Welcome to Bat City Outdoors


News: Paddling Texas: A Guide to the State’s Best Paddling Routes available for order.

Waves of live music, heaps of barbecue, personalities like Kinky, tireless Texas fight football fans, electric get-downs on 6th Street, it’s all right here. And still people treat each other like neighbors – Austin is just right.

Even so, that urban just right can bake on like sun-dried mud. When it does, it can only be scraped off in the outdoors. Luckily, Austin has some of that too. It’s in the rivers and ravines and with the waterfolk and wildlife that are Bat City outdoors.

Here you’ll find stories about the outdoors in Austin and beyond. And, you’ll find information to help get you out there.

Thanks for reading,
Shane Townsend

Bat City Outdoors |
From Austin. For Outdoorsfolk Everywhere.


TX Legends Billfish Tournament

From August 6-10, fifty boats competed in the Texas Legends Billfish Tournament. The reward: bragging rights and $715,000 in prizes.

Final Results:

  • 1st Place –  Bert Steindorf’s Bandit w/ Capt. Kevin Scott
  • 2nd Place – John Ramming’s Rebecca w/ Capt. Tommy Guildner
  • 3rd Place – Cliff Thomas’ Mine Time w/ Capt. Ray Peterson
  • 4th Place – Will Lett’s Mojo w/ Capt. Brian Phillips


  • Largest fish weighed – 104.5 pound yellowfin tuna on Rebecca
  • Largest blue marlin released – Legacy
  • 1st blue marlin released – Tico Time
  • Most billfish released – Mine Time

Photos taken with a Canon. For hi-res versions, contact BatCityOutdoors@gmail.com


Paddling Texas by Dave Brown at Roots Rated

Interview with Shane Townsend

Shane Townsend, senior advisor with The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, just completed Paddling Texas: A Guide to the State’s Best Paddling Routes, the newest addition to Falcon Guides’ popular paddling series.

As both disclaimer and a vouch for him, I’ve known Shane personally for some time, and I was a contributor to his book. I met him while in the Texas Master Naturalist program, have since worked with him on various projects, and we are friends. I highly respect him as a true outdoorsman. And when it comes to paddling, he knows what he’s talking about. Following are some snippets from our recent conversation about Paddling Texas.

Q: What are your Top 3 favorite paddling trails around Austin?

Read Dave’s full story here at Roots Rated.

Don’t be that guy (GAFF)

You don’t know how to act. Neither does he. I’m worse than either of you. And, everyone else is just as bad as me.

Alone we do fine. Tall trees, high fences, brick walls, and thick curtains separate your weird from mine. So there’s no problem. We just have to hope the naked Septembers, firearms and dead animal projects, and incessant whistling of The Godfather theme don’t scare off our better halves.Well, some of us do.

But anywhere there’s a chance your weird will rub up against mine there must be rules. Or the rule is there are no rules, in which case everyone knows to bring friends and sticks.

Read the full story here in the latest edition of GAFF on page 16.

The Kayak Killed the Boatnote Boogeyman

The sun is on the rise. Water pours shhh from a fountain hidden in the cold fog. And, a http://us.cdn2.123rf.com/168nwm/daivi/daivi1311/daivi131100005/23645184-blood-foggy-sunrise-over-the-mountains.jpgveritable fleet stands ready to ferry folks of any shoe to their own kind of paradise. There are ski boats, bass boats, barge boats, stacks of 10,12, 14, 15 and mo’ boats. Nitro for wrestling fans. Tahoe for folks who want their cars and boats to be twinsies. And, Panfish 16 for folks who cannot abide by the word twinsies, ever.

“Ahoy,” calls a girl’s voice. Nearby a guy in a Ducks Unlimited cap approaches his darling boat, eyes downcast. I dub him “DU” and he pets her outboard, pats her transom, and peeks at the tag dancing burlesque on the breeze. He mouths his best lines and charges the bow, eyes screaming I can, I must, I will have you.

The wind spins the tag. He recoils and his eyes yelp Um, I wasn’t ready yet.

Another “Ahoy” summons ancient mariner spirits for DU and his eyes again tell the tale.

I loved you immediately. And, I know you’re a coast girl and I’m a river guy, but we can visit your folks—not every weekend. The tag trembles. I mean that’s asking a lot. The wind rises with his desperation. I’m just a simple man. I can’t offer you riches, but love. Not everyone gets that. The wind snatches the tag away.

I want to tell DU the good news, but it’d be weird for one furry man to whisper comfort to another at sunrise.

