Howler Dispatch: 2016 Privateers Westbound and Down

Posted on July 7, 2016


We trekked from ABQ to Denver, and along the way even got to make a pit stop in Colorado Springs to hang with Ryan’s Aunt for a little while. From Denver we took I-10 westward, through the Rockies, fished a mountain top creek for wild rainbows, fell in love with Vail, and before you knew it, we were in Moab, Utah.

When it came to finding a campsite that weekend, it seemed like we struck out more than Reggie Jackson. We eventually ended up in an overflow site that suited us just fine. We really tried to beat the heat the next morning and got up super early, but it just wasn't enough. By the time we got to the trailhead, the thermometer was flirting with triple digits. It was too late to turn back so we hopped on a trail called North-40 and got whooped by the terrain and the heat. The index eventually got up to 118° so we took shelter before deciding to brave the temps again and head to Arches National Park. The next morning we woke up with intentions to head to Loa, Utah in search of some big brown’s off of a hot tip from one of Ryan’s friends. After getting lost and some local advice we made it to a stream, got the ol’ line wet, and got skunked. It was still fun and the area was gorgeous, green and super lush.

After stopping in Zion National Park and Vegas, we arrived in sunny San Diego! Ryan’s best amigos welcomed us with open arms and a couple chilly ones. It was awesome to get caught up with those guys but we were ready to get out and heed that call! We explored Carlsbad, broke Garrett’s foam board in two and ate some really good pizza. We ended up in Pacific Beach for the night, bumped into a frisky bachelorette party, wandered the boardwalk, and eventually retreated to the hotel.  The next day we went to the beach, met up with Garrett’s buddy, Pat, from Surfline to catch some waves and hit up the infamous Kameron Brown. The homies were hungry so we met for lunch, scarfed down some more of that delicious west coast pizza, and made plans to surf at Kam’s home turf. We arrived at Dana Point in San Clemente just in time to catch a sunset surf sesh. It was the perfect way to end our gallivanting around SoCo. We said our goodbyes and took off towards the Grand Canyon.

We started the drive with the ambition to knock off six or so hours but by midnight we were struggling, ended up in Needles, CA where it was 100° at 12:30am. The next day we explored the Grand Canyon and tried to break Garrett’s fear of heights. It was truly magical to see how the Colorado River had sculpted such a masterpiece.

After a couple hours on the road, a pit stop at HBHQ, we touched down in New Orleans.  Loud and long was the night before heading back to the hotel to get a little shuteye. Our next day with Captain Brendon Keck was awesome. We met at The Last Stop, just outside of Delacroix, Louisiana to pick up the essentials for a long day out on the water. After a 40 minute run into the Louisiana flats, we arrived at our first spot. The water was so alive with shrimp, mullet, pogies, and blue crabs. It felt amazing to be back on the Gulf! Ryan perked up and peered into the brackish water on the hunt for the reddish/ orangish glow of the drum. A couple misplaced casts, some words of encouragement, a few beers, and some fine guiding eventually resulted in nice redfish in the boat. Garrett stepped up to the plate with a traditional setup and managed to lure a big bull red out of a school of black drum. The bull charged for the golden spoon and ate like he hadn't eaten in weeks. Sadly, a little slack in the line was all the fish needed to dislodge himself from the lure. It was an incredible but the heat began to set in and the fished moved into the deeper channels. We decided to call it a day and head back in. We thanked Captain Keck for taking us out and putting us on a ton of fish. Thanks FloraBama!

Week four ends with us in Destin Florida for Independence Day, Ryan’s little brother’s 21st birthday, 6500 miles on the van, and our eyes on the Keys, tarpon and Icast!!