Hartley Hoists The Northern Open Trophy At James River

Charlie Hartley wins the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open #2 on the James River with 41 pounds, 13 ounces.

nU6dWNC6470xjEggDxc20lR8JbFn3KcQBtZxwbFhghpl7o7zmOjW9gBkH1diwunVX7oE0pq54l-CuLt6TQV3yXxXSySqJP-aAOPs4MWA7jopznCTMYvD-oqpOS79xKdD4cDeWlD4SADXKr6YzTNhWCS5T2UlQmGHdwVc5XE=s0-d-e1-ft                                                     Photo by Ronnie Moore/Bassmaster

RICHMOND, Va. — Charlie Hartley, a former competitor on the Bassmaster Elite Series, earned his first B.A.S.S. victory by enduring hot weather all week in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open at the James River.

The Grove, City, Ohio, angler clinched the pro division title by catching a 13-pound, 11-ounce limit during Saturday’s final round to finish with a three-day total of 41-13. Hartley received the top prize of a $45,000 Skeeter ZX200/Yamaha VF200LA rig and $6,699 in cash and qualified for the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro contingent upon him fishing the Northern Open finale at Lake Champlain in September.

Hartley said his final day went “very slow and tedious.”  He recalled going an hour and a half without caching a fish, and his first keeper was only about 12 1/8 inches.  The day got better — slowly. “There never was a flurry, or I was never thinking the day was going good,” he said. “I was actually frustrated.” With upgrades throughout the day, he eventually looked in his livewell and realized he had a good bag for as slow as the fishing had been.

His key lure for the week was a 7-inch ribbontail worm in a June bug color that he Texas-rigged with a 3/16-ounce weight pegged to a 4/0 Owner hook. Hartley targeted pilings, barges, concrete cover and cypress trees.  “I fished 100 percent hard cover the whole tournament,” he said. Hartley caught all of his fish from 1 to 5 feet deep despite fishing in 90-degree weather every day.

Lure presentation was also crucial in the current. Hartley would pitch his worm behind the cover and let the current drift the worm back toward the front of the cover. Strikes would usually occur as the worm drifted to the front of his target. “It was really important to have that light weight so that the bait came by the fish the way they are used to seeing it flowing in the current,” he said.

Twenty-three-year-old Cody Pike of Powhatan, Va., finished as the pro division runner-up with 39-6. “I just started out running the low water, and I had one deep hole in a creek that had a bunch of wood, and the fish would just go to the shade there,” he said.  He caught his limit each day in the hole using aringworm and a medium-depth diving crankbait.

The other Top 5 finishers in the pro division were David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va.,  with 39-5, Matthew Sphar of North Java, N.Y with 39-4 and Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho in fifth with 39-1.

High school senior Cody Bertrand of Dyer, Ind., and Francis Martin of North Chesterfield, Va., both finished with 24-8 in the co-angler division, but Bertrand won the division on a tie-breaker by having the heaviest single-day limit of 10-10. He earned the grand prize of a $30,000 Triton 179TrX/Mercury 115ELPT rig.

The Phoenix Boats  Big Bass Award of $750 on the pro side went to Schoolcraft, Mich., angler Kendall Ulsh, who weighed in a 9-12 largemouth the first day. Earning the $250 Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award on the co-angler side was Bertrand with a 7-15 largemouth.

George Yund of Glenmont, N.Y., received the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 for finishing as the top pro on Day 2.  Francis Martin of North Chesterfield, Va., won the Livingston Lures gift pack worth $250 for finishing as the top co-angler on Day 2.

2016 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2016 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2016 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Premier Sponsors: Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Berkley, GoPro, Huk, Humminbird

2016 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Power-Pole, Rapala, Shell Rotella, Shimano, A.R.E. Truck Caps, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Livingston Lures, Lowrance

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Nation, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.