Transformative Travel LLC

John Golden Mahseer Fishing

FFI's Master Casting Instructor, John Bilotta, is a seasoned world traveller, host and mentor.

His knowledge of fishing techniques will help you find success in any location you choose.

John’s remarkable background and passion for travel make him the ideal companion for exploring the world’s most remote and exhilarating fly fishing spots.

With a wealth of experience under his belt, John has ventured to some of the most breathtaking destinations on Earth. Imagine casting your line on the pristine Saryu/Mahakali Rivers of India, where the fish are as elusive as they are beautiful. Or picture yourself in the crystal-clear waters of Belize, surrounded by stunning landscapes and an abundance of tropical fish. And for those seeking a truly unique experience, John has even taken his fly fishing skills to Greenland and Christmas Island, reeling in fish like never before.

But John’s expertise extends beyond simply leading fishing expeditions. He is a skilled and highly certfited FFI Master casting instructor, both in the art of two-handed and single-handed casting. 

With over two decades of experience, John has honed his teaching abilities, empowering countless anglers to unleash their full potential. He has even mentored casting instructors, like Misty Dhillon, co-founder of TT and a certified FFI casting instructor, passing on his knowledge and expertise to shape the future generation of anglers.

So we decided to ask him a few questions. Here’s what he had to say: 

What age did you start fly fishing?

I started fly fishing in my early teens when I first picked up a fly rod, although I wasn’t very proficient at it initially. However, my interest in fly fishing grew in my early 20s, and from there, I became more dedicated to the sport. Catching fish turned into catching trout, and I developed a deep love for fly fishing.

As a child, I was always obsessed with fishing, but it wasn’t until I was 14 that I got the opportunity to handle a fly rod. I owe a lot of credit to my mom for supporting my passion and allowing me to pursue fly fishing from the very beginning. She took me out and encouraged me to follow my dream.

While I had a career as a print and television journalist, where I got to write about various topics, fly fishing has always been my true passion. It’s something I enjoy sharing with others and continue to find immense joy in.

What did you find to be most potent about this sport of fly fishing?

Fly fishing has helped me develop the patience and focus necessary to truly immerse myself into what I love doing. I can spend hours observing the behavior of the fish, studying the currents, and carefully selecting the perfect fly to entice them. There is a sense of tranquility and mindfulness that comes with each cast, as I become one with the rhythm of the water.

Traveling the world fly fishing has also brought a deeper understanding of the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship, especially in nations like India’s where freshwater resources are getting scarce due to a rapidly developing nation.

I am more conscious of the impact humans have on our waters and the need to protect and preserve these delicate ecosystems. Fly fishing becomes not only a personal pursuit but also a way to connect with a community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for the environment and are dedicated to its preservation.

At this age, I find that fly fishing allows me to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, offering a meditative respite and a chance to reconnect with nature. It is a potent blend of physicality, mental focus, and spiritual connection that rejuvenates my mind, body, and soul. Whether I am standing knee-deep in a river or casting from the shores of a peaceful lake, fly fishing offers a timeless and captivating experience that I treasure during this stage of my life.

How many countries have you coached anglers in?

I have had the incredible opportunity to not just coach anglers, but also mentor guides and casting instructors in various countries, allowing me to share my love for fly fishing across different landscapes and cultures. From India to the United States, Greenland to Argentina, Chile to Mexico, Christmas Island to Belize, I have hosted fly fishing expeditions in numerous counties.

While my primary focus is fly fishing, our experiences go beyond just catching fish. I strive to ensure that our guests have a memorable time and maximize their journey. Throughout our adventures, I make it a priority to create meaningful connections with our guests, fostering a deeper understanding of conscious travel and offering insights to enhance their sport and skill set.

Working with lodges and guides based in these locations adds another exciting dimension to my job. We engage in pre-adventure inspiration before each journey and continue to support and guide our anglers even after they return home. This helps sustain their enthusiasm and encourages ongoing practice and improvement of their fly fishing skills.

Sharing the joy of fly fishing while promoting responsible travel and empowering anglers to develop their abilities is a truly rewarding experience for me.

Guided Mahseer Fishing India

Young anglers, I have a few words of advice for you:

I think fly fishing offers so much more than just chasing after the biggest catch. It’s about the experience, the connection with nature, and the thrill of the chase. Whether you’re targeting Trout, Bass, Atlantic Salmon, Steelhead, or even Golden Mahseer, every fly fishing excursion has its own unique rewards.

Take the time to prepare yourself for the type of fish you’re targeting. Understand their habits, study the water, and equip yourself with the right flies. “River reading” is an art that can greatly enhance your chances of success, just like the skill of fly casting.

Remember, it’s not about the size of the fish, but the joy of being out on the water and engaging with the sport. Embrace the excitement of exploring new waters, and you never know what surprises await you. Even a trophy carp could be your unexpected triumph!

So, whether you catch a small or large fish, it’s the experience and the knowledge gained that truly matter. Tight lines and see you out on the water!

Have a question for John?

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