For our first installment in the brand new Meet the Team series we’d like to introduce Ryan Schaper, Austin Store Manager and KATS Tournament Director. He’s our resident kayak fly fishing junky and lover of all Texas rivers. Read on to find out a few fun facts about Ryan then head over to the Austin store and say hello!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Ryan, manager of the Austin store and KATS tournament director. I live to fly fish and my favorite way to do it is from my Diablo Adios. Floating down rivers throwing flies at hungry fish and finding beautiful places from my kayak is unbeatable in my mind. I also love to get salty and fish at the coast- I just wish I had the opportunity to get there more!
2. What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know?
I have a bb (yes from a bb gun) stuck in my left middle index finger. A result from growing up in the country and an air soft war gone bad in my younger days. If you get a strong enough magnet it will stick to my finger! I am also the oldest of 7 (split between two houses).
3. What’s your ideal adventure?
It’s between kayaking the Devil’s River or fly fishing in the Florida Keys. The Devil’s River is probably a bit more attainable at this point though so I will go with that. It’s been at the top of my bucket list for three years now. I love kayak fly fishing rivers so much and the Devil’s River is sort of the ultimate destination in Texas for it. I mean, who wouldn’t love camping in the middle of nowhere for 4 days on one of our last untouched treasures? Not to mention the beautiful, crystal clear water, water falls and giant fish that live there.
4. Pick one: water or land?
Water. My goal typically is to spend more time on my kayak than in my truck each week. Some weeks I do and some weeks I don’t but you get the idea. If someone paid me to be on the river and fishing from my kayak 6 days out of the week I would do it in a second! Unfortunately no such position exists, so selling fishing kayaks and running kayak fishing tournaments has got to be the next best thing. Am I right?
5. What’s one of your favorite customer experiences?
I have many customers or people who seek me out to gain knowledge and tips on how to target and fish for certain species that dwell in our beautiful spring fed Texas Hill Country rivers. Occasionally, I get people who are really adamant about me taking them and showing them. This is how I met one of my best customers and now good friend. I honestly really enjoy taking people kayak fishing for the first time! Seeing them land their first fish and watching them get hooked is extremely fulfilling. I hope to be doing it on a more regular basis in the near future. This gentleman was no different and watching him hold his first Guadalupe bass caught from a kayak was as great for me as it was for him. From that moment he became an addict! He came in the following week and we rigged him out a kayak for fishing rivers. We still go fish together when we can.
6. What kind of sauce would you be dipped in and why?
BBQ sauce. Texas- enough said.
Want to talk fly fishing and all things kayaks with Ryan? Stop by the Austin store and say hey! To see more of his catches and adventures be sure to follow him on Instagram- @kayakflyfishingtexas. Until then, keep an eye out for more of the team in our next installment in the Meet the Team series!
-Dayvee @ ACK