Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in New Braunfels, Texas, and grew up as an only child having to entertain myself. My folks lived on the edge of town and our property bordered two big ranches. Essentially I was left to my own devices and was allowed to take my BB gun and .22 out to keep busy. These early experiences hunting gave me a profound insight into nature and a yearning desire to understand the cycles of our Earth and its inhabitants that would later help me understand bass as well.
About the time I turned 9, my grandparents bought a house on Lake Dunlap and I began to fish for panfish from their dock but never really got a chance to fish from a boat or kayak. Within a few years I was working for an amusement park in New Braunfels and found myself staring at large bass in the crystal clear waters of the Comal River. Then the passion sparked. I’d take my rod to work with me and target largemouth bass with hours upon hours of frustration until I learned finesse techniques on 6 lb. monofilament.
Shortly after I married my wife, Valerie, we went to visit some family in Alaska to do offshore fishing in the Prince William Sound and often I found myself paddling a Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135 tandem with my wife and realizing that the access of a kayak into skinny water was exactly what I needed for my Central Texas rivers. That trip to Alaska was one of the most memorable- fishing for rockfish, lingcod, halibut and salmon (and eating them fresh). I can directly link my love for fishing to that trip.
Together, Valerie and I have made two trips to Costa Rica as well. The experience of climbing a muddy foot trail in dense fog to ascend the crest of a dormant volcano and descending down into the caldera where a crystal clear lagoon invites you for a swim is a religious moment I will never forget.
Q. Describe your ideal outdoor adventure weekend.
A weekend just isn’t long enough sometimes! I’ve had this grand scheme to steal away for a few weeks during the Alaskan summer to be dropped off on an island in the PWS with a kayak, my saltwater fishing gear and no connection to the outside world except a pickup date. Combining camping in an extremely remote area with kayak fishing and hunting small game for subsistence would satisfy my needs.
I’ve had this grand scheme to steal away for a few weeks during the Alaskan summer to be dropped off on an island in the PWS with a kayak and all my saltwater fishing gear and no connection to the outside world except a pickup date.John Henry Boatright, ACK San Antonio Store Manager
Q. What is your most memorable outdoor adventure?
The most memorable outdoor adventure I’ve had would have to be a backpacking trip to Big Bend with my buddy Benjy. This guy is the epitome of an adventurer – a former whitewater guide, an AT thru-hiker and recently rode his Harley from the southern tip of Texas to Alaska. So when we decided to head west and complete the Outer Loop Trail I was thrilled. Starting in the low desert we trekked through the hottest of heat among the sage and yuccas.
Benjy was adamant he was going to cook dinner the first night. As we set up camp he busts out fajitas, tortillas, avocados, pico and a little flask. Now I understood why he wanted to cook the first night – to drop that weight. His Jetboil made quick work of heating the meal and I was sold on adding one of these to my backpacking gear.
The next day we ascended over a mile while hiking only six miles by foot. Our legs were obliterated. We camped 10 feet from the edge of the South Rim overlooking Mexico and watched in anticipation and silence as a thunderstorm crossed the Rio Grande and inundated the Chihuahuan Desert with water before coming to us. We had decided not to pitch our tents, just to roll up with our gear in our rain covers and let the water rinse us clean, and what an experience that was.
The final day we descended down meandering trails to our vehicle, hit up the Lodge in the basin and had ourselves a greasy burger, a shower and some ice cream before our drive home. I’d repeat that trip in a heartbeat.
Q. What are your must-have products for any outdoor adventure?
A Jetboil is a must-have for any minimalist camping or backpacking trip. The size and weight conservation mean more room for other comfort gear. It’s quick to boil (hence the name) and doubles as your camp heater when you can’t build a fire.
A Jetboil is a must-have for any minimalist camping or backpacking trip.John Henry Boatright, ACK San Antonio Store Manager
I also won’t camp without my Sea to Summit collapsible cookware and utensils. Again, saving on weight and space is the name of the game in kayak camping and backpacking and these silicone cups, bowls and pots are easy to pack and clean and they hold up to heavy usage.
I always carry my Black Diamond headlamp. From hunting, fishing, camping or just working on my gear around a campsite – Black Diamond headlamps withstand a beating, are easy to use with a gloved hand in cold weather and they’re BRIGHT!
Q. What are you most excited about working with ACK?
I’m most excited about the connections I’m making and how those connections allow me to expand my knowledge base. Not only am I getting to know my employees and other peers better, but the wealth of knowledge each customer brings in is a huge resource. I’ve already made new friends, fished with a few folks and get those insider tips on local fisheries that would typically take a few trips to develop.
Q. What are your areas of outdoor expertise? What can ACK Customers come chat with you about?
I’m an avid kayak bass fisherman. I write for an online publication (KBFMAG) and devote a lot of time to “field study” and practical application of my techniques. I also lived in South Padre Island, Texas, for awhile and spent a lot of time fishing the Lower Laguna Madre, targeting Redfish, trout and Sheepshead.
Lastly, I’m an avid camper and backpacker and love to test my will by just loading and going. I’d love to offer tips on gear, meal planning and destinations and really enjoy a combination of kayak fishing and camping- where planning is a must and load capacity is the difference in dragging your heavy kayak or floating and fishing.