Get Ready To Rock The Water With 13 Fishing

13 Fishing is now part of Rapala VMC

13 Fishing is now part of Rapala VMC. So naturally, we had to talk with Ricky Teschendorf, 13 Fishing’s Director of Product Development, about how he’s creating new rods and reels that are racking up impressive catches across the U.S. Here’s our interview with him.

Q. What do you do at 13 Fishing?
Ricky: I manage and develop the rod and combo category for 13 Fishing.

Q. What inspires you about the 13 Fishing brand?
Ricky: 13 Fishing is full of energy and enthusiasm and has been since the brand was founded several years ago. We all believe that fishing is a lifestyle and the only way to truly understand the market, product, and the angler is to fully immerse oneself in it.

Being a part of a team with that kind of motivation, energy and enthusiasm was what attracted me to 13 Fishing. I am a passionate, hard-core tournament angler. It’s truly a dream come true to be a part of a brand that holds those kinds of values.

Like Carroll Shelby (automotive engineer and race driver) once said, “When I was 10 years old, my Pops said, ‘Son it's a truly lucky man who knows what he wants to do in this world, cause that man will never work a day in his life.’” I am that guy.

Q. How do you develop new products at 13 Fishing?
Ricky: The development process is multi-faceted. It all starts with the desire to solve a problem, improve a product or category, and/or create something never been done before. None of which are mutually exclusive. Through the product development process, we keep things super collaborative.

First, we take feedback about our products from a number of sources, both internal and external. Over the last 12 years, we’ve built a team of well-respected and accomplished tournament anglers, from the national level all the way to the local level. We want everyone on the team to provide exceptional feedback and insight into the product. To build products that anglers will appreciate and desire to fish with you need to develop that product with the anglers. Fishing tackle is fun and developing it should be as well. Our team enjoys what they do and has an unmatched passion for the sport of fishing. We believe it shows in the products we build.

Q. How do you get your ideas for new products?
Ricky: Inspiration comes from a lot of sources and influences. I keep an open mind when it comes to inspiration as you never know when or where it will come. With that said, I would say cosmetically I follow trends outside of the industry for inspiration. From the functional and technical side, I would say spending time on the water and working with our trusted team of anglers helps generate most of my ideas.

I love this industry because fishing is always changing and that provides a lot of opportunities for creation and innovation. It’s a super exciting time for the tackle industry with the explosion of Forward-Facing Sonar. Not only are the sonar brands experiencing this innovation, but we’re also seeing a lot of new and unique supporting products and techniques being introduced with the introduction of this technology. We are at the forefront of this, and it is a super special time.

Q. When you're thinking of a new product for 13 Fishing, who do you think of -- what's the image you have in your mind of a 13 Fishing customer?
Ricky: I see anglers with excessive passion and enthusiasm who are willing to continue to learn, explore, and refine their craft.
Q. When an angler is fishing with 13 Fishing rods and reels, what kind of an experience do you want them to have?
Ricky: I want them to have trust in the product knowing we have done our job to build the best product in its class. I want to be sure they feel inspired and motivated while using our products. Fishing is something we do because we are passionate about it. The products we fish with should elevate that passion and enthusiasm.

Q. Do you get to go test 13 Fishing products? That must be pretty cool – it’s gotta be a dream job! What's that like?
Ricky: I do and I can’t lie – it’s awesome! Honestly, I could not do this job if product testing was not a part of it. We all put a lot of time and energy into each product we launch, and I would not feel comfortable launching something I did not personally put through the paces. You can’t ask a consumer to trust your products if you don’t.

Q. You have pros who are using 13 Fishing products in tournament settings. Is that the ultimate test -- to see how your products stand up under the pressure of a tournament setting?
Ricky: Absolutely. 100%. When there’s money and reputations on the line, your products better perform. Having a roster of talented anglers that we have and knowing they put their job on the line with our products each and every day is the ultimate form of validation. The team we have is as honest and straightforward as it gets. If they don’t believe in the product, it won’t get the time of day. That is why we spend so much time with them during the development process to assure we are ready for game day.

Q. When you talk with 13 Fishing anglers -- what kind of stories do you love to hear from them about their experience with 13 Fishing rods and reels?
Ricky: I love the stories from first-time users of the product. When someone first uses a 13 Fishing rod or reel, and they are impressed with the feel, look, and performance that is super rewarding. As someone who loves fishing, I also just like a good ol’ fashion fish story. I love the comradery of this sport – that’s what really makes it fun. At least for me. Let’s be honest, even the quiet anglers like telling stories about an epic day on the water. Fishing is a social sport and that is one of the great things about it.
Q. What do you love to fish for with 13 Fishing rods and reels?
Ricky: My passion and excitement for bass is unmatched. Something about locating a monster school is super rewarding. I enjoy how dynamic it is as well. From finesse fishing for northern Minnesota smallmouth to hunting heavy cover largemouth in Florida and everywhere in between, they keep you on your toes. Bass fishing is a lot like product development. Both are filled with endless opportunities and struggles, but at the end of the day, you need to achieve the goal.

