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:
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?!
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.
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.
Posted on April 29, 2015
Ubiquitous in so many tropical destinations, the Panga has become the symbol for saltwater fishing adventures. Tough, accessible, and full of character, the Panga harkens thoughts of drifting endless turquoise flats, exotic beers, and plenty of good times.
We took Howler Ambassadors Patrick Duke and Kameron Brown down to Mexico to stir up some trouble in Pangas and chase some fish.
Posted on March 30, 2015
As most of you know, Howler founders Andy Stepanian, Chase Heard and Mason Brent spend a portion of their time playing in the band Wrinkle Neck Mules. The band recently released its 6th studio album, I Never Thought It Would Go This Far. The release was heralded by PopMatters as “one of the better roots rock outings we’re likely to hear in this still young year” and American Songwriter Magazine called the album full of “thoughtful arrangements, finely crafted”. If you want some background on the WNM check out this blog post from last year.
Here at Howler Bros, we’re celebrating the release with some special edition Howler x Wrinkle Neck Mules merchandise including 2 special edition hats and a truly awesome flocked t-shirt featuring the album’s black cat artwork. For each purchase, we will throw in a gratis copy of the compact disc (remember those?).
If you want a little flavor for what Wrinkle Neck Mules is all about, check out the recently released video for “Whistlers & Sparklers” from I Never Thought It Would Go This Far.
If you want to catch the band live, your chance is coming soon. Go see them at one of the following spots in April and May. And, keep apprised to wrinkleneckmules.com for advance ticket info and future show announcements.
Tuesday April 7, 2015 – Smith’s Olde Bar, Atlanta, Georgia
Wednesday April 8, 2015 – Charleston Pour House, Charleston, SC
Thursday April 9, 2015 – Bourgie Nights, Wilmington, NC
Friday April 10, 2015 – The Jefferson Theatre, Charlottesville, VA (w/ Larry Keel)
Saturday April 11, 2015 – Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA (SOLD OUT)
Friday May 8, 2015 – Beaufort Music Festival, Beaufort, NC
Saturday, May 9 – The Evening Muse, Charlotte, NC
Posted on December 9, 2014
photo credit: Hunter Cole
Our newest brand ambassador, Kameron Brown, is cut from the same cloth as us. He loves surfing above all but fills his days heeding the call of everything from elk hunting to fly fishing. On a given day, you can find Kameron in his native California working hard and playing harder. We caught up with him recently to see what makes him tick.
So, Kameron, before we get started, what do you see immediately to your right?
An alaia I made with Tom Wegener in Australia and my fly tying station.
And to your left?
A cup of yerba mate...... and some laundry I wish would magically fold itself.
Ok, Good. We just caught a video of you enjoying some of our tanker surf here in Texas. Tell us about that experience and how that came about.
What a trip that was! That particular time was my first visit to Texas..... and most definitely wasn't going to be my last! I had my first experiences with some of the best BBQ I've ever had, a honey chicken biscuit from What-a-burger, a wide variety of landscapes from barren ranches to sky high executive buildings, and most importantly..... tanker shipping canals. When we pulled up to this spot, I couldn't imagine anything of what my Texas buddies were explaining. A 10 minute long wave that pops up out in the middle of no where. I've heard and seen some serious waves in Galveston formed by tankers but unfortunately didn't make it there this trip. I was staying near Corpus Christi at the time so we decided to try out a place near Port A. I'd say about 5 tankers passed by during the time we were getting our boards off the car and waxed up but unfortunately.... didn't see this magical 'wave' they were speaking of. Thankfully a buddy of mine has the hook ups and personally knows a tanker captain that navigates these canals. My buddy gets a call and moments after he hangs up the phone, he starts frantically telling us to get in the water.... "Here it comes!" The weight of the tanker ship is most important along with tides and travel speed. You'll see in the video that Morgan knows exactly what the wave is going to do..... Im sitting there absolutely lost thinking to myself, "How is a wave just going to pop up out of nowhere.....". Sure enough, a little A-frame nugget comes rolling down the edges of the canal. Fortunately, all my buddies and myself caught the wave. Yes it was a small wave but yes, I've never done anything like that before. After 5 minutes our legs started to burn! Who would have thought you'd get tired of riding a wave! We must have surfed at least a mile down the canal... and the best part about it all.... was the paddle back! [watch video here]
As a brand with a presence in both surfing and fly fishing, we find a lot of fly fisherman who like to surf but not necessarily the other way around. How did you come to start fly fishing?
