New York’s Hartman leads on Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. — Jamie Hartman of Newport, N.Y., brought in a limit of five bass nearly identical in weight to his first-round catch on the Connecticut River Thursday, and now he holds the lead in the 2015 Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Divisional with 16 pounds, 15 ounces.
“Today, I fished as a nonboater,” said Hartman, “and I didn’t get to make the run I did yesterday. I only got to go to two of my spots.”
But that changes on Friday, when he takes back control of his own boat and gets to make the hour-plus run south to where he caught the second-heaviest limit of the first round. He trailed another New York angler, Steven Pickard of Fulton, after the first day of fishing.
“Tomorrow will be about staying consistent,” said Hartman, who’s managed to be consistent so far with 8 pounds, 6 ounces on Wednesday and 8-9 today.
His lead does not unnerve him.
“I fish hard every time, every single time I get on the water,” said the New York B.A.S.S. Nation member. “It’s just about putting your head down and grinding.”

Hartman had never fished the Connecticut River until he got here for practice. And the river is nothing like his home lake of Oneida.
“It’s very humbling,” he said. “The fish are scattered, and there’s not a lot of good isolated targets.”
What he found on today was one really good smallmouth — 3 1/2 pounds — something he would love to duplicate on the final day.
“I am hoping to get a couple of early bites tomorrow like I did the first two days,” said Hartman, who spends his winters driving a truck locally in the Northeast region and dedicates his summers to fishing.
If he manages to hold onto his lead — at least on the New York state team — Hartman will be heading to Monroe, La., for the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Championship for the second time. The first time was in 2010, the only other time he’s qualified for a championship, and it happened to also be in Monroe on the Ouachita River.
“I finished fourth there and missed the Classic by 3 ounces,” Hartman said. He said he loves the idea of getting back there and giving it another shot.
The other anglers who are currently in their state lead and vying for a spot in the championship are David Dziob, Connecticut; Mark Desjardin, Maine; George Barnes, Massachusetts; Dave Andrews, New Hampshire; Charles Sim, Ontario; Brian Croteau, Rhode Island; Cesar Ventura Pecellin, Spain; and Skip Sjobeck, Vermont.
The dock talk was that the weights would be better for the second day, and they were — but almost immeasurably so. The biggest bag of the day was substantial, though. David Dziob of Connecticut brought in 13 pounds, 3 ounces today — the biggest of the tournament so far by 3 1/2 pounds. Dziob is going back for even more on Friday. He left his spot at noon so it could rest before the final day of competition.
Hartman holds the lead over Dziob by only 5 ounces. But Dziob’s catch helped his team of Connecticut take over the state lead of the New York team by a single ounce. It’s a close race in the team competition, which is based on the cumulative weight of all the anglers in a state. Currently, Connecticut leads with 105 pounds, 9 ounces, New York has 105-8, and the next-closest state is nearly 30 pounds behind them. The winning state takes home a Triton/Mercury package worth $38,000.
Competition resumes Friday. Anglers will take off from Riverside Park at 6:15 a.m. ET, and they’ll conclude the tournament with the weigh in at Riverside Park at 2:15 p.m. Keep up with the action at