Bri and I flew to New Orleans to explore that city for 3 days and then drive across the Florida panhandle to explore coastline, fish and visit friends for another 5 days.
New Orleans is a place that I always want to return to and Bri had never been. I really wanted to show her some of the things I had seen there and wander into a few new areas as well. Neither one of us had ever been to the Florida Panhandle....
First Stop: New Orleans - French Quarter, The Marigny and Garden District
|Casting on Bourbon Street at 7 am. Photo credit Bri.|
|We wandered the streets pretending to be artists.|
|and wandered through the charm until we were hungry.|
|We ate oysters at a few different places in the French Quarter. Felix's ended up being our favorite.|
|Felix's has a less fancy atmosphere than both Acme and Bourbon House Oysters - which are right across the street. But we really liked both the size and quality of the oysters here. And the staff was great.|
|Oysters coming in to the French Quarter.|
| I got us lost trying to find a certain thrift/junk store in the Marigny and we stumbled into this art studio - |
- Dr. Bob's art studio and shop
|One of Dr. Bob's paintings|
|A Dr. Bob decorated guitar. He is kicking my ass at art.|
|Glass decorations on top of a gate in the French Quarter.|
|The Mississippi rolls by behind the levee generally just out of sight - in the French Quarter. I jogged off a portion of my debauchery along the river. I imagine back many years ago when the river was a more integral part of the French Quarter.|
|St. Vincent's Infant Asylum in the Garden District. Built 1864. Margaret Haughery - the amazing woman who founded this place is very much worth reading about.|
|A sign painter's shrine in the Garden District|
Second Stop: Destin and Panama City, Florida on the Panhandle.
|Bri put up with a lot of windy and cold inlet fishing. She was a really good sport about it. Probably the sun helped.|
|We hired Jason Stacy of Shallow Water Expeditions and hit the Shell Island area of the St. Andrews Bay complex near Panama City - with both fly and spinning rods. We rolled out on a morning in sub 40 degree air. Check out Shallow Water Expeditions on Vimeo for some very nice videos.|
|Blind casting along the beach with an 8 weight rod and connecting. Shell Island is the 20 miles of undeveloped beach in the background.|
|Bri with a small redfish. She actually outfished me. The objective of the trip was to put her on some saltwater fish as she has only done freshwater fishing.|
|Releasing the big redfish of the day.|
|A stop in Tallahassee to visit my cousin Ian and his wife Karen. They can really eat - and drink - and are always up for a good time. Ian was a bit disappointed that Bri and I crashed right after dinner but us fish people have to get good sleep.|
My best friends Luis and Deanna just moved to North Port, Florida only about 10 days prior.....
And we descended on their new place for some DIY canoe and wade fishing. Amazingly their new place was already totally set up to have guests.
|Heading out in the new canoe from Ponce park near Punta Gorda.|
|Getting out of the canoe to wade fish.|
|Bri's second Sheepshead of the trip.|
|Headed into the mangroves for some snook fishing. And maybe see a laid up redfish as well.|
|Another cool thing about Florida - the bird life and reptile life is off da hook. Photo credit - Deanna|
|Connecting with some juvenile Snook in intimate mangrove creeks.|
|Releasing a bass-sized Snook|
|The great women - Deanna and Bri - who sometimes come along on our fishing adventures.|
|General flats fishing assemblage for Florida. I cant say enough good about the lures in the left portion of this tackle box - the "Texas rigged" soft plastic lures. Phil Knoll showed me his hybrid style of fishing on Long Island, NY back in 2006 and it is my go-to style for saltwater flats now.|
|My last fish of the trip. Wading the big wide open flats at Ponce De Leon Park I got a really pretty flounder.|