Lifestyle / POSTED 15-Aug-2023

Always Ready to Fish

Josh Barr’s Journey with Yamaha

My love for fishing started very early. I grew up on a property that had three ponds, all of them built by my grandpa. During the summers, all I did was fish those ponds with him. My dad fished too when he could, but when he was working, my grandpa was always ready to fish with me. We even traveled to some of the smaller lakes and streams close to us in Ohio. I was “hooked,” so to speak.

Throughout my teenage years, my family had a fish-and-ski boat we used to take fishing. On my 18th birthday, I had a friend ready to sell a bass boat. We bought it and that’s when I started fishing local bass tournaments. 

I attended Eastern Kentucky University® and during my time there, started the Bass Club and fished competitively. College fishing was my first real introduction to big-time tournaments – something I knew I would continue after my time at Eastern Kentucky.


After graduation, I began competing in larger local tournaments such as the BASS® Nation and Bass Fishing League tournaments (MLF) in Ohio and Michigan.  I’ve also fished a few BASS® Opens and Toyota® Series tournaments. I found out about Yamaha’s Power Pay contingency program through Bassmaster® magazine and now have the opportunity to get paid when I am the highest placing Yamaha angler in the qualifying tournaments I fish.

I started running a Yamaha V MAX SHO® in 2012, which was relatively new to the market at that time. That outboard has played a pivotal role in my success from that point forward. Though my time for tournaments is more limited now, I still compete – mostly on Lake Erie – and often make long runs from the mouth of the Detroit River back to Pelee Island, which is 40 miles each way.  A big part of success in Great Lakes tournaments is having total confidence in your equipment.  That SHO is quiet, reliable, and I’m always confident when I push the start button that I’m going to get back in time for weigh-in. After owning Yamaha’s for so long, I even now know how to do my own basic maintenance.


In 2019, I entered a social media contest sponsored by Yamaha to win a trip to the Bassmaster Classic®. The fishing photo I submitted with my SHO in the background was selected as the winner, and my then-fianc√©-now-wife Holly and I set off for Knoxville to experience our first Classic. The entire weekend was incredible and, as guests of Yamaha, we were treated to the full range of VIP events. It was nice to meet and get to know the people behind the brand I’ve respected and relied on for years. Meeting the team and realizing how great the people are behind the Yamaha brand makes me never want to consider running anything else on my boat. My outboard limited warranty is up next year, and I am already thinking about how Yamaha will factor into the decision of my next boat purchase.


A few years ago, my wife and I put a pond on our property and now, I have the opportunity to pass my love of fishing onto my son, Colt. He’s only two, but he already has the bug and immediately wants to grab every fish we catch – no fear! I know we have many good times to come in our Yamaha-powered boat and I look forward to watching his passion for fishing and time on the water grow.

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