Long story longer, I was raised by my adventurous father who got me into fishing when I was just a little grom. Overnight tuna trips out of San Diego, 3/4 day trips for calicos out of Dana Point, giant squid night fishing in our zodiac, 100+ dorado days on our Luhrs just in sight of Catalina. All fish were caught on a standard conventional rod and reel. I absolutely loved it and was hooked from the first day. I owe a lot of my talents and interest in different hobbies to my father. As a kid, I never gave much thought into the concept of fly fishing. I didn't know anyone who fly fished, my father never used a fly rod, and so that motto comes to mind "out of sight, out of mind". I just never came about it. It wasn't until I met my great friend Bobby that my eyes were opened to fly fishing. He taught me to cast in the park, once I got that down he took me to a tiny pond in San Juan Capistrano where I caught my first fish on the fly (4" long green bass), and right after I landed that fish..... I was addicted. Literally, it was all I thought about. Bought my first fly tying vice along with a few materials and was tying foam beetles and experimenting with chartreuse chenille creating the ugliest 'things' ever. I knew I loved fly fishing and everything about it but it wasn't until I used a fly, that I tied, to catch a fish. Talk about feeling accomplished. Been fly fishing ever sense and pretty much forgot about conventional fishing. But don't get me wrong..... there will always be room in my heart for conventional gear.
Do you find any similarities between the sports?
Yes. Dedication, discipline, research, practice practice practice. Cool thing about most all my hobbies is that they take me to the most beautiful places the world has to offer. From Australia's east coat surfing hurricane swells to 11,000 feet up in the Sierras fishing glacier fed waters.
Fast and steep or long and carving?
I respect both aspects of surfing. Getting absolutely barreled off your head in the Mentawai Islands is something i'll never get enough of but there's just something about a stomach high peeler where you can trim your life away and clock in some serious tip time.
photo credit: Cat Gregory
Motorhead or Grateful Dead ?
IPA or tequila ?
Surfing with your bros or hunting alone?
Couldn't say I enjoy one more than the other. Surfing with your bros is filled with excitement, wave sharing, story telling and is so refreshing after a long day working. Hunting alone is my time to get in touch with nature and reality. Helps me understand where I come from as a human and being in these wild places is a real eye opener for quality of life especially when you drive hours or days back home to a concrete jungle where you reside.
If you could script the perfect day for Kameron Brown, how would it go?
Going to bed at 8:30 and waking up before the sun rises, fresh pot of yerba mate brewing, cruising in the van towing my boat to the launch ramp, fly rods ready, hooked up to a yellowtail before 8 am. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich breakfast washed down with an ice-cold beer, buzzing drag singing louder than my 2 stroke outboard, peter tosh blasting through the speakers, sun warming the brisk morning, another beer! Few fish in the cooler, full throttle, full belly, burnt nose, and back to the harbor just around noon. Back to my abode in SJC for some elk burgers and home grown veggies accompanied with a giant pile of rice, fishing stuff put away, surfboards replacing rods, van smells of wetsuits, bumping down the dusty 'ol road at San Onofre. Shakas thrown, ten toes over, smiles for miles. Fire wood, marshmallows, sandy feet, guitars strumming, story telling, ice-cold man sodas for all. Best part of it all........ bed at 8:30... do it all over again the next day.
Even though there are plenty of surf brands in California, you chose us – an inland Texas brand to rep. What drew you to Howler Brothers? (Shameless promotion section).
Howler Brothers speaks my language. There aren't many brands focusing on fly fishing and surfing. They are exactly what I am about. Everything from the quality of their threads to the people representing and running the company. I feel their love for life, their love for the brand, and most importantly, their addiction to adventure. Their clothes were not only inspired by surfers and fisherman but also tested by them. All of their gear helps me endure everything my hobbies throw at me. Breathable long sleeves for fishing those blazing hot days, insulated jackets for those icy mornings crawling out of my tent, and everything in between. Honored to be a part of the family and am excited to see what the future holds with Howler Brothers and myself.
photo credit: Luki O'Keefe
Posted on October 31, 2014
We have teamed up with our friends at The Inertia to bring you the "Call of the Wild"—a monthly series of editorial features that covers every aspect of heeding the call.
