Howler Blog

Thank You Privateers Summer 2015 Crew

Posted on August 31, 2015

Well, the keys have been handed back, and the inaugural run of the Howler Privateers has come to a conclusion. We couldn't have asked for two better guys then Drew Ruff and David Mucklow to take this journey and capture this experience.  They not only embraced our creed and the Howler way, but made sure to live it each moment. They worked hard and chased every little chance to meet new people and get out on the water. We are proud of you guys for exceeding our expectations and staying true to your commitment to "heed the call".

From everyone here at Howler HQ thanks again, your dedication means a lot to us, and we were happy to help y'all kick some ass this past summer. Her first mission was a success. Who knows where the Howler van will wind up next so keep your eyes pealed, America. As for the first ride of the Privateers, we'll let Drew sum up his experience, here is part of an email he sent the team last week:

When we started, we didn’t think we’d cross the entire continental US, pursue countless species of fish, meet so many welcoming and amazing people, and do it all for such an awesome company. There were so many hard parts about leaving the best summer job I'll ever have. I guess the most difficult part at the end of the Privateer road trip wasn’t looking back at how much we got the chance to do. It was knowing how much more there is to do, how many places we didn’t even pass through, let alone explore, how many people we didn’t get to share a beer with after an evening spent heeding the call. Those places, people, and adventures are for the next Privateers. I’ll end this all with a quote from Drew in our submitted video that rang true for the whole trip, but is even better now that it’s over. “You can’t heed the call from the couch. You have to be out there doing it.”

Howler Dispatch: Privateers Head West

Posted on August 28, 2015

Salt Lake City and Beyond

Drew and David put more miles on the van heading northwest for Salt Lake City and the Outdoor Retailer Convention. Some definite highlights along the way were the Casting for a Cure tournament in Idaho and then a meet up with an old raft guide buddy on the main fork of the Salmon river in the tiny little settlement of Sunbeam. They caught a Wrinkle Neck Mules show, sunk some flies braving the cold and snow in July before they headed back to Stanley for some amazing views of the Sawtooth range.

With the beer on ice, the drift boat packed, and the BBQ ready to go, Dutch John was another event to remember in Utah. Our Privateers set up camp and waited for Howler Ambassador Colby Crossland and the crew to come down for a little bit of free grub and mischief. New friends were made and many stories were told. After a few days of camping and sampling local brews it was off to Salt Lake and meeting up with the Howler Crew.

After the show it was another left, west, destined for Oregon and Washington. First stop, a dawn patrol trip to in Deschutes, with a thick chilly fog and a bright orange sunrise they landed a few fish before headed out to Portland. There they got a tour of the Danner Boots factory and a taste of legendary Bend craft brew at 10 Barrel Brewery. Mexican food in an old Scandinavian ship worker neighborhood in Seattle, a trek up into Snow lake, and then another ridge over to Gem lake in the wilds of Washington. The Cascades made for prime views and star gazing, then back down to Tacoma, the City of Destiny.

A quick and dirty breakfast was needed before they left the Pacific Northwest and turned the van for the final leg of the Howler Odyssey. Godspeed and good luck, fellas!



Howler Dispatch: Privateers Southbound

Posted on July 29, 2015


Florida & Key West

Week number two saw the Privateers leaving New Orleans and journeying down to the forgotten coast, stopping in Apalachicola to soak up the Panhandle vibes and chase down a few Tarpon.  They managed to get out on the water and score a few shots at the elusive Silver King before meeting up for oysters and dinner with friends.  With shaky hands and bellies full they hatched a plan to head down to the Tampa area. 

 On the way they stopped in at Compound Board Shop in Sarasota. The guys down there deal in all the stuff you want to spend money on, like boards with wheels and without, fine garments (including Howler Bros), and none of the stuff you don’t want to spend money on, like electrical bills and car payments.  In Tampa they found their way into some good Mexican food, dock light fishing for snook, and several pods of Gulf Coast tarpon before heading south again.

