Owner & Travel Department Director
David Leake has nearly twenty years of experience in the fly fishing travel and retail industry. In addition to being the owner of the company, David is the director of operations in the Travel Department at Tailwaters. David has traveled throughout the world developing our travel offerings, including Alaska, Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Seychelles, Venezuela, and of course all through the United States. David is the copywriter for all of Tailwaters brochures,pre-trip information, and editorial content for the company. David is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, and has three children, Lynsie, Patrick, and Sam, with his wife, Melissa.
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Favorite Species: Permit
Fun Fact: #9 in the State of Texas for Tennis, 12 and under
Director of Operations
Neil has been a long-time, loyal customer since our early days on McKinney Ave, and joined Tailwaters full-time as our General Manager in Fall 2019. In addition to being an avid fly fisherman, Neil brings a wealth of operations and business development experience to our team from his time as a multi-store restaurant owner/operator. With a warm and loveable personality, Neil lives for customer service, building relationships, and maintaining a happy and productive work environment at the shop. After attending Texas Tech University, Neil spent time in Telluride, Colorado working for Telluride Angler. Neil has two decades of experience fishing for trout in Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, California, Alaska, Montana, and Arkansas. These days, if not in the shop, you will likely find Neil in Vail Valley with his family, chasing permit in Ascension Bay, or on the Texas coast in search of tailing Redfish. Neil also sits on the board for Borracho Pescador, an organization that combines a passion for fly fishing with raising awareness and fund-raising for Rett Syndrome in conjunction with Casting 4 A Cure – chiefly through the organization’s charitable redfish tournament each year in Port O’Connor, Texas. Neil resides in East Dallas with his wife Lauren, their two daughters, Hazel and Winnie, their son, Townes, and Brittany Spoodle,Trout.
Hometown: Copell, Texas
Favorite Species: Permit & Yellowstone Cutties
Fun Fact: Call sign “Nacho” for exceptional late-night cooking wizardry
Hosted Trips: The Palometa Club & White River Trout Club
Buyer & Travel Associate
Kristian has been an integral part of the Tailwaters team since he started part-time in January 2016, and has since taken on various leadership roles within the company. In addition to his vast knowledge of the sport and enthusiastic presence on the sales floor, Kristian is responsible for outfitting our travel business clients for all of our destinations, and oversees the buying activities at the shop. Kristian played a key role in developing our fly tying program, which includes the membership-based Dallas Tyers Club. With extensive travel experience under his belt, Kristian is well-equipped to lead international hosted fly fishing trips, having explored destinations such as Bolivia, Alaska, Argentina, Ascension Bay, and The Seychelles, to name a few. Prior to joining the Tailwaters team, Kristian spent his free time fishing throughout Texas and southern Colorado. Outside of work, Kristian enjoys spending time with his longtime girlfriend, Lauren, and his two pups, Eddie and Hendrix. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a newcomer to the sport, Kristian's expertise and passion will ensure you're properly geared up for your next Tailwaters adventure.
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Favorite Species: Love them all big and small!
Fun Fact: Ceramics Wizard
Hosted Trips: June 10-17 Jardines De La Reina - Cuba , Ascension Bay - Mexico April 11- 21 & August 18 - 25
Web Operations Manager
Ana started working for us in May of 2016. Before coming to Tailwaters, Ana worked at a wildly successful, web-based children’s clothing company learning her way around e-commerce and social media platform sales. While Ana is a huge asset in helping to manage the day-to-day in our travel department, she also plays the main role in developing and managing our web store, assisting with event organization, generally keeping the office running smoothly, and so much more. She wears a lot of hats and can be counted on for just about anything…. including bringing homemade baked goodies up to the shop! Ana was born and raised in Dallas, is a graduate of John Brown University in Northwest Arkansas, and is a huge Razorback fan. Ana is also an active leader in the Tailwaters Ladies Club, with 100 members and growing. If you see Ana with her shiny pink Abel, beware, she might out fish you!
Hometown: Mesquite, Texas
Favorite Species: Anything sparkly ;-)
Fun Fact: Has a pink license plate that reads “Cupcake”
Hosted Trips: White River Trout Club with the Tailwaters Ladies Club
General Manager & Content Creation
Born and raised in Austin, Lawson found a passion for bass fishing on his local waters and really got into fly fishing chasing Redfish on the Texas Coast. Throughout high school, Lawson fell in love with the industry and got his feet in the door working for a kids fishing camp down in the Florida Keys, catching snook, tarpon, and redfish. Through his eye for photography, Lawson also became involved with other outdoor companies, helping with their content collection and marketing. Lawson first joined Tailwaters after being selected for the Summer Internship program in 2021, and - after a short stint at the White River Trout Club in Flippin, AR - accepted an offer to join our team full-time in September of 2022. In the colder months, you can find Lawson spending time in the woods duck hunting with his lab, Pato. Lawson recently graduated from Texas A&M and is enthusiastic to be a part of the Tailwaters team and officially join the industry full-time.
