“See that foam line underneath the cypress tree? Solid into it.”

Alvin Dedeaux says this in an offhand method, with a slight Cajun drawl, and the impact is to make the clear directive sound extra like a suggestion. This nonchalance is just not typical fishing information–communicate, to say the least. However Dedeaux, 58, along with his cool demeanor, bighearted giggle, and trademark dreadlocks flowing out from beneath his trucker’s hat, has by no means been mistaken for a typical information.

As he quietly oars to maintain us in place in opposition to the present of the Decrease Colorado River, I comply with his recommendation and forged into the froth. My fly, a crawfish sample Dedeaux tied himself, smacks the floor closely. After a couple of seconds’ pause to let it sink decrease, I strip the road in earlier than setting into one other fish. This one seems to be a largemouth bass, and it comes on the heels of 4 Guadalupe bass, Texas’s state fish. We’ve solely been on the water for an hour, and I’ve already landed a freshwater drum and a big crappie, too.  

“I don’t know what sort of grand slam that’s,” he says, “but it surely have to be some form.” 

“A Central Texas particular?” I say. 

“Could possibly be,” he says. “Could possibly be.”  

Bass are a hallowed species in Texas, and there’s no scarcity of devoted anglers chasing them. However right here, on the Decrease Colorado, a stone’s throw from Austin’s Tesla Gigafactory, you’d have a tough time believing there are another fishermen close by. It’s mid-March and we’re completely alone, and whereas the temperature continues to be cool, the fishing is unquestionably not. 

It’s solely after releasing the largemouth that I’m in a position to persuade Dedeaux handy over the oars so he can decide up a rod. Inside three casts he’s landed two largemouth of his personal, and so he places me again within the entrance of the boat, extra out of compassion than any guiding etiquette. “I can come out right here anytime,” he says. “You higher get yours.”   

Dedeaux, regardless of his laid-back nature (or maybe due to it), has become the rare fishing guide who has reached superstar standing, at the very least within the area of interest world of fly-fishing. For the final twenty years, he’s executed as a lot as anybody to introduce Texans to fly-fishing, a mode of angling that’s virtually turn into a faith within the Rocky Mountains however is usually an afterthought within the Lone Star State, regardless of glorious alternatives within the Hill Nation. And although he would scoff at phrases like “superstar” or “rock star,” these labels aren’t too far off, particularly contemplating his distinguished stint because the charismatic lead singer for the Texas funk band Unhealthy Mutha Goose & the Brothers Grimm. At this time Dedeaux is considered one of Texas’s most distinguished—and chill—fly-fishing ambassadors, with greater than twenty thousand dedicated followers on Instagram and a roster of big-name sponsors, together with Yeti, Orvis, Gerber knives, and Howler Brothers. He churns out a gentle stream of social media posts and movies which are unscripted, insightful, and a bit of meandering, to not point out filled with his infectious laughs. That is to say, they’re pure Alvin.

His posts are additionally refreshingly candid, freed from the overly edited or slick, aspirational tone that’s widespread amongst social media influencers. In one YouTube clip from April, titled “Issues Didn’t Go As Deliberate,” Dedeaux created a complete story round footage that anybody else possible would’ve left on the cutting-room flooring: getting a line tangled, untangling stated line, predicting a fish on a selected forged, and consuming one’s phrases when no fish is available in. “I did catch one fish, one little man, so I assume it wasn’t a very pointless journey,” he says within the clip. “However I didn’t get to make the video that I wished to make. . . . Anyway, you by no means know in the event you don’t go.”

Dedeaux casting out.
Dedeaux casting out. Courtesy of YETI

These scenes are relatable, actually because Dedeaux has a watch for the mundane moments that make up the vast majority of a fisherman’s life. The movies are usually not produced—they’re captured. They’re additionally all Alvin, on a regular basis: Dedeaux movies and edits all of his personal clips, which places the main target virtually solely on him because the narrator. So when he does catch a fish, the payoff feels extra, nicely, earned. It additionally helps that Dedeaux is a pure in entrance of the digicam. 

“I obtained comfy being in entrance of individuals whereas I used to be within the band,” he says, “so being on digicam, speaking into it whereas the opposite individuals on the boat ignore me, is straightforward for me. However it nonetheless surprises me how many individuals tune in to my little YouTube channel.”

About these rock-star days: within the late Nineteen Eighties and early Nineteen Nineties, contemporary out of faculty on the College of Texas at Austin, Dedeaux turned one of many lead singers for Unhealthy Mutha Goose & the Brothers Grimm. The band, put collectively by musician and artist Tim Kerr, exploded onto the Nineteen Eighties punk scene in Austin, which had turn into notorious, because of pioneering bands just like the Huge Boys (additionally put collectively by Kerr) and breakout acts just like the Dicks and the Butthole Surfers

Within the late Nineteen Eighties, Unhealthy Mutha Goose arrived, releasing a collection of singles and the file Tower of Babel in 1991. The music was a frenetic mash-up of funk, punk, and rock, and the band recorded with the likes of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Contemporary Prince. Throughout reside reveals, the musicians roused crowds into suits of untamed, sweaty, reckless dancing. The band performed the inaugural South by Southwest Music Competition in 1987, then returned the next yr. Dedeaux was considered one of three lead singers, together with a guitarist, a bassist, a keyboard participant, and a percussionist, however in the event you ask anybody who remembers a present from again within the day, it was Dedeaux’s onstage depth that outlined the band.

