Take a tour of Matt Stefan’s basement and you quickly realize why he is so consistent on tour.
From building rods to making and designing lures, Matt is always perfecting his craft. Plus, he has an incredible collection of lures, new and old, ready for the next tournament or just a fun day on the water with his family.
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois his fishing influence came from his parents and grandparents while on family vacations to Wisconsin. Stefan and the State of Wisconsin have been inseparable ever since. He attended College at Stevens Point, WI and now his wife and two sons live just up the road from Stevens Point on the Wisconsin River.
As many of the top pros, Stefan cut his teeth battling it out with the local legends on Wednesday nighters and weekend team events. As Matt moved on to college, he was exposed to top level competition while pursuing an education. “Looking back, as many tournaments as I fished in college while also concentrating on studies, helped me prepare to what I would experience being on tour. Now, I have to manage my business side of fishing along with being able to go out and catch’em”, Matt describes.
We like to call Matt Stefan, Mr. Consistent. Since his rookie season on tour in 2011 he has qualified for the FLW Cup / TW Title 7 times and racked up more than half a million dollars in tournament winnings!
Keeping pace with his nickname, we are four events into the 2023 Major League Fishing Invitational season and he has not finished lower than 21st, cashed checks in all three events and recently had a Top 10 at Lake of the Ozarks. What makes this even more impressive, these events have been in Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and Missouri. You have to be able to catch them anywhere, not just your home lake!
Lets jump right in an see what rod is on Matt Stefan’s boat:
From perfecting techniques across different fisheries, to fishing a range from heavy cover to finesse and adding an all-purpose bass rods, these are Matt Stefan’s Signature Rod Kits that keep him in the money over the country.
FP885-MHX Flipping and Pitching Rod
Major League Fishing’s Matt Stefan knows flippin', pitchin' and froggin' are great ways to catch big bass across the country, and his 7'4" Flippin'-Pitchin' Frog Rod is always ready to compete. Featuring a fast action, this rod's sensitivity is great for feeling and working a frog, while its length and power give plenty of leverage for a solid hook set. Then with the fish pinned, Stefan trusts the ferocious heavy power to easily dominate big fish back to his boat.
Specifications: 7'4" | 12-30 lb. | 3/8 - 1 1/2 oz. | Mod-Fast Action | Heavy Power
“My most versatile flipping stick is the FP885. I won't leave home without it. It's heavy enough to pull them out of the thick stuff, but light enough to pitch around a lightly weighted texas rig to sparse cover. I've got one rigged at all times on the deck of my boat!"
- Matt Stefan, MLF Pro Angler
As Stefan hits the road for tournament season around the country he encounters varying lakes, conditions and even species of bass. Fishing offshore structure is one of the oldest and most productive techniques in all of bass fishing. This blank is one of Matt’s favorites and you can bet he has more than one in his rod box!
CB907-Blend MHX Crankbait Rod
As Stefan hits the road for tournament season, he has to be ready for more than that deep water Smallmouth fishing. From fishing vibrating jigs in vegetation, to deep crankin, the ledges of the TVA lakes and even a big, exposed hook swimbait he picks up the CB907!
Specifications: 7'6" | 12-25 lb. | 1/2 - 1 3/8 oz. | Mod-Fast Action | Heavy Power
“The CB907 is my favorite moving bait rod. The soft tip and stiff lower backbone of this blended rod blank make it the perfect choice for vibrating jigs, deep cranks and exposed hook swimbaits while maintaining extreme sensitivity!
- Matt Stefan, MLF Pro Angler
One thing all pro anglers understand, the power of the spinning rod. Some might turn their nose up at the finesse game but if you want to cash a check or get key bites, it can make the difference in making the cut or just making your day. With the high modulus fiber and the nano resin system this NSJ871 has the sensitivity to detect the slightest bite but the durability to handle the rigors of tournament fishing.
NSJ871-MHX Elite-X Rod Blank
Stefan chooses the NSJ871 as his number one finesse stick as it marries a precision tool with the added length to reach out to wary fish in the deep, clear lakes he fishes so frequently. “I go from a small single swim bait to a hair jig and then to a ned and this does it all. Most prefer a shorter rod in those applications but for me this 7’3” just works so well.”
Specifications: 7'3" | 6-10 lb. | 1/16 - 3/8 oz. | Fast Action | Medium-Light Power
“I spend a lot of time fishing finesse techniques for big smallmouth bass and have fallen in love with my NSJ871. The sensitivity is unmatched and works fantastically with dropshots, finesse swimbaits, ned rigs and shaky heads. This is the most versatile spinning rod blank I use on a daily basis!
- Matt Stefan, MLF Pro Angler
If tournament fishing all over the US has taught Pro Matt Stefan anything, it would be versatility keeps you in the hunt. Every angler has their go to presentation. Some prefer a swim jig or a spinner bait or others like topwater. Where they might have the perfect rod for each, there is a blank that can do all of those things and do them well. If you do not have the space or the budget for 20 specialized rods, this is the one to build!
NMB873-MHX Elite-X Mag Bass Rod
If Pro Angler Matt Stefan had only one high-performance casting rod to always keep on his boat, without hesitation, he picks the NMB873-MHX Elite-X All-Purpose Casting Rod. Sharing a similar taper to the proven MB873 while incorporating the advanced materials of the Elite-X Series, this blank delivers the ultimate performance on the water.
Specifications: 7'3" | 10-20 lb. | 3/8 - 1 oz. | Fast Action | Medium-Heavy Power
“I'm all about function and versatility and the NMB-873 is my favorite multi technique casting rod blank that I use. I love it for pitching around light texas rigs, fishing finesse finesse jigs, skipping swim jigs under docks, precision casting spinnerbaits and walking topwaters back to the boat. The versatility of this blank makes it a must-build rod!
-Matt Stefan, MLF Pro Angler