Q. For bass anglers new to 13 Fishing, which rod/reel line would you point them to – to help them become more familiar with the best that 13 Fishing has to offer?
Ricky: I have two go-to options when it comes to rods and reels. My first pick is the new Muse Black line of rods paired with the Concept A2 reel. This combo gives anglers an optimal feel with a blank with incredible power. The Muse and Concept A2 range is also super dynamic so you have endless lengths, powers, and actions to choose from. The Concept A provides multiple gear ratio options in both LH and RH retrieve.

My second option is the META rod paired with the Inception G2 reel. This is an amazing combo for a super affordable price. We built this series with the G-Man himself and it shows. It is also one of my favorite projects to work on. It was an honor and privilege to work with Gerald Swindle. We made sure to build an amazing product for our customers and we had a lot of fun doing it.

Q. How long have you been fishing? Do you remember the first fish you caught?
Ricky: I started fishing at a super young age (4 years old) with my mom and dad. The first fish I caught, that I can recall, was a bluegill I caught at Bush Lake in Bloomington, Minnesota. It was a monster! My brother and I each caught one at the same time – talk about an epic double-up! We caught them from the bank with our Snoopy spin cast combos (lol!). To be honest I am not sure if I remember the catch or if the photo in my parents’ house brings back the memory. Either way, I will never forget it!
Q. What is the biggest fish you've caught, so far?
Ricky: It’s a funny story and funny enough, it starts like any good “fishing story.” I don’t do a lot of kayak fishing but when I do my buddies and I forget basically everything including the scale. We had one of those days you live for. If we caught 200, we caught 400! But the story of that trip was I caught a largemouth bass that we think was more than 13 lbs. I have put multiple fish over 10- and 11-lbs. on a scale, but this one was on another level. The picture speaks a thousand words! It’s a good thing my buddy Sam was with, he might have forgotten the scale that day, but he never forgets the camera.

Q. What is the weirdest/strangest fishing story you have?
Ricky: I am not sure if it is weird or strange, but it is scary. My dad and I fished a NABC tournament on Leech Lake many years ago. I am not sure of the year but if you fished bass tournaments in Minnesota you remember this one. That morning, we made a long run from Trappers Landing to the northwest side of Sucker Bay with winds forecasted at 30-40mph later in the afternoon. To this day I am still not sure what I was thinking but I made the run knowing if we could get 5 bites, it would be enough to win the tournament. We ended up catching them okay that day, but it was not worth risking our lives. We ended up making the run back later in the day and all I can remember was looking at my dad surrounded by water as he was screaming “You better give it all you have!” as we took a monster wave over the bow with others to follow, we ended up tucking behind an island and bilged water for 30 minutes we were legitimately sitting in water past our belt. Needless to say, I take big water more seriously now.

Q. By the way, you live in Florida – But talk about Ice Fishing?
Ricky: I have spent a lot of time ice fishing. I am a Minnesota native and grew up in the city of Elk River, a northwest suburb of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Every year as the open water season came to an end, I spent all winter on the ice. I had a landscaping and snow removal job in high school and college, so it offered me plenty of time to ice fish as we only worked in the winter when the snow fell. I recall one ice season when my buddy Reid and I put 30,000 miles on his Suburban. Needless to say, we covered a lot of ground chasing the bite under the ice.

Q. On a personal note, who do you love fishing with? What's a great day on the water mean for you?
Ricky: Fishing a super competitive team tournament with my friends is super high on the list but my son is about to turn two years old and he is absolutely in love with the boat and watching dad catch fish. He is my little fishing buddy and I’m looking forward to fishing team tournaments with him next year… I might have to check with Mom on that we might have to wait until he is at least 6 or 7 (lol).

Q. What do you think being part of Rapala means for the future potential of 13 Fishing rods and reels?
Ricky: I am super happy and honored to be a part of the Rapala family. The team is super strong, knowledgeable, and passionate about the sport of fishing. They bring great strength to many facets of the 13 Fishing brand. The Rapala team has what it takes to help bring 13 Fishing to another level, I am looking forward to the future. Everyone better hold on tight because this rocket is headed to another dimension.

Ready to rock your fishing with 13 Fishing? Check out all of the new offerings from 13 Fishing here.

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