After a quick stop to nail some small bones on the side of A1A, they ended up on Stock Island at COAST projects. From edible flora tours of Key West with Austin, to Billy feeding them bar hot dogs at the Chart Room, and swapping poems at the Rusty Anchor. These guys took great care of them. Their time in Key West culminated with a run to Boca Grande in a 13 foot whaler that Austin borrowed.  They ran out of gas outside Sunset Key, with no running lights, as the sun burned down past the Marquesas. Next time you are at the southernmost point in the US, pop in at COAST and get involved, or just check out the awesome old Key West vibe the guys have going on.

They closed down week two pulling in to Orlando ready for the IFTD/ICAST show.  Here they met up with the Howler crew ready to assemble the booth and partake in industry rituals.  



In a surprisingly painless venture with the loading dock security guard, the Privateers backed right up to the dock door, and quickly set up the booth amidst a frenzy of forklifts and freight boxes full of elaborate tradeshow booths. The first day at IFTD was a blur for Drew and David, meeting great new people, and showing off the Spring 2016 line at the booth. They met the amazing angler and writer April Vokey and chatted with her for a while about working your ass off to make fly fishing into an honest career.  They ended the day with happy hour then into a tiny Chevy Malibu headed for a near midnight meal at the one and only island experience, Bahama Breeze.

The second day they spent mostly scrounging for beers stashed in the van and figuring out ways to get them past show security. After another full day of being introduced to many new friends from the guys at Howler Bros, and after a little too much time hearing dueling piano tunes, they left for another late night dinner and shenanigans.

They spent the third day wandering the aisles of IFTD checking out the great new gear, reels, and rods that everyone had to offer. The Privateers felt good to get some time on the casting pond, shooting line with the amazing new Meridian from Scott Rods.  As the show finally came to a close, the crew packed the booth up into the van, and wrapped up our Orlando experience the only way they knew best - a sushi and sake bomb dinner, followed by a jaunt down I-drive bars with a handstand at the upside down building, beer towers at the Brickhouse, and, of course, bittersweet pina coladas at the Bahama Breeze. David wrote an ode to the great Island Grille.

With many days of windshield time ahead of them on the way to Casting for a Cure in Idaho, they got to take a nice break from the road with photographer and avid bow hunter Jeff Simpson at his farm in Kansas. He put them to work, giving their legs a nice stretch as they backburned one of his grass fields to get it ready to be planted with clover for next year’s whitetail season. After sweating out the heat from the fire, Drew and David relaxed on his porch then shortly found their way to bed for an early start in the morning. Looking forward to the swing through the Western states on the way to OR, the Privateers are back on the road, and hopefully will see you along the way.

Meet RC Cone

Posted on July 22, 2015

Our friend RC Cone is a filmmaker, photographer and full time dreamer whose company Tributaries Digital Cinema is consistently ginning out the finest in outdoor adventure films.   In his most recent effort, Yow : Icelandic for Yes!, RC leads the Tributaries crew on a journey to Iceland in search of waves, fishing adventure and whatever else they can turn up in that mysterious land.   It’s a film we were fired up to be connected with and we are eager to see what’s next for Tributaries.  

We recently caught up with RC during his brief down time and grilled him about Yow, hijinx on the set and Montucky Cold Snacks.  Here’s what we found out.

Why Iceland?

I went to Iceland for my first time two years ago while filming Tributaries. Back then, I wanted to put an alternative to Alaska on the screen but I honestly had no idea. Now that I've been there twice, sometimes I think about moving to Reykjavik, it's that cool. The whole island is an amazing place, from the gnarly weather and terrain to the mash-up of Euro/American culture in their nightlife - for being such an isolated place, Iceland is irresistible. It's also hard to forget about those North Actic women too.

What are the biggest challenges of working in a location like that?

Weather and currency. The weather is always gnarly. Raining, snowing, overcast, cold - there have been so many days like that there. There's something about that though, the bad weather is just a part of that Iceland vibe. It's weird covering expensive camera equipment in a .99 cent poncho. The other big thing is how expensive it is there. As a crew, we learned to love Icelandic hot dogs - it's the best way to avoid the ubiquitous $25 cheeseburger. The great thing about the budget being tight is you end up camping on farmer's properties and eating with the locals - those were some of the best experiences from our time there.

What’s the funniest thing that happened on location?

