Mississippi River filling with redfish

Annual green-up means fishing frenzy is beginning

The Mississippi River is forecast to be at 2.6 feet in New Orleans on Sept. 1, which translates to green, salty water in Venice — and a ringing dinner bell for redfish moving into the river system.

Capt. Owen Langridge of Big O Charters in Venice keeps a close eye on the river once it hits 5 feet in the Big Easy.

“Usually 5 feet is your magic number. That’s when the river starts turning green near Venice,” Langridge said. “And once the redfish get the taste of that green water in the river, they’re going to come in like gangbusters.”

Langridge likened fishing for reds in the river to fishing for bass in the Spillway — once they get in the system, they scatter. And that means you usually have to keep moving to catch them.

“Go along with your trolling motor and throw that cork with market bait, or throw spinners or spoons,” he said.

Reds will be thick along the jetties at Southwest and South passes, as well as along the riprap in the main river.

Really, reds will hit pretty much anything, but using plastics on jigheads can be challenging because they often dig into the rocks and get hung up.

That’s because one of the keys is to cast right to where the rocks and the water meet, and then working your lure down the riprap.

In addition market shrimp, spinners and spoons, deep-diving crankbaits like the Norman DD22 also can be effective weapons.

One hint: If you want to use a deep-diving crankbait, remove the rear hook and replace it with a big saltwater-grade treble that can stand up to the rigors of battling these bull reds.

ChatterBaits also can be deadly — and they crawl over the rocks easy while giving off vibrations that drive reds absolutely stupid.

And, while Southwest Pass absolutely becomes chock-a-block full of reds, it’s not really necessary to making that long run: There are plenty of fish prowling the rocks right out of the Jump.

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