We are excited to announce that we will be continuing our partnership with Bassmaster Elite Series Pro, Jamie Hartman, for the 2018 season. Hartman broke Bassmaster Elite Series history by making more top-10 finishes than any other Elite Series rookies in history. For those that know Jamie, this came as no surprise. His reign in the Northeast consisted of five Angler-of-the-Year titles in the BFLs and countless other victories. This success came in spite of working as a truck driver, a feat that many hard working, blue collar New Yorkers admired about Hartman.
“To say Jamie [Hartman] comes from a different stock than many Elite Series pros would be an understatement,” said one enthusiastic fan. “He didn’t get there by fishing 24/7 on daddy’s credit card. He is down to earth and as blue collar as they come. That’s what I like most about Hartman”.
Hartman is well admired by many in the Northeast who know him first hand, share a similar background and have dealt with the same economic hardships. “Hartman is the last of a dying breed of angler”, said Matt Stark, owner of Riot Baits.” I don’t think the world would have seen Jamie’s raw talent in the Elite Series, had he not qualified when he did”.
That sentiment is shared by many anglers who feel B.A.S.S has taken several steps to passively exclude working class anglers like Jamie from even attempting to qualify for the Elite Series.
In 2018, only one year after the blue collar angler qualified to fish at the Elite level, B.A.S.S added a fourth qualifying event to the Opens and added a Open Championship, bringing the total number of qualifying tournaments from four to five events spread across only three regions, virtually guaranteeing that the regular working person would not be able to compete.
To many, Jamie [Hartman] represents a lost dream to the aspiring pro-anglers who come from humble beginning. He is the antithesis to the flashy young anglers entering the sport fresh out of jr. college with brand new bass boats and the ability to travel and fish full-time.
Instead, Jamie rose through the ranks not by privilege, but through raw, unbridled talent. What many don’t know about Hartman is prior to qualifying for the Elite Series, he slept on a friend’s couch for months to save money, often coming off the water after dark to eat gas station pizza because it was the cheapest option for food he could find before heading off to bed.
Hartman worked odd jobs driving a truck or sometimes moving furniture to put gas in his boat for weekend tournaments. Often, these were tournaments he had to win if he wanted to make his boat payment. “It takes a special breed of angler, one with real grit, natural born talent and a gambler’s level of confidence to emerge from the cushions of an old couch and compete at that level”, Stark continued, referencing Hartman. “We are fortunate to have him as part of our team”.
Hartman now is entering the 2018 season as a sophomore, gunning for his first Elite Series victory, and if his freshmen year was any indication of what is to come then we can expect fireworks.