The Backwater Guide Service is a New York based licensed fishing outfitter owned and operated by Charlie Haviland Jr.
Charlie is a Hudson River specialist having chased bass on the river for over 30 years. The Backwater Guide Service provides fishing not only on the Hudson River but also Long Lake and Lincoln Pond and a couple other Adirondack lakes. In this interview, we focus on the Hudson River, a very underrated bass fishing destination. Charlie shares some insight on how he fishes the river.
How long have you been fishing guiding?
This is my 30th year owning and operating The Backwater Guide Service as a New York State licensed fishing guide.
What are you favorite aspects of guiding?
My favorite aspects of guiding are having people catch the most or biggest fish of their lives. Or something as small as taking a family that has never fished before and getting them hooked, pun intended, on the sport. I love teaching people how to catch fish. On my website I always say anyone can take you fishing, I want to take you catching.
How long have you been fishing the Hudson River?
I have been guiding for over 20 years on the Hudson River. I live on the river and it’s home to me. It’s a special place. You can see bald eagles, herons, numerous duck & goose species and some of the best bass fishing New York has to offer. I try to be on the water 4 to 6 days a week to always be on the fish.
What are your favorite sections to fish of the Hudson River?
I primarily guide between lock 4-6. It is such a diverse area. It has every type of pattern you would like to fish. You can catch fish from 6″ of water to 30 feet.
You and your clients fish out of the “Swamp Cadillac”. What type of boat is it and what makes your rig ideal for the Hudson?
Hahaha, ah yes, the trusty Swamp Cadillac. That 1974 aluminum Duranautic is my pride and joy. It’s powered by a 25 hp Evinrude motor and a 55 lb thrust Minn Kota trolling motor. It’s super wide and stable with plenty of room to do the victory dance when we boat a BIGGIN. I love my boat. It drafts only 10″ of water and will go anywhere the fish are.
How would you describe the overall state of bass fishing on the Hudson River?
The Hudson River is a little known power house bass fishery in NY. The fish are real healthy and although it’s catch and release only, it’s second to none. I have fished all over the country and for numbers of quality bass, I’m on the Hudson River everyday.
What are your favorite bass techniques and strategies on the Hudson?
As far as techniques go, I’m a skinny water specialist. 3′ or less and we have some unreal action, any season. There is nothing more fun than seeing a fish and then catching it.
How do these techniques and strategies change throughout the seasons?
As the seasons change you have to understand the dietary needs and wants of a river, current loving bass. To be consistent on the river knowing what they are eating and why will help you catch more and bigger fish. When they switch their diets you have to adjust what you are doing. Always be open and pay attention to the signs Mother Nature is putting out to you.
What are 5 pieces of advice that you have for beginners on the River?
5 pieces of advice for beginners on the Hudson River:
1. Book The Backwater Guide Service for a day on the water. Hahaha.
2. Watch for signs on the river as you are fishing.
3. Look for areas that have 3 types of structure in the same place.
4. Use the current to your advantage. Fish position themselves due to the current.
5. Stay positive and fish with more than one bait on every spot you try.
What other waters do you like to guide on?
Besides the Hudson River, I also specialize in both Long Lake and Lincoln Pond as well as a couple other Adirondack lakes.
How does someone book a trip with you?
To book a trip or ask any questions, you can send me an email at:
Tbgs@aol.com or call and leave me a message at 518-538-8505 and I’ll get back with you.
Please check out Charlie and The Backwater Guide Service if you are considering a Hudson River or Adirondacks fishing trip. Thank you Charlie for sharing your vast knowledge of the Hudson River with us.