Posted on June 25, 2020
Austin isn’t on the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, it’s a couple hour drive before we can even smell the Gulf. But it’s still our home waters and the closest place to grab a wave and feel the sigh of relief that comes whenever you go to some spot on the coast. The Gulf has always held a special place in our collective hearts because of the strange and cool culture that seems to grow up along its banks. Anyone that’s ever been to Key West or New Orleans can certainly vouch for the strangeness. But there’s also an amazing natural world along the Gulf. Birds, animals, reefs, fish, oysters and a million reptiles and snakes. We love all this stuff and wanted to pay a little homage to it with our Gulf Destinations collection for this spring and summer.
Howler founder Chase Heard put his mighty pen to paper and drew a selection of these cool destinations - Apalachicola, Key West, Campeche, Yucatan, Espiritu Santo, Dry Tortugas, Cuba - in the style of an old sea map. It turned out super cool and timeless. We asked a few of Howler Ambassadors to share their favorite place in the Gulf. Here’s what they had to say…
Colby Crossland - Yucatan
“All summer the anticipation builds and when the temperature starts to drop I know it's time to get on a plane and fly over The Gulf of Mexico to touch down in the Yucatan. The Mayan Coast is where I want to be. Spicy food, kind people, great tacos, beautiful flats, amazing al pastor, and missed shots on permit; it's just where I am, when I am who I want to be.”
Curt Hamby - New Orleans
“New Orleans is one of my favorite November trips with my favorite local guide buddy in his favorite local spots. Shooting teal in the morning, catching BIG bull reds in the afternoon and a few trout! Duck and trout on the grill with some fresh oysters, can’t wait for fall! Head down to Tipitinas for some brass band music for some NOLA nightlife and hit the beignets at Cafe Monde before my flight back home is a great trip for me!”
Kameron Brown - New Orleans
“The finest shrimp Po Boy I ever did have..... and the 'not-so-finest' Blue Drinks served in a fish bowl...”
Patrick Duke - Yucatan
“Margs at the airport, road trips in white vans, roadside al pastor, Victoria micheladas with my hermanos, early morning panga rides and tailing permit.”
JT Van Zandt - Apalachicola
“Beautiful little town on the forgotten coast of Florida. Little pastel colored farmhouses built in the mid 1800s surround the square. Seabirds float on the warm wind under the salty sunshine while the pines lean inland. An amazing tributary that flows into the Gulf of Mexico, the Apalachicola River and all of its fingers feed the sea with a tea stained Pineywood forests full of bears and deer. The Tarpon bite well and the old culture is true gulf coast America preserved in time”
Honson Lau - Cayo Hueso
“Beyond the rich history and debauchery lies vast shallow water flats teaming with bonefish, permit, and tarpon. This is a fly fisherman's paradise to one who seeks to pursue seemingly unpressured fish without having to travel to an exotic destination. The night life here brings a "come one come all" feel from scenic family dinners to derelict adventures. Some of my younger years were spent here crawling into a skiff at 6am after 30 minutes of shut eye. What happens in Cayo Hueso... stays on the skiff the next day.”
Christiaan Pretorius - Apalachicola
"I have fond memories of soft shell crabs with Brett Martina and jumping Tarpon on Mangum’s skiff."
Posted on June 15, 2020
Everyone knows what Chacos are. You might have them on right now. Or maybe you have the distinct Chaco tan lines. We’ve been fans for a long time so it's an honor to once again team up with them to make an array of collaborative things for this spring and summer. This time we kept to a simple, tonal strap design as a subtle reminder to HEED THE CALL. We also took things a bit deeper by making up an H Bar B Tech Shirt, Snapback hat, a pair of good old Tamarin Tech Shorts and even leashes and collars for your dog. Or tiger.
Posted on April 20, 2020
You're invited to join us in The Howler Hut, our brand new locale for delivering some Howler hilarity and delicious content direct to your digital door. We have a whole laundry list of fun things lined up to help you pass the time and dig deep into the world of Howler Brothers. Music, hard hitting interviews, Ambassador quarantine explorations and more. All coming to you episode by episode from a place where it's always breezy and warm. Take shelter in The Howler Hut.
Posted on March 26, 2020
When Howler founders Chase Heard and Andy Stepanian were dreaming up the concept for Howler way back in 2008, they reached out to Austin creative Christian Helms for assistance creating the brand’s identity and icons. Christian and his designs of everything from music posters to craft beer packaging are well known around Austin and beyond. That original collaboration produced our now iconic monkey logo and primary Howler Electric logo.