Jean Lafitte

I do feel his pain, though. Anyone who doesn’t has a back turned to God and country. Yes, Mr. Putin, all Americans are exceptional. And our boatfolk are exceptionally exceptional: Washington, Twain, Jean LaFitte, Jimmy Buffet, the Perfect Storm lady captain, Papaw and the rest too – all charmed. The sun casts them in unending glamour shots. And when they smile – God! – it’s with a child’s purity and a drunkard’s joy. And, they speak pure seduction. “Come out on myyy boat, we can go to Petit Bois, or another place you’ve never been and I always go,” they say. We hear “Free boat ride, Friend.”

Take Lyle Lovett. He wrote one boat song and seduced Julia Roberts. Of course, she abandoned ship once she discovered pony boating is a sure fire way to get stomped, drowned, and eaten by sharks. He got her, though, because boatfolks are irresistible. Thank goodness, too. How many of us would be here if Noah had built a giant hot air balloon? And, speaking of antiquity, who’s to blame for our boat note dilemma? The Greeks. They put a coin, Charon’s obol, on the tongue of their beloved dead. Pay the ferryman, they said, or roam the muddy banks of the River Styx for eternity. So, yeah, Greeks contributed some decent art and one fine salad dressing, but they also gave our collective unconscious something dirty to suck on: Fear of the postmortem boat note. And, DU can taste it.

But, I want to tell him I too had a dreamboat (a 21’ flats boat with a 150, raised console, jack plate, and a double axle trailer– F I N E fine!). But, off she ran with another man. So, I did the boat guy unthinkable. (No, I didn’t walk somewhere, vote Nader, or put a sweater on my dog.) I spent a tear-soaked $500 on a kayak. I think I’ll tell him.

“Another sobber by the party barges,” barks the intercom, “Drown him out with more pour on the fountains!”

Yeah, I’m not going over now.

Snoopy pole, whole

But, the kayak changed my life. I’d been shin deep in shore mud elbowing grandpas and snapping Snoopy poles for a little room here to cast at hardheads; and at docks, I peeked at power trims and savored wafts of salt and 87-octane like a lover’s Chanel. Now, I troll past with trout doubles, waving in unison with my backup dolphins. And, I wrestle bulls from skinny water while that man in my Bahia hangs on oysters, swearing.

DU slips a hand slowly down her gunnel until she drops away. He gives one last look back before he leaves to remember her that way, forever.

DU should know, though, that the kayak killed my boat note boogeyman. Yes, I will get my Bahia one day; but right now, I’m off to the Lighthouse Lakes.

Oh, you don’t know where that is? Well, it’s amazing and I always go there.




Originally published in my Last Cast column in GAFF Magazine. Read on-line at no cost.

Once you get your kayak, this will help you figure out where to take it: Paddling Texas.

RIO Fly Line Selector App


Idaho Falls, Idaho (August 1, 2014) RIO Products makes the connection to fish come easier for anglers whether it’s through its lines, leaders and tippet or through education on the consumer and dealer level. With that in mind, RIO recently launched its RIO Fly Line Selector App as an effective way to help anglers choose the right fly line every time.

“Here at RIO, we realize that there are a lot of fly lines on the market, and a great number of fly fishers are confused by the choices available,” says Simon Gawesworth, RIO brand manager. “We believe in making it easier for anglers to choose the right fly line for a given situation, and this app is the next step in our education process.”

Available for iPhone, iPad and Android, this free app starts by asking which type of rod the angler will use. It then leads participants through the rod make and model to water type, environmental conditions, geography, species, line density, and the specific application desired. Once each step is completed, the app offers line choices where users can dive deeper into the specifics of each line, visit RIO’s website, and even find the closest dealers to purchase the line.

Gawesworth adds “This app is an incredibly useful asset for retailers and consumers alike and certainly makes it very simple to choose the right fly line for most fishing situations. Imagine a specialty trout fly shop that has a customer come in asking for advice on a line for Dorado fishing in Argentina. With a few taps of the app, the perfect line will be revealed – ensuring both angler and retailer are happy.”

The app is now available to download from iTunes and Google Play; shortcut links to which can be found here: www.rioproducts.com/apps.

About RIO Products:

RIO is a pioneer in developing fly lines, leaders and tippet material to enhance fly fishing experiences across the globe. Offering premium fly lines for both freshwater and saltwater fishing applications, RIO consistently utilizes field experience and scientific testing to create the best products on the market for anglers. Founded 20 years ago in the mountains of Idaho, RIO continues to develop innovative products, design revolutionary tapers and refine performance-driven fly line technologies. For more information about RIO Products, please visit www.rioproducts.com. Connect with us through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Vimeo.