As a lifelong resident of New Jersey, John got into trout fishing at about the age of five and fished for trout using other methods, before discovering fly fishing. John was in his mid-twenties before he got hooked on the long rod and has never looked back. In fact, he got into fly tying before he became a serious fly fisherman. He started out on his own, tying egg patterns for steelhead and soon graduated to imitating stream insects with the help of his mentor and friend George Kolesar. John’s mentor commercially tyed for the shops in the Catskill region during the late seventies into the eighties. George taught John in the “Catskill tradition”, but with all the new materials available now, John has taken creative liberties tying with other methods in pursuit of trout and salmon, as well as warm water species and salt water species. In fact, some of John’s signature patterns, such as, JC’s Rabbit Tail Sculpin, JC’s Mohawk Sculpin, and JC’s Soft Tail Sculpin, utilize nontraditional fly tying materials such as craft store Chenille. He also has a few signature nymph patterns for trout and steelhead, which include JC’s Electric Caddis Larva, JC’s Electric Caddis Pupa, and the Electric Steelie Stone Nymph, among others.
John has been a member of the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild for almost two decades, and that is where he got his start, tying flies on the east coast show circuit. Now you can find him on the show floor at numerous east coast Fly Fishing Shows and tying events.
The rivers John fishes in NJ include the south branch of the Raritan River, the Pequest, Pohatcong Creek, and The Musconetcong River among others. He also fishes eastern Pennsylvania Freestone streams such as the Broadhead Creek, the Big Bushkill and the Lehigh River. Also, Limestone Creeks such as Monocasy Creek, Saucon Creek, the Little Bushkill, etc. John has also been known to frequent the hollowed waters of the Catskill region such as the Beaverkill, the Willowemoc and the east and west Branches of the Delaware River. Next to trout, John also enjoys fly fishing for smallmouth bass and stripers on the lower Delaware River between NJ and PA, which unlike the upper Delaware in NY, is mainly a warm water fishery.
John’s specialty is tying custom orders, but he does on occasion tye commercially for Shannon’s Fly and Tackle shop in Califon NJ and Dettes Fly Shop in Roscoe NY. He is always researching the stream bottom and stomach samples from fish that he lands. This drives John to come up with patterns that will effectively catch fish on a regular basis. In other words, if John’s flies don’t work for him, he won’t introduce them to the public. He is also involved in guiding people fly fishing in NJ, for Shannon’s Fly and Tackle in Califon, NJ.
John has done numerous videos teaching the art of fly tying, via the internet for Riseform Studio.tv, and more recently internet instructional tying videos for Tightlines Productions.
John is also a member of a few fly fishing pro staffs, which include Regal Engineering (Fly Tying Vises), TFO fly rods, Clear Cure Goo (UV Resins), Flymen Fishing Company and of course, Angler Sport Group.
John’s motto is, “Flies that catch fish, not just fishermen”. And, as it is in fly fishing, so it is in fly tying: you will always be learning something new for the rest of your life.