Aside from my assistant director, Will, pooping his pants in the field, it would have to be our few days on the Haukadalsa River. Shane just wasn't catching fish and freaking out about it (as obvious from Yow) but everyone else was catching fish, even me. All adding to Shane's tantrums. Also, we had one night in that lodge with just us, no other clients. Our Icelandic homies Elli and Ingo were there and the people who worked at the lodge were there - including a beautiful college-age babe who's father happened to be the owner. To see this crew of drunk, frustrated idiots falling in love with our host was an all-time sight to behold. We were definitely up late that night, and I don't remember all of it, but I do remember figuring out with Elli that the most amazing thing about reggae is that you can dance to it however you want. Imagine how smart and sophisticated an American and an Icelander looked noodle dancing at 4am. Definitely a night for the books.

You came out of Montana with a degree in Environmental Studies and a concentration in Photojournalism. We’re sure your parents didn’t think you could, but it looks like you managed to pull those two things together, huh?

I hate writing. I've never been good at putting intelligent, creative words to a page and that's basically what an EVST major is. So, I figured out that I could articulate what I was trying to say through still photos. Photo essays basically. And, jah bless the liberal-ness of the University of Montana because somehow and for some reason they gave me a degree. Go figure.

What’s next for Tributaries Digital Cinema?

A ton. We are so frothy. A lot of what we're doing is in development but making Yow has us crazy inspired. We are always working on upping our game and right now we're putting some foundations in to help Tributaries run better as a business. New, diverse clients, crazy weird cool collaborations with partners who bring a totally different thinking to the table and a bunch of new production techniques has us grinding away. We've got 4 movies in our heads that were putting to paper over the next few months, so stay tuned.

It’s coming on to high summer out your way. What’s RC doing on days when he’s not behind the camera?

River time as much as possible! I absolutely love living in Montana. It's landlocked but Montana summers have THE vibe. From quiet exploration to beered-up float trips in my boat named the dirty drifter, its hard to get bored there.

Moscow Mule or Montucky Cold Snack?

Both, please.

Marley or Metallica?

This is a surprisingly complicated question. I've always wanted to host a dressed-to-the-nines formal dance that only plays Marley's older, ska type jams but I also like to destroy shit, as Metallica is good at doing and inspiring me to do. At this very moment, in deep on a production project, no sleep, driving all around Seattle, loading in/loading out, there's absolutely no doubt: Metallica.
You’ve been shooting some product vids and photos for us for a while, what draws you to the Howler Bros. aesthetic? 
It's the Howler crew's understanding of the journey instead of the destination. It's your guys' concentration on the intangible experience rather then some tangible accomplishment. Those concepts are important to me personally and I'm always trying to translate them through a camera.
See more of RC's work here, here or here and for a deeper look check our limited edition YOW T-Shirt & The Tributaries Series DVD set available here. Thanks again!

Howler Brothers x Sanborn Canoe Co.

Posted on July 17, 2015

Here at Howler Bros., we seem to have a certain magnetism towards companies with whom we share ideals– companies that were spawned out of the founders’ hobbies that focus intense energy on design and quality.   The lads at Sanborn Canoe Co. are a great example of a company we’re drawn to for this reason.   Zak Fellman and Todd Randall spend their days hand shaping woods like Cedar, Aspen and Walnut into paddles that are equal parts function and functional art.  We teamed up with them recently to produce the sweet Howler x Sanborn stand up paddle.  It’s one of our favorite collabs and something we struggle to keep in stock.  We caught up with Zak and Todd recently to hear a little about their story and craft. 

Gentlemen, any sign of Spring yet up there in Winona, Minnesota?  

Spring has come. Although it wasn’t that long ago. We’re well into Mosquito season already!

When the Spring does roll around, what’s the first body of water your canoe is hitting?   

The ice on the river goes out first, so as soon as that washes out we’re out for the afternoon. As for real canoe tripping, we always have a fishing opener Boundary Waters Canoe Area trip in early May. This year we chased Lake Trout through Tuscorora Lake and Gillis Lake. They were hitting pretty steady. It didn’t even snow on the trip this year….well only a bit. 

When you were in Kindergarten, did you tell your teacher that you wanted to make handmade, artisanal paddles for a living or did you have more conventional aspirations?