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Favorite Species: Redfish
Fun Fact: Yes, my last name actually is Fish…
Hosted Trips: White River Trout Club & Jardines de la Reina, Cuba
Marketing Manager & Retail Specialist
Brian cut his teeth fly fishing for species native to the Texas Hill Country after graduating from TCU and moving to the Austin area. Formerly an 8th grade U.S. History Teacher, Brian brings a wealth of knowledge to the planning and execution of marketing and education aspects of Tailwaters. After teaching, Brian gained valuable experience working for Filson and Orvis, where he held management and marketing positions for both companies. When he’s not in the shop, he enjoys poling around Texas flats, both freshwater and salt, in his 15’4 Lowsider Gheenoe that Kristian Cole sweet talked him into co-owning. He is also a freelance graphic designer who has done projects with the Granada Theater in Dallas, as well as his favorite local dive bar, Singlewide. Brian has been a welcomed addition to our team since joining us full-time in the Fall of 2021.
Hometown: Richardson, Texas
Favorite Species: Stockers
Fun Fact: I played ice hockey growing up
Hosted Trips: Alaska Steelhead Company
Education & Events
Rebecca took her first fly casting lesson at Tailwaters several years ago and has now come full circle as an official member of the Tailwaters team. With the attitude that an adventure can be found anywhere, Rebecca is passionate about discovering fly fishing experiences within a couple hours from the shop. When she’s not poling her skiff for carp and bass in North Texas, she trailers it down south to target redfish and other saltwater gamefish along the Texas coast. During the summer and early fall, Rebecca guides in Bristol Bay, Alaska at Iliamna River Lodge. With these experiences and the support of Tailwaters, Rebecca has become an all-water angler and educator.
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Favorite Species: Common Carp
Fun Fact: Licensed Attorney
Retail Specialist & Shipping/Receiving
Ino was born and raised in Oak Cliff, but gained his passion for fly fishing out on his family’s ranch pond down in Hillsboro, Texas. Although Ino is a Texas native, he has plenty of experience fly fishing for trout out West in states ranging from Idaho, Utah, and Colorado, as well as locally on the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels. Come summertime, you can find Ino fly fishing anywhere his old converted 1984 van will make it. One of his all-time favorite rivers to fish is the Brazos, where he loves to target multiple species including carp, largemouth bass, and striped bass.
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Favorite Species: Largemouth Bass
Fun Fact: Taco Specialist
Retail Specialist & Head Guide
Sean leads our local guide trips and helps on the sales floor when he’s not on the water. Sean has two decades of experience working in fly shops and brings a vast knowledge of products and destinations to the team. He also lends a hand with education and is an instructor for our schools and clinics. Sean’s travels have allowed him to fish for a variety of species. He has been able to catch steelhead in Oregon, permit in Mexico, tarpon in Florida, and golden dorado in Bolivia. His favorite species are both Texas natives: the largemouth bass and coastal Redfish.
Sean lives in Dallas with his wife Shonda. He’s as passionate about barbeque as he is fishing, and will gladly man the smoker and grill for shop events.
Hometown: Arlington, Texas
Favorite Species: Largemouth Bass
Fun Fact: Talked fishing with a US President and a WW2 Ace
Jeff is a legend, having been on the local fly fishing scene for over 25 years. Jeff’s early days in Dallas shops started at Orvis Dallas as Fishing Manager and onward to Westbank Anglers/Blue Drake Outfitters in Inwood Village, before becoming Tailwaters in 2018. Jeff spent the previous 12 years in sales, marketing, design, and product development with Temple Fork Outfitters. Jeff’s fishing resume covers Baja, Belize, the Bahamas, Canada, the Amazon, and fisheries across the United States. Jeff’s domestic fly fishing destinations include Florida, Louisiana, Montana, Wyoming, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, N. Carolina, Connecticut, New Mexico, Arizona, and multiple Texas locations. His upbeat attitude, friendly smile, and deep knowledge and passion for the world of retail, fly fishing, fly tying, all-level casting instruction, and customer service make him an invaluable member of the Tailwaters team. Jeff’s been a sought-after casting instructor for 20+ years and is great with all skill levels. If not in the shop, Jeff enjoys his down time outfitting his Mid Century modern home with vintage furniture, vinyl, and other collectibles. He resides with his wife Joanne and their pup Penny.
Hometown: Richardson, Texas
Favorite Species: Big Dorado
Fun Fact: Edible Gardening