Gone Fishin’ With Bryan Goulart
Cruise around Lake Montauk, home of the largest commercial and recreational fishing fleet in New York, and you’ll find at least a dozen charter boats fueled up and ready to take you out for a day on the water. From center consoles prepped for a day of light tackle angling to sportfishers ready to troll the canyons offshore, there’s a ship—and a captain—for every type of fishing. These old (and young) salts know the Long Island coastline better than anyone. But there’s one individual in particular we wanted to see during our most recent trip out east: our old friend Bryan Goulart.
Now a professional yacht captain and fishing guide (and a proud Montauk local), in a past life Bryan was a photographer. Well, not just a photographer—he was our photographer, and one of the first pros we worked with more than 20 years ago.
Back then, around 2006, we’d load up our truck with every single style and size we made, hop around New England and flag down our friends, acquaintances, and occasionally strangers (sometimes literally off the street or beach), to act as models in our catalogs.
A lot has changed since those memorable (and slightly chaotic) times. But plenty of things have stayed the same, like Bryan’s love for fishing.
“Fishing has been a part of my life since I was a little kid,” Bryan told us from behind the helm as we cruised around Lake Montauk. “It’s one of those passions that you can give to it as much as it gives to you. You can make it a profession, like I have, or you can go once a year with your buddies or your family. Either way, it’s a lot of fun.”
It was this passion that led him to trade in his camera (metaphorically speaking) for a rod and reel and start a new career as a guide boat captain.
“I moved to the East End [of Long Island] eight years ago and I’ve never looked back,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to spend virtually every day on the water, whether I was working or not. That was something I couldn't pass up.”
These days, depending on the time of year, you can find Bryan almost anywhere along the Eastern Seaboard (inshore and offshore, he’s fished from Maine to Miami and beyond). But, like us, he has a special place in his heart (and his tackle box) for his homeport of Montauk. “There's something about Montauk that feels like home to me,” he said. “There’s a simple beauty here. It's just nice to walk the shore when you have some time. My wife and kids will take the dog to the beach, and the dog just runs around like mad and then we go home and call it a day. It’s simple, but it’s perfect.”
Now, firmly entrenched as a local, Bryan is not only a great fishing resource but also someone with a first-hand point-of-view on the changing winds of the Montauk cultural landscape.
“Montauk has changed a lot over the last eight years or so, but it's a great town,” Byran said. “Obviously it's very fish-centric. Every year it seems to get more and more crowded, but not so much in the fall. There's a mix of people going in and out now. But it's still beautiful scenery; it's still an ocean place.”
We can’t blame Bryan for falling in love with Montauk—it’s salty charm and eclectic vibe is infectious, and the mélange of hardworking commercial fishermen, laid-back surfers and millionaire vacationers makes for good company on the beach, at the bar or on the docks.
But, like so many before him, it’s the water that holds Bryan’s heart. “I love the ocean, so any excuse to be on the ocean, I'll take it.”
We couldn’t agree more.