With an incoming tide and dirtier-than-expected water to start the day Wednesday, it took a while for the bass bite to turn on down in Venice.

Sportsman TV host and Bassmaster Elie Series angler Greg Hackney, along with show producer Jared Serigné, made stops at Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Pass A Loutre Wildlife Management Area and the Camp Canal during a long day of fishing and filming a new Venice bass episode.

“Overall conditions, the water was a little high and dirty this morning with an incoming tide in the area we started in Delta Duck, so really not much was biting,” Serigné said. “We ran downriver and found a littler cleaner water and located a good bite, and then a thunderstorm pushed us back upriver.”

They returned to Delta Duck in the afternoon, and found the bass much more cooperative, with Hackney catching good numbers of fish by punching through thick lilies bordering the roseau cane. 

“The water fell 8 to 10 inches from when we were here in the morning,” Serigné said. “It was clean, and the bite was pretty consistent. We were here earlier and we were around the fish, but they just weren’t biting because of the conditions — high, dirty water with an incoming tide.

“Now we’re at the tail end of a falling tide and the fish are biting. Same area, just different conditions.”

With the Mississippi River still over 5 feet at New Orleans, Hackney said timing the tidal conditions is important if you’re planning a Venice trip this weekend.

“Wait a couple hours after the tide starts falling, and punch lilies next to the cane,” he said. 

Hackney’s punching rig consisted of a 1 ¼-ounce tungsten weight, a watermelon red Strike King Rage Bug and a 6/0 Strike King Hack Attack hook. He was fishing with a 7-foot, 10-inch Quantum Tour RT rod, a Quantum Smoke HD 200 reel spooled with 65-pound Torque braid. 

“I like that big hook punching under that big weight,” Hackney said during a live Facebook feed just before noon Wednesday. “It just gives a little more to catch. That big weight sometimes can be hard to stick those fish under those mats, and I just feel that by putting that oversized hook … When I”m punching heavy, I think it does a better job of catching them. 

“It’s a little harder on your bait — it punches through your bait a little easier than a smaller hook, but I feel like it will catch you a few extra bites.” 

The bite picked up dramatically in the last hour of daylight, and Serigné estimated they caught 30-plus bass on the day, most in the 2-pound range — all punching through the lilies.