Interview and photography with Howler Brothers’ Sam Roberts
Sam (@slambo_) is a lifestyle and portrait photographer, fly fisherman, Mexican lager lover, and seasoned marketing manager for Howler Brothers in Austin, TX. Originally from Staunton, VA, Sam made his way south to the Lone Star State after graduating from the University of Virginia. Howler Brothers (@howlerbros) is a design-driven, coastal & western-influenced outdoor apparel brand based in Austin, TX.
Rapid Fire Questions
What's your current "go-to" playlist?
Check it out!
How do you choose the locations for your seasonal photoshoots at Howler?
“From the beginning, Howler has always been drawn to exceptional people. With the right people, we are confident we can capture authentic and compelling content regardless of location, conditions, or fishing opportunities. With that in mind, we lean heavily on ambassadors and friends of the brand when it comes to selecting locations. We love visiting people in the Howler family. In addition to being incredible people, they often have the inside scoop and can take us further off the beaten path, creating a truly unique experience for our team, which in turn creates unique stories, photos, and videos for us to deploy in our marketing.”
If you could fish with any celebrity, who would it be?
“Easy. Snoop Dogg.”
Favorite product(s) for travel or fishing
- Disposable cameras – I often travel with a variety of cameras, but I always make sure I bring some disposable film cameras. I love the vintage look they produce, and they are perfect for capturing shots in the moment, behind the scenes, or at night when you’re goofing around. Most cities have a photography shop that can develop your film and send you digital scans. Pro tip: always use the flash!
- Howler Brothers Shoalwater Tech Pants – these things are the perfect travel pants. They have just enough pockets to hold your gear, and they are stretchy, quick-dry, and have a built in drawstring and elastic closures at the ankle. I never travel without them.
- Ocotillo Salt – if you’ve never seasoned your Mexican lager, what are you waiting for?! Try it now, trust me.
- Yeti Panga Backpack – you never have to worry about your gear getting wet or dirty with one of these bad boys.
- Haribo Gummies – the perfect morale booster, energy provider, and/or celebratory snack after landing a big one. Who doesn’t like gummy bears?
- Bajío Sunglasses – sunglasses are one of the most important tools in fly fishing, especially on the salt. I love Bajío for their variety of styles and color options as well as their sustainable practices.
Have you ever dunked a camera or drone while shooting?
“Only two drones and one GoPro…”
What’s your go-to beverage on the boat and at the bar?
“On the boat – any Mexican lager will do, with lime and Ocotillo Salt of course. At the bar – I love rum. Painkillers and piña coladas are hard to beat, and I’m always down for a margarita.”
What are Your Favorite Fly Fishing Destinations?
“The Lower Colorado River for Guadalupe Bass in Austin, TX. The Guadalupe Bass is the state fish of Texas, and it is only found in central Texas. They are on the smaller side (state record is only 3.7 pounds), but they are beautiful fish, you can catch a lot of them in a day, and they love poppers in the summertime. The Lower Colorado is full of Guad bass, but you also have the opportunity to catch largemouth bass, spotted gar, freshwater drum, carp and more. Virginia for Musky. Last year, I was fortunate enough to fish with Blane Chocklett, the musky master and creator of the Game Changer fly, while I was home for the holidays. Landing a musky on the fly is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. The X-Flats lodge in Xcalak, Mexico. The amount of permit they catch down there is pretty ridiculous… plus the owner and lodge manager, Jesse Colten, is absolutely hilarious and will make sure you enjoy your trip in southern Mexico on and off the water.”
What are trips that are on your bucket list?
1) Devils River, TX, for smallmouth bass
2) Alberta, Canada, for bull trout
3) Florida Keys for tarpon
4) New Zealand for big brown trout
5) Seychelles for GT’s, bonefish, and permit
Why Fly Fishing Destination Travel?
“Because it makes you feel like a kid again, and there’s no better feeling than that! The excitement you get from packing and planning, and the fulfillment and lifelong memories you get from traveling somewhere new, trying new things and meeting new people is hard to come by. I think we can all agree that fly fishing (although very frustrating at times) is therapeutic in a way and does a great job of clearing your mind and bringing you into the present. When you devote an entire trip to fly fishing, it elevates that feeling and experience to the next level.”
What's New with Howler Brothers?
“Howler Brothers recently released its first book, A Decade of Howler Brothers. This 300-page retrospective art book celebrates and showcases 10 years of creative output and all the good people, places, music, food and friends we’ve encountered along the way. The book includes a foreword from legendary fly fishing guide and Howler Ambassador, JT Van Zandt, as well as an introduction from Howler Founders, Chase Heard and Andy Stepanian. It’s the perfect book for your coffee table – I highly encourage you to pick up a copy. And don’t worry, it’s mostly pictures.
Secondly, next time you’re in Austin, TX, be sure to swing by our brand new retail shop, Howler Hacienda, for the newest, fully immersive Howler experience. You can shop all the latest and greatest Howler goods, have a beer or cocktail on us, and get the local insights from our staff to have a killer trip in Austin. From dive bars to tiki bars to swimming holes and fishing guides, our knowledgeable team will steer you in the right direction.”