Getting barreled is the holy grail of surfing. Of course, any wave is a good wave, but watching that lip sneak over your head and realizing that yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel is something beyond compare.
This is not an easy thing to do. Getting a proper barrel takes a lot of time in the water. Photo: Brad Masters
A few days ago, I was surfing at my regular spot. One of the most familiar faces out there is an older lady, probably around 70. She wears two wetsuits – a john and a regular one underneath it – and a cap with a long braid falling out the back. She rides a body board with little fins on it, and she is, without a doubt, the most stoked person I’ve ever met. She has zero concern for what anyone thinks about her, and every wave she kicks onto looks like the most fun thing that’s ever happened to her. On this particular day, I was paddling back out, and because she was on a body board, she snuck into a mini-barrel – more of a head dip, but still, it counted. I whistled at her as she hooted her way out. “That was a good one!” I exclaimed. She smiled at me. “MORE!” was all she could say. “MORE!”
Getting a really good barrel is hard. It can take years of surfing, and sometimes, it just never happens. It’s one of those endless searches – even if you manage to find a good one, it just fuels your passion for the next. It’s exhausting, really. It’s a treadmill, only way more fun. With that in mind, I wrote a few emails to some of the best surfers in the world. These guys have been barreled so much, they should be sick of it. They are not sick of it. I asked them a question: where is the easiest place in the world to get barreled?
The first to get back to me was CJ Hobgood, owner of a 2001 World Championship Cup (which he’s not entirely comfortable with… you’ll have to watch the documentary when it comes out). “Definitely Macaroni’s,” he wrote. “That ledge is a friendly drop, and the wave does relatively the same thing.” As with anything, repetition is necessary for learning. There’s something called the 10,000 hour rule, which Malcolm Gladwell says is the time it takes to master something. If you’ve spent 10,000 getting barreled, you’re probably the best barrel rider on earth. “At first, that’s what makes it fun,” CJ continued, “but then you kind of get over the wave because your surfing can become scripted.” While getting over a wave as perfect as Macaronis might be the best problem I’ve ever heard, CJ does have a point – surfing’s fluidity is one of the best parts about it, and no one likes being stuck in a rut, even if it’s a watery, super fun one.
The next person to get back to me was CJ’s brother, Damien. Damien’s not a tour guy anymore, and he’s been using his newfound free time to do exactly what he was doing on tour: surf. But he’s surfing on his own time now, where and when he wants, picking and choosing his trips. He’s been branching into bigger waves lately, too, with a paddle session at Jaws last winter and a handful of some of the most incredible video clips I’ve seen in a long time. “I’d also say a south swell at Chopes and P-Pass,” Damo added in a reply, “but west and small is pretty hard at Chopes.” Speaking from a totally average regular footer’s point of view, Teahupoo was not on my list of possible answers to the question. When I think of Tahiti’s most famous wave, I think of thick, backless beasts, ones that fold over the sharpest and shallowest of reefs – I think of the Millenium Wave, to be perfectly honest, and I want nothing to do with it. But on further reflection, while it’s not common to see images of regular ol’ Teahupoo, I have seen a few. It looks fun, so maybe Damo’s right. I do have one small worry, though: if anyone remembers Keala Kennelly’s horrific facial injury at Teahupoo, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It was on a totally average day. And Keala is one of the best surfers in the world.
Of course, when you’re talking about barrels, one wave comes to mind: Pipeline. And when you’re talking about Pipeline, one name comes to mind: Gerry Lopez. So I wrote Mr. Pipeline himself a quick note to get his thoughts on it. His response was brief, but helpful. “Nothing easy about getting barreled,” he answered. “But if you have the desire and the skill set,” Gerry continued, “Pipeline, Teahupoo, G-Land, Lance’s Right, and Scar Reef.”
Gerry’s answer, I suppose, is indicative of something. I asked the wrong question, and he called me on it. There is no easy place to get barreled, because getting barreled is hard. And that’s what makes it worth chasing.
Have a worst-case scenario story? Leave your story, in all its gory details, in the comments section on this post at theintertia.com. Best one wins $200 worth of gear from Howler Brothers, perfect for those tube hunting trips! While you’re at it, take a peek at previous installments of The Call of the Wild Adventure Series powered by Howler Brothers.
