Mahimahi on the menu for May

Catch them yourself, just offshore out of Venice

Offshore action should be nothing short of spectacular this month out of Venice, according to a fishing guide.

“May is one of my favorite months because we have several great options,” said Capt. Troy Wetzel, with Louisiana Offshore Fishing Charters. “The weather warms up and the grasslines move in close to the mouth of the river, and they are loaded up with bait that attracts one of the most-prized fish in the Gulf of Mexico: mahimahi.

“This is the month to fish them. I look forward to May every year. That grass line is a gigantic food chain, and depending on the height of the river it can move in close — only 7 or 8 miles out of the mouth of the river.”

The exact location depends on river flow, however.

“If the river is higher it’ll be a bit farther out, but it’ll be within reach either way and the action along it will be great,” Wetzel said. “We troll and sight-cast and specifically target mahimahi, but we routinely pull up some very nice tuna and marlin along the grass in the process.

“If you’ve never fished offshore like this before, I promise you it’ll be memorable. And if you’ve done it before, then you know how addicting it is. I’ve been doing this for 25 years and it’s still a thrill.”

But Wetzel said the grass lines aren’t the only option this month.

“This is still a great month to run out to the big floating rigs offshore and hunt big yellowfin tuna,” he said. “I’ve been on a great bite, catching big yellowfin in the 200-pound class every trip, and anywhere from five to nine fish per trip.

“Even the smaller tuna have been averaging 140 to 150 pounds.”

Wetzel said his tactic is to troll Rapalas around the rigs, but he also will set out a good chum line of bloody bonita chunks.

And to really grab the attention of the big yellowfins, he cuts up tuna bellies, which are a bloody mess.

“Those bellies are loaded with blood lines, and they make for excellent chum,” Wetzel said. “Once we mark them coming up shallower toward the blood and bonita chunks, then we start fishing some live hardtails to trigger that strike instinct in them.

“And the bonus is we’re catching some beautiful mahimahi out there in the process.”

About Rusty Tardo 363 Articles
Rusty Tardo grew up in St. Bernard fishing the waters of Delacroix, Hopedale and Shell Beach. He and his wife, Diane, have been married over 40 years and live in Kenner.

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