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One of the biggest advantages to pouring our heart and soul into this blog is that over the years we’ve met many people who are just as passionate as we are about fishing and adventure. Chase and Andy surely fall into that camp as they’re both living the dream as two of the founders of Howler Bros. As any long time reader will know, i’ve been a longtime fan of not just their style, but also their quality and vision since the beginning. They’re equal parts surfing / fly-fishing / and art, which more than sets them apart from your usual “fly-fishing wear” companies (which are normally boxy, unstylish, and usually only available in khaki, white or some awful color that a conch shell spewed forth after one to many mai-tais at the luau.)
Recently Howler was generous enough to send me a package containing two of this seasons styles, the Gaucho Snapshirt and the Workman’s Shirt, to test out both on the water and living out my mini urban adventures around Austin (and a whole lot at work).
image from www.howlerbros.com
The first piece is the Workman Shirt, a new offering for this season. The 100% cotton fabric is a bit thicker than most other Howler pieces (think light flannel), making it ideal for cooler weather “work” like splitting wood or gathering wild berries. The shirt is prewashed which gives it an incredibly soft hand that provides that “worn in” feel straight out of the package. If you like playing the “Mad English Professor” as i do, you’ll surely appreciate the elbow patches that are especially pronounced on a few of the color options. While this shirt could undoubtedly be used for cool weather fishing, it’s much more likely to become your “go to” shirt when it’s time to keep it classy but casual.
image from www.howlerbros.com
The second shirt needs no introduction as the Gaucho has become the de facto staple piece for Howler Bros. and with good reason. Over the years it has played host to custom embroidery from pelicans, bass, and hula dancers to roosters, hibiscus and dancing prawn. These shirts have always had style and flair, but the polyester / nylon blend tended to be a bit warm when the heat and humidity climbed during our Texas summers. Fortunately, starting this season all the Gauchos are a much more comfortable blend of 65% Polyester / 35% Cotton which makes them significantly cooler while stalking the flats in the oppressive mid-day sun.
This year the Gaucho came in a plaid pattern in addition to the embroidered styles and all i can say is that it quickly became my favorite shirt to wear both on the water and at work. The pearl snaps, and western style pocket flaps, give it some style points while the pleated chest pockets (for fly boxes) and vented back yoke add to the overall function. As with all Howler shirts, the arms are cut longer to add mobility without binding for those Hail Mary casts you might have to make at a moments notice.
I might add that both of these shirts go well with a straw fedora. Trust me, i’ve tested.
F.Y.I Not that you need another reason to grab some sweet ass Howler Bros. merchandise, but from now until December 31st Howler Bros. is offering 20% off all orders (over $100) and a bunch of free schwag just by entering the code NAVIDAD at checkout.
As conditioned as we are, it’s hard to believe that there can be a fly fishing video that doesn’t involve half a dozen grip and grins, set to an alternating Mumford and Sons / Joe Satriani soundtrack. This video is proof though that such things do exist, and i for one am thankful to check out a video that is more reflective of the calmer side of fly fishing, as opposed to the usual “cranking it up to eleven”.
image from www.tpwd.texas.com
If you live in Texas and have ever been curious about fishing for trout within the state, now is the time to get out there and try out all the techniques you’ve been practicing and reading about. Texas Parks and Wildlife has concluded their first stocking of trout on the Guadalupe and once again have obtained a few spots as “Free Entry” sites for those wishing to wade fish of put in kayaks to explore waters further upstream and downstream.
Here is the beta straight from www.tpwd.texas.gov
The map on this page shows the trout fishing area of the Guadalupe River between the Canyon Lake dam and the City of New Braunfels. Trout will be stocked at Guadalupe Park, Whitewater Sports, Rio Raft/bridge crossing in Sattler, Third Crossing, and Camp Huaco Springs.
Many camps and resorts in this area offer river access to paying guests. Free public fishing access is provided at the following locations:
- Year-round: Guadalupe Park, operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers
- December 5, 2014 – March 5, 2015: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has signed temporary lease agreements with Mountain Breeze Campground, Rio Raft and Resort, and Whitewater Sports. Anglers have free access to the river from 30 minutes before daylight until 30 minutes after dusk. They may use the properties for bank fishing and to launch non-motorized watercraft such as rafts, kayaks and canoes for the purpose of fishing. These leases were made possible with grant funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program.
