Fishing Information Close Up
Venice, Louisiana, Fishing Information Close Up
Louisiana, fishing like no other place on the planet!
If you're looking to fish
freshwater or saltwater species, you can do them both in Venice --
and in one spot.
Just like Venice,
Italy, the homeland of Marco Polo, where
winding canals are streets, so it is with Venice, Louisiana. Well, perhaps it isn't as romantic
the Italian counterpart, due to the industrialization of the oil and
commercial fishing industry.
Nevertheless, this southeastern Louisiana
town is but a small area gone unnoticed by
most people, other than sportfishing fanatics and those connected with the oil
Venice, located 75 miles southeast of
New Orleans at the end of Highway 23, sits right at the
edge of the famous Mississippi River Delta and its network of surrounding
tributaries. This area has received worldwide acclaim as one of the most fertile
zones that nature has ever created on the face of the earth. To the locals,
"fertile" is in direct connection with sportfishing fishing— like no
other place! Its only rival is nearby Grand Isle.
There's something about
Venice that sets it apart from other wetland. Some
say it’s the pristine passes, like that of the familiar Tiger
Pass, boasting scattered grass stands and canebrakes along certain runs, while
other runs are lined with water hyacinth and elephant ear vegetation. It's like
someone hand planted an Amazon garden along the route.
What makes this region so unique is the fact that both freshwater and
saltwater converge on the territory like two struggling armies staking out
claims. As a result, the productive waters and marshland are nursery grounds
for an endless array of aquatic species.
For example, while other regions along
the coast offer blue water sportfishing, it is generally only accessible to
larger, offshore vessels able to travel 40-70 miles out from the coast. That's
not the case with Venice, which is a gateway to relatively short
routes to the blue water zone and the 100 fathom curve.
Take South Pass
sea buoy, for example, located approximately
25 miles south of the "Jump" — the waterway connecting point to the
river, west bank side of Venice. Heading south from the
buoy, the 100 fathom curve is only 9 miles
Here, along the edge of the continental shelf are deep water oil
production platforms which hold blue marlin, wahoo, tuna and dauphin.
If that's not your bag, try the tarpon grounds of the West Delta Blocks, such as
58 or 61. These are located just ten miles southwest of Tiger Pass.
And, if bottom fishing for snapper, grouper, cobia, king mackerel and amberjack
is more in line, move further southwest to blocks 79, 90 and 104. All these
platforms also offer an array of bottom species like croaker and white trout.
If you're one who doesn't like fishing open water, the areas of Tante Phine
Pass, the Wagonwheel, Red Pass, Grand Pass, Southwest Pass and the Mississippi
River and surrounding marsh, to name a few, team with speckled trout, redfish,
founder and striped bass; specifically during the low river stages of fall
Just across the river and a few blocks north of the Jump on the east bank of the
river is Baptiste Collette waterway, which runs northeast to two very productive fishing
grounds: Breton Sound and the Main Pass Blocks. It is this same route that many
choose to take to get to the Chandeleur chain of which Breton and
form the southern most part. Here are numerous shallow water rigs which
make for ideal catches of Spanish mackerel, flounder, specks, reds and cobia.
The surf areas of the islands offer excellent wadefishing for trout, reds and
flounder as well, mostly capitalized on during the warmer and moderate months.
To define Venice
is to understand the truest meaning of the
word "versatile." This is an area that has it all, and the easiest
access to each species. Just ask
Ballay, a 35 year veteran guide fisherman
with a wealth of knowledge and information of the area and former owner of Venice Marina, "Where's the best fishing in the continental U.S.
"Venice!" he readily replies. "There's just
no place that you can fish as many different species in one area. And, I would
love for somebody to try and tell me that there's a better spot ... I'll argue
the point," he emphatically stated. Dave
and his wife, Debbie, are both tarpon fishing
enthusiasts and were the original owners of the Venice Marina several years
prior to hurricane Katrina which devastated the area.
This marina is a fully equipped marina, with bait, ice, back-down ramps, boat
slips and groceries. There are
mooring slips for overnight and long-term docking.
is actually host to two marinas. Besides the
aforesaid marina, Cypress Cove Marina, located within a couple of miles from
Venice Marina off of Tidewater Rd., also has all the need amenities much like its counterpart.
These marinas are perhaps the most secure marinas in the area, with 24
hr. security guards on duty for after hour safety. At present, since hurricane Katrina the
hoists are not in
operation at either marinas but may become operational in the near
(More information on the NBGFC can be found here, click.)
