Let’s Go Fishing With Barrett Stanghill

Barrett Stanghill, Minnesota Storm, fisherman

Barrett Stanghill (85 kg, Minnesota Storm) is seen as one of the top young Senior Greco-Roman wrestlers in the country. It’s not by accident. Originally from Montana, Stanghill was a solid prospect before he began his full-time career at Northern Michigan University. While in Marquette, he developed into a bruising workhorse who could dish it out as well as he could take it, giving him a style that was tailor-made for the rigors of elite competition. This unyielding approach resulted in a University National title in 2015 (to go along with another he added this year) in addition to strong placings elsewhere, including at the 2016 US Senior Open, where he finished third. Currently, Stanghill is preparing for his second year as a member of the Minnesota Storm and looking forward to another breakout season that will begin with a chance to represent the US at the U23 World Championships.

When he’s not on the mat, like most kids who grow up in the country, Stanghill enjoys fishing. It’s his passion. A freshwater aficionado, this pastime represents more than just a break from the grind for the 23-year-old. To Stanghill, fishing is part sanctuary-seeking and part-fellowship, since he also likes to bring some buddies with him to the water.

“It’s really nice because it is hard to get out and do stuff when you are practicing every day,” Stanghill says. “Even if you don’t catch fish, it’s not about that. It’s about being outside and having some time for yourself and enjoying it with your buddies, as well.”

Stanghill and Zillmer

“When we’re in Minnesota, we’re usually trying to catch those crappies,” says Stanghill. “They’re just super-good eating and we’ll make fish tacos or grill them up. They’re fun to catch and Hayden (Zillmer, pictured left) and I will give each other grief if we miss a fish.” (Photos: Barrett Stanghill)

Crappies are high on Stanghill’s list, but that’s because he loves the way they taste. His primary preference is to go angling for a certain other species of freshwater fish that provides him with the most struggle — trout.

barrett stanghill trout

“My favorite type of fish to catch are trout, especially cutthroats since they fight the hardest. It’s a really pretty fish and being from Montana, everybody is a trout-fishing extraordinaire, but I’m nowhere near the level of a lot of my buddies back home because they’re out there constantly. It’s like their version of wrestling.”

There’s more to fishing life for Stanghill than trout and crappies. Northern Pike also make the cut. Found in various areas of the upper midwest, pike offer a suitable challenge he doesn’t like to miss out on.

Stanghill, pike fishing

“We’ll go after those pike, too. They like to fight really hard and they’re a predator fish.”

Fishing may represent a break from the demands of national-level training and competition, but there is a symmetry present, as well. That’s how Stanghill sees it, anyway. Unless it just happens to be one of those fortuitous days when nearly every line casted out results in a catch, most of his fishing exploits require a heightened degree of focus. Doing the little things correctly is often what leads to success. It’s a combination of peace, patience, and persistence — three attributes that are aligned with the sport he is a professional in.

“One of my favorite sayings is that the worst day of fishing is still better than any other day,” explains Stanghill. “To understand that is to be out there and see that bobber go down, and you have to hit it exactly right. Then you feel that fight and you have to keep your rod up. It’s not as intense as a wrestling match, but it’s doing everything right and getting that fish in the boat. You have to cast in the right spot and get that hit. It’s a lot of trial and error, which is like wrestling. You have to relate the two. Sure, they’re  different, but it’s nice to have something else that is like that to give you that same excitement and rush.”

Stanghill’s Tackle Box

Crappies — Minnows or “plastics” (puddle jumpers, Gulps, etc.) and bobbers.
Trout — Panther Martin gold or silver spinners (“I use one that’s gold with black dots and red stripes. I’ve caught a lot of trout with that and they are great for the creeks and rivers.”)
Mountain lakes — Thomas Cyclone spoons (brass lures used often for trout).

Follow Barrett Stanghill on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with his Greco-Roman career and competitive schedule. 

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