Hartman hopes to manage fish

Day-1 leader Jamie Hartman got off to a blistering start on Day 2. By 8 a.m., he had a limit of 17 pounds, 4 ounces and held the top three spots on the day’s Big Bass list.

Hartman started on a grassy point that’s about 10 feet on top — the spot where he briefly stopped on his way in yesterday and nabbed a 4-pounder. He’s fished this point for several years, but apparently, the area has accumulated a surprisingly better level of quality and quantity.

This morning’s bright, sunny conditions have stimulated the smallmouth, which are known as fierce sight feeders.

Hartman has put on a Carolina-rig clinic this morning. A drop shot would also work where he’s fishing, but after losing several key fish on that rig during last week's SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River, he’s more comfortable with the C-rig heavier tackle.

The Carolina rig is also a more efficient option, as Hartman can cover water more quickly with a steady reeling presentation. The heavier rig reaches bottom quickly and stirs up a lot of fish-tempting commotion, but in some instances, Hartman connected with aggressive smallmouth even before his weight hit bottom.

By 8, Hartman had two 4-pounders, a 3, a 3-12 and a 2-8 in his livewell. He’s wants to upgrade before leaving, but he’s weighing that short-term ambition against his long-term potential.

“I hope I can get a couple more 4s really quick,” Hartman said. “I don’t want to burn this spot up; I want to save some for tomorrow.”

Locking up a solid limit of brown fish early will allow Hartman plenty of time to go hog hunting for one of Champlain’s whopper largemouth. If he can accomplish that goal, he may be hard to catch today.