No one - rookie or veteran - is committed to the 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series season like Jamie Hartman. Hartman no longer has a home to return to, in his hometown of Newport, N.Y., or anywhere else.
"Everything is in storage," said Hartman. "All options are open. I broke it off with a girl before I left. I said, 'I don't know if I'm coming back. I don't want to keep you hanging on.' I want this to be my life, my career."
Unlike some of this year's rookies who are in the 20s, Hartman is 44. He fished his first bass tournament, a local club event, when he was 27.
"I won it, and I was hooked," Hartman said.
This will give you an idea of how committed Hartman is to making this work: He's already pre-fished four lakes on the Elite Series schedule - Cherokee, Okeechobee, Barnett and Toledo Bend - a minimum of 11 days and an average of 15 days on each.
Obviously, his preparation at Cherokee has paid off. He enters today only 13 ounces behind leader Jesse Wiggins.