My dreams as a kid were always changing, but they were not the conventional “I want to be an astronaut or a fireman or a policeman…” My aspirations always landed in the creative/dreamer side of the world. For a time I wanted to be an author and then a painter and then an illustrator and then a graphic designer. So filling the role of marketing and paddle painter/craftsman at Sanborn I kind of fulfilled a little bit of all those things. But, no not in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would end up making paddles. Even when we built our canoe in the summer of ‘09 the possibility of turning it into a business wasn’t a thought. 

Sanborn came to life back in 2009.  The stand up paddle phenomenon has come on strong in the intervening 6 years.  Did you see that coming and has it impacted your business and designs?  

Stand Up Paddling has definitely come on strong. It wasn’t really on our radar when we started Sanborn. Being the fresh, new thing it has drawn many new folks to the paddlesports industry that may not have been a part of it before. So even though we are a canoe focused company we’ve been affected and influenced by the movement to stand up paddling. 

Who spins the records there at Sanborn HQ and what’s been in the heavy rotation lately? 

There tends to be a lot of ESPN radio and talk during the day. I know when I put on my headphones to fire up the power tools I’ve been rocking the new Mumford record a bunch. 


Who would win between you in the following contests:

 Arm wrestling?  

Todd. He’s stronger.

Pro wrestling trivia?

I think we’d both lose on this front.

Beer drinking? 

Todd’s the brewer in the shop. 


Ummmm…..I had to look that one up. I think I could take that one though!

Check out the site to see more amazing paddles, learn how to properly care for them, scout the field logs or join the adventure here. We are so stoked on how the Howler x Sanborn stand up paddle collab came out, thanks again Sanborn Canoe Co.!

Howler Dispatch: Privateers Begin

Posted on July 10, 2015

Started off with a central Texas swing to Black’s BBQ and Gruene Hall. While fishing in a canal between an abandoned water plant and a family barbeque, a giant man called to us over a smoke gurgling grill to ask if we were fishing for a “particular kind of perch”. He didn’t have a shirt, but wore the largest woven hat I have ever seen. Earlier that day we loitered around Gruene Outfitters until we convinced Davis James, who was working, to take us fishing after he got off shift. He got a hold of another fishy dude, Daniel Hughes, and they took us to the canal, warning us to watch out for the razor-wire topped fence behind us while casting at fat, sunfish-gobbling largemouth.  

After a send off at the Mean Eyed Cat in Austin, we loaded the van and ended up in New Orleans on Independence Day. Started off at the Bourbon Cowboy where a server tried to manhandle me into taking America flavored test tube shots out of her cleavage.  It was one in the afternoon. So taking Frank Praznik’s advice, we headed towards Jackson Square and away from the spoiled kegs and overstimulating midday vice of Bourbon Street. Eating alligator Po’ boys and drinking hurricanes from a Tiki bar that didn’t serve beer, we watched the Big Easy fire a couple of rounds over the water. Now eastbound and down. 

Artist Series: Jules Buck Jones

Posted on July 8, 2015

Behold the latest addition to the Howler Brothers Artist Series. We worked with Austin-based artist Jules Buck Jones to create this limited run of printed Bruja Boardshorts. Jules was an artist-in-residence in the Everglades some years ago, and this fish head pattern originated from his sketches cataloging the species that were his neighbors in this wild and prehistoric environment. Jules is a versatile artist with a deep connection to nature, and works in pretty much every medium you can think of, from pencil to video installations. You can see a ton more of his creations here.


The Search is Over! Meet the Howler Privateers

Posted on June 5, 2015


The search is over. Thank you!

First off, we want to thank everyone who applied to the Privateers program. We weren’t sure what to expect this being the inaugural year, but the response has been overwhelming. Hilarious applications and impressive videos made it difficult to pick the winners, but we are happy to introduce the Privateers.

Meet the Crew

Drew Ruff and David Mucklow have known each other since they were kids. They hail from Colorado, are pretty damn funny, and…well…are no strangers to adventure. Let’s just say that when it comes to fishing, they have their priorities in order. Check out their application video to hear it from the guys themselves. 

What’s to come, stay tuned.

