Hartman's lure lineup

On Sunday Jaime Hartman came out of nowhere to make it in Championship Sunday. And he’s done it again, already having caught 20 pounds. Here’s his lure lineup.

The lure arsenal features a 3/4-ounce custom football jig with a green pumpkin 3.75-inch Riot Baits R Craw trailer. Another top choice is a 4-inch Riot Baits Fuzzy Beaver (Blue Steel), on 5/0 Owner 4x Jungle Flippin’ Hook with 1.25-ounce weight. Hartman also is using a new 4.75-inch Riot Baits Synth Worm designed by he and fellow Elite Greg DiPalma. A 1/0 Owner All Purpose Worm Hook completes the drop shot rig. A bone-pattern walking bait is used for topwater action.

Hartman lands 20 lbs in 42 minutes

The fireworks - big-time fireworks - started for Jamie Hartman immediately today. Hartman landed 20 pounds, 10 ounces in the first 42 minutes after the 6 a.m. takeoff. The smallest part of that was a 1-12 cull, so Hartman's best five weigh 18-14 and include a 5-14 and a 5-0. He started the day in 10th place, 7-2 behind leader Matt Arey's 62-13. Hartman's got 74-9 now, unofficially.

Jaye is on a school

Championship Monday is overcast and breezy and most of the anglers in the Top 10 seem to like the conditions.

Our first stop of the day is near Kelly Jaye, who soon caught his first keeper. That one weighed about 2 1/2 pounds. He must be on the school because he quickly got another bass, but it was too short to keep. A few minutes later he added his second keeper to the livewell. I am guessing that he has about 3 1/2 pounds. And it’s just getting started.

When we arrived, Matt Herren was fishing within 50 or 60 yards of him. He moved a quarter-mile away and is fishing a similar spot. I think we will go see what he’s doing.

Jaye back at it near the take-off site

We didn’t have to go far from the launch site this morning to find Alabama pro Kelley Jaye.

He’s fishing his vintage Smithwick Rogue jerkbait within plain sight of Goose Pond Colony - and so far, managing to keep the hooks out of his hands (unlike yesterday).

No fish yet.

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Big Monday, Big Bass, Big Stage, Big Dreams

All ten of today's final qualifiers relished the thought of fishing Lake Guntersville without a horde of other anglers around. The biggest five-bass limit of the tournament so far was the 24-pound, 12-ounce sack that Kelley Jaye weighed on Saturday. There are expectations of bigger bags today.

“Somebody’s likely to bring in 26 or 27 pounds with the way things are going,” said Matt Arey, who leads after three days with 62-13. “Everything should be right (Monday), and I need to make the most of it.”

Who will make the most of it today? That's what this tournament may come down to - just today. There's a separation of only 2 pounds, 3 ounces between Arey and second-place Chris Zaldain. Matt Herren starts the day 3-11 back. Also within five pounds are Lee Livesay (4-11) and Brandon Lester (4-9).

But on a lake like Guntersville, everyone has a shot today. Big bass the first three days is the 7-pounder Bernie Schultz caught on Day 1. That's likely to be topped today too. It's Big Monday, Big Bass, Big Stage, Big Dreams on Lake Guntersville.

Herren breaks 5-hour drought

Matt Herren began this day with a flurry. But he went just over five hours before adding to the 17-pound, 3-ounce limit he had in the first 90 minutes today.

Herren is smiling again now. He landed a 4-3 at 12:28 that gives him 18-9 today and puts him within ounces of the lead, according to BASSTrakk.

The noon hour is apparently feeding time all over Lake Guntersville. Caleb Sumrall continued his mid-day flurry with a 5-4 at 12:32 and Matt Arey has added his big bass of the day, a 5-pounder, at 12:41.

Herren's move proves fruitful

Matt Herren moves from near the launch all the way to the bottom of the lake to build a 17-pound limit.

Now he’s back up the lake. He told a local angler he “needs a 4- or 5-pounder to make the Top 10,” and he soon got his wish.

With a handful of spectator boats watching, he set the hook on a 4.25-pounder that pushes his total to an estimated 18-9, according to BASSTrakk.

Schultz swinging away

It's no secret that Florida pro Bernie Schultz has been struggling a bit lately, and he's working through the tough times by making the next cast, and the next one after that.

"It's all I can do, you know?" he said during the third morning of the 2019 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament at Lake Guntersville. "Slumps happen to everyone at some point in their career, and I'm going to get through this."

During the opening round of competition, Schultz anchored his Day-1 limit of 20 pounds, 7 ounces with a solid 7-pounder, which is currently the biggest fish of the event so far.

"Big fish go a long ways in this sport, especially when bites dissipate and fish seem to vanish from day-to-day," he said. "I've had to adjust quickly each day, and yesterday I fell a little bit, but thanks to the big one on the first day I made a Top 35. That's good, but today I need to build on that, climb a few places in the AOY standings and position myself to be within striking distance of the Classic when we head north."

The annual Northern Swing begins in August when the Elite Series will visit two legendary Upstate New York fisheries beginning with St. Lawrence River out of Waddington. At that point, the Elites will move to the second New York stop at Lake Cayuga -- both fisheries have fat smallmouths on the menu.

Traditionally, Schultz has been a terrific northern smallmouth angler.

"I love fishing up there," he said. "I've always done well when smallies are the focus. My goal is to get up there and win one of those events, or at least finish strong enough to boost my points back into the Classic qualification range. That's what this is all about."

At this point during Semi-Final Sunday at Guntersville, making the Top 10 is unlikely for Schultz, and he knows it.

"I decided to go hunting for big fish with my remaining time, and the best way to connect with a giant is to flip the grass mats," he said. "It's a tough decision sometimes, but ounces are critical to gaining momentum on the AOY leaderboard. I may not catch many doing this, but if I do catch one it'll be big."

Schultz said that enduring a season-long slump and a tough day on the water require the same mindset.

"You can't let it rattle you. Bass fishing can be very difficult and unforgiving -- especially when there are 74 other competitors looking to outfish you," he said. "You focus on your strengths and fish for them the way you like to do it. It's amazing how you can fish yourself out of a hole by just having fun."

Watch out for Schultz in New York, he's long overdue for a win and he's still very hungry.

Sumrall making a Top 10 run

Caleb Sumrall has come painfully close, but he's never qualified to fish the final day in this his second season on the Elite Series. He's giving it his best shot today. Sumrall caught this 4-4 at 11:43 and culled up two more times in the next 30 minutes. He's now in 9th place, according to BASSTrakk, with 16-6 on the day and 53-2 for the tournament.

The New Iberia, La., pro finished 8 ounces out of 10th place at Winyah Bay. This marks the third straight Top 35 second-day cut that Sumrall has made. After his 11th-place Winyah Bay finish, he was 24th at Lake Fork.

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