Jamie Hartman said postponement of the first day of the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite Series at St. Johns River is likely to really throw the field for a loop — and it certainly has him scratching his head about what to do tomorrow. A warming trend was predicted to make today the best opportunity for the pros to catch some big bedding bass, but a strong front is forecasted to drop temperatures 20 degrees over night on top of accompanying thunderstorms.
And Saturday morning’s forecast calls for a low of 33 degrees.
“I have no plan,” Hartman said. “The temperature drop, with the thunderstorms that are supposed to come in, the sustained wind, it’s going to churn everything up that’s been accessible. So that’s gone. And in Florida, you take a 20-degree drop — that’s crucial.”
The two-time Elite Series winner said he had a very tough practice, so everything was predicated on the assumption of having at least one day in the warming trend to catch some bedding bass.
"That plan’s out the window because what I planned to do today (is not going to happen),” Hartman said. "With the warmup, you predict what’s going to happen, and I guarantee it’s happening right now; they’re where they’re supposed to get after three days of warm weather. That’s what they’re waiting for. We have a full moon on Saturday, so they’re getting there.
"That’s how a lot of guys were going to catch them today. Including myself, some of the other guys said today was the day to catch them, if you were going to catch them, and then grind tomorrow to try to catch a limit.”
Any sight-fishing is almost certainly over for the duration of the event, and anglers will now start the tournament in post-front conditions.
"We’re going into the first day of that front, after high winds and storms. It’s going to be a tough one tomorrow,” Hartman said. "I don’t care if you’re fishing deep or you’re fishing shallow, it’s going to be a whole different ball game. And the second day is even worse.”
So how does Hartman plan to attack the fishery? Your guess is as good as his.
"I really have to rethink everything,” he said. “When you’re not getting bit in practice, you have nothing to go off of. That’s when it’s the toughest. I know where they were going to get, and that’s where I kept looking and getting myself set for."