Posted on February 13, 2018
We recently took our Spring 2018 collection and a whole bunch of friends down to Abaco, Bahamas. We found beautiful water, beautiful people and many days filled with lobster diving, blue hole finding, bonefish chasing and wave discovering. Come along for the journey.
Posted on February 9, 2018
Although a native of Texas, Howler Ambassador Curt Hamby spends half of his year as a fishing guide for WorldCast Anglers on the rivers of Wyoming and Idaho and the other half he works as a member of Ski Patrol on the Jackson Hole Mountain - one of the most diverse and treacherous mountains in the lower 48. On river and on mountain, Curt is a long time member of the Howler inner circle and an early adopter of Howler gear for his daily life. We caught up with Curt for a few runs and a couple cold ones in Teton Village and picked his brain about a few things. Here’s what we found out…
So, what’s scarier, tossing bombs into avalanche zones or the client that shows up and says “it’s my first time fly fishing?"
Definitely the scarier of the two is the one who comes out fly fishing and says it’s their first time and they brought bombs! No, but half seriously on the one hand you take a client fly fishing and you are teaching a craft, something they can enjoy over a lifetime. On the other hand you have explosives performing avalanche mitigation, and it requires all your knowledge of snow metamorphosis, the weather, and the precipitation index for that day. You have a big responsibility. Hopefully the end result is what you expect, then go ski some powder snow! Both fun!
Tell us what a day is like on the patrol when you get a big dump of snow overnight?
A big snow dump usually results in a sleepless night due to the wind pounding the house. In the morning I get up and catch a fishing show, drink a lot of coffee, check the weather stations data, drive over Teton pass, and clock in around 6 am. I can be one of the crew that prepares the charges for the workers depending on the snowfall and wind, or I could be running my hand charge route. Occasionally throughout the season we have an avalauncher that we shoot, so I’m on that crew as well. The goal is to get the mountain safe and standing tall before 9am. It takes a lot of people to accomplish this and a lot of noise if you live near the village. So that’s before 9, then there is the daily work of cleaning up rope lines, picking up and skiing around as much as possible, responding to an incident or injury, and maybe even roping up and doing a rescue if there is a person in a precarious situation. If there is a response out of bounds, I’ll go there. We sweep the mountain at the end of day and go down to our bar and share stories and a brew.
Seems like you have a pretty good balance between working the rivers and working the mountain, but I imagine they are both taxing on you. What season are you most glad to see come to an end each year?
That’s an easy one. Old Man Winter! I have a super supportive wife and daughter, so they let me leave patrol late March and I spend a couple of months in the Bahamas hosting bonefish trips and hanging with my crew down there working on a tan and a double haul. I get to miss the mud season.
Last year, you spent some time in Bhutan. What was that all about?
The trip of a lifetime! I was invited to be part of a group supported by King 5 and the Prime Minister of Bhutan to teach a local Bhutanese group all the skills of fly fish guiding: casting, rowing, river safety, fly tying and knots, etc. The goal is to create a fly fishing destination and have the local Bhutanese do all the jobs any destination travel business would do including guiding, cooking, managing the lodges, and facilitating transportation. The travel in Bhutan is crazy. The straightest road is the Paro airport, so driving is tenuous. Bhutan hosts the revered Golden and chocolate Mahseer, a cross between a carp, snook, and a tarpon. Mahseer spawn in the main rivers and tributaries of some serious whitewater. Bhutan is about the size of Oregon and the gradient north to south is from 23,000 ft to about 900ft, so the runoff is huge during the monsoon season. You can imagine how hardy and strong these fish can be. Currently sport fishing is illegal, but the government is interested in fishing tourism, and we were there to promote safe fishing practices. Hopefully in the near future the infrastructure will happen and we can get some groups over there. It’s super hard fishing with heavy grains and heavy flies for big fish that are super elusive! That aside, the people, the culture and the geography were beautiful. Riding elephants, fishing with Golden langurs in the trees and Great hornbills flying around, and seeing leopard tracks were all pluses! The Bhutanese students start talking about the tigers when you're rowing down the Manas River - that got my attention!