- December 5, 2014 – February 8, 2015: Free access will be available for trout anglers at Camp Huaco Springs.
Please note: Two sections of this river are subject to special harvest regulations on rainbow and brown trout. In these sections, all trout harvested must be caught on artificial lures, and the following bag and size limits are in effect:
- Beginning 800 yards downstream from the Canyon Dam release gate and extending to the easternmost bridge on FM Road 306, there is a 12-to-18-inch slot limit. Trout 12 inches and under or 18 inches and longer may be retained. Daily bag limit is five trout, and only one can be 18 inches or longer.
- From the easternmost bridge on FM 306 downstream to the second bridge crossing on River Road, there is an 18-inch minimum size limit, and a one trout daily bag.
It’s free, it’s fun and it’s waiting for you now. So string up that 3WT, tie on some midges and put all that information you’ve read about trout to the test on the Guadalupe!
Ornaments, tinsel, reindeer antlers on cars, and the same three songs covered by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Springsteen. Sadly, in today’s consumer hungry economy that could mean it was anytime from October 31st to January the 15th, so it can be hard to tell when the holidays are truly here.
The REAL sign that the holidays are among us is the annual announcement from Cameron at The Fiberglass Manifesto that the “12 Days of Christmas” daily drawings have begun, the sure sign that the festivities are here, or at least just around the corner.
This year The Manifesto’s featuring prizes solely from vendors that make all (or some) of their product in the U.S.A. I’m happy to say that some of our favorites (Howler Bros., Simms, Loon Outdoors and more) have all taken part and the prizes look to be epic.
So if you’re not sure if you’ve been naughty or nice, head to The Fiberglass Manifesto blog now, where luckily they don’t judge. Do it quick though, day one is almost over!
Note: This post is not about fishing, at least not in the normal sense. Instead it’s a love note to two wonderful people, a rock, two very special cypress, a river and the fleeting signs of it’s inhabitants.
This Thanksgiving i was dumb founded to have my wife insist on an adventure instead of a Thanksgiving meal (which was especially odd since she’s an AMAZING cook that really enjoys it). While the thought of her mouth watering dishes were mouth watering, the chance to get out with her and my son on a perfect day (70 degrees and sunny, slight breeze) was far to enticing, especially since i’d been sprawled out on the couch and sick for days (thus the lack of posts).
Packing up the car for all the necessary items for an evening of hiking and picnicking, we made a b-line for our favorite spot at Pedernales State Park to celebrate an evening of thanks. Hiking in to our special limestone island we made camp and laid out the Thanksgiving dinner: cornichons, artichoke dip, truffle cheese, hummus, sea salt crackers, pinot grigio infused sausage, blue cheese, and a mixture of veggies washed down with sips of Prosecco. As enjoyable as the food truly was, it was overshadowed by the all of the reds, oranges and yellows that the tress and my wife were decorated in, announcing with great vibrancy that fall truly was here.
With the sun setting, and the day drawing to a close, thoughts turned to the hike back as my wife leaned over and told me to “go fish”. Knowing that by the time i strung up the rod and dealt with the odds and ends as well as hiking to a good spot the day would be far gone, i instead asked if we could hike back and sit at the top of the stairs a little bit, where all of the falls and the pools would be readily viewable.
Striking a meditative pose on the brick semicircle, i watched the lower pool intensely, noticing every small bass taking bugs, gar catching their breath, and largemouth chasing baitfish to the surface before inhaling them in a breath of gluttony. I eyed the likely spots predicting what sort of fish would strike on various parts of the water and found myself strangely correct more often than not.
My wife, concerned that i felt like i was missing out softly asked me again if i wanted to go down and fish.
“I already have.” I responded, and we strapped on the packs and headed back to the car.
It was true, i felt like i’d experienced a wonderful day of fishing, without ever once even wetting a line.
It’s odd, but occasionally the best fishing is when you’re not even fishing.
Sometimes just spotting that small ripple, two hundred yards away, that nobody else noticed, it’s concentric rings expanding and fading in perfect formation is enough to make you smile.
Thank you to my wife and son for the absolute best Thanksgiving ever.