Josh Bertrand goes wire-to-wire to win 2022 WON BASS U.S. Open

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WON BASS U.S. OPEN CHAMPION Josh Bertrand with Tournament Director Billy Egan and Rick Pierce of Bass Cat Boats. DAN O'SULLIVAN PHOTO
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Spencer Shuffield Finishes Second, Joe Ahrens tops AAA Division

BY DAN O’SULLIVAN

LAUGHLIN It’s very rare to have a bass fishing event in the deserts of Nevada and Arizona where wind is not a factor in the event.  It is even more rare for a three-day event to have a complete lack of wind.  Warm, calm conditions greeted the anglers who ventured out onto the waters of Lake Mohave each day for the 2022 Bass Cat / Mercury WON BASS U.S. Open has been presented by Laughlin Tourism Commission and Visit Laughlin.

Calm slick conditions on a clear water fishery often means difficult conditions, but for the first two days, San Tan Valley, Ariz. pro Josh Bertrand seemingly made it look easy with consecutive limits that eclipsed 20 pounds.  With a two-day total of 43.79 pounds, he held a little more than a four-pound lead over second-place pro Spencer Shuffield of Hot Springs, Ark., who started the final day with 39.43 pounds.  Three-time U.S. Open champion Clifford Pirch, from Payson, Ariz. stood in third with 39.36 pounds.

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The trio, and those chasing them spent a long day on Lake Mohave, but in the end, it was San Tan Valley, Ariz. pro Josh Bertrand, the man who led since the opening bell who proved to put the pieces of the puzzle together the best and walked away with the title of 2022 WON Bass U.S. Open Champion. Bertrand added a final-day limit of Lake Mohave smallmouth weighing 17.99 pounds to bring his three-day winning total to 61.78.

In claiming victory, Bertrand not only held the trophy, but also grabbed the keys to the Bass Cat Cougar FTD / Mercury ProXS 250 prize package worth $86,000 and the winner’s share of the purse worth another $75,000.

Bertrand outlasted Shuffield who posted his second-consecutive limit eclipsing 20 pounds on the final day.  His 20.75-pound limit brought his total to finish the tournament with 60.18 pounds, good enough for second place.

JOSH BERTRAND WITH DAY 3 AAA Mike Crothers. DAN O’SULLIVAN PHOTO

AAA angler Joe Ahrens of San Diego, Calif. began the final day in eighth place and fished with Fort Worth, Tex. pro Chris Zaldain.  The pair weighed 18.83 pounds on the final day to bring his total weight to 46.40 pounds to claim the title of WON Bass U.S. Open AAA Champion.  His victory earned him the keys to a Honda Fortrax ATV valued at $5,600 and $9,000 cash.

Bertrand, who began his fishing career guiding and competing in tournaments in Arizona, said that this title was something he had wanted for years.  “The U.S. Open has always been one of the most important and special tournaments I’ve fished in,” he said.  “I’d always wanted to earn this trophy, but I didn’t know how much it meant to me until I was on the water today; it was a very stressful day, and I am so happy that it turned out this way.”

The Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour angler, who has turned into one of the most consistent anglers in the business, said that he fished deep with a drop-shot rig to put his weight together.  “I fished the middle section of the lake on structure in 20 to 40 feet of water,” he said.  “I would use my Garmin Livescope Plus to make sure the fish were there and cast my drop-shot rig to them; they were relating heavily to schools of baitfish.”

Bertrand revealed that each of his keepers came on a Berkley Flatworm in green pumpkin, with the late exception of two of his final fish that bit the same worm in a black color.  “I used the Flatworm because I have so much confidence in how it appeals to smallmouth,” he said.  “I threw it on my new Abu Garcia drop-shot rod ad reel spooled with 6-pound-test Trilene fluorocarbon, a 3/8-ounce drop-shot rig with a Fusion 19 Dropshot Hook; that was my whole program.”

Bertrand, who won a Bassmaster Elite Series event on the St. Lawrence River in New York in 2018, said that the personal importance of this win is at a premium.  “I am really fortunate to compete on a national level, and to have won there,” he said.

“But this win ranks at the top of my list because of what it has meant to me over my career; the U.S. Open has been the event all of us in the West want to win, and I’ve dreamt of it my whole life; I’m absolutely in shock right now.”