Prior to hurricane Katrina, Port Eads Marina, located near the southern end of South Pass
on the west bank side
of the waterway, was a famous outpost for offshore sportfishing vessels and home
to the New Orleans Big Game Fishing Club (NBGFC). Port Eads Marina is only
accessible by boat and has since been totally devastated by hurricane Katrina,
including the NBGFC facility. The only structure remaining at this writing is
lighthouse which now lists to one side.
The NOBGFC is currently working on plans for a new clubhouse in Cypress
Cove Marina, according to Samuel Sanders IV, President of the club. And Sanders
indicated that when and if the Port Eads Marina reopens, another clubhouse
facility will be rebuilt.
Longtime fishing veteran Ronnie Granier also appreciates the versatility and the
productivity of the area, having fished it for over 35 years. He offers one of a
number of guide services available to the area. Ronnie caters to the many
interested in redfish and speckled trout fishing and other inside species and near
The jetties at the passes of Southwest Pass,
are some of Ronnie's favorite places for fishing speckled trout and
redfish, but he admits there are other species he runs into. "There's a lot
of white trout, croakers, sheepsheads, drum and occasionally pompano and things
like that," Ronnie said. "Down by the
passes," he chuckled, "well, you know, you're liable to catch anything
Ronnie knows that firsthand, for he's the only fisherman in Louisiana
to catch a snook, a species never before
caught anywhere in Louisiana's waters. "I use the plastic cocahos
(swim-tail minnow lure). That's about all I use. And sometimes I touch `em up
with shrimp and I use 1/2 oz. - 3/4 oz. heads."
Ronnie said, "redfish can be caught at the passes, weather permitting, 365
days a year." And he added, "I don't know of another place you can say
Brandon Ballay, son of former Venice Marina owner Dave
Ballay, has similar sentiments. He,
like his dad, is also an avid tarpon buff that runs a charter service out of Venice
to an array of different species aboard the
charter boat `Aw Heck.'
admits many species like wahoo, tuna and king
mackerel can be caught year-round, he has learned from experience the seasonal
patterns that reap the best catches of each. It's this type of reputation, as
with other charter services to the area, that keeps people coming from near and
far to fish Venice.
says one can expect to catch the best
production of tuna in the fall, wahoo in the spring, and tarpon, marlin and bull
dauphin in the summer.
is definitely number one as far
as tuna, wahoo and tarpon," Brandon
said. "And, as far as tarpon," he
continued, "you may catch more tarpon in Florida, but we catch the big ones here. Our average
fish is 130 to 140 lbs. In Florida, it might be 100 lbs."
"There's no place in the world, that I know of, that you can go out and catch a
120 lb. yellowfin, stop on the way in and fish the mouth of the rock jetty and catch
redfish, speckled trout, croakers - and all of that in the same trip, on the
same boat," Brandon added.
There's even certain areas during low river stages that produce both saltwater
and freshwater species in the same spot. It's not unusual to catching Spanish
mackerel, trout, reds, flounder and a variety of freshwater bass in such places
like the Wagonwheel, the Wildlife Refuge Wall and the passes off of Pass A
It's no wonder why some have referred to Venice
as the cornucopia of the fishing world.
Aerial view of Southwest Pass lighthouse
at East Bay rock jetty. Note the interior wing dams inside
the pass that keep the river naturally dredged via increased
South Pass Lighthouse
(prior to hurricane
Katrina): Situated on the west bank side of South
Pass near its southern most part is the famous South Pass
lighthouses (Port Eads lighthouse),
home to the New Orleans Big Game Fishing Club. At present,
the only facility remaining in the aftermath is the
lighthouse and it now lists to one side.
Bull red drum (redfish), like
this one, are often caught at all of the passes throughout
the Mississippi Delta region.
800-643-4190 or 985-534-9289 226, Cypress Cove
Road Venice, LA
|Venice Marina Inc:
(985) 534-9357, 237 Sports Marina Road, Venice, LA 70091
Cove Marina: 985-534-7777 or 888-534-8777,
235 Cypress Cove Road, Venice, LA 70091
Venice Inn Motel: Local:
Fax: 985-534-7424. 42660 Hwy. 23 Venice, LA 70091
31 ft. Bertram "Aw Heck." Offshore big
game for tarpon, tuna, wahoo, marlin, dauphin. Bottom
fishing around offshore rigs for snapper, lemon fish,
grouper, bull reds, white trout. 985 534 9246
Ronnie Granier: Fleet
of inshore boats specializing in speckled trout and
redfish. Groups split up between as many as 7 boats. 504
Scott Avanzino: Paradise
Outfitters offers your choice of 2 boats, a 25 ft. CC
Make powered by two 130 hp Honda outboards, or a 29 ft.
Albamarlle for offshore or rig fishing. 504 818 2176
cell: 504 451 7879
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26 Jun 2010 17:18:51 -0500 .
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