Photo: Joel Shangle

Professional anglers have a very interesting lifestyle. Unlike their counterparts in Major League Baseball, pros fishing the upcoming Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour are not flown about the country and don’t have traveling secretaries booking rooms and meetings and scheduling everything for them.

MLF pros come in all shapes and sizes. Some are family people, some are business-focused, and others are just hardcore competitors. Still, most pros have one thing in common with each other and other professional athletes: off-season rest and pre-season prep.

New MLF pro Josh Bertrand is a prime example of how a dedicated family man with a wife and two young children handles his profession during the “offseason.” The Arizona pro breaks it down for us.

Getting mentally ready

Mental preparation is a major component of Bertrand’s routine during his downtime.

“The first month of the off-season is a great opportunity for me to decompress and let my mind and body rest a bit,” Bertrand said. “Over the off-season, I catch up with family, play with my kids, and try to beat (fellow MLF pro) James Elam in fantasy football. The season is so stressful, especially with events scheduled so close to each other. Between the competition and travel, your mind never relaxes during the season.

“As the holidays roll in, it’s time to get serious about the upcoming season. Tackle prep, boat prep, truck prep, lake research, sponsor relations, and travel research are all very important during these next couple of months. I also try to get on the water and fish at least once a week to stay mentally sharp for fishing. I love fishing when I’m home, and I enter several local tournaments during the offseason.”

Shaping up for the season

Along with the mental preparation is, of course, the physical side of the sport. MLF pros take a pounding while running their boats through all sorts of conditions, not to mention the seemingly endless hours grinding out the miles towing their boat from town-to-town while on tour. Bertrand, like many pros these days, makes sure he keeps physically fit.

“I usually work out two to four days a week with cardio and sometimes weights,” Bertrand said. “To me, eating healthy is the most important thing to feeling good on and off the water. While I admit that I’m not super strict on my diet, I’m conscious of what I eat and always make sure to get plenty of the good stuff you need to maintain energy and a good lifestyle. So, fitness takes both commitment to eating well, and exercising all year long.”

Bertrand the family man

One more key component to Bertrand’s preparation is family time. With two young children and his wife to take into consideration – and the new MLF Bass Pro Tour schedule to consider – Bertrand takes his prep seriously to satisfy his family’s needs.

“With a 2-year old and a newborn at home, it’s tough to plan too far ahead on travel for the family,” Bertrand admitted. “Right now, we’re focusing on surviving the infant stage with our son, Parker. We’ll all travel to a week-long regional Western Outdoor News (WON) Bass event at Lake Havasu this January. If it goes fairly smoothly with the kids, they may do a little travel with me this season. If things are a bit rocky on that test run, I’ll continue to fly home between every event during the season, and we’ll look at traveling together more next year.”