Rapid Fire Questions
What does the perfect day on the water look like for you?
“I guess the perfect day would include some perfect weather. Not too hot, not too cold, which is sometimes a rarity out there. I enjoy a lot of different types of fishing – both freshwater for bass and also saltwater for redfish. Occasionally, I get to go trout fishing, although I guided for trout for ten years in Colorado. Good weather, some good company – most of my socializing is spent on the water. I don’t really spend too much time in bars or anything like that anymore; most of the time, I’m hanging out with people on the water. So I’d say the perfect day would be some great weather, a couple of cool folks on the boat with me, and of course, some good fishing, whether that be bass eating poppers or sight-casting a redfish.”
Is there a particular fly fishing memory that stands out to you?
“I remember thinking back to my guiding days in Colorado. Some of the funniest times I had were when me and a handful of other guys would get together. We’d take a soft cooler full of beers and hit some small stream that was too small for all of us to fish at once, so we’d take turns. Maybe we’d pull the cameras out and film you making some goofy casts, and then once you caught a fish, it was your turn to carry the beer cooler and hike to the next hole. That’s a pretty fond memory. I get to spend many days on the water, but it never seems like there’s too much or enough. One of the coolest memories was when my wife and I had first started dating, I was still guiding in Colorado during the summer, and she was up there hanging out with me. We went to one of my streams that I would fish – most of my guiding was on the bigger water, so I’m in a raft rowing – but on my days off, I’d like to go hit the small streams. It allowed us to get away from the crowds, so me and her went to this stream and hiked up the creek. Once again, it was a small creek, so we had to take turns. We’d switch out fishing, and at the end of the day, we got back to the car, and she says that was romantic!! Yeah, yeah, so you know, 15 years later, here we are, so that was definitely a memorable fishing day on the water, and it definitely stands out. It’s funny ’cause I hadn’t thought about it in a while, but just thinking about being in Colorado and the cool weather, you know it’s 100 degrees here (in Texas). So, I think a lot of those Colorado cool water mountain memories are popping up at the moment.”
What are a few pieces of gear that you never leave home without?
“I really like to have my camera. I feel kind of naked without it, but that’s probably just ’cause I’m a content junkie. If I’m on the water, and as long as I’m there, I could probably be in my underwear and a pair of flip-flops and still have a good time! For me, it’s about the experience and being out there. I just got a text a minute ago from an old buddy of mine who lives up in Seattle, and me and him years ago were on a little float trip. We were on individual boats, like one-man pontoon boats, and for some strange reason, on this trip, I didn’t bring an extra rod. So I had one rod, and he had one rod, and we’re floating along, and fishing is pretty good. At one point, he asked me, ‘hey, you still using that fly?’ I said, ‘Yep, still got it!’ and then I hooked this huge bass and set the hook. I’m kind of showboating and snapped the rod right above the handle. I poked myself in the face with the broken rod and lost the fish. We were maybe halfway through the float, and my buddy says, ‘Hey man, if you want to trade off and fish with my rod for a while, we can…’ I told him no, I’ll just float and watch him fish, ’cause it was my fault for not bringing an extra rod! So, that was another time I did an entire float and just watched my buddy fish, and I had a great time.”
If you could fish with a celebrity, or anyone for that matter, who would it be?
“OK, so somebody asked me that – I did a whole series of question and answer videos on YouTube, and I got that question. It was weird because I tried to think of… you know, there’s lots of people who are celebrities that fish like Jimmy Kimmel. Tiger Woods, he fly fished for a little bit. I know a couple of people that fished with him. Les Claypool from Primus, he’s a fly fisherman. The person I thought of though was Jimi Hendrix. And I don’t know why. I don’t listen to Hendrix every day or anything. I’m a fan of the music. You’ve got to imagine the guy who’s so good at anything is going to be good at anything that he tries. So, somebody that’s good at guitar would probably be an amazing fly fisherman as well. Just the visual image of that is pretty hard to beat, you know, Hendrix out there in his Hendrix garb with a bandana on casting!”
What is your go-to fishing playlist?