What do you miss most about Texas?
Well all my family is still down there... and quail hunting!
George Jones or George Clinton?
I’m more of the George Jones genre!
Rainier or Maker’s Mark?
Do I have to pick one!? Actually, though, I’m more of a Tito’s and Deep Eddy guy.
You adorned yourself in Howler since the day we started. Besides making you look like a bad ass, what do you dig about our gear?
The short answer is I like to support a grassroots company. You guys have a great vibe, a cool laid back culture, and my kind of style. I contacted Mason early on about the company and the product. He had spent some time in Jackson and he was stoked to get some Howler gear in our area. I had some prior experience with small apparel companies and I was psyched to support. You guys at Howler Brothers and my friends at Yeti are both Texas based companies, both started small. As a Texas teleskier at JHSP, it kind of all makes sense in my mind... and look at you now! Thanks Andy, Chase, Mason and Howler crew! You guys keep up the cool art, cool styles and cool culture!
Posted on January 29, 2018
If you have a keen eye when you walk around Charleston, South Carolina you will start to notice graphical elements here or there that have a distinct look and feel. Much of it is the work of one of our favorite graphic artists, Jay Fletcher. Fletcher, an Ohio transplant to the Lowcountry, uses geometry, creative font design and simplicity to cook up some of the coolest graphic design around. The impact of his work ranges well beyond Charleston as he has created logos and designs for everyone from the US Virgin Islands to Apple.
We have long admired Jay’s work and felt like we were long overdue for a new Howler Artist Series collection. So, we cut Jay loose to put his spin on some Howler goods. We got more than we bargained for so we made a full deck of playing cards in addition to a t-shirt, hat and limited edition, hand-screened poster. Here's a look at a few examples of Jay's other work. You can dig deeper into Jay’s work here. And, be sure to check out the full Howler x Jay Fletcher Artist Series collection.
Posted on December 3, 2017
Howler Ambassador Christiaan Pretorius is one of those folks people describe as “fishy”. While there is no real definition of this term, if Webster’s attempted to do so they would probably just put Christiaan’s picture next to the word and leave it at that. He’s an absolute student of fly fishing and well versed in all the tests, glory and pain that comes with it. Although born in South Africa, he’s put his knowledge to the test all over the world from Kamchatka, Russia to Swaziland.
We had a chance to spend a solid week hanging with Christiaan at Abaco Lodge in the Bahamas where he is currently the lodge manager. We put his rum pouring arm to the test, explored the depths of the Abacos and even coaxed him into letting us use his handsome mug to model some of our gear for our upcoming Spring 2018 collection. You’ll have to wait to see that stuff but you can read our “on the record” convo with Christiaan below. And, you can go deeper into the mind of the man by checking out this profile video created by a few of his South African countrymen.
So, this seems like a great gig. Beautiful weather, awesome food and millions of bonefish swimming within a few miles of your bed. As the lodge manager, do you get a chance to actually get out on the water or do you just get to talk about fishing?
Let's just say I make the most of the opportunities I get to wet my feet or just go and explore. We do have quite a lot of things that keep us busy in and around the lodge as I am sure you guys saw. It was always the goal, for me to pursue something that I truly love and enjoy whether it be somewhere in nature or close to water. The biggest perk about this gig is to have my girlfriend with me. Nothing better than experiencing these places with someone special. We do end up talking a lot about fishing, which is fine with me!
You have traveled all over the world doing this, is there any place you can call your favorite?
I have been very fortunate indeed to see and fish some of the coolest places on the globe. This is always going to be a tricky question for me but I do have a special spot for the Seychelles. Flip Pallot had the best answer when I asked him the same question, he replied "My favourite fish is the one I am going to cast at next"
The Bahamas has such a unique vibe and people. Any good stories about your time here?
Oh that is very true indeed, they are such a happy and laid back bunch of people. Very different to the rest of the World in so many ways. But we really enjoy our time with them and getting to know their culture and ways. One of the top stories will always be one of our guides and his 62 siblings...yes that is correct, 62 siblings.
