Candlewood Adventure Camp

June 22-26 Register Here

Our Pros

Our Pros

Captain Jed Wilson

Candlewood Lake Fishing Guides

Jed’s dad brought him fishing at the age of four and he never looked back.  He spent every free moment fishing in local lakes and ponds in central New Jersey.  When he was 18 he moved to Florida and purchased his first bass boat. He was a guide on Lake Tarpon for many years and fished north central Florida Lakes while attending the University of Florida.  Jed moved to CT in 2003 and started fishing Candlewood Lake. Jed started his Bassman Fishing Tours guide service in 2012 and has a great reputation for teaching young anglers how to catch huge bass.  Jed has a fishing pontoon boat, which is a favorite with families looking for a safe way to fish with the whole family. Jed has been an educator for 13 years and is currently a teacher at the Eagle Hill School in Greenwich CT.  He has three beautiful children who love to fish with their dad.

Nick Nelson

 When I was young I knew all I wanted to do was fish and my dad took me every chance he got. As soon as I had a rod in my hand I knew that I wanted to become a professional fisherman. I’ve been fishing since I was old enough to walk and will continue to do so for as long as I can. Fishing for me isn’t a sport it’s a lifestyle and a passion. I fish tournaments all over the country for bass and have been fishing Connecticut for 6 to years. When it comes to getting the youth in this sport I’m all for introducing them to the awesome sport of fishing. I have some of the best sponsors that allow me to do what I do which include Candlewood fishing camp, Precision Propellor, Keitech USA, Lakeside labs custom lures and Logix baits. I have multiple 1st place finishes and many top 10 finishes in my tournament career along with years of tournament experience 

T.J. DeFelice

Professional Fishing Guide / Owner, Operator of Bounty Hunters Custom Baits
Equipment: Boat: 21’ Bass Cat Puma FTD, 250 Mercury Pro XS, Garmin Electronics
Sponsors: FX Custom Rods, Wicked Weights High Quality Tungsten, Scout Sniper Association.

T.J. DeFelice has had a passion for fishing since he was old enough to walk. Growing up in southwestern Connecticut T.J. was introduced to the state’s best fishing waters at an early age. From fishing for trophy Striped Bass on Long Island Sound, walking the trout rivers in pursuit of that “secret pool” to chasing giant smallmouth bass on Connecticut’s trophy bass lakes, T.J. could almost always be found with a rod in hand. Enlisting in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 18 did not pull T.J. away from fishing, but introduced him to new waterways, tournament fishing, and tactics around the world. Serving the Marine Corps and Special Operations as a Scout Sniper, Combat instructor and Marksmanship Instructor provided a unique opportunity for T.J. to fish waters all around the world including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Japan.

From Southern California to North Carolina T.J. successfully competed in bass and intercoastal tournaments. Though he was often away from his home state, T.J. often returned to Connecticut to compete in local tournaments and to introduce his children to the waterways in which his passion for fishing began. While tournament fishing in the Carolinas T.J. began creating custom tackle and over the last 15 years has developed some of the most truly custom hand poured, hand tied and custom painted baits in the industry. You can expect to use many of these custom baits while on guide trips with T.J. where he will educate anglers on the methods and values of finesse fishing such as “doodling”, drop shot fishing and using a light line to the benefit of power fishing while throwing large hand poured swim baits and ripping jigs out of large grass beds. As a fisherman, parent and advocate of the outdoor T.J. has a passion for introducing young anglers to the sport and educating the future of the sport.

Jim Tarzia Jr.

Jim is the Deputy Fire Marshal for the Stamford Fire Department and proud family man of three daughters and three grandchildren.  His passion for fishing and teaching others is widely known. He is a boat captain for Haddam-Killingworth High School and Tournament Director for the Naugatuck Bassmasters team.  Jim also captains for the disabled veterans. He looks forward to sharing his love of fishing with our campers.

Jeff Rose

From New Milford, Jeff has been fishing the waters throughout CT for the last 47 of his 50 years. He has extensive tournament experience on Candlewood Lake with many 1st place finishes, including the prestigious Bass Federation event. He was a guide throughout the 1990s across CT putting his clients on bass, pike, and walleye. Jeff has been shifting his efforts to the world of micro finesse fishing for crappies. Jeff is sponsored by Eurotackle and is already considered one of the top crappie fisherman in the northeast, his goal is to catch the state record crappie, having come close many times already. Jeff is looking forward to sharing his tactics with your young angler at camp this summer.

