Top 5 Fishing Spots for Kids Around New Orleans

(Source: Macaroni Kid New Orleans, June 5, 2021)
By Gary Alipio, author of The Craziest Fishing Tale on the Bayou

(photo courtesy: Melina Alipio)

Put a few fish on your summer adventures this year!

Now that National Fishing and Boating Week has kicked off (June 5-13, 2021), as the summer heats up, so do the fish bites.

Many think you need to have a boat to take a kid fishing. Not true. There are plenty of prime fishing spots right here in New Orleans to get children outdoors for a morning or afternoon of fishing fun. WHY TAKE A KID FISHING? Fishing teaches patience, a love of nature, and frankly, it gets kids away from the screen and outdoors for a little Vitamin D.

First, you don’t have to have expensive gear. You can visit any local sporting goods store and pick up an inexpensive kids’ fishing pole already set up with a hook for less than $15. Academy Sports + Outdoors, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Puglia’s Sporting Goods will help you with any questions.

Next for beginners, I suggest you pair your rod, reel, cork and hook with these different forms of natural bait like your common earthworms, crickets or night crawlers from your own garden for beginners. You can also find earthworms at Walmart or Puglia’s Sporting Goods on Veterans Highway. For the more skilled anglers, try an artificial spinner bait in the open waters or a plastic worm or crawdad in the weeds or grassy beds.

You Gotta Fish Where The Fish Are!

Here is an avid local fisherman’s Top 5 Local spots for Bluegill, Sunfish, Largemouth Bass and even Catfish caught this spring from the banks.

5. City Park Marconi Fishing Pier 

6500 Marconi Drive, New Orleans | Hook a large worm and use a cork or even fish it on the bottom corkless. This is a great spot for Catfish or Bluegill. If it’s a windy day, try fishing off the bank on either side in the shade.

4. Lafreniere Park Carousel

3000 Downs Blvd, Metairie | Fish the waters behind the Carousel. Bluegill and even small bass have been caught recently using a cork and an earthworm. Also, other areas of the park, look for any moving water from a drain. That’s where the fish will be, and there are several flowing drains in the park.

3. City Park Couturie Forest Fishing Pier 

1009 Harrison Ave., New Orleans | A short walk in one of New Orleans’ hidden secret hiking areas, by taking the path to the left, you’ll find a little park bench and a fishing pier. Pack a lunch and drinks and make it a relaxing hour or two away from it all. If conditions are right, Largemouth Bass are caught mostly in the mornings.

2. City Park Casino Building/Popp Bandstand 

56 Dreyfous Dr., New Orleans | This popular spot for music, playground fun and fresh beignets is a hidden gem for kid fishing. Fish the backside of the building near the two bridges. If you’re lucky, the water is clear and you’ll see the schools of fish with your own eyes. Toss a few pieces of bread to stir up the fish feeding frenzy and then cast your worm in the midst.

1. Big Lake in City Park 

1 Collins Diboll Circle, New Orleans | From boating to birding to fishing, City Park’s Big Lake is one of the most popular weekend attractions. A very short walk from New Orleans Museum of Art, there’s a fishing pier, lots of shaded trees or fish the surrounding waters of Bayou Metairie. Bluegill, Bass and even the occasional Spotted Gar have been caught recently. Be warned: you may just forget you came out to Big Lake for the fishing.

Relax, have fun and don’t let the fishing bug bite too hard!

Fishing Disclaimer: If you’re age 16 or older, you must have a Basic Fishing License to fish recreationally in Louisiana. You can purchase it online and print a copy for your wallet from the Department of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries. Louisiana also offers a Free Fishing Weekend on the weekend of June 12-13. More info here >

Other References:

City Park New Orleans Fishing Map >

City Park New Orleans Fishing Guidelines & Fish ID >

New Middle Grade funny … the year we never won

The Alipios circa 1980

The Craziest Ragin’ Cajun Football Play (working title)

PITCH: Twelve year-old Hatcher has big football dreams. He’s going to be a play-making star. A legend. So, he joins a local team with hopes of winning a championship––something his high school brother does often. But when he gets cut to the B-team––the not as athletic football kids––his hopes turn from winning to surviving a season of Ragin’ Cajun craziness.

1: The pre-season

Listen up, friends. Now that you got yourself into a cozy reading spot, here’s the rules of the game. My name is Hatch. I’m twelve years old. I live near a bayou in Louisiana in a family of three and a half … um, yeh, we’ll get back to that half later. Right now, what you’re here for is the tale of how I pulled off the craziest football play ever.

Make sure you got a tasty snack and drink nearby.

Okay, ready?

