OUR TOP PICK

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

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

For decades Shakespeare has been winning anglers over with its lineup of Ugly Stiks that are simply some of the best saltwater fishing rods available. So naturally, it only makes sense that the Ugly Stik GX2 1-Piece is the best saltwater fishing pole to date.

Similar to its predecessors, the GX2 Spinning rod is wickedly strong, incredibly durable, and tremendously sensitive. The piece is crafted with high-quality graphite and fiberglass, which are then complemented by a clear end tip to increase sensitivity. The guides that can be found on the piece are made completely of stainless steel, to eliminate the headaches associated with O-rings popping out.

Regardless of whether anglers are trolling through deep water, fishing shallows, or skimming topwater, they can rely on the Ugly Stik GX2 as it certainly is the best saltwater spinning rod.

Specifications

BRAND: Shakespeare
TYPE: 1-piece spinning rod
ACTION: Fast
SIZES: 7’
GRIP: Lightweight EVA foam

PROS

  • Sensitive clear tip design
  • Incredible lifting power
  • Seven year warranty
  • Balanced and responsive action

CONS

  • Less sensitive than fully graphite competitors
BEST VALUE

Berkley Big Game Spinning Fishing Rod, 8' Medium Heavy -2pcs

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 Big Game series from Berkeley is a lineup that few other manufacturers can compete with. All of the rods are crafted with high quality fiberglass blanks, titanium oxide guide inserts, and tapered handles to offer the best performance possible. With all of those factors combined, it is no surprise that the Berkeley Big Game is one of the best saltwater spinning rods for the money.

Though it may not have an abundance of special features like more expensive rods, the Big Game does just what it is supposed to – land fish. Each piece is crafted with a medium-fast action rating, and a medium or medium-heavy level of power to pull in the monsters.

All in all, anglers really can trust in the extreme power and sensitivity of the Big Game to help them land fish that other good saltwater fishing rods simply can’t.

Specifications

BRAND: Berkeley
TYPE: 2-Piece Spinning
ACTION: Medium fast
SIZES: 7’, 8’
GRIP: Tapered EVA foam

PROS

  • Titanium oxide guide rings
  • High-quality fiberglass construction
  • Tapered handle for comfort
  • Great for travel
  • Limited lifetime warranty

CONS

  • Guides occasionally pop out
  • Slightly too long of handle

KastKing Brutus Fishing Rods, Spinning Rod 4ft 6in-Ultra Light - Moderate-1pc

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 KastKing Brutus is one of the best inshore fishing rods that are currently on the market.

The Brutus is fashioned with a composite blank made of carbon fiber that is truly a juggernaut. The composite material does a great job taking a beating, while simultaneously providing a superior level of sensitivity and power. 

However, the main characteristics which elevate the Brutus above other good saltwater rods are its zirconium guide inserts, extended EVA handle, and chartreuse strike tip. The chartreuse color on the strike tip allows anglers to see the piece even in low light settings, such as dusk or dawn fishing.

Specifications

BRAND: KastKing
TYPE: 2-Piece Spinning/Casting
ACTION: Fast
SIZES: 4’6, 5’, 5’6, 6’, 6’6, 7’, 8’
GRIP: High-strength EVA foam

PROS

  • Chartreuse strike tip
  • Durable blank material to resist damage
  • Strong and responsive for inshore fishing
  • Comfortable handle arrangement

CONS

  • Reel seat too small for large pieces

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning 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

The Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning rod is without a doubt one of the best deep-sea fishing rods available from the notoriously famous brand, Shakespeare. 

Anglers can choose from a variety of sizes and powers, as nearly all are good deep sea fishing rods. With medium power 6’ rods, clear up to heavy power 15’ rods, there is a make for every occasion. Thus, anglers can fish for everything from snapper to marlin. 

Nevertheless, the model still contains the same basics that all other Ugly Stik models do; a composite blank, clear tip, and lightweight EVA handle. Dozens of other saltwater fishing rods reviews mention the Bigwater, as it really might be the best boat fishing rod from the coveted brand.

Specifications

BRAND: Shakespeare
TYPE: 2-Piece Spinning
ACTION: Fast
SIZES: 6’, 6’6, 7’, 8’, 9’, 10’, 11’, 12’, 15’
GRIP: Lightweight EVA foam

PROS

  • Impressive level of sensitivity
  • Strong and durable construction
  • Provides plenty of power
  • 1 piece stainless steel guides

CONS

  • Moderate amount of whip from tip

KastKing Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rods, Inshore Spinning 8ft -Mod Fast-H Power

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

Carrying around one or two-piece rods while traveling can be a real pain. Thankfully, anglers don’t always have to lug around such heavy gear, as telescopic rods such as the KastKing Blackhawk II make transport a breeze. 