Fishing his first U.S. Open, Shuffield found comfort in the fact that he was smallmouth fishing and put together a run at the win.  “I really loved the way this lake fished, it is an amazing lake,” said Shuffield.  “I used a drop-shot rig and a Ned Rig to catch all of my fish this week fishing in the area they call “The Bowl.”

Shuffield used the same Berkley Flatworm that won the event, but also used a green pumpkin Z Man TRD to boat his fish.  He threw them on a 7’4” Phenix M1rod and Daiwa Ballistic reel spooled with 15-pound-test Hi-Viz Yellow Yozuri Super Braid and an 8-pound-test Yozuri T7 Fluorocarbon leader.”

The Arizona pro said that he let himself listen to the dock talk that said that 18 pounds a day would win the event, and it cost him.  “I had 18 pounds early then laid off my fish trying to conserve the areas on the first day and weighed in two under four pounds,” he said.  “I tried to make up for it, but that first day really cost me.  But I have to give it Josh, he knew what he had to do and went out and did it; congratulations to him.”

Patrick Touey from Nipomo, Calif. caught 19 pounds today and moved into third place for the championship with 56.75 pounds. 18-year-old Zach VerBrugge brought 17.71 pounds to the scales at Katherine Landing to move his total weight to 53.47 pounds, landing the Lake Havasu, Ariz. pro in fourth place.  Rounding out the top five was Zaldain, the Bassmaster Elite Series pro weighed a total of 51.61 pounds for the event.

Following the AAA winner Ahrens, in second place was Brian Tressen from Corona, Calif with 45.72 pounds.  In third place was Mike Crothers of Chandler, Ariz. with 44.03 pounds. Jim Vretzos of El Dorado Hills, Calif. finished the event in fourth place with 43.54 pounds and Tyler Head of Eugene, Ore. Rounded out the top five with 41.71 pounds.

The 2022 Bass Cat / Mercury WON BASS U.S. Open has been presented by Laughlin Tourism Commission and Visit Laughlin. Takeoffs and weigh-ins were held at Katherine Landing at Lake Mohave Marina located at 2690 Katherine Spur, Bullhead City, AZ 86429.

Look to wonbass.com and WONews.com along with WON BASS and Western Outdoor News social media platforms for event details and updates.

Complete final standings can be found below.

The 40th Anniversary 2022 WON BASS U.S. Open is presented by the following sponsors; Bass Cat Boats, Mercury Marine, Costa, Century Marine, Power-Pole, Western Outdoor News, Next Gen Lithium, Daiwa, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Frabill, Plano, Seaguar, Chevron Techron Marine, Lowrance, DD26 Fishing, Phenix Rods, Gamakatsu, Livingston Lures, Roboworm, HydroHoist, Bridgford Foods, Last Chance Performance Marine, Anglers Marine, Katherine Landing, Sure Life, LifeSource Water Systems, HUK Fishing, Huntington Beach Honda, Anderson Ford, Tuff Bunk, Laughlin Tourism Commission, Visit Laughlin and Edgewater Hotel, Casino & Resort.

