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This is the second in a two part series on making your guided fishing trip a success. In Part 1, we talked with three guides from the southern half of the U.S. about what makes for a good guided trip. We covered the questions to ask your guide before the trip, how to prepare for your day with the guide, and tips that could make the difference between a great experience and disappointment. Now that the weather is more spring than winter in the northern half of the U.S., we will travel that direction and talk with three more guides specializing in northern waters.

Booking a fishing guide is a great way to learn a lot of information quickly about a body of water if that is your goal. It is also a great way to get outside and just have a good time fishing and, even better, letting someone else do a lot of the work it takes to locate, hook and land fish. Even if you are not specifically targeting the species on which these guides focus, their insights should help you draw insight about how a guided trip works, and how to make it a great day. As before, we will focus on guides who involve the client as active participant in all parts of the fishing, as opposed to those who employ techniques like offshore trolling. It is worth noting that professional guides are required to go through a rigorous (and costly) certification process to ensure your safety on the water. We at strongly encourage you to check with your guide to be sure they are fully licensed and insured before booking a trip.

Many folks head to the beach rod in hand without a clue how to catch a fish. If they are serious about learning the art of surf fishing, they may want to higher a guide.That brings us to our first “Captain”, Bernie Hoyt, aka Bernie Bass Surfcasting Services.

iBass360: Where do you do your guide trips, and what for what species?

Bernie: I guide mostly on Long Island, but also arrange trips to some of the legendary surf waters of New England. My trips are unique in that I only do surf fishing from shore- so we are on foot. We fish beaches and inlets all around Long Island, Montauk, and the Cape Cod area. In these areas, you’re always less than 15 minutes from a beach or fishable area which gives us a lot of flexibility. The north side of Long Island is all hard structure, the remains off glacial movement a long time ago. This structure does not change and is consistent season to season. The south side of Long Island tends to be sandy, so it changes frequently with the tides and seasons. A good coastal storm can totally alter an areas making it unrecognizable from your last trip. Both areas offer great fishing, but the south side has the added challenge of the need to relearn how the fish are moving through the area as the structure shifts.

I guide trips to Cuttyhunk Island as well. This is a unique multi-day destination that offers some of the best fishing on the East Coast. As for species, we mostly chase stripers, bluefish, and albacore tuna, but it’s the ocean, so you never know what you will catch which is great! You will also see some things you won’t encounter on inland waters- whales, dolphins, and seals are common visitors to some of the areas we fish.

iBass360: How did you end up guiding there?

Bernie: I have lived on Long Island my whole life. I grew up on the south shore, and now live on the north fork. I have been guiding for about fifteen years. It all started by word of mouth. I was against social media for a long time. A friend of my wife’s is into to the business side of things and she helped me out with social media and a website and it absolutely snowballed from there. I stay very busy during the season.

I learned everything from my dad. He turned eighty in April and we still fish together. He started me fishing freshwater lakes but there are not a lot of good ones in the area. I hooked my first bluefish in the saltwater when I was young, and that was all it took to get hooked. Saltwater fish are amazingly strong fighters. Stripers, bluefish, and albacore are fantastic fish- built for power, speed, and in the cast of bluefish, plain meanness. They are always migrating as well which adds

to the challenge and excitement of the hunt. Many times I can’t tell my clients where we are going to fish until just before the trip because they move so much. It is all part of the fun.

iBass360: Do I need any fishing experience or knowledge to come fish with you?

Bernie: I take anyone who wants to enjoy a fishing trip- the complete novice to the highly experienced. It is not uncommon for me to have a complete newbie one night, and then the next have an experienced fisherman swim with me out to the rocks in the middle of the night to chase stripers. I tailor the trip to the clieny’d level of experience to make sure it is enjoyable and that they learn something to help them improve as an angler.

iBass360: What are the best times to fish in your area?

Bernie: I start my first trips of the season in mid-April, but the fishing really starts to pick up in mid-May. The stripers show up first, then the bluefish on into June. At that point I usually head over to Cuttyhunk Island with a crew. I do some fishing in June in the Cape Cod area, mostly for stripers. I take July off. Family is very important to me so I spend that time vacationing and relaxing with my family. The stripers slow down anyway at that time of year. I start back up in August with all the folks on vacation, and the fishing remains good all the way through November, especially as the fall runs get going. September brings good runs of albacore tuna which are a lot of fun. They will burn up your drag and they are a beautiful fish! The stripers will follow the bunker and some of the best fishing is late in the fall. I wrap up my guide season at

Thanksgiving time.

iBass360: What kind of techniques will we be using?

Bernie: The majority of what we use are artificials. I feel that is much better from a sportsman’s perspective. Tricking the fish into believing something is real when it’s not is where it’s at for me. We use a lot of bucktails and saltwater darters. From time to time we use live or rigged eels. It is all casting and it is a workout. No passive fishing here! We also do a lot of night fishing. You can catch fish anytime, but stripers are opportunistic nocturnal feeders. Night fishing is a great thrill and we try to do that as often as we can.

iBass360: What would be one thing specific to your type of trip that you wish more clients knew or listened to you about?

Bernie: I want them to know that they are going to walk away having learned something. With

me, every trip, no mater what your experience level, is about learning. I always give my clients tips they can take away and use to improve their fishing. It’s like the old adage about teaching a man to fish. Identifying patterns is the key to catching fish time after time and we work on that on every trip.

iBass360: What is one piece of general advice you would give to people going on a guided trip?

Bernie: Never stop learning. Arrive for any guided trip with an open mind, ready to enjoy the trip,

and ready to learn. When I am not doing seminars, I am sitting in seminars. You can never learn enough and a guided trip is a great way to really enhance your learning.

iBass360: If you have more questions or want to book a trip, contact Bernie at:


Podcast: Hooked on Surf Fishing (all major platforms)

Phone: 631-987-6837


Instagram: Bernie_bass


Once you have mastered swimming out to rocks in the ocean carrying your surf gear, you are ready for an upstate New York fishing experience. Captain Bill Lortz of NY North Country Bassin’ guides out of north central New York on Lake Oneida, the St. Lawrence River 1000 Islands region, and Lake Ontario. He targets smallmouth bass but frequently encounters many other species of fish in these rich waters.

iBass360: Where do you guide and on what species do you focus?

Bill: Due to our harsh winter weather, and seasonal fishing restrictions, I start guiding on Lake Oneida around May 1st and that runs through the middle of June. After that I switch over to largely guiding on the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario through the rest of the season. We fish Henderson Bay and Chaumont Bay in the southeast corner of Lake Ontario, as well as areas of the main lake, and on the St. Lawrence River.

iBass360: What brought you to guiding in that region?

Bill: I grew up in Rochester, New York along the south shore of Lake Ontario. There is good fishing there in the lake, but there is not much else there in the way of tourism. I had done a lot of fishing in the 1,000 Islands region and the Finger Lakes and finally I just set up a camper there in the summer and started guiding. It is a much better place than Rochester for guiding due to the variety of outdoor opportunities in the region. I also started working for Home Depot in the winter doing home installations and this allowed me the flexibility for guiding in the summer and setting my own schedule at tournament times. As the guide business became more established, I decided to build a house up here and just live here full time. This is now my 8th season guiding in the region.