COLCHESTER, VT. — Jamie Hartman lists his occupation as part-time truck driver and part-time fisherman, but today he acted more like a full-fledged pro angler.
The 38-year-old Newport, N.Y,. angler took the lead in the B.A.S.S. Federation Eastern Divisional today by weighing in a 19-pound, 6-ounce limit of Lake Champlain smallmouth.
Competing in his first year in the Federation Nation, Hartman had an abbreviated practice and when he did get on the water the fishing was tough.
“Today was about the same, it was a grind,” he said. “I didn’t get a lot of practice in. I just came off of a big tournament at Thousand Islands so I shot right over and only got about 10 hours total in over here.”
The leading New York team angler had to make some adjustments throughout the day and relied on his previous experience at Lake Champlain to help him. Hartman targeted deep fish relating to current and caught about 30 keepers throughout the day while making stops at five or six spots.
“I have had several wins up here already,” said Hartman, who admits he is not fishing his strength in this event. “I am fishing for brown fish (smallmouth) and I want to fish for green fish (largemouth).”
The home lake advantage worked for Vermont’s Skip Sjobeck, who caught an 18-10 limit to move into second place. Keying on grass in the 12- to 16-foot zone, Sjobeck alternated throwing an XZone Lures Swammer swimbait on a jighead and an XZone Lures Slammer on a drop shot rig to catch all of his fish. He ran to nine spots to boat 13 keepers throughout the day.
“It was one fish here and one fish there,” he said.
Sjobeck had such a solid pattern going that even his non-boater partner, Gregory Menchen of New York, caught a 17-7 limit to move into fourth place in the overall standings.
Hartman and Sjobeck top their respective teams in their bids for berths into the Federation Nation Championship (FNC).
Other state and province leaders bidding for an FNC berth are Paul Mueller of Connecticut; George Cooper, Maine; Edward Robak, Massachusetts; John Diaco, New Hampshire; Scott Shaw, Ontario, Canada; and David Riley, Rhode Island.
In the team competition, last year’s divisional champ Connecticut leads with 157 pounds, 13 ounces with New York (152-1) and Vermont (151-9) in hot pursuit.
The Eastern Divisional competitors head back out onto Lake Champlain tomorrow at 6:15 a.m. from Mallett’s Bay Access for round two.
Click to view the Day One results.