U.S. OPEN runner up Spencer Shuffield and his co-angler on Day 3, Mike Kizis. DAN O’SULLIVAN PHOTO
PRO   AAA
$75,000 + Fully Loaded Bass Cat Josh Bertrand   61.78 1 $9,000 + Honda Fourtrax ATV Joe Ahrens 46.40
$16,500 Spencer Shuffield   60.18 2 $5,750 Brian Tressen 45.72
$10,000 Patrick Touey   56.75 3 $4,750 Mike Crothers 44.03
$9,000 Zach VerBrugge   53.47 4 $3,350 Jim Vretzos 43.54
$8,000 Chris Zaldain   51.61 5 $2,500 Tyler Head 41.71
$7,500 Luke Clausen   51.06 6 $2,300 Michael Gabrielson 40.34
$6,500 Sean Coffey   50.64 7 $2,000 Brian Kemp 39.72
$6,000 Austin Bonjour   48.88 8 $1,750 Phillip Dijulio 39.47
$5,500 Jeremy McKay   48.12 9 $1,500 Ty Crofts 38.34
$4,500 Todd Kline   46.49 10 $1,250 Mike Gowey 38.02
$3,750 Scott Hellesen   45.88 11 $1,000 R. Stephen
Gustafson
36.95
$3,750 Justin Kerr   45.34 12 $1,000 Mike Rasso 36.71
$3,750 Conrad Demecs   45.25 13 $1,000 Gary Freeman 36.32
$3,500 Clifford Pirch   45.24 14 $1,000 Mike Kizis 35.65
$3,500 Kyle Grover   43.09 15 $1,000 Tom Creasy 35.62
$3,000 Ben Byrd   40.62 16 $900 Eric Hammer 35.59
$3,000 Joe Uribe, Jr.   39.68 17 $900 Charles Jett 35.55
$3,000 Kalib Lund   39.35 18 $900 Max Howarth 35.33
$2,750 Dan Frazier   39.23 19 $900 Dylan Watson 34.98
$2,750 Cody Kurz   38.72 20 $900 Bo McNeely 34.96
$2,500 Jonathan Schuyler   38.64 21 $800 Kyle Keegan 34.93
$2,500 Mark Williams   37.61 22 $800 Pete Marino 34.66
$2,500 Roy Hawk   37.30 23 $800 Brandon Diamond 34.52
$2,500 Jon Bell   37.15 24 $800 Jeff Stuart 34.46
$2,500 Brett Leber   37.05 25 $800 Junior Mora 33.64
$2,250 Kyle Richins   36.99 26 $750 Joe Uribe, Sr. 33.45
$2,250 Douglas Jones   36.97 27 $750 Michael Reynolds 33.14
$2,250 Byron Velvick   36.67 28 $750 Anthony Stanfa 32.99
$2,250 Marvin Finley   36.24 29 $750 Andrew Packard 32.97
$2,250 Bryan Grier   36.14 30 $750 Nick Lara 32.96
$2,000 Mike Bird   36.10 31 $600 Makoto Otani 32.72
$2,000 Michael Phua   35.86 32 $600 Dave Phillips 32.66
$2,000 Ken Whalen   35.69 33 $600 Kurt Hodges 32.25
$2,000 Tim Klinger   35.62 34 $600 Noah Sanford 31.58
$1,600 Max Hernandez   35.51 35 $600 Joseph Riordan 30.87
$1,600 Mike Steckel   35.37 36 $600 Dean Yamagata 30.85
$1,600 Billy Hines   34.84 37 $600 Brian Reaves 30.65
$1,600 Mark Poe   34.82 38 $600 Richard Johnson 30.48
John Basmadjian 34.58 39 Ray Kawabata 30.12
Samuel Collins 34.51 40 Zach Gines 29.83
Clayton Meyer 34.47 41 Robert Brondyke 29.81
John Fuqua 34.07 42 Jonathan Green 29.61
Paul Hodges 33.92 43 Kevin A. Smith 29.58
Brandon Morton 33.9 44 Sonny Yee 29.51
Gunnar Stanton 33.77 45 Darren Wilson 29.50
Johnny Johnson 33.77 46 William McAninch 29.39
Bill Brown 32.76 47 Colton
Underwood-Garside
29.15
Kevin Wiggins 32.53 48 Steve W. Clark 28.80
Dennis Kolender 32.51 49 Bryan Ledford 28.51
Jeff Baird 31.61 50 Clif Gallagher 28.50
Chris Patek 30.88 51 James Pena 28.24
Dylan Maxon 30.85 52 Douglas Bullard 28.18
Jason Reyes 30.15 53 Adam Arp-Romero 28.14