“It was a wild time,” Dedeaux says. “We had some large gigs, and it was fairly uncommon for a punk band that was taking part in unique music to make a residing. After we got here up, it was both rock bands who made twenty {dollars} an evening or cowl bands that performed High Forty hits at frat events. However we have been in a position to assist ourselves taking part in unique music.”

Amongst different Texas venues, Unhealthy Mutha Goose often performed at Liberty Lunch and Raul’s, each seminal punk establishments. The band was additionally booked everywhere in the U.S. and did quite a few excursions on the West Coast. Throughout one present in San Francisco, Nirvana opened for them. Unhealthy Mutha Goose was even set to tour with the Purple Sizzling Chili Peppers earlier than plans fell aside on the final minute. Dedeaux and Kerr, who was inducted into the Texas Music Corridor of Fame in 1996, have been the driving drive behind the band. “Actually,” says Dedeaux. “The 2 of us would drive the bus from Austin to L.A. or wherever else we have been heading.” 

On the cusp of stardom, issues fell aside. “I believe Tim felt like we have been promoting out, as a result of we had gotten so common and we have been getting record-deal gives and cash and all that,” says Dedeaux. “Regardless of the cause, he obtained out, and he was the principle artistic drive, so I obtained out shortly after.”

Dedeaux all of the sudden discovered himself aimless and searching for one thing to do. He’d grown up outdoors Houston and had spent most of his youth outdoors, fishing and doing anything that concerned being within the contemporary air. His dad, who owned a small building firm, and his mother, a trainer, have been each nicely versed within the open air. His father had grown up on “swampland outdoors New Orleans,” as Dedeaux describes it, and hunted and fished not only for enjoyable however for utilitarian functions. “My dad had the talent to make nearly any fish or piece of meat style scrumptious,” he says. 

At school, Dedeaux got here throughout a ebook about fly-fishing, and his dad and mom obtained him his first fly rod for his twelfth birthday. He stored up with the game by highschool and faculty and even whereas fronting for Unhealthy Mutha Goose. At some point shortly after he left the band, he was mulling over his choices with the proprietor of Austin Angler, a downtown store that had turn into the de facto hub of fly-fishing within the metropolis—a daily hangout for piscation-obsessed politicians and musicians alike. The proprietor, who had turn into a good friend of Dedeaux’s, provided him a job. Working at Austin Angler put him within the heart of the rising fly-fishing scene in Central Texas. Quickly he picked up kayaking and sport climbing, and he threw his appreciable vitality into these passions too.

One other truth about Dedeaux: he almost died whereas bivouacked on the aspect of 18,491-foot Pico de Orizaba, Mexico’s highest peak, in 2001. In his twenties, whereas working on the fly store, Dedeaux traveled throughout Texas and the South to pursue climbing. At a sure level, a crew of men determined to deal with the volcano in central Mexico, a famously tough climb. Dedeaux jumped on the alternative.   

When summit day got here, Dedeaux was ascending the mountain slowly and absolutely, however his climbing accomplice, who had sprinted forward, ultimately developed a pounding headache from altitude illness. He was compelled to descend to get better. Dedeaux, nonetheless feeling robust, advised him to attend for him on the backside of the glacier, roughly midway up; he was persevering with on.   

Quickly, although, the icy terrain turned an excessive amount of for a solo climb, and Dedeaux made the tough choice to name off his personal summit try. He rotated, solely to find that his climbing accomplice had not waited for him. Because the night time set in and the battery on his headlamp ran out, Dedeaux struggled to descend in the dead of night. It was so pitch-black that at one level he realized that had he taken one other step, he would have plunged off a thousand-foot cliff. So Dedeaux emptied out his backpack, tucked his legs inside it, and waited till the morning. He awoke to a crew of different climbers on their manner up the height, and so they almost mistook Dedeaux for a corpse. He was frostbitten and delirious however alive. They helped him off the mountain, a lot to the shock of his climbing accomplice. He’d deserted Dedeaux, it seems, as a result of he had assumed he’d fallen to his loss of life.

After the Orizaba incident, Dedeaux was prepared for one thing a bit of milder. By means of the fly store, he discovered himself guiding anglers extra usually. Finally he realized that, with a bit of bit of labor, he might flip it into an actual enterprise, one he started specializing in in earnest within the mid-Nineteen Nineties. Texas didn’t have many fly-fishing guides on the time, and most of his friends have been doing it as a part-time gig. Dedeaux, nevertheless, used his work at Austin Angler to develop a roster of purchasers. Texans are well-known for pursuing fly-fishing in different states and distant corners of the globe, however they usually overlook alternatives in their very own yard. Dedeaux launched a era of locals to Central Texas bass on the fly. 