When you are away from home, what do you miss most about South Africa?
Most of the things I miss most about home is related to Red Meat one way or another. I miss bow hunting and Biltong (similar to jerky but better) I miss braai (similar to Barbecue but little different) and for sure miss the friends and family. Africa will always be home for me and is still my favourite place.
We love music over here at Howler HQ. Tell us a few African musicians we don't know about that we can put on the Howler playlist.
We have some pretty killer local talent for sure. During our last visit home we went to see a live performance of Bottomless Coffee Band, It was pretty epic to say the least. Goldfish, Jeremy Loops, Matthew Mole, Dan Patlansky are to name but a few. Look it up.
We are so fired up that you are coming to visit us in Austin in December, what do you want to do?
It's been a long time coming, I've been itching to see Austin as all the things you hear makes it sound like a pretty damn cool place. And then again everyone I have met from there are just nice people. Well there are a couple of things actually, visiting my friend Capt Jack (Jako Lucas) who just recently moved to Austin, I want to check out the Yeti Flagship store as they have been taking really good care of me too, and then of course check in with the Howler crew. Rick made a valid suggestion of possibly working in an elongated happy hour for one of the days too. Also I will try get my first Whitetail with a bow and then head down to the coast and fish a little with Alvin and JT. Super pumped as it's a pretty rad schedule.
Epic or Rad?
I am South African so I will have to go with Epic, but then again if you have heard Kameron Brown or Jonathan Nimerfroh use the word Rad - it's next level.
You could rep for any apparel brand you want. Any reason why you chose Howler ? (This is your opportunity to tell us how great we are).
You guys are just the best. No, all jokes aside, I really love Howler's style because it's more lifestyle than serious fishing gear. It's something that I can wear when I am fishing but also when I go to a bar or restaurant or just anywhere really. The design is also very unique and the quality is evident. I definitely want to find a way to get it to South Africa, I think it will be a major hit. It's more than just the clothing too, it truly is the people behind the brand that makes Howler special.
Posted on November 16, 2017
When we were asked by YETI to create a collection for them, we jumped at the chance. Howler Brothers and YETI share the same passion and tireless drive to create rugged, versatile and design-driven products. Our companies are kindred. We are nearly neighbors here in Austin, Texas, good friends and have been co-conspirators on many adventures.
Our tag line “Heed the Call” and YETI’s “Built for the Wild” are related refrains that reflect our common perspective. Like Yeti’s coolers and accessories, the Howler Brothers for YETI collection is designed to take you from your morning coffee all the way through to the late night debriefing. We hope you dig it. Check out some pictures here or head to Yeti.com to shop the entire collection.
Posted on October 17, 2017
We're honored to now have JT Van Zandt on board as a Howler Ambassador. JT has spent over 25 years dedicated to fly fishing, and yes, he is the eldest son of the late Townes Van Zandt - a songwriter of mythical status who some famously argue is the greatest of all time.
JT is a dead ringer for his father and contemplated a life as a songwriter for himself but instead forged his own path as a fly fishing guide and woodworker. He guides the middle coast of Texas for redfish, and builds some of the coolest and sleekest wooden skiffs and canoes you'll ever see. A devoted daddy to two young boys, JT Has created a zen-like connection between family, the outdoors and the legacy of his father's songs. All of this was the the subject of an excellent short film produced by our friends over at Yeti. Check it out here.
We caught up with JT during a photo shoot for our Fall 2017 line and found out a little more about what makes him tick.
Are you really the son of Townes Van Zandt or is that some bullshit you cooked up to get a leg up on the other guides here on Texas' middle coast?
It's true, and something I wouldn't own up to if it weren't. Honestly though, it's been a really cool road I've travelled, and one that uniquely shaped my sensibilities. I try to carry the meaning of my fathers tunes with me and live in a way that honors the wisdom he put out there.
Ten years ago, you almost never saw anyone fly fishing out here but now skiffs and fly anglers are seemingly everywhere on the Texas coast. Do you feel like this is good or bad?