Mike Williams 29.74 54 Melanie McBride 28.13
John Martinez 29.55 55 Tom Kruse 27.99
Kevin Johnson 29.3 56 Tony Witt 27.88
Chris Costello 29.14 57 Ethan Hammer 27.57
Micah Jones 29.06 58 Brian Avila 27.54
Ricky Shabazz 28.23 59 Lyle Valador 27.41
Marty Lawrence 27.96 60 Kenneth Murata 27.09
Levi Samz 27.72 61 Michael Nugent 26.82
Jerry Ballesteros 27.6 62 Alf Penland 26.72
Chris Kinley 26.9 63 Rick Correa 26.72
Kevin Hugo 26.63 64 Patrick S. Donoho 26.59
Steve Lund 26.17 65 Gary Wasson 26.52
Mike Folkestad 25.89 66 Stephen Byrum 26.36
James Weaver 25.82 67 Nathan Foreman 26.04
Phillip Emery 25.58 68 Daymond Allen 26.01
Tom Kilduff 25.55 69 Mick Karshner 25.95
Louis Fernandes 25.35 70 Matthew Matus 25.78
Joe Cole 25.12 71 Ken Hromada 25.63
Sunny Hawk 24.98 72 Chris Ricci 25.59
Jim Herrero 24.84 73 Matt Thomas 25.07
Jordan Collom 24.47 74 Dylan Moore 25.03
Christopher Allen 24.33 75 John Younce 25.02
Steve Molinari 23.91 76 Rick Mason 24.83
Daylon Smith 23.9 77 John Bitting 24.81
Anthony Salazar 23.85 78 DJ Virzuela 24.57
Carl Limbrick, Jr. 23.78 79 David Hutto 24.44
John Morrow 23.68 80 Todd Tobiasson 24.34
Dan Davis 23.47 81 David Stanberry 24.33
Tony Lain 22.85 82 William Penrod 24.27
Travis Pitt 22.76 83 Randy Ricafort 24.24
Jamie Shaw 22.75 84 Tim Demecs 24.22
Rick Clunn 22.75 85 Ron Goldshine 23.98
Rusty Salewske 22.43 86 David Childress 23.92
Aaron Bartelt 22.4 87 Fisher Griffith 23.90
Adam Cacal 22.03 88 Brandon Smith 23.74
Mike Luiere 21.97 89 Tom Warren 23.68
Matt Frazier 21.78 90 David Zrebiec 23.58
Daniel Uptain 21.44 91 Bridger Richins 23.45
Justin Patti 21.29 92 Trait Zaldain 23.43
Tyler Ivie 21.16 93 Steve Larsen 23.41
Kevin Finley 21.03 94 Bryan Davis 23.37
Eddie Rodriguez 20.78 95 Zack Willis 23.37
Paul Bailey 20.66 96 Nathan Hill 23.36
Kazuki Kodama 20.64 97 Fred Buelna 23.35
Robert Morales 20.45 98 Rick Moore 23.12
Kevin Martin 20.29 99 Chuck Turner 23.01
John Gayo 19.74 100 Darin Folkestad 22.81
Andrew Napoleon 19.68 101 Craig Duvall 22.61
Mark Rauenzahn 19.57 102 Creston Carroll 22.61
Jeff Rutt 19.52 103 Geoff Pierce 22.60
Ray Arbesu 19.42 104 Joseph Weber 21.90
Ron Hammett 19.21 105 Shawn Carnahan 21.82
Tom Leedom 19.19 106 Kevin Burgess 21.73
Allen Bratton 19.04 107 David Thies 21.69
Wayne St. John 18.93 108 Josh Buller 21.29
Scooter Griffith 18.82 109 Chris Harvey 21.26
Benjamin Green 18.65 110 Jonathan Jackson 21.19
Tom Ormsby 18.19 111 Kaden Argyle 21.16
Patrick Whitaker 17.98 112 Vincent Alcantara 21.10
Mike Bartley 17.77 113 Anthony Romano 21.10
Lyle Dalby 17.68 114 Gary Volpe 21.08
CJ Hinkle 17.62 115 Todd Belzner 21.04
Matthew Luna 17.53 116 Kelly Burns 20.77
Robert Ostercamp 17.41 117 Hayden Metz 20.59
Travis Jewell 17.4 118 Kenny Johnson 20.59
Corey Williams 17.06 119 Jay Corbett 20.41
Lowell Mickelson 16.9 120 Mike Dailey 20.37
Jeff Hudson 16.9 121 James Scott 20.36
Jiggs Benn 16.83 122 Robbie Espinosa 20.33
