No Rookie Blues for Bertrand
Sep 11th, 2013 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 11th, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Josh Bertrand isn’t a household name in the pro fishing world, but this Gilbert, Arizona Bass Pro Shops/Mercury pro qualified to fish the Bassmaster Classic in his first year fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series. That’s a feat many legendary pros, Rick Clunn and Shaw Grigsby for example, failed to do in 2013.
Like most rookie pros, he was plagued with some inconsistent fishing performances in 2013, but Bertrand stabilized his season over the last few events and pushed hard at Lake St. Clair to slip into the Classic held on Lake Guntersville out of Birmingham, Alabama in February 2014.
“I was not as consistent on the Elite Series this year as I wanted to be,” said Bertrand. “I was lucky enough to get into the Classic on points this year. I did really well in a couple of events and really bombed in others. I kind of expected my year to have ups and downs. I put in a lot of practice, research, preparation. I did as much as I could.
“After the Alabama River event I knew I had to get Top 50’s for the rest of the season. I wanted to get checks. Then, after good tournaments on the Mississippi and St. Lawrence Rivers I knew I had a shot to qualify for the Classic if, I had a good tournament on Lake St. Clair.
“After practice on Lake St. Clair I felt like I was treading water, like I was fishing for 50th at best. I knew that wouldn’t benefit me much. I decided to head to Lake Erie, so I’d have a shot at making the Classic. I felt like I would be fishing to lose if I stayed in Lake St. Clair. I ended up finishing in 26th, just enough to get me into the Classic.”
Bertrand reacted to the news of his Classic berth with a mix of shock and joy.
“I have to admit, I felt like a total rookie when I found out I made it into the Classic,” said Bertrand. “I had friends texting me, leaving voicemails. I didn’t feel like I arrived, but I was surprised and filled with excitement.
“I was trying to film testimonials for one of my sponsors, Rigid Industries. I just couldn’t get them done. I was so excited. Almost every take was bad. I kept messing up what I was trying to say.”
Like most pros, Bertrand will be keeping very busy during his “off season” while waiting for his shot to fish the Bassmaster Classic.
“When I am not fishing the Elite Series I am still very busy with fishing,” said Bertrand. “I am a fishing guide at home with The Arizona Fishing Guides. I’m also fishing the B.A.S.S. Central Opens. Of course, I also work with my sponsors and work to secure my current sponsors or acquire other sponsors so I can stay out fishing the Elite Series. It is a year around profession.”