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Here in New York, we are right on the cusp of a new fishing season, some states have already opened. There is great anticipation for a season filled with a lot of days on the water and several personal bests. Days are getting longer, and water temperatures are starting to rise with each passing day. This time is not only for anticipation but should be a time of reflection on last season- a time to think about things we can do to improve on last year. I also think it’s a good time to “pay it forward” by helping other anglers improve their fishing abilities.

Through my seminars, podcast, and radio show I have had the platform to help other anglers looking to improve their saltwater surf fishing skills. Not everyone has these platforms, but there are certainly many anglers out there that have a wealth of knowledge to share. I truly believe that knowledge not shared is truly knowledge wasted. Unfortunately, it seems many people believe if they share their knowledge, they become less important, when in fact, it is exactly the opposite. My experience has shown me that when assist someone with a strategy they can use to catch more fish or bigger fish- whether through guiding, seminars, fishing with friends, etc.- it is a very rewarding experience.

I get so excited when knowledge or a technique that I pass along becomes successful for someone- there is no better feeling. Growing up on Long Island I was truly blessed to meet so many great people and great anglers. When I started fishing the south shore in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I often reflect on all those anglers who shared their knowledge of surf fishing with me. What a shame it would have been had they not shared their knowledge so that I could learn and pass it on further.

My dad handed down a wealth of knowledge to me about surf fishing, but there were also guys like Pete “the Greek”, Charlie Keller, Otto Reese and Howie Demott that helped me as well. They didn’t just help with lures and techniques; they taught me fishing etiquette as well. They watched out for me on the beaches and jetties, especially when I was having a tough time landing a fish or if they noticed another angler was trying to “move in on the kid”. I would listen to them talk to other anglers or my dad for hours as we hung around our beach buggies before or after a fishing session. I soaked it all in to quench my great thirst for knowledge of fishing- and life in general.

I loved learning the backgrounds of these various people who made their pilgrimages to these beaches every spring and fall. It was a real cast of characters. I learned much more on those beaches as a kid then anything I ever learned in school, and that is quite an admission for a teacher to make! It was informative, interactive, and it instilled in me such an appreciation for the outdoors. For me, their knowledge was truly power. I hung on every word, and I still utilize a lot of their philosophies and techniques today.

I have had so many positive calls, emails, texts, and face to face encounters over the years about comes what I do. I have also had negative feedback; why do you share your knowledge and information? Why do you tell people what lures you use? Why do you share your techniques? To that I say “WHY NOT?”. It is a part of me, an integral part of who I am. Hey, I’m a fishing guide, and I been a public school teacher for 25 years. I pass on knowledge, and I love what I do. To me it’s about “helping out”. It’s no different than giving a person advice in any other aspect of their life- relationship advice, career advice, vacation recommendations, you name it.

That’s exactly what it is, advice. It is not “spot burning”. It’s helping to create in others the same passion I feel for this great sport by assisting fellow anglers. These fellow anglers try their hand at surf fishing for the same reason as the rest of us- to have an enjoyable day on the water catching fish, maybe even the fish of a lifetime. It is important to remember that the person you assist along the way could be the person pulling you out of a situation on a beach some night or helping pull a hook out of your hand. Got Knowledge? Pass it on! We’ve all been there- needed help along the way. So as you season starts, think about how you will pay forward the knowledge “nuggets” that have been given to you. Have a great season. Live the Passion! Tightlines! features a monthly surfcasting blog from Bernie Hoyt, a NYS Certified Fishing Guide with 40+ years of experience fishing the legendary waters of Long Island. He is well known for his informative seminars at saltwater shows in the Northeast, and now has a podcast HOOKED ON SURF FISHING WITH BERNIE BASS where he offers listeners the latest in gear reviews and techniques for the surf fishing scene. You can also follow Bernie on the radio Saturday morning and Sunday evening on AM. Contact Bernie for details on Facebook through Bernie Bass Surfcasting Services.

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