Dedeaux with his fly fishing gear.
Dedeaux along with his fly-fishing gear. Courtesy of YETI
Dedeaux dragging his boat.
Dedeaux out on the water. Courtesy of YETI

He additionally set himself aside along with his velocity and professionalism. “Again within the day, quite a lot of guides would take two days to get again to you through cellphone or e mail,” he says. “Now we obtained it arrange so somebody will get again to you in two hours.”

Along with bass on the Decrease Colorado and Llano rivers, Dedeaux helped purchasers chase rainbow trout on the Guadalupe River and redfish on the Gulf Coast. For a lot of years, he additionally guided purchasers for trout in Colorado, migrating up north for the summer time. Quickly his calendar was absolutely booked months upfront. Finally, in 2011, he launched All Water Guides to deal with the overflow. It was designed as a guiding collective, so if he’s busy, one other one of many firm’s succesful guides can take a consumer out (and vice versa). By sharing purchasers, the guides get a extra constant buyer base. 

“Alvin’s discovered a reputation for himself,” says Bonner Armbruster, a information with All Water. “And it’s good for the remainder of us, as a result of all of us get further purchasers that come by him.”

It was throughout the early guiding days that Dedeaux met his spouse, Lenée, who grew up within the West Texas city of Huge Spring. She’d had her personal collection of profession shifts, together with years working as a proficient freelance seamstress designing her personal garments and purses. However, like Dedeaux, she shifted pursuits, incomes a grasp’s diploma in aquatic assets from Texas State. She began managing All Water Guides in 2016.

After I first reached out to Dedeaux about reserving a visit, it was Lenée who let me know that “Alvin is booked up till the autumn.” As of late that’s commonplace protocol for Dedeaux, who’s in excessive demand. All Water has greater than a dozen guides on workers, together with Lenée. It’s one of many largest guiding collectives of its form in Texas, and it’s devoted virtually solely to fly-fishing.     

“Anytime I’ve a piece name with him, he’s ensuring that we get gear into all of those younger guides’ palms, individuals he’s nurturing and educating,” says Jake Drees, the fishing advertising and marketing supervisor at Yeti, considered one of Dedeaux’s major sponsors. “He’s sort of the old-timer now, and he’s embraced a distinct a part of the fly-fishing enterprise, one which’s about rising a neighborhood.” 


Towards the top of our half day on the water, Dedeaux and I swap locations once more, and he reels in a flathead catfish, finishing no matter grand slam this could be. In complete, we land possibly twenty fish representing 5 species. It’s a superb day on the water, but in addition a testomony to what an underrated fishery the Decrease Colorado is. And whereas fly-fishing has turn into extra common on this a part of the state, it’s nonetheless a distinct segment sport in comparison with the pursuit of largemouth undertaken by 1000’s of Texans on lakes and reservoirs. 

For Dedeaux, the Decrease Colorado is house water, a lot in order that he and Lenée, by All Water Guides, assist set up an annual river-cleanup day with lots of of volunteers. Earlier this yr, Dedeaux additionally helped set up a form of fishing contest on the Lower Colorado, which runs by August 2022. Dedeaux and fish biologists from Texas Parks and Wildlife went out and tagged thirty Guadalupe bass. In case you catch one, take a photograph of it and clip off the tag, and you’ll win free Yeti gear and might be entered right into a grand-prize drawing.  

On the water, I ask Dedeaux if he can provide me some inside tips about the place to fish for the tagged bass. He laughs and says it’s no secret. “These fish transfer, so that they’re throughout. I can let you know we already caught one, however we let it go as a result of the competition hadn’t formally began.”      

Sooner or later I additionally ask him the plain query, about being a Black man in an open air trade traditionally dominated by white males. He solutions in typical Dedeaux style, with a little bit of a shrug. “My dad and mom advised me I’d encounter struggles,” he says, “and there have been some, however I by no means actually let it trouble me.” 

Possibly he’s downplaying the hurdles or doesn’t need to decide on the scars. However I additionally get the sense that once you’re on the water with Dedeaux, he takes the lengthy view—the view that the whole lot else, at the very least for the second, is extraneous, together with weighty discussions about water high quality or racism. These are conversations for later. Being on the water is about enjoyable, and that’s what we’re doing.   

After we get to the takeout at Little Webberville Park, we seize sandwiches from our respective automobiles and eat in silence. I discover Dedeaux wanting on the sky and checking the climate app on his cellphone. The wind has shifted, and a chilly entrance is coming. 

“Are you eager about going again out?” I ask.

“I’d prefer to,” he says. “I’m eager about making a video, however unsure concerning the situations. Received to maintain the followers tuning in, although.”     

“I wager the fishing will nonetheless be good.” 

“Could possibly be,” he says. “Could possibly be.”  

The video he makes that afternoon is the one titled “Issues Didn’t Go As Deliberate.” Normally on the water, as in life, they by no means do, however the result’s usually higher than you can have predicted. And anyway, Dedeaux continues to be filled with hope and a bighearted smile as I pack up my automotive. He’s gonna have a superb day on the water it doesn’t matter what.





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