KastKing’s main telescopic rod offers all of the benefits of a good saltwater fishing rod, with very little, if any, drawbacks. The piece, which is constructed of a six-shaft telescopic carbon blank, shrinks down to a third of its original size. As a result, anglers can easily take it on the fly, whether traveling or saving space. 

However, the lightweight construction doesn’t compromise quality, as the piece is made of 24-Ton carbon, a graphite reel seat, and floating guides to enhance casting performance. The rod’s simplicity and sheer convenience make it one of the best saltwater fishing rods for beginners.

Specifications

BRAND: KastKing
TYPE: Telescopic Casting/Spinning
ACTION: Moderate Fast, Fast
SIZES: 6’8, 7‘, 7‘1, 7‘4, 7‘6, 8‘
GRIP: Lightweight EVA foam

PROS

  • Incredible portability
  • Impressive level of power
  • High-quality carbon blank
  • Graphite reel seat

CONS

  • Less sensitive than a 1 or 2 piece rod
  • Foregrip lacks comfort

PLUSINNO Telescopic Fishing Rod and Reel Combos Full Kit, Spinning Fishing Gear Organizer Pole Sets with Line Lures Hooks Reel and Fishing Carrier Bag Case Accessories

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

A fully inclusive set makes the Plussino Telescopic perhaps the best saltwater rod and reel combo that money can buy. 

The rod, which frequently pops up on other saltwater fishing rod reviews, is a handy piece of equipment that can effortlessly be tucked away for transport. 

Fashioned with a total of 7 guides, and 6 extendable blanks, the Plussino Telescopic is certainly an uncanny contender for the best saltwater fishing rods of 2020. Nevertheless, the piece is extremely useful and convenient, as it comes with a rod and reel, a set of lures, hooks, and a travel bag. Not to mention that it is crafted of a high-quality composite mix of fiberglass and carbon.

The piece may not be the ideal rod for landing 500 lb sharks, but it is certainly one ocean fishing pole that can land mackerel, flounder, redfish, and plenty of others with ease. Due to its wild convenience and reliability, the Plussino Telescopic is likely one of the best saltwater inshore rods.

Specifications

BRAND: Plussino
TYPE: Telescopic Spinning
ACTION: Moderate
SIZES: 5’11, 6’10, 7’10, 8’10
GRIP: Lightweight EVA foam

PROS

  • Anti-corrosive stainless steel reel seat
  • Fully inclusive lure and rig combo
  • Extremely portable
  • Interchangeable handle

CONS

  • Extending mechanics occasionally wear down

Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

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 name alone is enough to sell many anglers on the Ugly Stick Tiger Elite casting rod. Thankfully, there are a whole bunch of grand features that make the rod worth far more than just its name. 

The Tiger Elite is a saltwater casting rod which slightly varies from the traditional line of Ugly Stiks. Its composite makeup contains more graphite than other models, to give the piece more sensitivity and responsiveness. As such, it is wildly efficient at detecting smaller species, making it one of the best saltwater inshore rods. 

Nevertheless, much of the same technology from the Ugly Stik family still resides in the Tiger Elite. This can be seen with the model’s stainless steel guides, EVA foam handle, and one-piece construction. Thanks to the GX2, Bigwater Spinning, and now Tiger Elite, anglers really can say that Shakespeare is one of the best fishing rod brands for saltwater.

Specifications

BRAND: Shakespeare
TYPE: 1-piece spinning rod
ACTION: Fast
SIZES: 6’6, 6’9, 7’
GRIP: Lightweight EVA foam

PROS

  • Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Lightweight and sensitive
  • Well-designed and comfortable handle

CONS

  • No hook keeper

PENN Rampage Jig Spinning

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

Anglers wielding a Penn Rampage can rest assured that they possess one of the best offshore fishing rods currently available. 

The Penn Rampage certainly is an appealing piece, as the one-piece rod does an excellent job with vertical jigs. Its lightweight graphite blank, Fuji aluminum oxide guide inserts, and specialized triangular grip make a day on the water more fun than possibly imaginable.  

Yet, anglers can use the rod for far more than just jigging, as the setup is ideal for numerous other fishing styles. Whether hunting for grouper, snapper, or tuna, handlers can trust that they are holding one of the very best saltwater spinning rods.

