Alvin Dedeaux, wearing a cap, shades, and plaid shirt, holds up a large fish while smiling. Background has water and trees.

Alvin Dedeaux, formerly a singer in the early ’90s band Bad Mutha Goose. Photo courtesy All Water Guides

As the audience at a sold-out show at Club Clearview in Dallas circa 1990 was demanding another encore from Austin funk band Bad Mutha Goose and the Brothers Grimm, one of the group’s singers had an eye on the backstage exit. Chants of “BMG! BMG!” turned into big groans when the houselights came up. That’s all, folks! A few minutes later, the dressing room filled with connected well-wishers, one of them asking, “Where’s Alvin?” But the dreadlocked singer/hype man was already in his 1966 Volvo, headed due west. “I had packed all my fishing and camping gear,” Alvin Dedeaux says, laughing. “The next morning, I was fly-fishing in a New Mexico stream.”

Being in a successful band, which had just been given a hefty advance to make an album for Philadelphia’s Alpha International label, is a dream come true for many artists, but Dedeaux has always preferred a Guadalupe bass to a Fender. Fishing has been his life since he was 11, and after he cut loose from the Goose in 1991, it’s been his livelihood.

Dedeaux owns All Water Guides, an Austin-based outfitter providing anglers with everything they need for a day of fly-fishing on the Gulf Coast or in the rivers and lakes of Central Texas. A two-time Orvis Guide of the Year finalist (2016, 2020), Dedeaux has become a Texas fly-fishing influencer, a “brand ambassador,” who gets all the Yeti coolers, Orvis tackle (rods, reels, bait, hooks), and Howler Brothers clothing he needs for free. In March, Ford flew Dedeaux to Salt Lake City for the rollout of its new Ranger truck, and for his endorsement and a couple Instagram mentions a month, he received a brand-new Ranger, with a gas card good for a year.

Dedeaux has been taking folks fly-fishing for 30 years, but his use of social media in the past four has spiked his profile. He has over 31,000 followers on Instagram and 24,000 on YouTube, where he posts videos, both instructional and anecdotal, on his Alvin Dedeaux Fly Fishing channel.

“I’m pretty laid-back, but I always have to keep busy,” he says from his outboard jet boat on the Colorado River at Smithville. “So, during the pandemic, I had to find a new project, and that was making fly-fishing videos.” His onstage experience appears to come in handy, as the videos are engaging and make full use of his personality. “What’s up, y’all, Alvin here,” is his customary opening, delivered with a big smile and a hearty laugh. He’s a guy you want to hang out with, appealing to those of us who’ve only ever fished for compliments and devoted anglers, who can find new stuff to learn, such as in Dedeaux’s recent tutorial “The Five Reasons You’re Not Catching Fish.”

The demand for fly-fishing tips and pitfalls is high because, unlike traditional fishing, where the weight of the lure makes casting a cinch and then you sit and wait for a bite, fly anglers require constant activity to imitate the movements of insects on the water that fish feed on. The fly bait is so light, the plastic-coated line of the fishing rod carries most of the cast’s momentum.

“If you were to compare it to hunting, standard tackle fishing is like using a rifle, while fly-fishing is like hunting with a bow and arrow,” Dedeaux says. “There’s a lot more technique.” There’s also skill and creativity needed: Dedeaux makes tying flies to attract fish an art form, once chopping up a flip-flop he found floating into an effective topwater fly.

Of Creole ancestry, Dedeaux came from a family of anglers, who often pulled supper out of the bayous of his hometown of Houston. In the fifth grade he checked out a book on fishing from the library. “There was a chapter on fly-fishing that I read over and over.”

The sport has been around since Moby Dick was a minnow, but fly-fishing was popularized in modern times by the 1992 film A River Runs Through It with Brad Pitt. Dedeaux had been an avid fly guy for years when the fad hit, which coincided with the demise of Bad Mutha Goose, so he got a job with the now-defunct Austin Anglers shop, first in sales, and then as a guide. “There was one condition,” Dedeaux says. “The boss wanted me to keep painting my toenails. He was hoping to get more young people, the rock ’n’ roll crowd, into fly-fishing.”

Texas was not known for fly-fishing in the ’90s, when most of the action was in the corridor from New Mexico to Montana. But that’s changed in recent years as Cabela’s, Orvis, and other fish-and-game-focused sporting goods stores started opening all over the Lone Star State. “A big advantage for Texas is that you can fish year-round,” says Dedeaux, whose company, with 10 other guides, charges between $525 and $1000 for a day of fishing, all gear included. Freshwater outings are on the low end of pricing, while fly-fishing on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, with its desirable redfish, is on the higher side.

Dedeaux, who just turned 60, says occasionally a client on the boat will recognize him from a music career that ended three decades ago. “We’ll talk about the glory days of Bad Mutha Goose,” Dedeaux says, rowing his boat to a promising marsh on the Colorado River in Smithville. “It was a wild time, but this is way more fun.”

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