Fishing Venice Louisiana – a Complete Guide!
This article will be a complete guide to fishing Venice Louisiana. Venice is in a very unique geographical location. It lies right where the mighty Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The result is a fertile environment for both inshore and offshore saltwater fishing.
Special thanks to John and Katie for their help in preparing this article on fishing in Venice, Louisiana. John runs fishing charters and anglers can click the link below to book a trip. His wife Katie is an accomplished angler and provides some great photos! Book a fishing charter here!
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Offshore fishing in Venice Louisiana
While Venice Louisiana offers anglers some excellent inshore fishing opportunities, the world-class offshore fishing is what sets it apart from other locations. The nutrients that pour into the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River result in a very unique fishery. There are other factors that contribute to the excellent offshore fishing in Venice as well.
The water gets deep fairly quickly off of Venice, Louisiana, as compared to other parts of the Gulf of Mexico. The countless oil rigs have become de facto artificial reefs, attracting bait fish and then of course game fish. There are also natural reefs and ledges which will hold both bottom fish and pelagic species.
Anglers fishing Venice, Louisiana will have the opportunity to catch a variety of species offshore throughout the calendar year. Of course, there will be days, particularly in the winter, when severe fronts will result in conditions that are to rough to fish. As always, anglers should put safety first. However, good fishing is available year-round, due to its southerly location.
Offshore fishing techniques in Venice Louisiana
Anglers can use a variety of techniques to be successful when fishing Venice Louisiana. Trolling both artificial lures and live baits is very effective, particularly on pelagic species such as king mackerel, wahoo, tuna, and billfish. Bottom fishing will produce grouper, snapper, and other very good eating fish. Drifting with the tide and wind while chumming or chunking will bring tuna and king mackerel right up behind the boat.
Trolling offshore in Venice, Louisiana
Trolling allows anglers to cover a lot of water quickly in search of fish. However, trolling is not done haphazardly. Successful anglers choose something that will hold the fish such as a temperature change, current break, or submerged structure.
Skirted lures are designed for high-speed trolling and do well when anglers are in search mode. They can be deployed at speeds of up to 10 knots and even a little above. Wahoo and particular are known for taking a very fast-moving lure. Once a productive area is located, slow trolling live baits can be extremely productive.
Venice Louisiana bottom fishing
As is the case in most offshore fishing situations, bottom fishing can be very productive in Venice, Louisiana. Red snapper are highly prized and those fishing charters fill up as the season is relatively short. Mangrove snapper are also available year-round. Several grouper species including gag grouper, red grouper, and black grouper are plentiful as well.
One unique aspect fishing Venice Louisiana is the abundance of oil rigs. While technically this may not be bottom fishing since the rig extends from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico up through the surface, the same techniques and species apply. It is an interesting experience to pull the boat right up to the rig and cast a bait towards it, never knowing what might bite! Bottom fishing can be good all year long.
Drifting and chunking
When conditions allow, there is a technique that anglers fishing Venice Louisiana used to catch tuna and other species. It is fairly simple, once the fish are located. The boat drifts across an area, usually with a chum bag deployed. Chunks of bait are then floated out behind the boat in the chum slick. Live baits are certainly used as well. This is a very exciting form of fishing as the strikes are often seen right on the surface.
Venice Louisiana offshore species
One of the great attractions of fishing Venice Louisiana is a variety of game fish that anglers may encounter on a trip. These include, but are not limited to yellowfin and blackfin tuna, wahoo, king mackerel, billfish, cobia, grouper, and snapper. Both trolling and bottom fishing produce a lot of fish around the oil rigs as well as over other hard bottom areas and around schools of bait.
Tuna are among the most highly prized species for anglers fishing Venice Louisiana. Yellowfin tuna are the most numerous and highly desired. They grow quite large, reaching weights of over 150 pounds. Their smaller cousins the blackfin tuna are available at times as well.
Yellowfin tuna are encountered in depths ranging from 50 feet deep and deeper. While known as an open water species, they often relate to structure as that is where the forage is often to be found. This certainly includes oil rigs as well as racks and natural hard bottom. Tuna are caught by anglers trolling, drifting, and free lining bait.
Read Capt Jim’s article on saltwater fishing tackle
February and March find the really big tuna out on the “Lumps”. These are underwater humps that cause current breaks and attract bait fish and game fish. These are in 300 feet of water at around 30 miles from the pass. in summer, deeper rigs are the best spots. Shrimp boats are fished September, October, and November.
Wahoo are the largest member of the mackerel family, growing to over 100 pounds, and are one of the fastest fish that swims. They are also considered the best of those species to eat as well. Wahoo are roamers, moving great distances throughout the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico in search of their next meal. The vast majority of wahoo are landed by anglers trolling quite fast, around 10 mph. January, February, and March are top months.
Anglers fishing Venice Louisiana certainly come for the terrific snapper fishing as well. Red snapper is the most highly desired of the snappers, being a beautiful fish that grows large and taste great. However, it is also a highly regulated species that is only open to harvest a few weeks a year. Therefore, red snapper charters fill up fast.
Mangrove snapper are available are your long on the offshore oil rigs and other structure. They can be caught as juveniles in the inshore waters all the way out to the deep offshore structure. Generally speaking, the deeper the anger fishes, the larger the snapper will be. Mangrove snappers fight hard and are fantastic eating as well.
Dolphin, also known as mahi mahi, are found in the offshore waters in the summer. These fish grow very fast, reaching top weights in four years or so. They are a gorgeous fish that fights hard, leaps high, and tastes great! They are caught by anglers trolling, but will often follow a hooked fish right up to the boat. This allows for anglers to catch them on fairly light tackle. Summer is the best time to fish for them and the deeper rigs are the top spots.
