The life of a professional bass angler is a balancing act, according to MLF pro Josh Bertrand. Photo by Phoenix Moore

Balance is what I strive for in my life. It’s not always easy to achieve, with so many things pulling you in different directions. Like my career fishing the MLF Bass Pro Tour, my family life with my wife Chantelle and our kids Emma and Parker, and, of course, my guide business and all of my sponsor responsibilities.

Everybody tries to achieve that balance of career and family, but in the professional bass fishing world, it’s pretty difficult at times.

Family First

My family comes first. I’d guess I’m away from my home about 25 to 30 weeks per year. It takes a tremendous amount of sacrifice from my wife and kids with me being gone so much. Sure, I sacrifice too, but my wife is my support and is completely behind what I chose to do for a career.  

A doctor or lawyer may work the same amount of hours I do, but they get to sleep in their own bed at night. I don’t. That’s just part of the price you pay for this career decision. When I’m home, I make sure to spend all day with my family. A lot of quality time. The regular life stuff: going to breakfast, shopping, any activity as a family you can do together is awesome.

I miss out on some stuff when I’m on the road, and that’s a bummer. It’s challenging to get through it, but with my family behind me, especially Chantelle, it’s worth it.

My wife is very good at keeping me in the moment at home. I’m always trying to improve my position in this business, working and researching. Sometimes I have trouble separating my home and work lives. She keeps me balanced and reminds me to walk away from work when I should be focused on my family.

The Business of Catching Bass

Beyond family, my main focus is fishing the Bass Pro Tour. Everything in my business and what I provide for my family revolves around my tournament fishing. I always make sure to get to each event a day early to prevent any issues with travel. I’m always prepared to compete. My sponsors understand this and work with me so I’m not occupied with any responsibilities other than competing.

The days off we have during the events are terrific. I can work with sponsors if need be and not have to add extra days on my time away from home at the end of a trip. I can participate in photo shoots, media interviews, basically anything business-related. Ultimately, I need to be solely focused on the tournaments when I’m there and perform well. Otherwise, the career is unsustainable.

The rest of my business and balance revolves around my sponsor commitments and guiding. I only guide about 20 days per year now, but I still enjoy it for sure. The sponsor commitments take up a large amount of time. Figure up to five days apiece per year for about 10 sponsors. That, of course, is no different than any other pro angler’s commitments to their sponsors. 

Check Out My New Podcast!

One way I’ve started to manage my time better is by starting a podcast with some buds. It’s called Angler’s Happy Hour, and it’s a sit-down conversation about various things including fishing, behind-the-scenes stuff, and a variety of other topics. It’s a lot of fun and it’s the type of product that promotes my business and my sponsors.

If you want to check it out, it’s available at all the podcast outlets like iTunes, Spotify, etc. You can also go to the website and check it out there.

I’m a daily list maker and I like to check things off my list each day. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment for the day. Balance is what I need for success, and hopefully, I can keep this balancing act going and improve it each year.