“Red forty-four! Red forty-four!” shouted our bulky quarterback squatting under center. Lined up in the backfield directly in front of me, he tapped his right hand on the back of his leg. Twice. That meant it was a new signal. Our quarterback was totally changing the play.

SWEET!

Because with this change in the pay, it meant that I was gonna get the football.

But I’m a blocker. I never get the ball.

Down by five points, fifty yards away, and with only six seconds left on the clock for the game, my heart pounded like a jackhammer.

Cliched?

Trust me, you can’t make up stuff like this.

Lined up behind our quarterback, a guy named “The Hawg” with a neck thicker than the trunk of an oak tree, I visualized the play in my head.

“Red forty-four! Red forty-four!”

The nerves turned in my gut. Do I block right? Do I shuck and release left? O-M-G … I’m so blowing it. I nearly flinched and cost us a penalty flag.

But nerve was not in the vocabulary of our leader, the Hawg. Ice ran through his steely veins.

“Set!”

I bit down on my mouthpiece.

“HUT-HUT!”

The Hawg grabbed the football under center. He dropped back deep in the pocket. He stalled to let our receivers get down the field. And I, his lone blocker, I needed to help him find time.

I stepped in front of our quarterback. I readied to block.

“Pass!” An opposing rusher yelled.

As the last play of the game … well, what choice was there?

The defense plowed through the blockers like a bowling ball.

Moaning, football bodies flailed as defenders charged the Hawg. Someone lost a shoe. It flipped with laces in the air.

Quarterback glanced left.

Quarterback pivoted right.

No one was open.

A tank cut through the line. He had thick, black paint under his eyes.

I stepped forward and gave him a raised forearm.

He flicked me away like a toothpick.

That was special … NOT.

The Hawg scrambled to the right. He raced in the opposite direction.

One, two, three opponents were hot on his trail.

I could hardly look. I rose to my feet and watched as players moved away from me. All I could do is watch as the Hawg ran to the far sidelines.

Ten black jerseys on the other team were set to destroy the man with the ball.

I took several steps forward, hoping to get a glimpse. I was all alone.

And just then …

The Hawg turned his body, planted his feet and launched the football––a tight spiral of perfection––across the field at me. He hadn’t crossed the line of scrimmage yet. It was a legal pass play.

The opponents were stunned.

The visiting coach pulled his hair and mouthed, “NOOOO!”

The crowd, everyone was caught off guard.

It was impossible.

A kid who could stop short of his body’s movement and launch a football across his body’s direction was against Newton’s first and second laws of motion.

Totally.

But the Hawg made the impossible possible.

Alone on the left side of the gridiron (that’s football field for you non-sports people), I caught the ball and began racing to the end zone.

Forty. Thirty-five. Thirty. Twenty-five …

I heard an ESPN commentator’s voice cheer in my head, “HE … COULD … GO … ALL … THE … WAY!”

Only one black-jersey player stood in my path.

With eyes squinted, I tucked the ball tight and raised my hand for a stiff arm. As our two bodies neared, I leaped and hurdled the tackle.

Stumbling across a chalked white line, a referee raced over with his arms high.

TOUCHDOWN!

It all happened so fast.

Me, the savior of the game.

Me, standing in the end zone with the game ball in my hand.

Now, what touchdown celebration should I entertain?

The salsa? A back flop in a pool? Maybe I should do something original like paddling a “row, row, row your pirogue?”

My team circled around me.

Even the Hawg, he held up two hands for a high-ten.

“Cómo es eso posible?”

I don’t know why seventh grade Spanish teacher’s words ran through my mind. “How is this possible?” is what the phrase meant.

How is any of this possible especially for me, the scrawniest kid of kids?

Until––

Oh, yeh. I remembered this wasn’t me at all. I was on the sidelines in the bleachers with a handful of other high school parents and families. Someone cheered loud and spilled their drink on my head.

Down on the field, this was Hunter, my older brother’s life.

This was his football win.

Hunter Hampton Bio: A sixteen-year old track star who will surely land a million-dollar shoe contract and buy our Ma a house one day. If I could walk in someone else’s shoes, I’d take his size elevens any day.

His choice of touchdown dance?

Nah.

He simply gave the ball to the referee and ran to shake the other teams’ hands. It was a classy move. That’s why he’ll always be Mr. Ice Age in my world.

Not that I have a bunch of worlds going on. My life is pretty standard. I’m your average kid living in your average three-and-a-half persons household.

I’m the number three in case you were wondering.

Hatch, remember?

Now, let’s get back to reality.

(Leave a comment if you’d like to read more)

New Middle Grade Story (Hexagon 1NE Chapter 3)

Plot: Flying hover cycles. Fiery mecha bots. BFs. After earth ends and re-population begins, two cKlone tweens get trapped outside of their safety pod hexagon by a fertility doctor who is out to snatch their souls.

