John Collins - Tier

John Collins

As a lifelong resident of New Jersey, I got into trout fishing at about the age of five and like most kids; I fished for them using several other methods before discovering fly fishing. It wouldn’t be until my mid-twenties before I would discover and subsequently got “hooked” on the Long Rod; I have never looked back. In fact, I got into fly tying before I was a serious fly fisherman. I started out on my own, tying Eztes Eggs for Steelhead and soon graduated to imitating stream insects with the help of my mentor and friend George Kolesar, who, at the time, was commercially tying for several of the shops in the Catskill region.


George taught me in the “Catskill tradition”, but with all the new materials now available. I still offer traditional patterns, but I’ve moved on to other methods and take creative liberties with use of patterns and materials; all in the pursuit of the Salmonoids


My “home waters” are varied. In New Jersey, I can be found on the South Branch of the Raritian, the Pequest, Pohatcong Creek, The Musconetcong and The Big Flatbrook. In eastern Pennsylvania my attention is focused on freestone streams; Broadhead Creek, Big Bushkill and the Lehigh River. Limestone creeks that have captured my attention; Monocasy Creek, Saucon Creek, The Little Bushkill, Cedar Creek and the Little Lehigh. I also 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, I love to fish 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.


Never one to be a “Commercial Tyer”, where you're tying 10 dozen of a specific pattern and size, I prefer to tye custom orders for individuals as per their liking. I’m always researching the stream bottom and stomach samples of the fish I catch so that I can come up with effective patterns that will consistently catch fish. If my flies don’t work for me then I won’t introduce them to the public. My motto is “Fly’s that Catch Fish, not just Fishermen”. As it is in Fly Fishing, it is the same when it comes to Fly Tying, that you will always be learning something new for the rest of your life.


I am now involved in Guiding here in NJ and teaching the art of fly tying.


As a decade- long member of the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild, I have always enjoyed tying at the Fly Fishing Shows.


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