Fishing trips are “fun all around,” says Nick Kulick, owner of Tie One On Charters in Esopus, “especially when someone brings their kids and they’re all excited about fishing, not stuck on a computer or phone, but doing something outdoors.” Captains like Kulick provide fishing charters on the Hudson for three to four people, giving landlubbers the chance to try their hand at the reel — and perhaps haul in the biggest catch on the river.
Fishing season picks up steadily in April and May, when striped bass embark on their migration up the Hudson to spawn. Adept fishermen can locate these schools and bring guests to the areas where the fish are plentiful. The river is also home to smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye, bluefish, and herring. Be aware, however, that there are specific guidelines regarding eating fish taken from the Hudson (see our chart on page 46 for details).
Kulick guides beginners and practiced anglers alike on his charters. The trips usually last four or eight hours, can accommodate up to three passengers, and cost between $300-$450 per charter. Kulick says that, although clients enjoy learning about equipment and techniques, “catching fish is number one.” Tie One On Charters. Esopus. 845-222-1541; www.tie1oncharters.com
Other Hudson River charter services:
Captain Preston G. Lightsey of Hudson River Charter Fishing has been plying the waters of the Hudson for more than 30 years. Charter guests learn different methods like drifting, still fishing, and trolling with the express goal of catching that big striper. Trips usually last from 7 a.m.-1 p.m., but hours are flexible. One guest $300, two or three guests $150 each. New Baltimore. 518-756-8866; http://nyfisherman.net/captainpreston.html
Reel Easy Charters provides equipment, bait, and instructions on which techniques to use under certain weather conditions and water temperatures. A standard trip gives one to four guests five hours on the water, but if you’ve had a particularly stressful day at the office, a three-hour after-work special is available at a discounted rate. $235-$400 per charter. Kingston. 845-626-7659; www.reeleasycharters.net
Hudson River Fishing Charters focuses on teaching new anglers the art of chunk and live bait fishing. Sailing in the area just below the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, Captain Steve prefers to lead trips at first light — as this is the time fish bite most frequently — but afternoon charters sail daily, and special departure times can be arranged. One-four passengers. $400-$650 per charter. Saugerties. 914-443-8706; http://hudsonriverfishingcharters.com/hudson-river
Angler Charters sails from the area where the largest fish ever caught on the Hudson was reeled in (a 55-pound striped bass). Guests can be involved in every step of the process, from setting lines to helping boat a particularly large fish. One-six passengers. $500-$650 per charter. Catskill. 518-965-3718; www.angcharters.com
Hudson River Charter Captain George Murphy runs trips to the spots where the trophy stripers migrate. By keeping to the shallow waters, Murphy gives his guests the chance to see the fish take the bait. Catch and release a fish 30 pounds or larger, and receive a 10 percent discount off the cost of the trip. $350-$400 per charter. Saugerties. 845-532-1555; http://hudsonrivercharter.com