Matt Daddio

Matt has been fishing since he was able to walk. With over 40 years fishing for bass, trout, crappie and perch, Matt has a ton of techniques to share with our campers. Candlewood has been his home lake for over 10 years. Matt operates his guide service, Daddio Outdoors on Candlewood and focuses on fishing with families and young anglers.

Rich Zaleski

Rich Zaleski has fished since childhood, and spent much of his adult life studying and writing about fishing. His how-to articles have been published in magazines such as Bassmaster, In-Fisherman, Fishing Facts, Bass Fishing, Upland Fishing, Outdoor Life and numerous others. He’s recognized as one of the best scientific writers in the industry and one who has dedicated his life to the advancement of the sport through his work. He also wrote, edited and produced the Northeast Edition of In-Fisherman Radio for a decade, and wrote the outdoors column for the Danbury News-Times for 25 years. He had contributed to numerous books from the Hunting and Fishing Lbrary, Hooked, North American Fisherman and several other publishers, and wrote a book (Advanced Bass Techniques) for the North American Fishing Club.

His approach in all his fishing and writing is to study and understand not only the fish you are after but their entire environment and its residents, as the aquatic environement is a complex web and everythng in it affects everything else — including the fish you’re trying to catch!

Jamie Verab

Jamie is an avid competitive tournament angler who has been fishing since the age of 8. He has fished for many species in both fresh and salt water. He has been very active in the fishing community locally, regionally and nationally the last 14 seasons as a bass fisherman, a director and regional director. He has won many local and club tournaments, has been part of state teams and has qualified for numerous Regional and National championships both fishing from his bass boat and from his kayak. Jamie has various sponsors across the country, from big name brands to local small sponsors which he dedicates much of his success to. He is the owner and founder of New England Bassin, which leads the region is bass fishing tournaments. He was inspired by many others to create a new bass fishing tournament series over the years that was unique and different which continues to grow. 


NEBASSIN is the first of its kind in the United States, which represents a regional bass fishing tournament series offering something for everyone to compete in. NEBASSIN offers a traditional big boat series, a kayak series, and a 15ft/kayak team series. NEBASSIN also has a plenty of add-ons for anglers to enjoy including our youth anglers. NEBASSIN now has a High School kayak series for Middle School and High School anglers, a Big Bass Challenge, an Online Series, a Grudge Match and an Elite series which is an MLF formatted division. NEBASSIN just went national in 2020 when they launched their NEBASSIN Coast 2 Coast opening up bass fishing events in Missouri and soon scattered over the nation. NEBASSIN offers affordable events, an enjoyable atmosphere and lastly competitive tournaments for members to fish.


Jamie continues to be a leader on and off the water helping many youth, novices, members and directors jump start their fishing careers. He provides time on the water, on the phone, teaching techniques and offering his time helping others out in a variety of ways in the fishing world. As an educator, coach, ex college and pro athlete he has always gave back to the youth. One of his goals is to get more youth involved in the sport of competitive bass fishing and out on the water. He prides himself with making the connections, networking, creating lasting real relationships through his members, directors, sponsors, partners and anyone who reaches out to talk fishing.  He has been very dedicated to the sport, always willing to lend a hand to others and is always willing to learn something new. 


He is currently a graphic design, art and digital photography teacher, he is the varsity head coach for the soccer and baseball teams, he teachers graphic design at the college level, owns a design and print firm, owns New England Bassin and co-owner of Twice the Spice and Tight Lines Worldwide.

Dale Wyman

Dale is a multi-species angler from Massachusetts.  His favorite species is the smallmouth bass. Born in Vermont, he learned to fish on the Winooski River and Lake Champlain.  Dale is a Navico Pro-Staff member and specializes in electronics training. He has years of experience fishing the northeast tournament trails.  Besides putting your kids on huge bass, Dale will also teach them how to paint their own lures. Dale is a Navy veteran, sonar operator and technician.  

Eric Kohler

Eric has been fishing since he was old enough to hold a fishing pole. His greatest memories involve fishing and spending with his dad on the water. He has been competing in tournament fishing since the age of 13. Eric and his dad were a team, fishing in NEBA and went to the regional competition on the Hudson River. From there, he began fishing as a co angler in the CT Bass Federation at the age of 16 and later the CT Bass Nation events.  Eric has decades of experience fishing CT lakes which include Candlewood, Zoar, and Lillinoah. Eric is from the Naugatuck Valley area and currently reside in Beacon Falls with his wife and his twin boys. “This is such an amazing experience for young anglers that I wish I had when I was younger”. I look forward to taking on the role of a boat captain for you amazing kids and showing you what a fun, crazy, and exciting world bass fishing can be. Can’t wait to see you on the lake and always remember TIGHT LINES! 

