My name is Judson Cole and I am the owner of Hell 'N Back Outfitters. I am originally from Abilene, TX and I grew up in a very outdoor driven family. The outdoors were for me what video games are to some, a way to lose yourself in something. Although not always with a fly rod, as a youngster I could often be seen floating around in a leaky, decrepit, paddle boat fishing for anything that will bite. I was fascinated by life below the surface of the water; and wanting to hold it, if only for a second, in my hands. Back then it was all about the fish; keeping tallies and bragging about the "big one". I was also heavily involved in the Boy Scouts of America, and the troop I was in went on a camping trip once a month, regardless of weather. This fueled my desire to be outdoors and taught me how not only how to survive, but to be able to adapt and change. Be Prepared! I earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1998, when I was 15 years old. To this day I still call upon and use the many skills I learned in scouting in many aspects of my life.
I am also a graduate of Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX, with a BS degree in Horticulture. I think this is where my fondness of bugs came to life. I took several Entomology courses during my time at Tarleton, mostly landscaping related, but I was always fascinated by the aquatic insects; i.e. mayflies, damselflies, dragonflies, and the alien looking Dobsonfly larva! (Hellgrammites) I still use some of my collected specimens from college in many of my Fly Fishing classes, and I always carry a few extra specimen jars in the boat just in case.
After graduating I moved to Austin, TX, and quickly fell in love with all that is "Hill Country". I started probing every stretch of water, not to catch the biggest or most fish, but just to FISH; to be immersed in the Hill Country. It was more to me than a "connection" with a fish, but a connection with nature. I felt an urge to share this same feeling with other people, so I started guiding. Not professionally at first, but rather just taking out close friends and acquaintances. By teaching them how to cast a fly rod, how to identify a certain bird species, or how to slow down and enjoy the scenic countryside, I found I was having just as much fun as them.
I currently live in Wimberley with my wife, Tara, and our two daughters, Paisley and Kinley. The Blanco River is only a stone's throw from the house and I fish there often. Many times I feel like the little boy playing in the fading light of day while mom is yelling for him to come home. I have been guiding professionally now for 12 years and I'm loving every minute of it! I get to share my passion for the outdoors with my clients, and I enjoy watching their faces react, in much the same way as mine so many years ago. They are discovering something new about themselves and their surroundings. I am rewarded with many friendships made on the river and have shared time on the water with many successful and inspiring people. Many of these people comment about me "living the life that they only dream about"! That is reward enough for me!