Frankie Mueller 16.64 123 Norman Uptain 20.19
Todd Holverson 16.48 124 Joel Chin 19.77
Robert Lutes 16.29 125 Jordan Werner 19.73
Bill O’Shinn 16.23 126 Geoff Peterson 19.30
Donnie Scroggins 16.21 127 Gerald Kimzey 19.23
Shane Noel 16.16 128 Gerred Curwick 18.97
Louis Ulrich 16.01 129 Colin Harrell 18.76
Darius Arberry 15.9 130 Ray Gauerke 18.71
Jimmy Reese 15.55 131 Michael Grisham 18.40
Garrett Howard 15.54 132 Mark Chadeayne 18.40
David Valdivia 15.38 133 Blake Rose 18.23
Cody Steckel 15.21 134 Tim Domingues 18.18
Ryan Yamagata 15.16 135 Greg Stevens 18.11
Andy Manahl 15.1 136 Kevin Holmgreen 18.07
Chip Gilbert 15.09 137 Thor Dusenberry 18.01
Cameron Karber 15.03 138 Andrew Jayne 17.98
Shawn Herring 15.02 139 Chris Thatcher 17.77
Allen Clark 14.85 140 Mark J. White 17.62
Chris Nickerson 14.84 141 Lonnie Foster 17.50
Matt Shura 14.61 142 Chris Beverly 17.26
Rob Sanford 14.36 143 Jeff Giffen 17.18
Gil Valadez 14.33 144 Joe Ramos 17.11
Robert Sedillo, Jr. 14.29 145 Wade Goodwin 17.01
Shawn Cooley 13.58 146 Logan Walker 16.78
Russ Barger 13.53 147 Tim Roden 16.72
Greg Garcia 13.41 148 J.D. Madden 16.29
Austin Gutzwiller 13.33 149 Roger Nelson 16.18
Shane Spinning 13.2 150 Darin Guglielmo 15.98
Dick Watson 13.14 151 Shawn Byrne 15.96
Jason Bryan 13.06 152 Brian P. Day 15.93
Brian Nunn 12.75 153 Kirk Beardsley 15.85
Dung Van Vu 12.7 154 Steven Cook 15.13
Jesse A. Marquez 12.68 155 Scott Robertson 15.07
Brad Szarkowski 11.98 156 Bill Eastes 14.88
James Hansen 11.77 157 Anthony Souza 14.77
Ayaaz Ismail 11.57 158 Rick Cofield 14.73
Scott Davis 11.31 159 Trevor Love 14.68
Travis Darrough 11.17 160 Mark Shelden 14.68
Jeremy Mann 11.04 161 Joey Aliberto 14.09
Jim Hawkes 10.88 162 Joe Leonard 13.98
Rodney Reed 10.7 163 Jeremie Wraight 13.41
Rusty Brown 10.69 164 Steve Rice 13.37
Brent Becker 10.34 165 David Meza 12.85
Steven Bowlin 10.27 166 Ellison Hubbard 12.85
Mike Huseman 10.19 167 William Hill Sr 12.76
Tom White Jr. 9.27 168 Melvin Cromwell 12.64
Mag Gimbel 8.88 169 Stacy Teeters 12.22
Jesse Halstead 8.67 170 Ron Smith 12.19
Joshua Glenn 8.62 171 Steve Baker 11.73
Dan Merchant 8.42 172 David Shearrer 11.66
Victor Azevedo 8.27 173 Bret Felter 11.04
David Gliebe 7.8 174 Mike Hawkins 10.03
Michael Kuzara 7.75 175 Ralph Wells 9.81
Tony Capparelli 7.31 176 Larry Ballesteros 9.72
Marco Fenelli 7.24 177 Jamie Johnson 9.61
David Kemper 6.81 178 Rick Melead 9.23
Josh Albee 6.36 179 Rod Livermore 8.60
Zachary Elrite 6.23 180 John D. Helm 8.00
Jeffery Klicka 5.92 181 Len Scinto 7.98
Sheldon Johnson 5.84 182 Kevin McBean 7.65
Greg Halliman 5.59 183 Adam Glasscock 7.49
Mike Menne 4.85 184 Adam Gragg 7.19
Keith Newby 4.49 185 Scott Holman 5.59
Hermie Romero 3.89 186 Brayden Weaver 5.30
Kevin Duncan 2.52 187 Willie Waller 4.81
Shannon Perkins 2.33 188 Wayne Larsen 3.44
Melvin Williams 0 189 David King 2.33
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