Specifications

BRAND: Penn
TYPE: 1-piece spinning rod
ACTION: Moderate Fast
SIZES: 6’, 6’4, 6’6
GRIP: Torque EVA foam

PROS

  • Triangular grip to prevent rotation
  • Graphite reel seat
  • Evenly balanced weight distribution
  • Quick and responsive action

CONS

  • Slightly stiff blank

Penn Squall 30 Level Wind Fishing Rod and Trolling Reel Combo, 6.5 Feet

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

Countless anglers would claim that the Penn Squall Level Wind dominates the category for the best saltwater casting rods – and they may be right. 

The Squall Level Wind combo consists of a tubular glass blank and bronze alloy level wind reel. Both features provide the rod with a superior level of resistance towards saltwater corrosion. It is then supplemented with 8 guides, which possess aluminum oxide inserts to also prevent corrosion.

However, what truly allows the piece to rise above competitors is its sheer power. Countless saltwater fishing rod and reel reviews rave about anglers effortlessly being able to reel in monster fish such as shark, marlin, and tuna.

Specifications

BRAND: Penn
TYPE: 1-piece spinning rod
ACTION: Medium Fast
SIZES: 6’, 6’6
GRIP:

PROS

  • Saltwater resistant
  • Smooth level wind mechanism
  • Impressive level of power
  • Aluminum oxide guide inserts

CONS

  • Handle end prone to falling off

SHIMANO Trevala 6'6 MH Saltwater Jigging Spinning Rod

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

The Trevala Jigging Spinning rod is certainly one of the best saltwater fishing rods offered by the ultra-famous brand, Shimano.

Like many other models from Shimano, the Trevala is comprised of a high quality C4S blank construction. The newfound construction allows rods to be far more strong and durable than before, while also being significantly thinner. As a result, the product is much thinner, lightweight, and maneuverable than many other good saltwater fishing rods

Yet, what draws many anglers to the rod is the moderate to fast response time, which makes setting the hook on quick biting fish a breeze.

Specifications

BRAND: Shimano
TYPE: 1-piece spinning
ACTION: Medium fast
SIZES: 5’8, 6’, 6’6, 7’
GRIP: Lightweight EVA foam

PROS

  • Fuji aluminum oxide guide rings
  • Split grip handle for increased comfort
  • High-quality C4S blank construction
  • Great sensitivity for jigging

CONS

  • Reel seat doesn’t fit large calibers

What is a saltwater fishing rod?

A saltwater fishing rod is a variant of the traditional fishing pole that is specifically designed to be used for ocean or sea fishing.

Such a rod contains the same basic elements as any other; a handle, reel seat, and set of guides all mounted on a blank. However, saltwater fishing rods are quite different from freshwater, surf rods, and fly rods.

Saltwater rods are typically far larger and heavier, as they are designed to catch fish 30 lbs and up. As such, anglers can find products as short as 5’, clear up to 15’. The wide range gives anglers the chance to choose a specific size that is most suitable for their style of fishing, or the species they are targeting.

Furthermore, all of the best saltwater fishing rods are fashioned with anti-corrosive materials, to prevent salt from eating away at the product.

Saltwater Rods Vs. Freshwater Rods

Saltwater and freshwater rods resemble each other in many ways, but they are often radically different for numerous reasons.

For one, freshwater rods are often far smaller and more suited for lighter species. As such, they typically fall into the range of 5’ to 7’. This short length allows anglers to maneuver lures through the water, and feel when smaller species take the hook.

On the contrary, saltwater rods are often large pieces ranging anywhere from 6’ to 12’. The increased size allows anglers to cast heavier bait, fight stronger fish, and apply more pressure to the rod as a whole.

However, saltwater rods are also specifically designed to be resistant to the saltwater corrosion that chews up unprotected pieces. If an angler does make the mistake of bringing a freshwater rod to the sea, they may end up with a seriously damaged piece.

Telescopic, One Piece, or Two Piece

The best ocean fishing rods can be found in three main variants; one-piece rods, two-piece rods, or telescopic. While they all do the same thing – catch fish, how they are manufactured is dramatically different.

A one-piece rod is the most simple of them all. As the name suggests, one-piece rods are a solid unit without any further connections. Thus, they are often shorter and more nimble, giving anglers the chance to fish for smaller species that require finesse and sensitivity. When it comes to saltwater fishing, such a model is ideal for inshore angling, though they do just fine in open water as well.

Two-piece rods, on the other hand, are made up of a base and end which come together in the middle to form the rod. As a result, they are far more portable but lack the extreme sensitivity of a one-piece. Yet, where two-piece rods shine is their tendency to be crafted in large sizes such as 10’ to 12’. Saltwater rods that fall into that range are extremely powerful and very ideal for fishing ventures that target shark, marlin, or tuna.

