Opens profile: Robertson longs for the Elites

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Chris Mitchell

Thanks to winning the 2020 Bassmaster Eastern Open at Cherokee Lake, Kentucky’s Matthew Robertson will be competing in the 2021 Bassmaster Classic at Lake Ray Roberts, Texas. He fished the first three Eastern Opens this season and will be in the final event of the series at Lay Lake in Alabama.

This will be Robertson’s second Classic appearance. He qualified for the 2019 Classic on the Tennessee River via the Bassmaster Team Championship.

“I love the Classic, but that’s not why I’m fishing the Opens,” Robertson said. “My ultimate and only goal is to fish the Elite Series.”

Robertson is currently fourth in the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year overall standings. If he holds serve at Lay Lake and remains in the top four, he will attain his Elite Series objective.

At age 34 he is young enough to enjoy a long career as a professional angler. He already has more than 30 years of fishing experience to draw from. When Robertson was 3 years old, his grandparents, Tom and Jerry Dossett, began taking him bass and crappie fishing every Sunday at lakes Hodges and San Vicente near San Diego, Calif.

His grandparents and his mother, Eugenia, are originally from Central City, Ky. They moved to San Diego when the Navy stationed his grandfather there. When grandad Dossett retired from the Navy, they moved back to Central City.

Robertson was 9 when they returned to Kentucky. If anything, the move increased his bass fishing desires. Grandma Dossett was happy to oblige. They frequently launched a 16-foot Bass Tracker at Malone and Green River lakes and fished together.

“Grandma was better than your average bass fisherman,” Robertson said. “She let me run the show when we fished from a boat.”

Two years later, Robertson expanded his bass tournament horizon by joining the Lake Malone Bass Club. Grandad Dossett was already a member, as was his cousin, Terry Doss.

Robertson fished his first tournament at 11 years of age. It was a Lake Malone Bass Club event on Kentucky Lake in early March. His partner was Grandma Dossett, who had also joined the club.

“The high temperature that day was 35 degrees,” Robertson said. “The 20 mph winds kept us in the bays. I caught a 2 3/4-pound smallmouth on a Rat-L-Trap and thought I was the king of the world.”

For the next five years or so, Robertson and his grandad often fished together for fun and in tournaments. His mother and grandmother also took him fishing but were unable to satiate his bass passion. He asked his mother to take him fishing so often that, “I wore her out.”

“She’s a single mom and a nurse,” Robertson said. “Nobody works harder than a single mom trying to support a kid, especially one that has a fishing habit like mine.”

When he was old enough to drive, Robertson began fishing local tournaments with his best friend Wendell Anderson. They routinely competed in Tuesday night pot tournaments at Kentucky Lake and smaller bodies of water.

“One time we won six tournaments in a row,” Robertson said.

The winnings for these events were typically $600 or $700, which was big money for the youngsters. They fished from an 18 1/2-foot Triton with a 115 hp outboard that Robertson’s grandparents had bought.

After graduating from high school, Robertson got a degree in machine tool technology from Bowling Green Technical College in Bowling Green, Ky.

After graduating he worked as a machinist for 12 years before starting his own company, Robertson Pressure Cleaning. Being self-employed allows him to adjust his work schedule so he can fish multi-day tournaments, including the Bassmaster Opens.

Robertson currently lives in Kuttawa, Ky., with his wife Kassie and son Kade, who is 14.

While in his 20s, Robertson began fishing the larger tournaments held at Kentucky Lake. He claimed that he has won many major tournaments there. However, he has bigger aspirations than being a hot stick on one lake.

When the bass fishing at Kentucky Lake took a downturn due to the invasion of Asian carp, Roberts began fishing B.A.S.S. Nation tournaments more seriously as well as the Bassmaster Opens. He and Anderson won a Bassmaster Team Championship at Florida’s Harris Chain, which is how Robertson qualified for his first Bassmaster Classic.

Given his success this year in the Bassmaster Opens, Robertson’s bass fishing ventures appear to be headed to new heights.

His lone sponsor is Renegade Marine owned by Sherbert and Linda VanMeter.

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