Photo Credit Source: Bettye-Winters

CHAPTER 03––HOVER

Flash stood streetside, holding his thumb up in the air. His recycled, cybershirt fit skin tight.

“What are you doing?” Arik asked of Flash’s odd choice of sign language.

“I read it in the archives once. When people were in need of transportation, they threw a thumb high in the air like this and said the word, ‘Taxi!’”

Arik looked at Flash, his head titled at a fifteen-degree angle. “Wait … you read?”

“Har-har.” Flash smirked.

Arik had a better idea than using hand signals. He retrieved his smartpod communicator from his back pocket, a worn PrestoX unit with a smiling emoji sticker. The sticker held the worn device together like tape.

Arik tapped the screen and a hologram hovercraft appeared. It suspended in air just above the PrestoX. Curious, Arik swiped his fingers left to right as the hovercraft changed into a five-wheeled clunker. Definitely not his style. He toggled graphic arrows that rotated from four-wheel vehicles to a three-wheel craft. He stopped on a sleek hover cycle.

“Watcha think?” Arik asked of Flash.

Flash agreed. “ABSOLUTELY!”

Arik double-tapped the hologram and in less than six seconds, two glossy hover cycles appeared out of thin air. Dust wafted from the street as they lowered to ground level. Lights from the engine powered the two vehicles on.

A hologram safety operator appeared on a transparent screen. Her hair was tucked under a helmet that displayed an official hexagonal badge.

“Good afternoon, rider. Please scan your identification,” said the hologram operator.

A red light beamed from her eye.

Arik waved his wristband in front of the red light. The operator’s eye changed from red to green.

“Access granted. Arik, your excellent, gold safety record has earned you an extra reward. Would you like the upgrade applied?”

Arik looked to Flash’s eager eyes. Even though Arik wished he could use the reward for his sisters in some way, he nodded in agreement. “Yes. Let’s do it.”

Hover cycle one’s solar engine powered on. Ready, Arik climbed aboard as the dashboard reflected in his eyes. Each feature and benefit appeared as if being typed.

Hover Cycle Features:

  • Aerodynamic … smooth velocity
  • Heated seat and foot rails … comfort
  • Gyrosphere … safety shield 100% crash protection
  • Automatic … input coordinates and relax
  • DJ-Max … unlimited soothing surround music

Flash stared in awe as a tune began to play. A simulated water-thin shield enclosed Arik. It surrounded him completely on the hover cycle.

The music was air tight, too.

“Rider …” The safety operator turned to the other cKlone. “Please scan your identification.”

Biting his lip in hesitation, Flash waved his band.

The red scanner swiveled in a circular wheel pattern. Waiting. Waiting. More waiting.

Arik revved his hover cycle.

Flash shrugged, wondering about the hold up.

“Access granted.”

Flash breathed relief.

“Nelson, your safety record has earned you the following features …”

Hover cycle two’s engine lit up. Only this version transformed from a sleek, white cylindrical cycle into a dented, cycle clunker. Bulky and clearly in need of washing. The digital dashboard displayed …

Hover Cycle Features:

  • Manual drive only
  • Safety warning … do not fly with your mouth open

“Please cycle safely,” the hologram officer said.

“Har, har,” Flash replied. “You’re soooo funny.”

“Thank you,” the officer continued. “Would you like to hear a joke?”

Before Flash could answer––

“How do you identify a bad cyclist?”

Again, before Flash could answer––

“Look in the mirror.”

“Ugggg,” Flash moaned. But he couldn’t help but glance at himself in the mirror anyway. “End signal, please!”

“Certainly, HAVE A SUPER DAY,” said the hologram officer with a smile and disappeared, ending the transmission.

Upon boarding his clunker, a simulated helmet appeared on Flash’s head. He powered on the engine light.

POP.

The cycle quickly flickered off.

A wave of burning metal filled his nose. Flash tried again.

Pop-pop, pop-pop.

The cycle lifted off the ground, sideways.

“Whoa-whoa!”

Slowly, Flash leaned on the handles. He shifted his weight to counter-balance the cycle until it leveled.

A voice came over the speaker. “I dropped a pin where we’re going,” said Arik from inside his cycle. “We can take it at your speed.”

“Oh, everyone’s a comedian today.” Flash pointed Arik two fingers, the two index fingers on his six-fingered right hand. He leaned forward on his ride. “Do try to keep up.”

Rev. Rev. Vrooom.

And away Flash jetted on the hover cycle. A fiery backfire emitted from its rear power source.


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