Talk about paying your dues, Minnesotan Josh Douglas has competed in 57 Bassmaster Open tournaments since 2012 in his quest to qualify for the vaunted Bassmaster Elite series. He succeeded in 2021 by finishing third in the Bassmaster Southern Opens Angler of the year Standings.
With 48th place at Florida’s Harris Chain, third at Tennessee’s Douglas Lake, and seventh at North Carolina’s Lake Norman, Douglas demonstrated that is a well-rounded angler. He credits the many Bassmaster Open tournaments he has fished across the country, as well as others, for teaching him how to adjust to different bass waters.
At a young age his father and stepfather introduced him to fishing for walleye and pike, which are, by far, the most popular species in Minnesota. His uncle Jeff was the outcast who introduced him to bass fishing while he was in junior high school.
“Bass fishing was his love,” Douglas said of his uncle. “He had a makeshift aluminum boat he put a platform on to make it a bass boat. Minnesota has 13,000 lakes. We fished different random lakes for smallmouth and largemouth.“
Douglas caught his first smallmouth while fishing with uncle Jeff, a 4-pounder that went for a Berkley Power Leech on a split shot rig. He has been an addicted bass nut ever since.
“My uncle passed away in 2007 from brain cancer,” Douglas said. “He was only in his 40s. If he was still alive, he would be traveling a bunch with me today.”
Douglas didn’t begin fishing tournaments until 2006 when he was in his mid 20s. He bought his first bass boat then and joined the Gopher Bassmasters. The club had “a ton of talent in it” and Douglas learned a great deal about bass tactics and how to compete from the club’s members.
From the club he went on to fish the Bassmaster weekend series and eventually to the Bassmaster Opens and the FLW Tour. He is most comfortable fishing grass lakes because he learned the intricacies of plucking bass from grass in Minnesota.
Then again, his travels have taught him to fish whatever a given body of water has to offer. When Douglas finished second at the Central Open on Sam Rayburn, he targeted brushpiles that were 8 to 22 feet deep. He picked off his bass with a 10-inch Texas rigged worm, a Roboworm rigged on a drop shot and a swimbait.
His wife, Bri, and their blue heeler, Lutsen, travel with him to all Bassmaster tournaments.
“Bri does all my photography and video content,” Douglas said. “She left her corporate job four years ago to hit the road with me. She has been hired by B.A.S.S. in the past to take photos at their tournaments.”
Incidentally, Douglas is a good friend of Bassmaster Elite Series pro Seth Feider. They are from the same area and fish and hunt together when they can.
“We’ve fished against each other since we graduated from high school,” Douglas said. “Seth has helped me a lot over the years and has helped me get to this point.”
However, Douglas doesn’t expect or much help from Feider when he fishes the Elite Series. He claimed that Feider is a quiet fox who holds his cards close to his vest.
When not fishing tournaments, Douglas is an accomplished bass guide on Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake. You can learn more about Douglas at joshdouglasfishing.com.
His sponsors include Scheels, Navionics, Shimano, Hercules Tires, Simms, Bluestorm, Lowrance, Sonic, Phoenix Boats, Mercury, Power-Pole, Boatlogix, OutKast Tackle, X2 Power Batteries, Aqua-Vu, BioSpawn Lures, T-H Marine, Engel Coolers, G-Loomis, Power Pro, Lance Campers, Woo Tungsten, Owner Hooks, Warner’s Dock Inc., Farm to Med, Bassman Spinnerbaits and Gemini Jerseys.