Evan Kamoen

An accomplished young angler in fresh and saltwater fishing. Evan is a 7 time CT state record holder for saltwater fish and has caught many “trophy” sized freshwater fish. He was also awarded angler of the year 4 times by the CT department of environmental and energy protection. Evan is a tournament bass angler for CT bass nation high school series and fishes other local tournaments in the area. Evan enrolls attends the Marine Science Magnet High School in Groton CT where he studies aquaculture, oceanology and resource management. As far as tournaments fishing goes, Evan has won 1st place in tournaments over half a dozen times. He has placed 2nd and 3rd more times than he can count. Evan was the junior BASS nation state champion 2 years in a row. He excels in teaching young anglers how to fish the “Ned Rig”. 

Ben Weldon

Ben Weldon has been fishing since the age of four. He enjoys both freshwater and saltwater fishing for a variety of species, including trout, crappie, and pike…but his main focus is on landing bass. Native to Western Massachusetts, Ben recently started fishing competitively. His consistent catches land him on the leaderboard, which he loves.  Ben is a student at East Longmeadow High School. He is a multi-sport athlete who one day aspires to attend college, focusing on the marine studies field. 

Ben learns and practices many different fishing techniques and styles.  He also works to increase his skills as a kayak angler. His overall favorite technique is finesse fishing. Using the Ned Rig, drop shot, and shaky head, Ben is at or on the water every chance he has. He looks forward to a week of guiding future anglers toward their biggest catches!

Nate Smith

Nate Smith has qualified for the 2019 Bassmaster High School National Championship at Kentucky Lake. Nate was awarded the 2019 Bassmaster High School All State for Massachusetts. He is the founder and captain of his high school bass fishing team. He has 10 top 3 finishes in his high school tournaments. He has won 6 opens with multiple top 3 finishes. Nate fishes in Maine Man vs Bass which is the largest open in the state. Nate has received multiple sponsors from Skeeter Boats, Beast Coast Fishing, Lead Free Bass Jigs, and Tackle Supply Depot. 

Matthew Silliman

Matthew Silliman

Matthew Silliman has been fishing since he was eight years old. He started out as a multi-species angler and has since developed into a competitive bass fisherman. He loves fishing in all bodies of water, but spends most of his time on Candlewood Lake. Matthew’s first boat was a 16 foot Bass Tracker where he explored Candlewood Lake and focused on catching Smallmouth and Largemouth bass. He now has a Nitro Z19 where he keeps at his house on Candlewood Lake and fishes almost every day throughout the summer. Matthew fishes in the TBF of CT tournament circuit where he continues to pursue his dream of fishing for a living. Matthew’s favorite bass fishing technique is the finesse swimbait for smallmouth bass and currently is sponsored by Keitech, Woo! Tungsten, Rapala, Sufix, Terminator, and VMC. Matthew is currently the starting varsity goalie for the Ridgefield High School Men’s ice hockey team and also is hoping to pursue engineering in college.

Jake Schiavi

I have been an avid fisherman since I caught my first bluegill at 3 years old and from then on all I wanted to do was fish. My Dad and Mom would take me every chance they got. As I got a little older, I started targeting bass and absolutely loved catching them. Then one day I saw a bass fishing tournament on my TV and knew that I wanted to fish bass tournaments. I started fishing in bass tournaments when I was 10. Since then I have become a 2-time Junior BASS State Champ and a 4-time High School BASS State Champ. This made me qualify 2 times for the Bassmaster Junior National Championship in Paris, Tennessee and qualify 4 times for the Bassmaster High School National Championship on Kentucky Lake. Other than tournament fishing I love teaching kids how to fish and sharing my knowledge about fishing with people.

Ron Parker


I am a transplant from the Bronx, Ny and recently a new resident of Bridgeport, CT married to my lovely wife, Zoila Parker and my daughter, Allyson who’s a very bright high school student. I love all CT fisheries, and looking forward to many more fishing adventures to come.

I’ve been fishing Candlewood Lake for well over 28 years, as well as Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah. winning several club tournaments as well as the 1st CT BIG BOAT NEBASSIN REGIONALS in 2014, and other podiums from previous years regional championships. Fishing in general is my favorite thing to do! I love helping young anglers learn the joys of being outdoors on the water and increasing their confidence and skills on how to catch more fish. I look forward to working with all of the campers this year.


Sully has been fishing his whole life since he could hold a pole and has done everything from surf fishing to ice fishing.

He has fished for bass for nine years, and has 1 junior state champion and 3 high school state champion titles, and specializes in power fishing from jerkbaits to crankbaits to topwater.