There are a lot of people everywhere these days and I'm one of them. It has the potential to be positive if we all behave in a way that is respectful towards each other and to the resource. The flats are sacred, and should be treated as such. Don't let a needless behavior of your own have a negative impact on the habitat or another angler.
What's your "go to" Texas redfish fly? Can you tell us?
It doesn't need to be elaborate, it just needs to be properly weighted for the depth and well placed so that it darts across the fish's path. If your first cast is well placed, and the first couple strips elicit a response from the fish then it happens. I like a small buck tail fly with bead chain eyes and no flash. I can tie a dozen in 15 min in tan, pink, and chartreuse. It is a sparse pattern that is suggestive of multiple species of prey. The first cast is critical. Think of multiple casts at a redfish like multiple shots at a deer. The animal becomes aware and bolts. Your first cast to an unaware fish offers your greatest opportunity with any fly. Your probability goes down with each additional presentation.
Your boats and skiffs are awesome. How did you get into boat building?
The Austin Angler was an amazing fly shop. I worked there with Joey Lin and Alvin in the early days and was submersed in a fly fishing rich culture for my formable years. Larry, the owner, and a couple partners opened a wood shop and started building wooden boats in the late 90's. Drift boats, canoes and general boat repair and restoration. I started working there and learned the craft. I took that with me and started building a new model of flats canoe on my own years later when I opened my own wood shop. The whole thing grew from the passion for fly fishing in Texas and the desire to create the perfect boat to approach redfish on the flats. It all started at the Austin Angler.
What's on the stereo when you're working in your shop or sitting at the fly vice?
I have a small collection of vinyl, when I'm inside the house I listen to classic stuff typically. Lightnin Hopkins, CCR, Fred Neil, AC/DC, my dad. When I'm in the shop I like to hear the equipment and random sounds of work getting done. When I'm driving I go between Classic Vinyl and Willie's Roadhouse on satellite.
You are pitted against fellow Howler Ambassador Alvin Dedeaux in the following events. Who wins in ...
...casting competition? Depends on the species we're casting for but pretty equal I'd say. A tie.
...arm wrestling? I'd win, cause I'd cheat.
...Jeopardy? Alvin would win, he's smart.
...taco eating? Me for sure! but you'd guess the opposite by looking at us.
Tell us why Howler is responsible for making you into the man you are today (shameless promotional section).
Howler has brought a fresh modern and culturally specific feel to outdoor apparel by combining modern technical fabrics with tried and true classic work and western designs from our country's rich past and adding unique elements. I feel more liberated and understood in my Howler gear. My clothing matches my intent and my identity, and it's tougher and more comfortable than other brands. I don't just work in my clothes, I literally live in them around the clock. I need them to match my personality and function to my needs. Best Hats, Shirts and shorts on the market currently.
Posted on September 28, 2017
We are overwhelmed and humbled by your response to our Howler for Harvey t-shirt. It is a testament to our customers and the Howler community how much everyone got behind the effort to assist our home State of Texas during a time of unprecedented need.
Although we still have a few t-shirts left, we wanted to go ahead and deploy the money we have raised to-date. We decided to send donations to two different charitable funds in order to benefit both Houston and other parts of Texas impacted by the storm. We sent over $35,000 to the Houston Mayor’s Relief Fund administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation and over $50,000 to the Rebuild Texas Fund administered by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. You can learn more about the efforts of these funds here and here. We will send the funds raised from the sale of the remaining t-shirts as soon as possible.
We wish we could shake all of your hands. We thank you sincerely.
Posted on September 18, 2017
Salt Lake City is a hub for outdoor activities and being there for OR was a perfect chance for us to see and participate in these activities first hand. We were stoked to finally make it out west and to get into some wild adventures in the Rocky Mountains. The first thing we did after the tradeshow was meet up with Jonathan Jones and Dalton Smith for some camping and fishing in the Wasatch National Forest right outside of SLC. During that night we realized how great of decision we had made to quit our full time jobs and to embark on this adventure as Howler Privateers. We know that we will forever strive to create lives that are engulfed in this community.
