Shannon's Staff



Eric Hildebrant

Owner/Fly-Tying Instructor

Eric grew up in western New Jersey splitting his time between the South Branch and the Musky. He enjoys catching all kinds of fish from Native Brookies to Shad, Bass, Muskies, Snook and Tarpon on the fly. Eric planned and leads our popular fly tying classes every winter. When he isn't tying, he's out on the water fishing cane. Favorite hatch: Hendrickson! 



Jim Holland


For Jim Holland, Co-owner of Shannon’s, fishing and fly fishing in particular has been a lifelong pursuit. His friendship with the late Les Shannon led him to both the South Branch and other area rivers and of course, to the pursuit of trout and other species on the fly rod. A full time History Teacher at Villa Walsh Academy, Jim writes a fly fishing column entitled “What’s Hatching” in the quarterly Black River Journal (click here to read his articles) and makes weekly contributions and the occasional article to the New Jersey edition of The Fisherman. Jim recently contributed a chapter on the South Branch in the Top Fifty Trout Streams of the Northeast by Bob Mallard due out in October.

Chally Bates (1939-2013) In memorium

Fly Tyer Emeritus

Chally Bates, a member of the Catskill Guild of Fly Tyers started fly fishing as a young boy; tying flies for his father and himself soon after. This life passion kept him focused through past careers as both a real estate broker and in the entertainment business. Chally and his wife, Nancy, fly fished extensively in New Jersey, the Catskills, Vermont, Arizona, and the Florida Keys. “We’ve fished with all types of tackle”, Chally said “But catching a fish on the fly is so much fun.” His home river was the South Branch. His home fly shop was Shannon’s on its bank in historic Califon, with the Ken Lockwood Gorge just down the road. In the 2012 December issue of Fur, Fish and Game magazine, one of Chally's signature flies was featured: the CB Stocker prompting orders from throughout the country. Chally passed away after a long illness on July 4th, 2013. We remember his good humor, skill and love of the sport. Many knew him from the Fly Fishing Show where he often demonstrated tying his patterns at the Catskill Guild Fly Tyer's Table. Chally was always helpful and encouraging to new and experienced anglers alike. Here's the link to Chally's obituary:

Chally, you will be sorely missed. I know you are in a better place fishing and playing your guitar my friend. Thank you for your loyal friendship dedication and knowledge of the sport we cherish, ethics and above all the memories.  Thanks to you, I learned  a great deal not only about fishing but about life. You will always be one of a kind!-Jim, George, Eric and all of us at Shannon's 

Don Tretsky

Shop Manager/Guide/Concert Promoter

Don Tretsky has fished extensively across North & Central America from Salmon and Bull Trout in B.C. to Pacific Sailfish in Costa Rica. Don Lives on the ridge above "The Gorge"  on the South Branch he's always in the know of what's hatching & working .He ran the Charter boat Gypsy Star for 17 years  out of Belmar N.J A long time music industry veteran, Don loves listening to the Fishing Blues by Taj Mahal.

Daniel Ansbach

Guide/Instructor/Travel Host

Dan lives along New Jersey's finest trout water, the South Branch of the Raritan River. He offers almost 30 years fly fishing experience and has an intimate knowledge of New York's Catskill Rivers as well as his home state trout waters. In addition, he organizes and runs our Destination and Group Trips and has had several articles published in American Angler most recently in the July/ August 2013 edition.

Dan is a New York State Licensed Guide, a member of the New York State Outdoor Guides Association, a past president of Jersey Shore Trout Unlimited, a Hunter Education Instructor for NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife and a member in good standing of Trout Unlimited, Federation of Fly Fisherman,  and the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum.

Len Ruggia

Fly Tyer/Guide/Instructor/Sales Associate

Len worked in business development for a large corporation until his retirement in 2007. He spent so much time in the shop that we put him on the payroll! He now claims he has the only job he ever wanted. Likes: Blues music and fly fishing. 

Harvey Rude (1947-2015)

Guide/Sales Associate/Fly Tyer

In memoriam. Harvey Rude 1947-2015. Consummate angler, teacher, guide and friend. You will be sorely missed. We are deeply saddened by your departure my friend and our thoughts and prayers go out to your family and the many people whose lives were brightened because of your time with us. Knee deep in the water somewhere!

Harvey was a retired Phone Company Manager who fished 2-4 times a week year round. Harvey resided in Hillsborough, NJ for 9 months and then set up shop in Seaside Park NJ from October thru December. Equally at home on a trout stream or on the beach, Harvey guided for Shannon's and also offered guided surf trips for Stripers, blues and albies. Harvey successfully pursued Stripers from Maine to North Carolina and had 2 50+ pounders and numerous 30-40 lb bass to his credit. Harvey was a member of the NJ Beach Buggy Association and the Ernest Schwiebert Chapter of TU.

Brian Cowden

Head Guide

Brian Cowden served on Trout Unlimited’s Eastern Conservation staff serving as the Coordinator for the Musconetcong Home Rivers Initiative here in New Jersey, and he has been a lifelong conservationist active in causes related to New Jersey’s outdoor pursuits. Brian now works for Urbani Fisheries.The Musconetcong Home Rivers Initiative is designed to work closely with landowners and non-profit, local, state and federal agencies to protect and restore the beautiful Musconetcong River and its tributaries in this 158 square mile watershed that drains into the Delaware River. Brian has been an active angler since he was only four years old and a fly angler since the age of seven. He currently serves as Shannon’s head guide when he’s not restoring our trout rivers. Brian recently contributed a chapter on the Musconetcong River in the Top Fifty Trout Streams of the Northeast by Bob Mallard due out in October.



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