In just a few days, David and Drew will strike out on the open road. There will be lots of miles, hopefully some great times, and maybe - just maybe - a little bit of mayhem. To follow all their adventures and get updates from the road, be sure to check back in here and follow them on the Privateers Instagram and Twitter accounts. This is just the beginning. HEED THE CALL

Meet Patrick Duke: Howler Ambassador

Posted on May 12, 2015

Patrick Duke is a renaissance outdoorsman who embodies the “heed the call” scripture we preach here at Howler Brothers. He’s a fly fishing guide and super talented oil painter who draws inspiration from the natural world around him in Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley of Colorado, or wherever he happens to find himself. We took a pilgrimage with Patrick and his fellow Howler brand ambassador Kameron Brown down to Mexico to adventure about and shoot pictures of our Spring Howler line and recent collaboration with Smith Optics. Recently, we reconnected with Patrick and asked him a few tough questions...

So, any trouble transitioning from the warm climes of Mexico back to Colorado?
Always... From Kay’s margaritas at the Palometa Club to ice scrapers and shovels is always a tough one. The worst part is sticking the salt gear in the back of the closet and not knowing when you get to pull it out again. On the upside, in 48 hours I went from casting to permit on the flats to riding pow on Crested Butte Mountain.

Any sleepless nights resulting from your encounters with permit down at the Palmetto Club?
No, I’ve accepted that permit are all assholes and when I finally do stick one of those donkey lipped f#$kers I'm going to poke it in his big eye and tell him to warn his fork-tailed friends... Seriously though, if I ever have a permit dream I’d probably wake my girlfriend up mumbling every combination of swear words I know. My buddy and I call it permit Tourettes. I did have some unforgettable shots that are on repeat in my head and thats good enough for now... 

In your professional opinion, what is wrong with Kameron Brown?
Ha! Everything.... At the moment his two wheel drive camper van is stuck on three wheels because I talked him into fishing the black Canyon on his cross country road tripper. My Bad Kam.... For real though, everyone needs a little Vitamin K in their life. He is the quintessential Cali brah who wakes up everyday oozing grom like stoke and curiosity about the what, where and why especially if it involves a surfboard or a fly rod. And his stoke is genuine and infectious. His road trip, just him, his dog and his van full of surf sticks and buggy whips explains it all. His next stop is Montana. Beware, Trout and women alike, Vitamin K is on his way. (we do need to sharpen up his lady skills though, I don't think he met that ambassador pre-req...)

Your artwork is spectacular and reminiscent of the old guard of western oil painters. Who are your big influences in that arena?
Wow, much appreciated. As a Contemporary Realist I have several current and historic legends to look up to. The more known and historic being John Segar Sargent, who could paint an arm and a hand in just a few precise brush strokes. Edgar Pane who was focused on landscape and could truly capture not only the landscape but also the air between viewer and land. Then there are the current crushers of the landscape world, Scott Christensen, Clive Aspevig and up-and-comer Joshua Bean. These guys are insane and constantly pushing the levels of realist landscape.

At what point did you think you had what it took to give it a go as a professional artist?
Hard to say, even as a kid I just knew that was what I was good at and that was what I had to do. As you grow and mature and realize how the “real” world works though it makes committing to such a lofty career a little more intimidating. Even most artists in the educational system are ingrained with the notion that being an art teacher is the best rout for an “Artist”. I guess it wasn't until after college I decided I was going to put the snowboard and fly-rod down, at least a little bit, and fully commit to this. The suit and tie behind a desk route was out of the question a long time ago. It wasn't that I thought I was good enough but more so I thought if I put everything into it I could get there. I'm still getting there, but the sales are always the best reward for progress.

The Colorado trout season is creeping up, what is Patrick Duke doing right now to get prepared?
Mental training. Every morning after breakfast my girlfriend runs me through a few questions or comments that I have to respectfully respond to:

"Nice boat, do you think I'll need my net today?"
"Do you have room for my backcountry backpack, fly fishing vest, cooler, back up waders, book to read, camera from the 80’s, 3wt rod, 8wt rod, back up sunblock? Or do you think I can leave the sleeping bag?" 
"What do you mean by mend?...." 
"You think that was a bite?..." 

This time of year is no "off-season". I’m currently juggling a lot: booking clients for the summer and explaining to people why my July is already booked, putting together a new boat (kind of obsessed with boats - is 4 to many?..), packing for a bonefish trip in 3 days, tying tarpon flies for the Keys, trying to get ahead and crank out paintings for the summer season, and meanwhile keep a good fish count on my local tailwater that seams to always pop a 30-incher out this time of year. Other than that just chillin'... 

