Bertrand has his eye on AOY — and an emergency exit plan in place



Josh and Chantel Bertrand

Arizona pro Josh Bertrand has a gigantic event coming up.

It’ll no doubt change his life forever and go down as one of the most memorable moments he’s ever experienced. 

Oh, and he’s also fishing the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship next week on Georgia’s Lake Chatuge. 

Bertrand, who currently ranks second in the AOY standings, only nine points out of the lead, is expecting his second child with his wife, Chantel, in matter of days. That means two milestone moments — one in his career and one in his life — could converge in a frantic manner.

Their baby boy isn’t due until Sept. 28, five days after the tournament ends. But since Josh knows babies tend to make their appearances whenever they choose, he’s already made his decision: If Chantel goes into labor while the tournament is underway, he’s gone.

“We still don’t have the plan down to a tee,” he said. “But I don’t want to miss the birth of my child for anything. If I get that call, I’m going to try to get to Atlanta and get home.

“It’s $100,000 and an incredibly prestigious title that I’ve been working toward my entire career. But that doesn’t compare to my child being born.”

In a perfect world, Josh will be able to fish hard for all three days of the AOY event, and the baby — who’ll most likely be named Parker or Luke — will be born healthy on his due date.

That’s certainly what Chantel is rooting for — even as she sits more than eight months pregnant in the stifling Arizona heat.

“The perfect scenario for next week would be not to have a baby,” she said, laughing. “It would be perfect if I could not have the baby and Josh could go and win. 

Then if the baby wants to come just a little early, that would be fine. 

“Sometime around the Tuesday after the tournament would be just right,” Chantel said.

Chantel delivered the couple’s first child, Emma, almost two weeks after her due date nearly two years ago. But second children are known for being notoriously different — from the womb to the crib to college.

With that in mind, Josh will take a different approach to this tournament.

“Usually, when the tournament starts, I’ll put my phone away,” he said. “But we’re allowed to use them for emergencies, and this definitely qualifies. I’ve known people who’ve been in the same situation. They fished all day out of cell service and came back to find 500 voicemails on their phone about their wife going into labor.

“I’m not going to let that happen.” 

While the circumstances could be a little more convenient from a career standpoint, both Josh and Chantel have accepted that’s just how life goes sometimes — especially when a little one is involved. 

They both know the worst that will happen next week is they’ll welcome a new life into the world, and he’ll resume his fishing career another day.

“That’s the coolest thing about the whole situation,” Josh said. “When that’s the worst thing that could happen, life is good.”