Our Guides

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Jeff Konst:  Jeffrey Konst, a native of Morganton, North Carolina, has been fishing local and distant waters for two decades now.  In that time his interest in bass fishing has transitioned to an intense passion for everything trout, everywhere from tiny mountain streams on NC 181, to the Gunpowder in Baltimore, MD. 

He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Heels!), and forever a student in everything fly-fishing.  Jeff says “From the first time John took me fly-fishing on a blustery 20℉ October day at Wilson Creek, I knew this was the sport for me.  I appreciate catching the giant trout available at the Casting For Hope Retreat Center, but my favorite trout to chase are the tiny mountain gems hidden in the headwaters of Western NC and VA.”

Jeff is now the full time operator/guide/rod-builder/fly-tier for Upper Creek Angler after being handed the reigns by John Zimmerman and Taylor Sharp, after John and Taylor have needed to path more of their time and energy into the non-profit they started together, Casting For Hope.  Jeff has guided off and on for UCA for several years now and is very excited to pursue this full-time and share his love for fishing with others!

For those interested in tight-line nymphing, or ready to take the next step in their pursuit of being a better fly fisherman, Jeff is excited to share his knowledge on the skill, and happy to show you how to catch many more fish regardless your skill level!

John Zimmerman:  John grew up following his dad into the woods in pursuit of hunting and fishing grounds.  His earliest memory is of walking along a stream bank in growing darkness after some hunting or fishing endeavor.  Today, John’s primary outdoor pursuit is fly fishing for trout in the southern Appalachians.  According to fly fishing legend Bo Cash, “John is a passionate small stream expert.”  John can be booked for guide trips most weekends from August-May and most days during the summer months.  Given good notice, weekday trips can be accommodated.  See our “What People Say” link about John’s guide work.  More than anything, John’s express mission as a guide is to teach clients how to fish better and better so that as soon as possible, clients no longer need a guide!  John earned his Bachelor’s degree from UNCG in 2005 and his first Master’s degree from ASU in 2008 and his National Board for Professional Teaching Standards recognition in 2009.

Taylor Sharp:  John started fishing with Taylor in the fall of 2010 and quickly found him to be one of the most natural fishers he’d ever fished with.  In our small streams, Taylor just has a sixth sense for where fish are going to be hanging out.  Couple that with a latent talent for reading water and making rifle casts, and Taylor is a vacuum to fish behind.  Even on highly pressured native water, when Taylor and I have been fishing together and he’s been behind me, he’s caught many fish I missed and which should have been spooked off.  In addition to being one of the best fishermen I’ve fished with for small streams in WNC, Taylor has fished extensively in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming and backpacked through Yellowstone National Park and fished also in New Zealand.    I’m excited to say that Taylor now has his guide license and endorse him through UCA.  Now graduated and in college, Taylor guides and builds rods during school breaks and summers.  He’s at UNC Chapel Hill with a Morehead-Cain Scholarship–the oldest and most prestigious scholarship in the United States!

Matt Konst:  Matthew Konst, a native of Morganton, North Carolina, has been fishing rivers, creeks, and lakes at home and across the country for nearly three decades.  His 6 years in the United States Marine Corps allowed him the opportunity to live all across the United States and further enhance his fishing prowess. These exploits have included; targeting the red drum and sea trout in the Gulf; Bowfin and Alligator Gar in the bayous of Louisiana; Lake Trout and Wild Brook trout in Yosemite National Forest; and let us not leave out finessing the rivers/streams of NC, VA, PA and WV and MD.

He holds a BS from Appalachian State University and a M.A. and PH.D. form Louisiana State University and completed his residency at Johns Hopkins University.  As you might expect from someone with this much book-learning, Matt is a true student in everything fly-fishing and is often heard on the stream referencing books/blogs/and videos that he has pulled information from.

Matt is the older brother of Jeff, the full time operator/guide/rod-builder/fly-tier for Upper Creek Angler and has been involved with several UCA guiding excursions over the years. Matt has guided off and on for UCA for several years now and is now settling back into life in North Carolina and is very excited to increase his availability for trips and to share his love (and knowledge, for those fellow students) of fly-fishing with others! In addition to guiding he has spent the last two years entering the competitive scene by competing in local fly-fishing tournaments alongside his brother and the pair took Gold at the Casting For Hope tournament last Fall at the retreat center in Bakersville, NC.

For those interested in learning the ever growing area of tight-line nymphing, enhancing their dry-dropper or micro-streamer game, Matt is excited to share his knowledge in these areas, and happy to show you how to catch many more fish regardless your skill level!

Brock Toner: Brock Toner began fly-fishing as a high school student under the mentorship of UCA Founder, John Zimmerman. Brock joined John on a mid-January trip to Wilson’s Creek and landed his first trout—a 20-inch stocker. This first fly-fishing experience set in motion an obsession to recreate that moment, and Brock has never looked back.

Brock attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Accounting. Brock has returned to his hometown of Morganton, NC to work as a Business Analyst at a local manufacturing company. He is thrilled to be able to spend his time not crunching financials floating the best Western NC and Eastern TN tailwaters in his RO Skiff. Brock is equally as excited to re-engage with the efforts of Casting For Hope and UCA.



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