About three years ago, we decided to revisit our creative relationship with Christian and his design squad at Helms Workshop in order to create a capsule collection. The purpose was just to have some fun and reconnect. The result was our runaway hit Old Friends, New Horizons capsule featuring a bad ass coral snake graphic. The launch party and hat giveaway were events for the ages. We even made our own custom beer for the occasion thanks to our friends at Austin Beerworks. So, we kept it going for a second year in 2019 with our Texas Flora & Fauna collection.
This year, we decided to keep it rolling once again to pay tribute to our local watering holes with a design featuring a stylized tribute to our favorite establishments to eat, drink, hang with friends and listen to music. It’s our deepest collab with Helms yet with three hats, a T-shirt, boardshorts, a printed H Bar B, a special version of our Inspector Jacket and even a beach towel and handkerchief. We wouldn’t have gone this deep if we didn’t love it.
Truth told, we didn’t even plan to put this collection out for a few months. All the goods were just sitting comfortably in our warehouse ready to roll as soon as summer hit full swing. But, then along came everyone’s new nemesis, COVID-19. Like you all, we can’t believe the impact this virus has had and we are constantly wondering what happened to the normalcy we were enjoying just a few weeks ago. Cancelled. Postponed. Closed. Those are the words of the day.
These cancellations have wreaked havoc on all of us but the bars, restaurants, musicians, servers and bartenders around the country have taken one of the biggest hits. In Austin, the cancellation of our annual city-defining event, South by Southwest, has compounded the problem. Income and business that is an annual expectation vanished overnight.
When something like this happens, we try and look outside of ourselves and find a way to give back. We quickly identified the Stand with Austin Fund and the Austin Relief Fund at Southern Smoke as folks who were doing good work benefitting our local community. Our first instinct was to do a simple T-shirt to benefit the cause as we did in the past with our Hurricane Harvey relief effort. But, then the lightbulb went off. We already had the PERFECT thing in the pipeline to use in the relief effort - our Howler x Helms Workshop Watering Holes Collection. Of course, Christian and the crew over at Helms Workshop fully agreed.
A significant percentage of the proceeds from the sales of the collection will benefit two great causes: the Stand with Austin Fund at the Austin Community Foundation and the Austin Relief Fund at the Southern Smoke Foundation. Please take time to click the links and learn about what they have going on for those in need right now. We sincerely wish we could do something big enough to benefit service industry and creatives throughout the country but, at the end of the day, we thought it was best to focus our efforts at home. We absolutely encourage you all to support your own community in whatever way you can.
Our best to everyone during these times. Our company ethos is built on community, so we are missing it badly. But, we have faith in what we will learn and how we will all emerge from this. In the meantime, check out this collection. It’s cool and you’ll want some in your closet when your favorite watering hole reopens
Posted on March 20, 2020
We’re all finding an opportunity to revisit our favorite books, shows, podcasts, music and movies. We polled a few Howler staffers for their recommendations and thought we’d pass them along to you.
Posted on February 20, 2020
Even though Howler Brothers is now ripe with year around offerings, our hearts and minds are always thinking about the warmer months. That’s when we really shine. Creating our Spring collection every year is one of our absolute favorite things. There is never a shortage of ideas. In fact, we often have to check ourselves with the reality that we cannot make everything we dream up.
Well, it’s finally time to unveil our Spring 2020 collection. We love it. It is rich with classic Howler offerings and a blast of really cool new things. What’s our favorite? It’s hard to say. The new Inspector Jacket, Voyager Shirt, Tranquilo Chillshorts and Crosscut Boardshorts are must see. As are the Monoloha Shirt, HB Chargers Boardshorts and Free Range Chinos. And, who wouldn’t want a Hermit Crab Gaucho Snapshirt?
Besides designing the collection each year, our next favorite thing is figuring out where to photograph it in action. This year, we headed to the Belize where we found plenty of clear water, cold Belikin & good people. The collection fit in just right there.
Without further adieu, check out the Howler Brothers Spring 2020 collection right now. And, while you are browsing, tune in to our Soundtrack to Spring 2020 Spotify playlist. We made the soundtrack. We just haven’t made the movie yet.
Posted on January 30, 2020
Howler Ambassador Christiaan Pretorius recently traveled to the jungles of Guyana in search of the fabled Arapaima. Together with friend Jay Epping, photographer Will Graham, and Rewa Eco Lodge manager Johann Dupree, what he discovered was an amazing culture and fishery with a conservation success story along the way. We asked him to share some words about this epic trip. Images by Will Graham.
