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Monster Redfish Trip - Venice, LA


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I posted a brief report in the Texas & Gulf Coast section about a recent fishing trip to Venice, LA.  Thought I'd post a few details here in case anyone was considering a trip to that area.

We arrived last Friday and stayed in the Miss Fortune (house boat) at the Venice Marina.  Great little place that can handle two boats tied up to the dock.  It has two bedrooms (one with twin beds and one with two bunk beds for a total of 6 twin size beds) plus a couch and lazy boy.  Dish TV, washer/dryer, kitchen, deep freeze and ice maker outside.   Everything you need to show up and fish and not have to leave the cabin.  

Water level at Nola was at 11 and they said it is usually at 4 which means they had a ton of water in the river which was Very Muddy.   We couldn't find clean water and struggled to find fish on Friday.  Got up Saturday morning and made the almost 40 mile run to the mouth of the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi.  Not a bad run except for having to deal with the chop from the ships.  We fished the jetty rocks for a while and finally moved over to a tower to see if there was anything on the structure.  We got into school of Bull Reds and were hooked up for a few hours catching All over slot reds (slot = 16-27).  We were catching reds anywhere from 8lbs to 40lbs.  When the bite got a little slow we moved around and wasted a few hours and came back to the hot spot and were back on the Reds.  Got tired and decided to make the run back to the cabin to clean fish, have the marina grill prepare them and watch the Cats and the Bulldogs.  

One of our crew had to leave on Sun so we had breakfast with him and just fished around the Marina.  It was muddy and busy so we called it a day and watched Tiger get back in the winners circle.  Our other boat went to the South Pass and battled a nasty storm but also found some fish there.  Nothing like at the SW Pass.

Got back up early Monday morning and took off to the SW Pass.  We were using a new Ultrex TM and new Hbird 360 sonar with a Helix 12.  This was the first time we used the Hbird products so we were learning but found the the 360 is everything it has been blown up to be.  We trolled around the area we found them before until we saw them on the 360.  As soon as we did we hit spot lock and started fishing.  We had a triple right off the bat.  Called the other boat over and they hooked a double immediately.  After 6 solid hours of not moving from the original spot, the fish finally disappeared from the 360 screen and we said enough.  

Over dinner at the Marina Grill, we tried to wrap our minds around what just happened.  We knew that it was a story that only people who have run into a school of bull reds could believe.  There must have been hundreds of Bulls in that school.  We believe each boat landed a minimum of 100 reds.  Weight was probably an average of 15 lbs with a dozen or more in the low 20s, half a dozen over 30 and two over 40.  With 3 guys in our boat, we were guessing we were at 120 fish.  That puts our total weight landed just under 1 ton.  Crazy.  That doesn't include those we lost or broke off.  Caught a few sharks on the other side of the river but in this Bull Red school we only caught Reds.  

We tried a few different baits.  Our go to 1/2oz jigs and spinner baits with the cocahoe minnow paddle tails did okay but the majority of the fish came off the bottom in 18' of water using a 1oz jig in a really swift current.

Our boat ended up coming home 2 days early because we knew we couldn't top what we did on Monday and we all had business we needed to get back to.  I'd definitely recommend this trip to anyone.  It really is fairly easy to find them with the right equipment.  We didn't have much luck in the spillways and channels but out at the mouth of the rivers you can find them.  There are several places to stay and the boat we stayed on is perfect for two boats and/or 6 people.  The ship store/grill/fuel pumps are a 2 minute boat ride and a 2 minute walk from about anywhere in the marina.  The restaurant is decent.  They will fry or blacken your catch.  Both are great.  Or you can cook at the cabin.  Ours had some of those turkey fryers.  You may need your own fuel.

Highly recommended trip!


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I understand the Solix units are pretty awesome.  My wallet could only handle the Helix.  The 360 is pretty sweet.  You could really see the fish light up on the screen and watch them change positions when it refreshed.  Once we got the hang of it, we could throw right in the area and typically hook up.  It turned into a little game to try and catch the fish on a single cast.  

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The SWP is a haul. And when you are running 20-22 foot bay boats with the big ships blowing up the river, it makes for a long, hard ride. We were killed the day after each trip down there. Even the run to where the South Pass starts can take it out of you. Plus those runs can get expensive. We had a G2 Etec 250 pushing our 23’er and was surprised at how well it did fuel wise. 

For us it is a week where we never leave the marina  we load the boat up with gear, drop the boat in the water and haul the gear to our house boat.  Then we never get back in the vehicle.  Breakfast in the houseboat, lunch in the bay boat and usually dinner at the marina grill because we are usually so tired we dont feel like cooking.  If the house boat had a Big Green Egg we might make an exception  

Would love to learn some spots closer to. Venice Marina. Was a little concerned trying to get the boat in some of the clean water that was in Fleur/Yankee pond and up around Sand Pass.  Lots of shallow water and sand bars.  Water was solid Mud brown in main river and passes.  Looked like coffee with a lot of cream. We even ran half way up Octave and it was no cleaner. 



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