Posted on October 16, 2014
The El Gallo Buckle is our latest collaborative creation with anvil master Wes Groot at Cityboy Forge. After the overwhelming popularity of the rooster on our Gaucho Snapshirt, we were dying to get this gallo hammered into metal. As with all Cityboy buckles, this one is highly customizable on the back with words of wisdom, geographic coordinates, girlfriend's names, battle cries, or whatever else you want (within reason). Claim one of these buckles for yourself here and now.
We are sure that many of you seen our previous buckle collaborations with Wes Groot and Cityboy Forge: the classic Howler Monkey, the Jolly Roger, and the Coordinates Buckle. All of these are evidence of just how much we love what Wes and Co. do at the Forge. Wes is an artisan who manipulates the elements into heirloom quality, wearable art. To do this he uses old school techniques like hammering, weaving, forge-pressing and repoussé, a process where sheet metal is manipulated to create three-dimensional designs. Like us, Wes is driven by creativity, ideas, and the desire to keep making original things that reflect his personality and that of his customers. On top of that, he’s just a good dude. Watch Wes' craft and process in the video below and check out more on the Cityboy Forge website.
Posted on October 1, 2014
Four of us hit the road last week to mix it up with friends new and old in the Treasure State of Montana. It’s hard not to love Montana any time of year but September is a particularly awesome month in the land of oro y plata with warm days, cool nights and a palatable sense of the coming Winter. Every piece of equipment in the state is working to put up hay and, most importantly for this trip, the trout are looking upwards in search of protein.
The main reason we made the voyage was to “compete” in a fly fishing event at the famed Bar Z Riverside Ranch in support of Casting 4 A Cure, a charity dedicated to curing Rett Syndrome. Rett Syndrome is a neurological disorder that impacts young girls. Like many others, we became aware of its impact through C4C founder, Bill Farnum, whose daughter has Rett. Anyone who has spent even 30 seconds with Bill can vouch for the fact that he is one of the coolest and most benevolent dudes around, and it is awesome to see firsthand the impact that he and C4C are having on Rett research. If you want to know more or have some spare change in your pocket, go to Casting4ACure.com.
For 2.5 days, we immersed ourselves in the events at the Bar Z which included heavy doses of streamer fishing, beer drinking and general revelry. We even packed along 3/5ths of our alter-ego, Wrinkle Neck Mules, for the occasion and had a hell of a front porch pick session for Saturday night’s closing ceremonies. One of the Bar Z guides, Austin Reyher, pulled out his fiddle and dropped our jaws with his bow work.
On Sunday, we said our good byes to the C4C crowd, packed up our instruments and rods and headed off to the booming troutropolis of Craig, Montana for a little event we dubbed “Howlin’ on the Mo” with our friends at Headhunters Fly Shop.
We didn’t really need an excuse, but this offered us another opportunity to pick some songs, drink a few cold snacks and spread the Howler word in Craig. It was a beautiful day and it was awesome to spend time with the Headhunters squad and everyone who stopped by. Huge thanks to Mark, John, Sarah and everyone at Headhunters for helping us pull it off. And, an enormous thanks to Austin Reyher for bringing his fiddle up to Craig. You’re now an honorary member of the WNM.
We’re already thinking ahead to next Fall’s Montana Pilgrimage and Howlin’ on the Mo part 2. Stand by.
Posted on September 12, 2014
We sent Howler Ambassador RC Cone and friends to put our newest fall gear to the test in the magnificent wilds of Iceland. RC is the filmmaker behind Tributaries, and the footage above is the first from his newest endeavor, YOW: Icelandic for Yes.
Posted on September 9, 2014
September means back to school, football, hopefully some cooler temperatures. We decided it was also the perfect time to head out West to find some fish and hang out with good friends. So, we called up our buddies at Headhunters and decided to throw a little shindig in Craig, Montana.
Come one, come all and join Howler Brothers and Headhunters Fly Shop for the Howlin' on the Mo' party. There will be free beer and food, live music from the Wrinkle Neck Mules, Howler Brother giveaways, and more! It's gonna be awesome!
For more details, be sure to check out the event page.
Did we mention free beer???
See y'all in Craig!