Friday, June 14, 2013

Drew Haerer-Strategist

While watching the super regionals of the NCAA baseball tournament this weekend, it brought back many memories of high school baseball.  At one time in my life, baseball was everything.  I was not the best athletically, but I loved the sport and the strategy that went with it.
I like sports that require thinking.  That is probably why I enjoy bowhunting so much.  I have to plan when and where the deer will come out, plan on how to get to the proper location without spooking them, and forecast such things as wind direction in order to make it a successful hunt.

A year ago I interviewed Drew Haerer.  Drew is an avid kayak angler.  He was in the midst of a quest to catch all nine species of black bass, each measuring a certain length.  It is called the B.A.S.S. Slam.  His journey would carry him throughout the Southeastern United States on some great river systems.  To complicate an already enviable task, Drew was determined to catch the species from his kayak on public rivers.

His story and adventure proved to be an inspiration for many people.

Back in March, Drew competed in the Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) Open.  The strategy involved was amazing.  Just as he did when planning the B.A.S.S. Slam quest, Drew resorted to scouting via the internet and satellite view maps.  This technique would help him define his target locations during a two day practice session.

Over the two days of practice, Drew caught what would have been a five fish limit of over 22 pounds.  In talking with others, he also found out his strategy was quite different than the other anglers.

The next day when the tournament started, Drew hooked in to tight lines quickly.  Unfortunately he lost the huge fish.  Several hours later Drew was still fishless with only the one big bite to show for the morning.  Drew changed up the game plan and headed to a different area he scouted and marked during practice.  The change proved beneficial and Drew brought in 36.5 inches of fish on a two fish limit (fish for this tournament were based on length, not weight).

Drew’s excitement vanquished as he found out day one’s results were only used to make a cut for day two and all competitors would start back at zero.  So a top 10 finish on day one meant nothing.

Day two Drew planned on fishing a spot where there were smaller bass but plentiful.  His plan was to catch two quickly (again, a two fish limit), then head to a different area and look for the lunkers to upgrade.  Plans are great.  However, things change during the course which is where strategy comes in.  Drew had to change the strategy in order to bring in the fish, and in the end he finished with 34.25 inches.  This resulted in a 13th place finish.  For perspective, nearly 40 anglers were cut after day one; day two saw 29 anglers not catch any fish and 28 inches made the top 25.

Drew has also set off on another quest.  This one he calls “50 Chunks on the Fly.”  His goal is to catch 50 bass over the course of the year of a certain size.  This year though he will be targeting them with fly rods, while kayaking, on public waters.
Again, planning and scouting is key to making the quest successful.  Just as the seasoned coach knows when to pull in little used lefty on a particular batter late in the game, Drew will have to come up with a strategy ‘on the fly.’  Drew seems to be very successful in doing so.


  1. I really want to see if he accomplishes the fly quest. I have been fly fishing for over 8yrs and I have only caught maybe 3 bass that were over 17inches. I never use a boat so he'll have an advantage there. Getting 50 in one year would be a huge accomplishment.

  2. Thanks for the kind words Bill. Tight lines!

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