Playing it safe in Southwest Pass

While Southwest Pass can provide some incredible fishing, it’s important to keep in mind that it is the main shipping channel leading from the Gulf into the Mississippi River.

“The ships throw pretty big wakes, but the supply boats throw the largest wakes because they are substantial in size and have enormous horsepower — and they travel at a high rate of speed,” Capt. Anthony Randazzo said. “If you’re approaching one bow-to-bow, they’ll probably slow down for you, but if you’re coming up from behind one and you have to cross their wake, it can be pretty tricky.”

Randazzo pointed out that, while running between the navigational markers and going slowly around the jetties will keep you safe in the river, running the outside bays requires close attention to shoals and unseen obstructions.

Watch for waves breaking, as well as slick areas amid waves — those are the skinny spots.

“Charts on your GPS units will show you where the shallowest of water is, so keep a distance that’s suitable for the boat you’re operating,” Randazzo said. “There is a lot of industrial traffic — oil field boats — moving around: Someone who doesn’t know the area can keep an eye on them and make mental notes on where they go and don’t go. That’s a pretty sure indicator of where you want to go.”

About David A. Brown 323 Articles
A full-time freelance writer specializing in sport fishing, David A. Brown splits his time between journalism and marketing communications