, and provides an incredibly impressive level of sensitivity and power. Overall, anglers can turn to an 8 foot Ugly Stik for nearly any type of freshwater species, as the rods are not only good catfish poles, but also great sturgeon and salmon poles.

Specifications

BRAND: Ugly Stik
PIECES: 2 Pieces
PRIMARY MATERIAL: Graphite/fiberglass composite
LENGTH: 8 feet
ACTION: Medium-heavy
ROD WEIGHT: 12 ounces

PROS

  • High-quality composite blank
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Clear tip for sensitivity
  • Impressive level of power

CONS

  • Moderately stiff

LurEra Catfish Casting Rod 2 Pieces Portable 7’ Heavy Catfishing Rod

Overall Rating

4.5 /5

Build Quality

4.5

Grip & Comfort

4.3

Durability

4.3

Portability

5.0

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General Impression

LurEra certainly isn’t one of the most popular fishing brands on the market, but that surely doesn’t stop the manufacturer from creating some of the best cat fishing rods that money can buy.

The LurEra catfish casting rod is a model that truly grabs the attention of any onlooker. All rods are fashioned with black and white camouflage handles that blend perfectly with the black carbon fiber blank. But the beauty truly is skin deep with the model, as it crafted of 30 ton carbon fiber which holds its structural integrity when fish well over 100 pounds fight from the other end.

But all of that power and beauty would be useless without a decent level of comfort. Thankfully, anglers can find just that in the EVA handle which provides a soft and cozy grip for long days on the water or riverside. And due to the rod’s relative shortness compared to other cat rods, it can be packed away into a fishing backpack to make travel extra easy.

Specifications

BRAND: LurEra
PIECES: 2 Pieces
PRIMARY MATERIAL: Carbon fiber
LENGTH: 7 feet
ACTION: Heavy
ROD WEIGHT: 9.3 ounces

PROS

  • Lightweight and balanced
  • Strong and durable ceramic guides
  • EVA handle for non-slip situations
  • Excellent visual design

CONS

  • Only 6 attached guides

Shakespeare 1423941 Wildcat Cating Rod, 7' Length, 2pc, 12-25 lb Line Rate, Medium/Heavy Power

Overall Rating

4.4 /5

Build Quality

4.3

Grip & Comfort

4.4

Durability

4.4

Portability

5.0

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General Impression

Shakespeare’s Wild Cat is a rod that is incredibly ideal for those midsummer night catfish trips. Although Shakespeare technically owns Ugly Stik, its original lineup of products is also quite impressive. And the Wild Cat is just one of many rods which seem to woo anglers over with its respectable features.

There is nothing incredibly fancy about the Wild Cats – they are just a lineup of good catfish poles that can reliably get the fish from the water to the shoreline. The model is fashioned of tubular glass, which is then mounted with an EVA handle and stainless steel guides. Those who wield one for an evening can surely attest to the rod’s sensitivity and power, as countless anglers have been able to reel in absolute river monsters with the model.

Like many of the other best catfish rods of 2020, the Wild Cat can be outfitted with a variety of reels from Shakespeare or other popular brands.

Specifications

BRAND: Shakespeare
PIECES: 2 Piece
PRIMARY MATERIAL: Tubular glass
LENGTH: 8 feet
ACTION: Medium-heavy
ROD WEIGHT: 9.6 ounces

PROS

  • Heavy-duty guides
  • Comfortable EVA handle
  • Respectable level of power
  • Decently portable

CONS

  • No glow tip for night fishing

Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Fishing Rod, 7' - Heavy - 1pcs

Overall Rating

4.8 /5

Build Quality

4.9

Grip & Comfort

4.7

Durability

4.9

Portability

4.6

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General Impression

The Ugly Stik Tiger Elite may not be specifically designed to be a cat fishing pole, but the rod is undoubtedly one of the best options when angling for the slimy species. The Tiger Elite is an Ugly Stik model which is made as a general-purpose rod for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. Hence why it even made it on the list of the best saltwater fishing rods.

The product’s guides are crafted of stainless steel, while its blank is comprised of a graphite/fiberglass composite. The unique combination makes the rod extremely light, but also wildly powerful. Saltwater anglers often pull sizable sharks in on the piece, while freshwater anglers bring both catfish and sturgeon in easily.

Anglers that toss on a size 8500 reel with the 7 foot rod can rest assured that they can bring in nearly any species, as the two sizes comprise the best catfishing rod and reel combo to tackle trophy fish.