“I have a video that we made like thirty years ago that never got published. As a matter of fact, I never had a copy of it until about two weeks ago, and I’m going to put that out there because it’s me from thirty years ago…rapping and fly fishing. I’m pretty sure that in the thirty years since that video was made, still nobody has been rapping and fly fishing. That I’m gonna throw out there pretty quickly. I’m pretty much the sounds of nature kind of guy. If my clients are wanting to listen to music and, you know, it’s not too obnoxiously loud or too much bass, then that’s cool. I definitely throw on a playlist on the way home, and I have a couple of clients with some really good playlists. I think it would be old-school hip-hop stuff. Even like hardcore gangster rap – I like that stuff, but as well as kind of the more mellow music. Some of the new music, like trip-hop, it’s just kind of the mellow vibe cause sometimes I need to chill out. And then maybe a little reggae dub, you know, once again, more mellow stuff. I’m also a big fan of punk rock. I’m all over the place, just kind of depending on my mood, which I think is a great thing. You’re not always in the same mood, so it’s kind of nice to have different playlists. I’m sort of a news junkie as well, so I listen to a lot of news, but I don’t listen to it in the morning before I fish. It’s only after I finish fishing and It’s sort of like listening to some aggressive music – it gets me all pumped up!”
If you had a post-fishing cocktail named after you, what would it be?
“Oh man. I’m just gonna go with the first thing that popped into my head, and it’s probably already a drink, but it would be ‘Salty Dog.’ There’s probably a drink already called the Salty Dog, but at the end of the day, I’ve been known to be a little bit crusty, a little bit burnt out. Especially if I’m out fishing myself, or if I’m out with clients and we’re having a tough day like I’m always motivated to go a little bit further or stay a little bit longer. So, at the end of those days, I’m pretty salty like in reality, from sweating in the salt and also the mental grind from trying to make it happen. But the thing is, right now, I haven’t had an alcoholic beverage in almost a year, which is kind of crazy. So, now my after-fishing beverage is probably like a non-alcoholic beer!”
What are your favorite fly fishing destinations?
“I have been able to travel around a fair amount, and there are some really cool places that I’ve been to, but I haven’t really gotten sick of fishing locally. You know, the middle Texas coast is great! The river fishing around here in Central Texas – the Colorado River is probably my favorite local stream, and that’s just minutes from my house! Of course, going to the Seychelles was amazing. I’ve been fishing in Belize and The Bahamas – those are two places that I would definitely go back in a heartbeat. I fished years ago with a buddy of mine, and we spent two months in Argentina and Chile and the fishing was pretty amazing.
What are a few destinations that are on your angling bucket list?
“Mongolia and New Zealand are a couple of places I’d like to do that I haven’t done. I’ve never fished New Zealand, but my old boss when I was working at The Austin Angler, he went for a month every year for 7-8 years in a row. I have seen tons of pictures, but I’ve never been there, so that’s definitely one of the places that’s on my list. But I really feel fortunate to have done the trips that I’ve done, and if I could only fish in Texas for the rest of my life, I would be totally happy with that too.”
What's new with Alvin?
“I’m pretty much everywhere on social media, you know, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook. You can also visit my website. I’m still guiding. I don’t guide seven days a week like I used to partly ’cause I’m old and that’s my excuse! But partly ’cause I have a bunch of other stuff that I’m supposed to do, so my wife and I and my oldest daughter run this guide service here: All Water Guides. We’re here in Austin. And we have guides all over Central Texas and the Texas coast. We’re always trying to just make fly fishing better. You know, our guide service, our yearly kind of big project is we have a river clean up on the Colorado River, which is sort of the heart of Central Texas – one of our best places to fish. We do a yearly river clean-up we call the LoCo Trash Bash, and we basically get a bunch of volunteers out, and we clean up twenty, thirty, forty miles of river, and then we have a big party afterward. We give away a bunch of cool stuff from all these cool companies that sponsor us. Beyond that, I’m just trying to spread the message and put it out there, encourage more people to fly fish. I think a lot more people could enjoy it and I do think that more people getting into the sport will make the sport better. Also, more people getting involved in any type of outdoor activity like this is going to encourage more people to be concerned and take care of our outdoor spaces. People need to try fly fishing. I’m a fly angler, so I’m trying to encourage people to do that, but I just want to see more people get out, do outdoor stuff and take care of our outdoor spaces.”