With new revelations and a high from our recent adventure we had a quick stop in Jackson and then made our way over to the Tetons into Victor, ID for the charity fishing event, “Casting 4 A Cure.” It was a humbling experience seeing everyone come together and support each other over this disease that affects so many families. We did not place first in the fishing competition but by meeting all these great people and being a part of the event, I think we both left with something far better than any trophy. We encourage you to find out more about Rhett Syndrome at Rhettsyndrome.org.
For the final leg of our trip, we decided that we would make our way home to Austin, TX via the west Coast. We drove through Nevada and into the great state of California. Our first night there was spent in Yosemite National Park, where we backpacked to Young Lakes for some subalpine lake fishing. This has become one of our newfound passions. It truly is a wonderful experience having a lake full of non-pressured fish all to yourself. The next day we hiked out of Yosemite and set off to San Francisco for some coastal breeze and great food.
After driving down the coast, we made it to the Kameron Brown’s pad in San Clemente where we immediately jumped in the car and headed to his favorite surf spot, San Onofre. It was great to finally be able to get out on the water and do some real surfing with a real awesome surfer. Thank you for housing us up, giving us the surf 101, and showing us a fun time, Kameron!
Now that our journey has come to an end, we reminisce on the times that we’ve had and the awesome people that we’ve met. A lot of what we’ve learned on this 3 month trip was from being thrown into unpredictable and unfamiliar situations. It’s about the people you surround yourself with and the attitude that you carry throughout life. We were fortunate enough to have made some lasting friendships with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts, and we have learned to always stay positive when things get tough. Mostly fun and a little bit of work is how we would describe the Howler Privateer program, and we are forever grateful to everyone that made that little bit of work, a lot of fun. Cheers to everyone and we are excited to see what next year has to offer the new privateers. Thank you!
Posted on August 21, 2017
On the eve of the solar eclipse, we are excited to present our Fall 2017 Collection. In this line-up, we are pushing boundaries and blurring the lines between form and function. From the salty breezes of the coast to crisp mornings in the mountains, this collection delivers with style and purpose. Check out the full offering and see for yourself.
Posted on August 10, 2017
When the summer heat hits, there are only two places we want to be, on the water or in the mountains. With that in mind, we chose to spend some more time around the Florida waters before making our way out West. From Orlando we headed down to the beautiful beaches of Naples, Fl where we met up with some friends. It was a great escape to a beautiful area on the gulf coast with beach lounging, dolphin watching and racing thunderstorms on the water.
Making our way back up through Florida, we stopped in Oakhill to have a morning session looking for some reds with Avery and Gary Gillette from Fly Fishing After Dark. Eager to get more fish on the fly, we made our way to Cartersville, Georgia to link up with Andy Bowen of Cohutta Fishing Co. Andy was an incredible host. A night full of playing guitar, drinking a few cold beverages in the treehouse, and sharing fishing stories was the perfect way to end a night before putting the cherry on top and catching some fish. And catch fish we did! Andy, Connor, and Garner took us to a spot in the Cohutta Wilderness Area filled with Spotted and Redeye bass. Incredibly grateful to the guys at Cohutta for putting us up and putting us on some fish.
To us, the next stop was an adventure that really sums up our way of life on the road these past months. We headed west to meet up with one of our good friends from back home. We all then hiked to Columbine Lake located in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area near Denver, CO. As soon as we got to our lake side home for the night and set down our bags we were blindsided by a hail storm. You would think that with three guys, 200 yards of rope, and an 8x10’ tarp we would have made shelter quickly.. but that was not the case. We struggled to find a good spot to hunker down and properly secure the lines. Finally, after the weather had subsided we had one of the greatest camping experiences any of us have ever had. Catching cutthroats on the fly, eating dinner with a lake view, and eventually watching an amazing light show conducted by the sun and surrounding clouds. You can only be so prepared, which is why having good vibes when things go south is so crucial to traveling and adventuring in nature.
We move on to the last month of our trip, ready for more camping, fishing, and anything else throughout the West.