Specifications

BRAND: Ugly Stik
PIECES: 1 Piece
PRIMARY MATERIAL: Graphite/fiberglass composite
LENGTH: 7 feet
ACTION: Heavy
ROD WEIGHT: 9.5 ounces

PROS

  • One piece stainless steel guides
  • Lightweight rod blank
  • Stainless steel cushioned reel seats
  • Great power/action combo

CONS

  • Lacks a hook keeper

Team Catfish Thunder 8' Heavy Action (1pc Casting Rod)-TC8HC

Overall Rating

4.6 /5

Build Quality

4.5

Grip & Comfort

4.7

Durability

4.8

Portability

4.4

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General Impression

The Thunder Cat by Team Catfish may sound just like the radical cartoon from the 80s – but fear not, there is nothing cartoonish about the piece. The Thunder Cat is the best catfish pole from Team Catfish’s lineup, as it is crafted with a high-quality E-glass and a graphite reel seat. Though its color scheme is somewhat ordinary, the rod makes up for that aspect with its extraordinary performance. Anglers wielding the piece can fish from muddy river banks, and rest assured that their rod will never incur much damage, or become slippery from rain or mist. Best of all, the heavy action is well equipped to take on all sorts of monsters lurking in the depths.

Specifications

BRAND: Team Catfish
PIECES: 1 Piece
PRIMARY MATERIAL: E-Glass
LENGTH: 8 feet
ACTION: Heavy
ROD WEIGHT: NA

PROS

  • High-quality E-glass blank
  • Anti-slip EVA foam handle
  • Durable reel seat
  • Well-positioned reel trigger

CONS

  • A bit flexible and wiggly

KastKing KatTech Catfish Rods, Casting 7ft - M - Medium Fast - 1pcs

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Build Quality

4.6

Grip & Comfort

4.6

Durability

4.8

Portability

4.4

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General Impression

KastKing offers some pretty incredible catfishing rod and reel combos, but the KatTech is surely one product that stands out. The KatTech is manufactured with a graphite and s-glass composite that permits the rod to be both extremely lightweight and strong. It can be tossed in the back of a truck, or placed on top of a vehicle time after time without incurring any real damage.

But the durability is only second to the vast amount of features the rod has, as anglers can enjoy the piece’s chartreuse strike tip, cork handles, and Fuji guides which combine to make one awesome piece.

Specifications

BRAND: KastKing
PIECES: 2 Pieces
PRIMARY MATERIAL: Graphite/S-glass composite
LENGTH: 9 feet
ACTION: Heavy
ROD WEIGHT: 12.3 ounces

PROS

  • Chartreuse strike tip
  • Impressive level of power
  • Fuji reel seats
  • Slip-resistant cork handles

CONS

  • Difficult to transport

St Croix Mojo Cat Casting Rod, MCC70MHF

Overall Rating

4.5 /5

Build Quality

4.3

Grip & Comfort

4.8

Durability

4.4

Portability

4.4

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General Impression

Anglers can surely find their mojo with the St. Croix Mojo Cat casting rods. There’s no beating around the bush – the Mojo Cat is one the top catfish rods, and a very worthy contender to eventually become the best catfish rod. The piece is extremely well put together, as it is made with SC II graphite and linear s-glass, which provides an incredibly comfortable and well-balanced feel.

It can be difficult being on the water all day, as the constant casting and retrieving can truly wear a shoulder down. Yet with the right catfish rod and reel, that issue can cease to exist. And that’s where the 7.7 ounce Mojo Cat shines, as the piece is just so light and comfortable.

Of course, there is far more to the rod that just comfort. It is additionally fitted with aluminum oxide guide rings, an ultra-high-quality cork handle, and a Fuji ECS reel seat that keeps gear locked in tight.

Specifications

BRAND: St. Croix
PIECES: 1 Piece
PRIMARY MATERIAL: SC II graphite and linear s-glass
LENGTH: 7 feet
ACTION: Medium-heavy
ROD WEIGHT: 7.7 ounces

PROS

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Great level of sensitivity
  • Balanced and solid feel
  • Fuji ECS reel seat
  • Aluminum oxide guides

CONS

  • 1 piece is difficult to transport

Material

Sporting goods can be fashioned of multiple different materials these days. As technology improves, so too do the elements which make up the tools.

In modern times, the best catfish rods are made of a variety of high tech materials. Though graphite and fiberglass still make up the majority of the market, composite rods have crept their way into the mainstream eye as well.

Graphite rods are notoriously sensitive, as the molecular makeup allows them to transmit even the slightest motion directly into the hand of the angler. As a result, they are extraordinarily ideal for catching fish which barely nibble at bait. However, catfish don’t act the same way as those light biting fish, as they typically suck the bait in and slowly pull.

