Howler Dispatch: Privateers Southbound

Posted on July 29, 2015


Florida & Key West

Week number two saw the Privateers leaving New Orleans and journeying down to the forgotten coast, stopping in Apalachicola to soak up the Panhandle vibes and chase down a few Tarpon.  They managed to get out on the water and score a few shots at the elusive Silver King before meeting up for oysters and dinner with friends.  With shaky hands and bellies full they hatched a plan to head down to the Tampa area. 

 On the way they stopped in at Compound Board Shop in Sarasota. The guys down there deal in all the stuff you want to spend money on, like boards with wheels and without, fine garments (including Howler Bros), and none of the stuff you don’t want to spend money on, like electrical bills and car payments.  In Tampa they found their way into some good Mexican food, dock light fishing for snook, and several pods of Gulf Coast tarpon before heading south again.

After a quick stop to nail some small bones on the side of A1A, they ended up on Stock Island at COAST projects. From edible flora tours of Key West with Austin, to Billy feeding them bar hot dogs at the Chart Room, and swapping poems at the Rusty Anchor. These guys took great care of them. Their time in Key West culminated with a run to Boca Grande in a 13 foot whaler that Austin borrowed.  They ran out of gas outside Sunset Key, with no running lights, as the sun burned down past the Marquesas. Next time you are at the southernmost point in the US, pop in at COAST and get involved, or just check out the awesome old Key West vibe the guys have going on.

They closed down week two pulling in to Orlando ready for the IFTD/ICAST show.  Here they met up with the Howler crew ready to assemble the booth and partake in industry rituals.  



In a surprisingly painless venture with the loading dock security guard, the Privateers backed right up to the dock door, and quickly set up the booth amidst a frenzy of forklifts and freight boxes full of elaborate tradeshow booths. The first day at IFTD was a blur for Drew and David, meeting great new people, and showing off the Spring 2016 line at the booth. They met the amazing angler and writer April Vokey and chatted with her for a while about working your ass off to make fly fishing into an honest career.  They ended the day with happy hour then into a tiny Chevy Malibu headed for a near midnight meal at the one and only island experience, Bahama Breeze.

The second day they spent mostly scrounging for beers stashed in the van and figuring out ways to get them past show security. After another full day of being introduced to many new friends from the guys at Howler Bros, and after a little too much time hearing dueling piano tunes, they left for another late night dinner and shenanigans.

They spent the third day wandering the aisles of IFTD checking out the great new gear, reels, and rods that everyone had to offer. The Privateers felt good to get some time on the casting pond, shooting line with the amazing new Meridian from Scott Rods.  As the show finally came to a close, the crew packed the booth up into the van, and wrapped up our Orlando experience the only way they knew best - a sushi and sake bomb dinner, followed by a jaunt down I-drive bars with a handstand at the upside down building, beer towers at the Brickhouse, and, of course, bittersweet pina coladas at the Bahama Breeze. David wrote an ode to the great Island Grille.

With many days of windshield time ahead of them on the way to Casting for a Cure in Idaho, they got to take a nice break from the road with photographer and avid bow hunter Jeff Simpson at his farm in Kansas. He put them to work, giving their legs a nice stretch as they backburned one of his grass fields to get it ready to be planted with clover for next year’s whitetail season. After sweating out the heat from the fire, Drew and David relaxed on his porch then shortly found their way to bed for an early start in the morning. Looking forward to the swing through the Western states on the way to OR, the Privateers are back on the road, and hopefully will see you along the way.