Grouper fishing is good all throughout the Gulf of Mexico, and the waters off of Venice, Louisiana are no exception. Red grouper and gag grouper are the most commonly caught, with black grouper, scamp grouper, and other grouper species being available, especially for anglers fishing very deep. They all have similar habits, closely relating to structure and for the most part being caught by anglers bottom fishing with live or cut bait. They all pull hard and are fantastic eating!
King mackerel are another speedy game fish in the mackerel family. They are fairly plentiful from mid spring to fall can be found in water as shallow as 20 feet out to the very deep offshore areas. They are an aggressive species which are fairly easy to catch, once located. They will readily hit trolled spoons and plugs as well as free lined live baits. Some anglers in this area consider them a nuisance, however when properly prepared and eaten fresh, they are quite good.
Billfish are at the top of the pyramid when it comes to game fish. Anglers fishing Venice Louisiana I have the opportunity to catch several of the species. These include swordfish and marlin. Swordfish are generally caught by anglers targeting them by deep dropping squid and other baits.
Cobia are an interesting pelagic species that are found in the inshore, near shore, and offshore waters of Venice, Louisiana. They can be seen cruising the flats inshore and water as shallow as 2 feet. However, most are caught in the offshore waters from 50 feet deep in deeper. Cobia love structure and are often found around the oil rigs as well as buoys and other markers.
Cobia are an inquisitive fish that are fairly easy to catch once located. They also have an unusual behavior of swimming right on the surface of the water, making them prime targets for sight fishing on a calm day. They grow to over 100 pounds are now are terrific to eat
Inshore fishing in Venice Louisiana
While many anglers come to Venice, Louisiana to sample the offshore fishing, the area offers visiting anglers world-class inshore fishing as well. The shallow marshy areas of the Mississippi Delta are extremely fertile. The vast amount of forage including shrimp, crabs, and bait fish support this inshore fishery.
Redfish (also known as red drum) and spotted sea trout (also known as speckled trout) are the top two inshore species. Flounder, black drum, sheepshead, jack crevelle, Spanish mackerel and other species are also regularly caught.
Inshore fishing techniques in Venice, Louisana
The majority of the inshore waters in Venice, Louisiana are quite shallow. The most productive areas have grass or oyster bars on the bottom, and even a combination of the two. This is perfect habitat for redfish and speckled trout along with other species to cruise about in search of food. The grass and oysters attract and hold crustaceans and bait fish.
Sight fishing for trophy redfish is one of the top attractions for anglers visiting this area. Anglers can cast artificial lures such as spoons or jigs with a soft plastic body towards fish that are spotted in very shallow water as the guide polls the boat along or uses the trolling motor to position. It is a unique experience that very few places offer.
Anglers also fish slightly deeper water in search of speckled trout, redfish and other species. As the boat drifts along with the wind, tide, or trolling motor in water between two and 6 feet deep, anglers cast jigs, spoons, and plugs out in front of the boat, covering a lot of water in search of fish. Live bait is often used as well, with shrimp being the best year round choice. Live bait is often fished under a noisy float, which helps attract the game fish to the bait.
Live shrimp is an excellent choice for anglers who want to catch a bit of everything. It is definitely the top bait for sheepshead and black drum, and will certainly full flounder, speckled trout, redfish, jacks, and every other species that swims. Shrimp can be fished under a float or free lined along the edge of a bar or flat in deeper water.
Venice, Louisiana is synonymous with catching trophy redfish, also known as bull reds. There are few places in the world were anglers can target fish this large and water that shallow and sight cast to them as well. The ultimate challenges hooking one of these behemoths on fly! Smaller redfish are terrific to eat, while the larger ones tend to get a bit wormy. Fishing is good all year long, with spring and fall being the prime months.
Speckled trout are another extremely popular inshore species found in the waters off of Venice, Louisiana. While they do not put up quite as spirited a battle as some of the other species, they more than make up for it in other ways. Speckled trout are a beautiful fish that hit aggressively and are fantastic eating. They tend to school up, so once fish are located, the action can be fast. A quarter ounce soft plastic jig and a live shrimp under a popping cork are the top baits. Winter and string are the best months to come and fish for them.
Flounder are another popular inshore species that are prevalent in the area. The habitat is perfect for flounder, with the many inshore marshes and feeder creeks. Flounder lie right on the bottom, often times burying up in the boat or sand in order to ambush their prey. Therefore, anglers targeting flounder will do best by fishing a jig right on the bottom or dragging a live shrimp or bait fish. Obviously, they are fantastic eating.
Black drum are cousins to the redfish, or red drum. They are similar inhabits, though they are less apt to hit and artificial lure. They do grow quite large. Black drum are not quite as highly thought of as redfish. Black drum are not quite as attractive, and the larger ones are not as good to eat. However, on more than one of the occasion they have saved the day for anglers fishing in tough conditions and could not get anything else to cooperate.
Sheepshead are members of the Porgy family. They are mostly targeted in spring and early summer. Sheepshead feed primarily on crustaceans, therefore shrimp and fiddler crabs are top baits. They are known for their ability to steel the bait right off the hook, so anglers must pay attention in order to hook them. They are almost always found near some type of structure, including docks, bridges, jetties, and oyster bars. They are good to eat, however a bit difficult to clean.
Jack crevalle don’t always get the respect that they deserve. This is partially due to the fact that they are not considered good to eat. However, from a game fish standpoint, they offer anglers everything they need. They are aggressive predators that are often found in large schools and will readily take artificial lures and flies. Jacks use their broadsides to pull away from the angler and a large Jack will certainly test his or her skill.
In conclusion, this article on fishing Venice Louisiana will help anglers catch more fish!