On the contrary, fiberglass rods are far less sensitive, but much more durable than graphite. The flexible and bendy rods can take an absolute beating, and still snap back to their original shape. Plus, they often possess a higher power rating, which permits anglers to pull harder and lift more weight without worrying that the piece will snap. Many of the best catfishing rods are manufactured of fiberglass.
The third, but equally important material is composite. Composite rods are products that blend together elements such as fiberglass, graphite, boron, and keratin. The unique mixes create tools which can withstand all sorts of pressure, but also transmit even the lightest touch. As technology continues to advance, the presence of composite rods in the catfish world continues to grow. If the materials that went into composite rods were cheaper, then nearly all catfishing poles would be made of the mix.

Power

Freshwater fish don’t often exceed 100 pounds. The salt-less environments rarely provide enough nutrients for fish to grow so large – but catfish are an exception. The not-so-furry felines of the streams can grow up to 600 pounds in some freshwater environments, making them the heaviest freshwater species in existence. But combating all that weight certainly isn’t easy, and the only way to efficiently fight such a fish is with some seriously heavy gear. Thankfully, there are plenty of good catfish rod and reel combos that can handle the beasts. When angling for catfish, most anglers need to select a rod which is medium to heavy power. The power, which is nothing more than the sheer lifting weight of a rod, is a critical factor to analyze when shopping for rods. Heavy duty catfish rods must be used when angling for 100 pound monsters, whereas medium and medium-heavy rods are more suitable for fish under that limit. Anglers that make the mistake of purchasing a basic “cat fish pole” with a light power will be disappointed the moment a fish bites the hook, as such a weak blank will snap when great pressure is applied.

Overall, the greatest catfish poles and reels are those equipped with a higher power rating. Having too much power almost never causes issues, whereas having too little almost always does.

Action

The action of a rod is the component which determines where a rod bends when pressure is applied from a fish or snag. The length of the rod can bend anywhere from the very tip, clear down to the handle. Depending on the material used and the manufacturing process, the bend can be practically anywhere.

In order to make things simpler the action of a rod is classified into different speed groups. Fast action rods bend at the very tip of the piece, and snap back to their original position almost instantly. Such a variant is ideal for fish which quickly bite then move on.

Moderate action rods on the other hand, bend in the middle of the blank, providing a solid mix of both speed and shock absorption. Many catfish spinning rods come equipped with a medium action, due to its relative balance.

Finally, there are slow action rods. These are the puppies that absorb loads of shock, and bend as far down as the handle. A rod equipped with a slow action is great for setting the hook on fish with soft mouths, or those that take the bait and run. Unlike fast action rods, slow action rods give the fish more of a chance to suck the bait in, before it is ripped out of their mouths.

Overall, many anglers prefer a slow or medium action catfish rod and reel combo to ensure that they set the hook on the whiskered beasts, without totally ripping the bait out of the fishes mouths. The increased flexibility also aids anglers in the fight to wrestle in excessively heavy species such as those weighing over 100 pounds.

Length

Although catfishing rods come in all sorts of different lengths, there is no one-size-fits-all rod. The length of a rod can either make angling a whole lot easier or more difficult. Longer rods typically allow anglers to cast far greater distances, whereas shorter rods are more ideal for finesse fishing. Those who angle in dense coverage often find it nearly impossible to wield an 8 foot pole, as there just isn’t enough casting room. On the contrary, those wielding a 5 foot pole on a river side may be plagued by the short casting distance that such a length permits.

Yet, the casting is not the only factor which is affected by the length of a rod – so too is the power. Longer rods typically provide more power, and permit handlers to lift far greater amounts of weight. Short rods on the other hand, don’t provide nearly as much power due to the decreased amount of leverage. When angling for large species of catfish, anglers should opt for a long model nearly 8 feet. Those who seek reclusive cats in dense coverage are better off with short a short catfishing rod around 5 feet.

1. Catfish rods vs catfish poles

Technology has made sport fishing far easier than ever before. There are now countless brands which manufacture high quality tools that allow fishermen to catch prized fish. However, there are still and abundance of fishermen using catfish poles, which are old-school tools used to catch the trophy fish.

Catfish poles are nothing more than a stick equipped with a line at the end. The contraption is then shoved nearly 2 feet into the riverbank, where it resides and waits for catfish to bite. Bait is of course attached to the end of the line, which dangles just a few feet under the water. Although the method sounds simple, it is nearly as effective as the best rod and reels for catfishing.

Now, onto the modern stuff. Today’s catfish rod and reels are comprised of a high quality blank, with an attached reel that bundles line together. That line is then cast out through the guides of the rod, and hurled into the body of water. It is the most common method of fishing, and is what most people think of when imagining the sport.

2. What’s the best line for catfish?

There is a hot debate between which type of line is better – braided or monofilament. Braided line is extremely thin, which gives anglers the chance to put far more of it on their reels. It’s memory free, which means that it doesn’t develop curls and shapes after years of use. However, the variant is hardly resistant to abrasion at all, and breaks easily when it is rubbed on any nearby object or surface.