Finally, there are telescopic rods, which consist of multiple pieces of blank that retract inwards – similar to the tool they are named after. The advantage of such a rod is the extreme level of portability, as they can easily be tucked away into small bags or spaces. Subsequently, what telescopic rods do lack are sensitivity and power, as the multi-piece devices simply cannot transmit feelings through the handle like other rods. Nevertheless, they are great rods for fishing from docks, inshore, or when traveling.

Blank Material

The blank material is the central focus of saltwater rods, as it is what makes up the majority of the tool.

The blank, which can be defined as the ‘stick’ aspect of the rod, can be crafted with a variety of different materials such as bamboo, graphite, carbon, and more. However, three main types dominate the saltwater rod market, which are graphite, fiberglass, and composite.

Graphite

Graphite rods are extremely quick and nimble, as the material is stiff and rigid, giving anglers the chance to set the hook in a split second. However, graphite can at times be too sensitive, as anglers often rip the hook out of mouths which are sampling the bait. In terms of saltwater rods, graphite is a great choice for species that are hard to detect due to light bite patterns.

Fiberglass

Contrary to graphite, fiberglass is a material that offers plenty of flexibility, while maintaining its strong core. Though fiberglass is less sensitive than graphite, it is often more efficient at setting the hook on species such as catfish, tuna, or sailfish. Furthermore, fiberglass is also an excellent choice when fighting big fish that make sudden turns and twists.

Composite

Finally, there are composite rods, which are crafted from various elements to increase strength, durability, sensitivity, and so forth. A unique combination of graphite and fiberglass is often used to create a rod that is both extremely sensitive and extremely durable. Composite rods vary in material from graphite, carbon, tubular glass, and more, but usually they are pretty decent all-around tools that can be used in any situation.

Length

The length of a saltwater rod can often play a critical role in the success of angling.

Saltwater rods vary in length from 6’ to 12’, with outliers on each end. The large size is often necessary to handle many of the species that weigh over 100lbs.

Thus, anglers need to evaluate what type of fishing they will be doing before purchasing a rod. Those looking to land monster marlin and sharks are better off with long rods around 12’, while those looking to finesse for small redfish are better off with a short rod around 6’.

Power

A key factor to look out for when purchasing a saltwater rod is the product’s power level.

Though it sounds more like an electrical component, the power of a rod is the aspect that determines how much raw weight a piece can lift. This is further measured by the amount of force it takes to bend a rod. A scale is used to indicate the amount of power a rod has, with the smallest amount of power being extra light, and the largest amount of power being extra heavy.

Thus, anglers must choose a rod that suits the needed power. Minor species such as flounder can easily be reeled in with light power, whereas larger species such as shake require something as strong as extra heavy.

Action

The action component indicates where a rod’s blank bends when pressure is applied. The point where the bend happens usually indicates the responsiveness of the piece, and how fast it can apply pressure to the line.

In order to measure action, a scale is used that indicates the relative speed of the rod. Rods that bend only from the top third are classified as fast. Pieces that bend in the second half are labeled as moderate, and those which bend clear to the handle are labeled as slow.

Yet, the action component is key when targeting a specific species. Some fish bite very diligently, creating the need for a fast response. Others, which gradually take the bait, require a slower action so that a hook set doesn’t pull the bait out of their mouths. Consequently, it is wildly important to research the tendencies of each species, in order to buy a rod with a suitable action.

1. What is a saltwater rod?

A saltwater rod is a large variant of the traditional fishing tool that is designed to work in oceans, seas, and rivers.

The anatomy of a saltwater fishing rod is nearly identical to that of the traditional rod. A flexible blank, made of graphite, fiberglass or other materials, is coupled with a reel and set of guides. However, saltwater rods are dramatically different in their proportions, as all aspects of the rod are enlarged to deal with bigger fish.

There are a handful of different saltwater rods that anglers can purchase, yet, the most common types are inshore and offshore rods.

Inshore rods are a slightly smaller and less weighted version of a saltwater rod that is designed to be used in depths less than 100 feet. Nearly all inshore rods possess fast actions and medium power, as they are designed to snatch species such as grouper, redfish, and mackerel.

On the contrary, offshore rods are designed to be used in depths greater than 100 feet, which are home to large species such as yellowfin, swordfish, and shark. Thus, the rods must be far larger and more powerful to deal with the heavier species which reside at the depths.

2. Can I use freshwater rods in saltwater?

Though they appear very similar, saltwater and freshwater rods are built with a few key differences that distinguish the two. Thus, it is rarely a good idea to use freshwater rods on the ocean or sea.

