Drew Haerer
Watch your fingers, learn how to catch toothy critters

In the Fall issue of Kayak Angler magazine, kayak fishing guide Drew Haerer shared stories and skills from three pro anglers who target sharks, pike and musky.

Learn how to catch chain pickerel in the kayak from two Wilderness Systems Fishing pros.

Toothy Critters – Chain Pickerel

Wilderness Systems pro Drew Haerer loves the thrill of catching chain pickerel throughout New England. He mainly targets isolated patches of vegetation and weed edges, which are perfect ambush locations. Drew’s favorite bait for these situations is a soft plastic jerkbait rigged weightless on a 5/0 EWG hook. Although he says any soft jerkbait will work, he prefers the Berkley Saltwater Jerk Shad due to its weight, sink rate, and durability. “When the bait is on top of vegetation, I walk it fairly fast and try to get their attention or make them mad”, he says. But when it reaches an edge or hole in the weeds, he kills the bait – allowing it to slowly sink. The pickerel simply cannot resist the dying minnow, especially if you add one or two subtle jerks on the fall. He throws the Jerk Shad on 30lb braided line, a 6’9” Carolina Custom Rods Jerkbait rod, and a high speed Abu Garcia Revo reel. “The high speed and braid help you hook up with a lot more fish, then haul them out of thick cover.”

Further south in Virginia, fellow Wildy pro Forrest Short targets pickerel year round and loves their aggressive, hard fighting style. His favorite lures are shallow running crankbaits in either blue or shad colors.  “These are like candy to pickerel”, he says. He reels them at a fairly constant speed, but pauses the baits multiple times. He typically pauses the lures more in cold water and less in warm water. Forrest targets structure such as weeds, grass flats, Cyprus stumps, and wood, often in mere inches of water. In winter, he will move deeper to find fish, targeting weeds in 6-8 feet of water.

Check out video action of Sam de la Torre tackling sharks in Southern Florida here:https://vimeo.com/115836369

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“Thank God my dad wasn’t a podiatrist,” jokes Ric about following in the footsteps of a famous outdoor writer. After graduating from Radford University and serving two years in Russia with the Peace Corps, Ric returned to Virginia Beach and started writing for The Fisherman magazine, where his dad was editor. When the kayak fishing scene exploded, Ric was among the first to get onboard. His 2007 book, The Complete Kayak Fisherman is one of the first tomes to introduce anglers to paddle fishing and hundreds of articles and seminars have brought countless anglers into the fold. When he’s not chasing every fish that swims, Ric teaches English at a school for at-risk teens.


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