New Elite: Latuso’s bittersweet Elite qualification

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Ronnie Moore

You would think Louisiana’s Robbie Latuso would be overjoyed at qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series by finishing fifth in the 2016 Central Open’s AOY standings. He is pleased with the accomplishment but disappointed that his son, Logan, finished sixth in the standings. Logan missed the Elite Series by one place.

“It’s heartbreaking that Logan was so close and bittersweet for me,” Latuso said. “It was always the goal for both of us to qualify for the Elites.”

In a sense, Latuso feels he is the one who prevented Logan from making the Elites. Were it not for him, would Logan have moved up one spot and qualified? That kind of thinking messes with your mind, quantum physics and the space-time continuum. Change one little thing from the past and you never know what the outcome will be.

Latuso resides in Gonzales, La. with his wife Jamie and Logan. His daughter Alyssa, 18, is a freshman at LSU. His other daughter, Jasie, is married and lives in New Orleans.

For the past 20 years, Latusohas been fishing Bassmaster tournaments off and on. He went into business for himself 13 years ago with a ServiceMaster Franchise, which does fire and water restoration. Latuso’s employees keep the business running when he fishes a Bassmaster Open. He brings a laptop computer along so he can keep track of the business. This sometimes shortens his practice days.

Latuso hasn’t missed a Central Open tournament since the 2013 season. He is now, at age 50, an Elite Series rookie.

Bass fishing has been a passion for Latuso since he was a tad. His father, Mickey, was “barely a fisherman,” but he did take Latuso and his brother Mitchfishing, mainly on the Atchafalaya Basin. Latuso seriously got into tournament fishing after he graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a degree in marketing.

“I bought a Skeeter as soon as I got out of college,” Latuso said. “I started out fishing in club tournaments with the Baton Rouge Bassmasters.”

After fishing with the club for eight years, Latuso began competing in nearby open tournaments and later went on to fish Federation Nation events. He qualified for the Louisiana state team seven times and was the Louisiana State Champion in 2013.

Logan began fishing with Latuso at age five.

“He always loved it,” Latuso said. “I never had to force him to come with me. He was throwing a baitcaster right off.”

Logan eventually fished team tournaments near home with his father, as well as Federation events. In 2014 and 2015 Logan fished the Central Opens as a co-angler. This gave him an opportunity to travel with his father, participate in practice days and get a taste of the competition. He won over $6,000 in the process.

The 2016 season was the first year Logan fished the Central Opens as a pro angler. He pocketed nearly $8,000 and almost qualified for the Elite Series at the tender age of 23.

“Logan is as good a bass fisherman as I am,” Latuso said. “It has really helped us to work together at the Open tournaments. It’s made us both better fishermen.”

One of the high points for Logan during the Central Open tournaments was practicing with Elite Series pro Cliff Crochet.

“Cliff is Logan’s mentor,” Latuso said. “It was tough on Logan missing the Elites. I told him that as accomplished as he is at his age, he will make the Elites before long.”

Latuso’s sponsors are Skeeter and Yamaha. He is currently pursing other sponsors to help him fund his 2017 Elite Series season.