The first and likely most obvious reason why freshwater rods should not be used in the sea is their size. Most freshwater rods fall between 5’ to 7’, and are built to handle species under 100 lbs. As such they are not designed to handle fish that exceed that size. Though they may do alright with some inshore species, they still should not be used in salt water, as the following reason explains.

The second and most essential reason why freshwater reason should not be used is because they are not manufactured to deal with corrosion from salt water. The corrosive properties from salt eat away at tools which aren’t treated with special compounds, rendering the equipment useless in just days.

3. What is the best rod for saltwater fishing?

The best saltwater fishing rod is hands down the Ugly Stik GX2.

Ugly Stiks seem to dominate both the freshwater and saltwater fishing markets, as the high quality pieces outperform nearly all other rods. The blank construction consists of an inner graphite piece, which is then wrapped with fiberglass to enhance the strength and flexibility. The unique combination provides an immense amount of sensitivity and strength, giving anglers a chance to catch a wide variety of species.

With an Ugly Stik, anglers can easily fish both inshore and offshore, while still having total faith that the rod will remain strong. Yet, one of its most beneficial features is its clear tip end, which greatly enhances an angler’s ability to detect fish.

It may not be the prettiest piece around, but the Ugly Stik GX2 certainly is the best saltwater fishing rod to take to the sea.

4. What is the best saltwater fly rod?

The best saltwater water fly rod is the Aetos, by Fenwick.

Fenwick makes top of the line fishing equipment, which can be seen in the Aetos. The fast action graphite blank provides an enormous amount of sensitivity, to give anglers the chance to rip into fish the moment they hit the fly.

The general construction of the Aetos consists of the aforementioned graphite blank, and an aluminum anodized reel seat, to prevent saltwater corrosion. It is additionally crafted with a cork handle, which prevents slippage when wet.

Per usual with fly rods, the Aetos comes in a 4 piece kit, to make for easier transport and carrying. The model ranges anywhere from 9’ to 15’, providing plenty of options for anglers looking to track down different species.

5. What is the best saltwater fishing rod for under 100?

The best rod for under 100 dollars is the Ugly Stik Tiger Elite by Shakespeare. Though there are plenty of amazing Ugly Stik models around, the Tiger Elite is special for a handful of reasons.

For one, the Tiger Elite contains a slightly higher density of graphite than other rods, to grant it a greater level of sensitivity and responsiveness. As such, the rod is extremely efficient at setting the hook on light biting species.

The second notable element from the Tiger Elite is its remarkable light weight. While it may not be a make or break factor for anglers, the weight is important when using a rod on the water all day. Rods which are heavy and bulky wear anglers down in just hours, whereas lighter pieces can be used from dawn to dusk.

Finally, the third and most notable element that makes the product so great is its performance in deep water. The one-piece construction provides medium to heavy power, to ensure that any type of species dwelling in the depths below can be landed. It performs great, feels great, and just makes a day on the water a total blast.

6. What are the best rod blanks for saltwater?

Though the topic truly comes down to personal preference, the consensus on the best rod blanks for saltwater points all fingers to fiberglass pieces.

Fiberglass is an incredibly unique material, with a variety of properties that make it ideal for saltwater fishing. For one, fiberglass is wildly flexible, allowing rods to make a near parabolic arc while fighting fish. This type of flexibility ensures that rods won’t snap when a large fish quickly grabs the bait.

Another key feature why the best saltwater rods are fiberglass is its notable strength. The material can easily haul in 200 lb catches, without sustaining any damage.
Nevertheless, the aspect which is arguably the most important is the material’s resistance to saltwater corrosion. Unlike other variants, fiberglass can tolerate salt day after day without any noticeable damage.

7. What is the best saltwater fishing rod for topwater?

When it comes to the best saltwater fishing rods and reels for topwater, the Penn Squall Level Wind combo is certainly number one.

The Penn Squall offers a massive amount of power and versatility, as the one-piece rod is both strong enough and short enough to be used in multiple situations.

The Squall can be found in two sizes, which are 6’, and 6’6. The respective sizes are built with a medium and medium-heavy power rating, giving anglers the chance to snatch up many of the species which reside on top water. Both sizes are equipped with medium-fast actions to ensure that quick biting fish won’t get away.

Nonetheless, what makes the combo so useful for topwater is the level wind reel that is mounted on top. The reel, which is reinforced with bronze alloy, is simply the ideal piece for topwater. Such a setup allows anglers to cast great distances that spinning reels cannot, while also providing the necessary gear ratio for plugging bait through water.

cheap salt water rod 2020

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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