IPA, Rainier, Fireball, Chardonnay, Single Malt. Pick 2.
Everyone is trying to "out hops" each other.. IPA R.I.P. Rainier seems to be the North West equivalent to PBR, maybe slightly better and all though I haven't had the privilege to taste Rainier on the way in AND the way out I'm sure its all the same. Funny how there is nothing better than ice cold PBR and nothing worst than back of the truck “look what I found under the seat!" PBR. Fireball is always part of a recipe for a great night and a terrible morning. But I do have a bottle rolling around in my boat cooler right now... Chardonnay is for guys wearing world wide sportsman fishing shirts who only cast Winstons, and thirsting cougars. More of a Malbec guy myself (of course, badass trout live in Argentina, too). Single Malt, now were talking. Whisky, scotch, warm, cold, morning, night. I'm in.

Foreigner, Beck, Buck Owens, Kendrick Lamar, Peter Tosh. Pick 2.
Shoot, I dig all of those. Just hit shuffle and let it rip. 

Howler Brothers, Ed Hardy, Magellan, Members Only, Guess, Hugo Boss. Pick 1.
Is this a trick question? I feel like this is a trick question.... 
Ed Hardy, jeez.. Nothing says "I love crappy tattoos" like sporting shirts with images of crappy tattoos.  
Bah ha ha, Magellan?! "Does this vest make me look like I’m on a safari right now?" I do have my passport..... in one of these thousands of pockets. 
Members Only, still pretty fresh.. But I still don’t understand that strappy neck thing. What is that?! 
Guess...... nope
Hugo Boss... hard to row a boat in suit jacket but I do enjoy looking like a BOSS on occasion. 
Howler Brothers is the easy pick. Thank you again fellas for cracking the code between great looking clothes and fishing attire and breathing some style back into this industry. I’ve been avoiding the “guide shirts” and zip off cargo pants that have been plaguing this industry for years. When I found Howler, it was a no brainer.

Check out more of Patrick's paintings here, catch him in action in our Panga Patrol video, or get a closer look at the rest of what he's wearing at

Join the Howler Privateer Summer 2015 Crew

Posted on May 7, 2015

Are you looking for something to do this Summer that will take you coast to coast, let you fish, swim, surf, hang out with friends new and old, shoot photos and video and fly your Howler flag high?  Well, you’re in luck, because we are looking for two such souls to come on board for the Summer as the inaugural Howler Privateers. You’ll get to spend some time at Howler HQ in Austin, TX and then set sail in our deluxe Howler van visiting our retailers, running pop up shops, assisting at trade shows and heeding the call at various ports of call.  You’ll get paid (a little) and learn (a lot).  Half of it is work but you won’t notice because it will all be fun and an adventure.
Think this is for you?  Want to know more? Then, consider these points below :
  • We are looking for two people.  Applicants MUST apply in pairs, know each other and have a history of getting along while spending time together in small spaces like vans and hotel rooms.
  • Both applicants must have a valid driver’s license with a strong driving record and background.  We are going to run all of these screens so please consider this before jumping in.
  • You must be available and free to travel from June 15 – August 15.  We know everyone has things going on so we will do our best to accommodate your trip back home to go to Cousin Lanny’s third wedding.   BUT, generally, you must commit for this entire time period.   
  • We want self-starters and hard workers.  This is FAR from a typical Summer gig at some investment firm, but you will not always have someone from Howler accompanying you, getting you out of bed and giving you instruction.   You will often be in charge of moving from place to place, creating your own agenda and generating creative content from your adventures.  
  • We love people who are handy with cameras and video cameras and that are generally savvy on things like Go-Pro cameras, video editing, social media and the written word. We also like capable people who can do things like tie knots, change tires, sketch, hang banners, “skin a buck and run a trot line” and get barreled. 
  • We want professional and responsible people. You will represent Howler Bros. at events and trade shows, sell our goods, handle money and drive a van with Howler Bros. emblazoned on the side.  Most of this will be fun but this is no boondoggle.   
  • This is great way to build a creative resume of video, social media and digital content.

    Still interested?  If so, find your running mate, and EACH fill out the questionnaire linked below and submit no later than May 20th