Reds, trout joined by tarpon, offshore action is a mixture of many species
Venice offers the angler everything from the very best inshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico to world-class offshore action on the continental shelf via Port Eads, the home port that boasts two of the three 1,000-pound-plus blue marlin ever caught in the Gulf. The angler is limited only by his aspirations and what he’s willing to spend.
If you’ve been dreaming of that epic Venice trip you read about when you were a kid, consider making that dream a reality in the month that offers more accessible, in season, sportfish species than any other month of the year. Fish Venice in July.
At Venice, an angler can target redfish and speckled trout year-round, and July is as good a month as any to land that giant bull red or gator trout that will blow up Instagram, making you famous for the day. The flounder fishing is still good. The sheepshead and black drum bites are on also.
And then there are the tarpon.
They arrive at Venice in July, and with them, a fishing experience that gives Florida a run for its money in terms of quantity and quality. A 200-pound tarpon is possible in waters a stone’s throw from Venice’s marinas.
“July is one of our best months,” said Katie Duplass of Pelican Charters (thevenicelodge.com), a popular charter service captained by her husband, John Duplass.
“Snapper season is on fire; we’re going after the tuna and swordfish; the Mahi-Mahi start showing up; you get so much variety that you don’t get in other months,” she said. “It’s calm weather, and it’s pretty water. It’s just that ideal summer fishing, and the variety — the boards are just so colorful.”
Booking a guide
The regular clientele of a prominent charter will sometimes book a year in advance, usually after an especially productive outing, and yes, there are often more would-be fishermen than available spots aboard the whole of Venice’s fishing fleet, but it still never hurts to inquire about last-minute openings.
“Give the charter service a call, even if it’s last minute,” said Duplass. “Summer is just so hectic, that if you’re in town, and you haven’t booked, give us a call, even if you think it’s hopeless, because even when (we’re) not open, we can normally get a boat, find a boat.… We can work with people to make something like that happen.”