Josh Bertrand has to be one of the most amiable dudes on the Bassmaster Elite Series. Always willing to do an interview, chat, listen and laugh. Just a downright fun fella. However, that's not all there is to this third-year Mercury pro. Nope. There are some fishing skills there, too.
The Abu Garcia pro sits in 38th in the Angler of the Year (AOY) standings on the Elite Series right now. If he holds steady, he can qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. But Bertrand would prefer to climb higher in the AOY standings and solidify his presence as a pro on the Elite Series with his second Classic qualification in three years.
"I've had a pretty good year so far," said Bertrand. "I'm happy to be in the position I am right now in points. If I can improve a bit to make sure I can stay qualified for my second Classic appearance, that would be great.
"It's just been a bit frustrating that I haven't been able to close like I want to this year. I don't mean just winning, I mean finishing strong. Seems like every event this year, I've given up valuable points on my last day of fishing. I'm still learning and striving to improve with each tournament. It's amazing how much calmer I've become and how I've learned to handle this life and the stress that comes with the tournaments. I want to be one of those guys that is almost always in the top of the AOY point standings."
Small things have made all the difference for Bertrand.
"I've had a couple of things happen this year that definitely changed the outcome of my tournaments," said Bertrand. "More than a couple, but these stand out.
"On Kentucky Lake, I had a great ledge to fish with plenty of fish, but unfortunately for me a local was fishing it, too and would never let me on where I needed to be. I could've gone searching or probably had more spots, but that sure changed how I finished.
"The second glaring deal for me was the last event on the St. Lawrence. I was truly in the position to win the tournament, but the last day just fell apart on me. I don't feel bad about it because I never had the volume of fish I really needed.
"I was surviving by the skin of my teeth each day. I was never sure why I caught them or what I was going to do for the next day. I was only getting 7 or 8 good bites each day catching 6 or so. I fished very calm and methodically.
"On the last day, I only had four bites. Can't control that, so I went away from that tournament feeling okay."
Continuing education is necessary for Bertrand's success.
"I feel like a win or two will eventually come," said Bertrand. "I know what it takes to survive and do well out here now. I need to keep putting myself in position to do well. Every time on the water I learn more and more. Anyone can have a bad year, but as long as I'm learning, I feel like more and more success will come."
Dave Landahl for Pros4- 1Source