Sitting on yet another 30+ hour flight on my way back to Namibia from the deep jungles of Guyana. Two plastic meals deep and the bug bites on my feet are still reminding me of camping under the starlight on the riverbanks of the expansive Rewa River. Visiting Guyana has been on my bucket list since Oliver White told me about it a couple of years ago. My interest was sparked initially by the chance to catch the biggest scaled freshwater fish on the planet, named ‘Arapaima’. These fish grow in excess of 300 lb! Trying to achieve this with a fly rod in hand is especially challenging. As the idea grew and I started asking more questions as the years went by, I discovered that the true treasure of the jungle is not the Arapaima but in fact is the story of why these fish still exist. Not only do they exist, but they are thriving. As a 29 year old passionate fly fisherman, I am used to arriving at destinations only faced with the dreaded words of “you should have seen this place 20 years ago…” Well my friends, Guyana is the exact opposite of that oft-experienced adage.
Let's rewind a little and talk about Arapaima. To this day these fish are still a major food source in many of the Amazonian watersheds. They grow gigantic and they are super tasty with hardly any small bones. One fish could potentially feed an entire village with the amount of meat it can give. They are also pretty easy to locate because of their size. They need to come up to breath air every now and then and they essentially get trapped in smaller ponds. Actually, they are very similar to tarpon in many ways, just the freshwater version. A couple of years back, Oliver White got word from a scientist who visited Rewa Village that he saw these massive fish rolling in some of the smaller ponds while studying the bird life (which is next level). These ponds get created when the water drains after the rainy season. The water can drain up to 30+ft. These ponds are scattered all over the jungle and are filled with fish, big and small, and of all different species. Not only was it easy for the scientist to identify the fish in these areas but also easy for the locals to hunt Arapaima with bow & arrow and live bait. This fish used to be harvested in large numbers, almost to the point of extinction. But a real turning point occurred a few years back when a couple of dedicated fly anglers identified the potential of setting up a sustainable fishery with the help of the local community. From this idea, Indifly was born.
Founded in 2014, the Indifly Foundation was initially established to help the local community of Rewa set up an eco lodge. Not only does this lodge cater to fly fisherman up for the challenge to try catch Arapaima and all the other various species that frequent these waters but it also offers nature tours and showcases all the treasures the Guyana jungle has to offer. It’s now 6 years down the line and this fishery is thriving. With a 100% catch and release policy, together with the help of scientists that do studies on this prehistoric looking fish, it’s a recipe for success. They now understand more about these fish than they have ever before and are still learning more everyday. It’s truly an exciting time for Arapaima, Guyana and the Rewa community.
A couple months ago I finally committed to some dates and booked my flights to Guyana. Like with any other big trip, preparation starts months before, reading articles, watching videos, speaking to the guides etc. Months flew by and, before I knew it, my bags were packed. 12wt’s, 80lb fluorocarbon, 8/0 heavy gage hooks, you name it. I set my goal to hopefully hook into one of these fish before the week was over. In all honesty, this is my goal for any trip, just one fish, and then one more, and if they are around in numbers maybe one more. Joining me on this trip was Jay Epping, a great friend who I met through fly-fishing (like many of my best friends today) and Will Graham. Will is one hell of a dude and also one of the best photographers I know. Neither of them needed much convincing. I recall the phone call I had with them. I used three key words to lure them in: Rum, Jungle, Arapaima. Their response, “when are we going?”
Like me, Jay and Will were blown away with this entire experience. From arriving in Georgetown to touching down on the grass airstrip in the jungle. What a journey. Arriving at Rewa we were welcomed with some freshly squeezed Squirrel Juice, or at least that’s what it sounded like. Not sure really what fruit it was from, but it was damn amazing and a hit for the entire week. Soon after arriving we rigged our gear and were happy to see the guides approved all our tackle which is always a big win. With all our rods rigged, we headed out for the first afternoon session. Will and I headed out to Grass Pond, one of the first ponds they discovered out here. After a short boat ride followed by a 20 min hike through the most pristine jungle I have witnessed, we reached this magical little pond. Filled with lily pads 2ft wide, Cayman cruising around, and the sound of Arapaima rolling. If heaven is a place on earth, this could be it.
The anticipation was unreal casting at the first sight of a rolling fish. I picked up really quickly that you could track these fish by looking at the bubbles after they breathe air. Well, we did just that and on my 4th cast I lead the bubbles and dropped my cast 3ft ahead of the trail of bubbles. “Wait, wait.. okay.. start stripping,” whispered Vivian, our Guide. “BAM!” I got the shock of my life when I could not only feel a foot of line shooting through my fingers but also the sound of the fish eating the fly with a solid thump. Having fished for many Giant Trevally with 130 lb leader in my life, I enjoy nothing more than setting a hook, and these fish demand a really solid strip set, not once, or twice, but until the fish is in the guides hands. From the hookup, to the jumps, to the headshakes, these fish have it all. As the fish got close to the boat it was time for the real wrestling match to take place. This is when Will and I made eye contact with both of us shaking our heads as if we were dreaming of the spectacle taking place. And by spectacle we mean the guide literally wrestling this fish in the water. There are stories of these fish knocking guys out stone cold when their head meets your face. This became one of my favorite stages of the fight later in the week - actually getting in the water with the fish and wrestling them before installing the tags, snapping some pictures, and watching them swim off.
