St. Croix Pro Josh Wiesner Qualifies For 2024 Bassmaster Classic Through B.A.S.S. Nation

Park Falls, WiI – Fond du Lac, Wisconsin’s Josh Wiesner works hard at everything he does. And it shows. The husband, father of two, and 24-year veteran of the marine industry started The Boat Doc from scratch in 2007, a business that has grown to become one of the most respected full-service Mercury Marine, Ranger, and Triton dealerships in the Midwest. He also owns a custom lure business called Hot Shot Customs and has fished competitively for over 20 years, on the National Walleye Tour (NWT), B.A.S.S. Nation circuit, and others.

Wiesner, 45, accomplished something new this season in his 11th year fishing the B.A.S.S. Nation. The St. Croix pro staffer qualified for the most prestigious fishing tournament in the world, the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic Presented by Toyota, scheduled for March 22-24 in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. Ultimately, he did so by earning third place at last week’s 2023 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell, but that was just the final milestone in a season full of improbable accomplishment.

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“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Wiesner says.  “It’s insane how far you have to go to get to this point coming through B.A.S.S. Nation. There’s a lot of steps and a lot of opportunities for failure. You have to fish well enough to make your State Team,” continues Wiesner, who reached that objective six times in the past 11 years. “Then you fish your B.A.S.S. Nation Regional. If you are the top-finishing angler from your state at the Regional, you qualify for the National Championship. Then the top three at the National Championship earn Classic berths. I won the B.A.S.S. Nation Regional Championship on Winnebago this year, moved on to the National Championship, and was fortunate to fish well there. The entire path is anything but easy, which makes all of this even more gratifying!”

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Wiesner caught a three-day 15-fish total of 37 pounds on Hartwell to earn his third-place finish at the 2023 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, which in addition to a 2024 Bassmaster Classic berth, also came with a $10,000 cash prize and entry fees for the entire 2024 St. Croix Bassmaster Opens Series season, which Wiesner plans to fish.

“I went down to Hartwell with my wife when it was open for practice this August and fished for three days prior to the cutoff,” Wiesner recalls. “I did well there and figured some stuff out, so I was excited when the tournament finally arrived. We got two-and-a-half days of practice in prior to competition. There were still fish on my program, but not the 4’s and 5’s I was catching in August. But there were fish shallow, too. I ended up catching them anywhere from 8 to 45 feet. I was fishing a Bass Assasin Tapout Worm on a shakeyhead jig in shallow water, and a Hot Shot Hartwell Hammer in a blueback herring pattern in deep water, where I caught about 70% of my fish.” Wiesner says he used the same 6’8” medium power, extra-fast action St. Croix Legend X and Legend Tournament Bass spinning rods for both techniques. Paired to the rods were SEVIIN GS and GX 2500-size spinning reels spooled with 10-pound braid and 14-pound fluorocarbon leaders.

A total of 113 anglers (58 boaters, 55 non-boaters) began the tournament on 56,000-acre Lake Hartwell, which straddles the South Carolina-Georgia border. They hailed from 48 states and eight foreign countries, and all earned their way into the field by virtue of their showings at one of five B.A.S.S. Nation regionals held across the country this year.

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Wiesner says he’s excitedly looking forward to the Classic, though he’s never fished Grand Lake. “As soon as I got off the stage at the B.A.S.S. Nation National Championship, I was approached by a top B.A.S.S. official who told me about the No Information Rule in effect now through the Classic,” Wiesner recalls. “I don’t like getting information from other people anyway, so I’ll be fine doing my own research and learning what I can. I’m spending a lot of time watching videos and reading articles.”
An oversimplified strategy going into the biggest bass-fishing tournament in the world? Perhaps. But consider Wiesner’s history of success. He makes a habit out of working hard at everything he does.

And it shows.

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About St. Croix Rod

Headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been proudly producing the “Best Rods on Earth” for 75 years.  Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled craftsmanship, St. Croix is the only major producer to still build rods entirely from design through manufacturing.  The company remains family-owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls and Fresnillo, Mexico.  With popular trademarked series such as Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Avid®, Premier®, Imperial®, Triumph® and Mojo, St. Croix is revered by all types of anglers from around the world.
About B.A.S.S. Nation

About B.A.S.S. Nation

The B.A.S.S. Nation is a global network of locally organized clubs whose members participate in and support a range of activities, including tournaments, conservation initiatives and youth programs. Three competitors, who qualify through a rigorous series of local and regional tournaments and then the national championship, advance to bass fishing’s biggest stage, the Bassmaster Classic. To join the B.A.S.S. Nation, contact the president of your state or nation chapter to see what clubs are available in your area or start your own.

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