Josh Bertrand sacked up 22-6 on Day 1 out of Sandusky, Ohio to grab the lead in the FLW Pro Circuit Super Tournament. Photo by Charles Waldorf

SANDUSKY, Ohio – If there’s a bass tournament where smallmouth are the key species, it’s proving to be foolish to bet against MLF pro Josh Bertrand.

Less than a month removed from third-place finish at Bass Pro Tour Stage Five (out of the smallie Mecca of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin), the Arizona pro is back on top of the leaderboard at a smallmouth-dominated tournament: Bertrand weighed in 22 pounds, 6 ounces of smallies to claim the Day 1 lead at the FLW Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Erie out of Sandusky, Ohio.

Despite a sluggish bite, Bertrand was able to connect with enough quality fish – including a 5-11 kicker – to build a small cushion on fellow MLF pros Boyd Duckett (second with 21-14) and Justin Lucas (third with 21-7).

RELATED: Full Results

“I was pleasantly surprised,” Bertrand admitted. “There’s a ton of pressure in the areas I’m fishing, and there just aren’t that many fish. If a guy catches a good bag, he catches maybe six or seven fish.”

Bertrand remained in Lake Erie, forsaking the 80-plus-mile one-way runs to Lake St. Clair that multiple anglers gambled on, and instead fishing a handful of spots he’d located in previous events fishing out of Detroit.

“I’m fishing a Berkley PowerBait Flat Worm on very typical Lake Erie structure,” Bertrand said. “Nothing special, just doing what I think is my best bet to keep my head down and keep grinding.”

Ten MLF Pros in the Top 20

MLF pros occupied seven of the Top 10 spots, and 10 of the Top 20 after the first day of competition. In addition to Bertrand, Duckett and Lucas, the following MLF anglers will enter Day 2 in the Top 20: Jacob Wheeler (6th/20-6); Gerald Spohrer (7th/20-0); Kelly Jordon (9th/19-10); Todd Faircloth (10th/19-1); Alton Jones Jr. (11th/19-0); Fred Roumbanis (16th/18-1); and Brent Ehrler (20th/17-7).

“The biggest challenge (on Day 2) will be adjusting to more pressure on the fish, and a wind direction change,” Bertrand said. “It’s a very fragile bite. You’re only catching a handful of fish a day, and then the fish are pressured and the wind changes direction – one thing goes wrong and you can’t catch a limit.”

MLF pro Boyd Duckett stretches to net part of his 21-plus-pound bag from Day 1, which put him in second place. Photo by Charles Waldorf

Watch Day 2 Live

Day 2 at the FLW Pro Circuit Super Tournament out of Sandusky, Ohio can be viewed live on the FLW Live stream on the home page of the FLW website, starting at 8 a.m. EDT.

Fans can catch 18 hours of streaming on-the-water tournament action through the remaining three days of competition, with hosts Travis Moran, Todd Hollowell and Marty Stone calling the action.

Day 2 weigh-in will also stream live from Sandusky, Ohio, starting at 3 p.m. EDT on FLWfishing.com.