Well, still in shock of what the hell actually just happened, I couldn’t believe that I had just touched my first Arapaima, on my 4th cast, on the 1st afternoon. We didn’t slow down from here. We proceeded to have some exceptional fishing for the rest of the week in various different ponds. With a new camp record of 13 fish for the week, I was over the moon. Jay on the other hand also had a great week dancing with 7 Arapaima and getting the biggest of the week with a stellar fish of 78 inches. 20 fish for the week, 18 more than we expected. I honestly do not understand why these fish are not spoken of more often. This was without a doubt one of the most kickass fly fishing trips I have ever been on and I cannot speak more highly of this operation. Having Will there to capture all these amazing moments, made it extra special. It’s always quite difficult to explain to my parents where I have been without pictures. Yes mom, that is a tarantula on my head… It was Jay’s first jungle experience and we are already looking forward to our next jungle adventure. He is hooked.
Saving the best for last, the community of Rewa, the staff, the guides, the helpers (who drag boats through the jungle everyday) the cook, the scientists, the boat drivers, Indifly and everyone who formed part of this operation. They are the true rock stars and they are the reason why this place is so well protected. They are the reason we caught 20 fish of 20 lifetimes. Deep in the jungle of Guyana they are setting the example of what a sustainable fishery looks like. I cannot speak more highly of our Guyana jungle adventure.
Posted on January 9, 2020
We love Nate Floyd. He was one of the first guys we wanted as a Howler Ambassador when this whole thing started. He's humble, funny and crazy committed to surfing here in Texas. He's not in it for money or sponsorships or some kind of social media glory. He's in it to ride waves for his own personal reasons.
In case you don't know, being a surfer in Texas is not all that easy. The waves are wind driven and infrequent. Catching conditions that are just right requires determination and being "on call" 24/7. Let downs are frequent. But, when the moons do align, the nectar is sweet.
Check out this new short film directed by our compadre Evan Adamson and co-produced with our friends at Yeti Coolers profiling Nate Floyd and his patient, lifelong quest to score surf in Texas. See for yourself why "a day at home is better than anywhere else." Here's "One Day at Home."
Posted on January 2, 2020
Our newest Howler Ambassador, Nacho Pignataro, is a globetrotting longboarding badass who is known the world over for being a beautiful and inventive surfer and all around first class fellow. We met Nacho during our annual pilgrimage to MexiLogFest where we shared many cocktails and watched him gain special recognition for assisting others who lost surfboards during their travels to the competition. That’s the kind of guy he is. Nacho’s love of his home country of Uruguay shines through in everything he does. We sent him a long distance dispatch to see what he is up to at the moment. Here’s what we found out.
Hey brother. Tell us where you are at the moment?
You travel all over the place doing something you love. What’s your favorite surf destination of all?
I have to say.. is not only “where." I’ve learned that good memories always come together with good friends sharing this same thing we love. But if I had to choose, I’ll say Pavones - Costa Rica. Just perfect.
What do you miss most about Uruguay when you are away?
ASADO. We have good meat, I mean... BEST MEAT EVER. If you like a good bbq, consider visiting me. We have this mixture of ocean and countryside that isn’t that easy to find somewhere else. Just quietness. Pay for parking? Ha! We don’t know what that is. It’s all “tranquilazo."
Every year you come back to MexiLogFest. What do you love about that event and the community it creates?
Well, the wave is mind blowing. Pure perfection for foamy boards. I always say that MexiLogFest is one of the best (if not the best) weeks of the year. I believe that everyone who is part of this festival, brings the best of their souls. Everything is so pure, so happy and so unique. It has a lot to do with the question before, it’s not only about the wave but who you are sharing your days with.
Ha! This is a hard one. Here are 12 songs so you can understand my messy head.
Pilsen or Patricia?
Forlán or Suárez?
Suárez is the best human being alive today.
When are you coming to Austin to see us?
Posted on October 22, 2019
To kickoff the launch of our Skulls & Begonias collection, we are throwing a full-fledged bash - and we want you to come jam with us! Join us at ABGB on Thursday 10/24 for tasty brews and even tastier tunes. Don’t miss the show!