Ted Mendrek, General Manager
Originally, Ted was part of the team that opened Sportsman’s Finest in 2003 and at the time served as the fly-fishing department manager. His passion for the fishing, hunting, and the outdoors started at a very early age and has lead him throughout the lower 48, the Bahamas, the Amazon, as well as 10 summers of guiding in the Nakalilok Bay area of remote Alaska, currently operated by Epic Angling & Adventure. Ted is a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor and serves on the Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited Board of Directors. The exchange of valuable knowledge and the great relationships built between customers and staff, are two things Ted truly enjoys about working at Sportsman’s Finest.
Greg Welander, Fly Fishing Manager
Greg started fishing as soon as he was able to hold a fishing pole. He has been Fly-Fishing exclusively since 1998. He has fished everything from Stripers on the Red River below Lake Texoma to Redfish of the Lower Laguna Madre. Hill Country Streams and Lakes are his local passion in between trips to the Texas Coast for Redfish. Additionally, he has fished for Rainbow Trout on the Guadalupe River below the Canyon Dam tailrace since 1976. In 2004, Greg took up the art of Fly Tying. All of the flies that he has in his box are flies that he has tied. “It is very exciting to catch fish on a fly that came from my own vise.” Greg has tied with some of the greats such as Bob Clouser, Colby “Pops” Sorrells and Kyle Hand to name just a few. He routinely lead fly tying sessions for the Fort Worth Fly Fishers and at the Backwoods store in Fort Worth, where he tied weekly until moving to Austin in early 2009. In June 2010, Greg was elected President of the San Gabriel Fly Fishers located in Georgetown, TX and in August 2010, Greg joined Sportsman’s Finest and now leads the very popular “Tuesday Night Fly Tying Class” held at the store.
P.J. Martinez, Firearms Manager
P.J. Martinez, a native Austinite, grew up in the Martinez Brothers Taxidermist studio. It was there where his interest in firearms began. Learning to hunt and fish in areas around Austin grew into greater adventuring when the family business branched out into hunting the Frontera of Old Mexico. Attractions to collectible firearms lead to a stint with the University of Gun Libraries, where imparted learning spread to an interest in classic collectable American made firearms. Also during this time knowledge in collectable military arms, sporting shotguns, fine revolvers, and bolt rifles, was acquired in a large retail environment. Please stop by the store for a visit, all questions and opinions are welcome. If we don’t know the answer we will find it for you.
Lindy Wilks, Fly Fishing Department
Lindy grew up fishing for wild trout with her dad and brothers on the flowing streams, rivers and lakes in the foothills of the Okanogan Highlands in North-Central Washington. She moved to Central Texas in 2002 and began fishing the Hill country, starting on her fly fishing adventures on the Guadalupe River fishing for big rainbow trout with her best friend and husband. Her favorite local waters are the Guadalupe river stalking big trout, and the Llano River for other fresh water species. She also enjoys fly fishing the Lower Mountain Fork River in Oklahoma, along with rivers and streams in Arkansas, Oregon and Washington, having developed the skills for catching big fish while fishing these waters. Her other passion is tying flies, spending many hours at her vice learning new techniques and patterns. She has been active in the CFR (Casting for Recovery) program, active Member of Texas Women Fly Fishers, she is also a member Trout Unlimited, GRTU and the Federation of Fly Fishers with a personal goal on becoming a Certified Casting Instructor. Lindy brings her enthusiasm and a true passion for the sport of fly fishing and is a welcome addition to the Sportsman’s Finest team.
Casey Kennedy, Fly Fishing Department
Fishing has always been a part of Casey’s life. Raised in a family where conventional fishing for largemouth bass in east Texas lakes was a part of his day to day life, you could always find him on the bow of the boat. Somewhere between the age of 8-10 years old he was introduced to fly tying on a Saturday morning television fishing program. After “borrowing” his mother’s hemostats from her nurse’s jacket and finding her stash of sewing thread, he found himself plucking feathers from his pillow and slowly piecing feather and hook together. Tying flies became his passion at a young age and remains true to this day. The local fly shop was happy to teach young Casey new patterns and help him pick out the materials he needed to make that next bug. For more than a year he was just tying flies, not fishing them since he didn’t have a fly rod. It never occurred to him that these bugs could catch fish just like his conventional lures. Finally asking for and receiving a fly rod, he started to fly fish. The thrill of fooling a wild fish into eating a few chicken feathers, a little hair, and some thread has lead him fishing throughout the United States of America and beyond. Over the past 20 or so years he has continued to learn different fishing tactics for warm water, cold water, and salt water fisheries; all in pursuit of the next tug!