Monofilament, on the other hand, is a slightly thicker, but more abrasion resistant variant of line. Many catfish anglers like to use the material, due to its ability to stretch or shrink when needed. Thus, when anglers set the hook on fish, the monofilament absorbs a large amount of the blow, rather than transmitting the force directly into the fish.

At the end of the day, both variants can be relied on for catfishing. It is just important to note that simply having the best catfish rod and reel isn’t enough to catch big fish – quality line must also be included in the mix to achieve the best results.

3. What’s the best reel type for catfish?

The best catfish reel and rod is likely a baitcasting, or casting combination. Casting rods are a variant built for hurling bait a long ways, or fighting heavy fish. They contain a set of guides over the top of the blank, rather than under. And unlike a spinning rod, the reel is mounted on the top of the blank.

However, casting reels have multiple advantages that make them more ideal for catfishing. For one, casting reels are far smaller than spinning reels of a comparable power. A size 4000 casting can be nearly half the size of a spinning reel. Additionally, the variant holds more line, and possesses more power in relative terms than a spinning reel.

While they do often cost more, the numerous benefits associated with such a reel make them the wisest choice. Overall, the best rod and reels for catfishing that an angler can choose are likely casting variants, due to their extreme power, compact size, and hurling distance.

4. What is a good catfish bait?

Catfish are no doubt some of the least picky eaters at the dinner table, but that doesn’t stop them from still having their own favorite meals.

For decades, anglers have sworn that the best catfish bait is chicken livers. The stinky innards of the chicken put off a potent aroma under the water, which draws cats out from all corners of the murky depths. It is definitely the most typical bait on the market – but it has earned that title due to its great success at attracting channel cats and other similar species.

Of course, there are still plenty of other great baits, such as cut up fish pieces. Those who forgot to pick up chicken livers from the market can simply catch small panfish such as crappie, and filet them into small cubes. The small cubes put off foul aromas, which can attract some pretty large catfish.

5. What is the best fishing pole for catfish?

The king of all catfishing rods and reels is the Okuma Battle Cat. The Battle Cat is a rugged and tough rod which makes wrestling in massive fish a breeze. Not only is it one of the best catfish rods, but also an ideal sturgeon pole.

As for specs, the Okuma Battle Cat is a rod which is manufactured out of E-Glass and double foot welded guides. The combination makes for an incredibly strong and durable piece, which can pull creatures from the depths clear up to the surface.
The only flaw that anglers may notice is that the rod is a catfish spinning rod, rather than a casting rod. A size 3000 spinning reel is far larger than a size 3000 casting rod, and offers less distance when casting. Nevertheless, the Battle Cat offers plenty of power, a sturdy build, a hook keeper, and a 14 inch rear grip to provide extra comfort for long days of angling.

6. What is the best catfish rod and reel combo?

The best rod and reel for catfish is likely the Okuma Battle Cat outfitted with a Penn Spinfisher V Live Liner.

As mentioned in the section above, the Okuma Battle Cat is an incredible rod that can take a beating, but also rope in trophy fish. Its high quality blank and ultra-comfortable handle make it ideal for days on the water, when the fish continue to bite.

The Penn Spinfisher V on the other hand, is manufactured to ensure that anglers land fish, by not putting too much pressure on the beasts while they are underwater. The drag system on the reel gradually lets out line as fish continue to fight, creating a delicate balance between pressure and tension. As a result, anglers can fight massive fish, without constantly worrying about snapping their line.

All in all, the two products make for an incredible catfishing combo that gives anglers a fighting chance to catch some monsters. There certainly are plenty of other good catfish rods and reels, but these two options are the best bet for anglers of all skill levels.

7. What is the best catfish rod for the money?

The best catfish rod for the money is the BnM Silver Cat. The Silver Cat is a rod which countless anglers swear by due to its extreme reliability when it comes to landing big fish.

Nearly everything that an angler could want from a catfish rod can be found in the Silver Cat. It’s crafted of strong and durable fiberglass, mounted with high-quality guides, and outfitted with a glow-in-the-dark tip. Those who angle in the daytime man not appreciate the glow in the dark tip, but those who fish at night surely do.

Although dozens of other catfish rod and reels are respectable these days – few can offer the same superior level of quality at such an affordable price as the BnM Silver Cat.

REACH OUT

As always, we create our content with you, fellow adventurers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next adventure is a great one!

Ryan Hicks

Ryan is a product expert, a degreed international business scholar, and a restless traveler originally from small-town Idaho. Ryan was born into a family of tournament fishermen and equipped with a spincast rod at just 2.5 years old. The love for angling set the hook hard on the young boy, inspiring him to devote the majority of his childhood summers to fish with his father and grandfather. His other key interests include traveling, hiking, reading, and sampling foreign cuisines.

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