John Lee, Firearms Department
John joined our firearms department in December 0f 2013. John comes to us after serving in the United States Marine Corps for 8 1/2 years. During this time he served four deployments, two of which were combat deployments in infantry for 6 1/2 years. While in the military John also instructed and coached multiple ranges to include rifle, pistol, shotgun, machine gun, and CQB ranges. He is also a NRA instructor, as well as a Chief RSO going on 3 years. John is currently also working toward a Criminal Justice degree. We are honored and proud to have John as part of our team.
Sheila Anderson, Fly Fishing Department
Sheila has been enjoying the sport of fly fishing since 2000, and she is an active member and past president of the Texas Women Fly Fishers. One of Sheila’s favorite aspects of fly fishing is fulfilling her role as a casting instructor and staff member of the Casting for Recovery Texas program. She has been active in the CFR program since 2006, and enjoys working with past participants as they continue to fly fish after their introduction to the sport at the retreats. In addition to fly fishing, she also loves to tie flies – often donating her flies for sale to TWFF members and other clubs for their fundraising activities. Mentored by Kyle Hand and Martin Pursch, her specialty is tying the classic wet flies and decorative butterflies as works of art. Sheila’s knowledge of fly fishing and fly tying, and her business experience and education are a welcome addition to Sportsman’s Finest.
Stephanie Carter, Bookkeeping
Growing up on a 1000 acre ranch highly influenced Stephanie's outdoor activity. She enjoys both hunting and fishing. She harvested her first deer when she was about 11 years old. Her Dad took her fishing when she was little with one of those Snoopy reels. Stephanie has been fortunate enough to experience a wide range of fishing and hunting destinations and has long since abandoned her Snoopy reel and now favors spending time shooting machine guns. "From fishing Blue Marlin in Hawaii to hunting in Africa", she says, "if you are ever given the opportunity to explore a new destination don't pass it up!"
Chuck Banks, Fly Fishing Department
Chuck Banks has been fishing for as long as he can remember, starting with a safety pin and a hot dog on a cane pole. He began fly fishing in 1991 when he took a guided trip on Gore Creek in Vail, CO. chuck has an extensive retail background: he has been in the retail shop business in Austin since 1976. In 1998, he opened Austin Outfitters Fly Shop in Barton Creek Mall with the idea of introducing fly fishing to those who had never experienced the sport. Chuck feels fortunate to have fished many of the rivers and streams of the Western U.S. for Trout and Steelhead. He has also fished for Redfish on the Texas coast, Tarpon and Snook in Florida, and Permit and Bonefish in Belize. His favorite fishing is small stream Trout in remote areas. Chuck’s philosophy is that there are no “bad days” fishing
Tommy Minyard, Shipping & Receiving
Kile Holster, Firearms Department
Born and raised in Central Texas, Kile start hunting with his dad before he could even hold a firearm. His dad made him his "bird dog" on dove hunts early on. Kile has been hunting all over the state of Texas and has hunted most of the game animals the state has to offer, with the exception of a few that haven't been checked off his list yet. When Kile isn't hunting on his own, his favorite times are spent guiding hunts for others. He says "When I met my wife and took her on her first deer hunt, I thought my heart was going to explode I was so excited and nervous for her. Helping someone harvest their first animal is a great experience and it's humbling to know you're going to be a part of that memory." Kile has worked in the firearm industry since 2007 and is a Glock and Smith&Wesson M&P armorer. He is a great source of information for firearms, reloading, optics and hunting.
Christopher Kirk, Online Sales Manager
Chris joined Sportsman’s Finest in early 2014 and we’re glad to have him as part of our team. Chris is an Adjunct Professor of Photography with Austin Community College and is a freelance fine art photographer. He puts his creative skills to use managing our website and photographing our products. He has also worked in the information technology and semiconductor industries, and served in the United States Air Force. Chris has a passion for long range marksmanship and hope to start competing in precision rifle competitions soon.