Tuna, Mahi, snapper head July’s list
Venice has been called the “Tuna Town,” and for good reason. This small fishing village at the very tip of Louisiana is where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico, which creates the ideal conditions for big gamefish.
Last year, yellowfin tuna fishing didn’t compare to previous years, partly due to spring flooding and the resulting dead zone. This year, that’s not going to be an issue, as the catches have been showing, according to Capt. Martha Spencer, co-host of Bayou Wild TV and a mate for Southern Catch Outfitters.
“Summer fishing is looking better; it’s all rig-fishing about 50 to 70 miles offshore,” she said. “During this time of year, the bluewater is usually further out, but it’s worth it. The big mahis are showing up with the rip lines. Snapper season is always good whenever it is in. And swordfish have been relatively good so far. Venice has definitely been producing more this year than the three previous years.”
What to look for
Summer fishing season in Louisiana, June through August, is known for quality weather conditions for being out on the water and the diverse species that are relatively easy to target, as long as you know what to look for. Around June and July, the grass lines and bluewater rip lines begin to appear, which are excellent for trolling for pelagic species or sight-casting for more common offshore species that frequent Louisiana’s waters. Red snapper season is open until the quota is met, and trophy yellowfin tuna are not uncommon.
“It’s been an exceptional tuna season so far,” Spencer said. “We are catching tuna pushing into the three digits, which isn’t standard size for this time of year. Standard size is usually 50 to 60 pounds.”
Aside from the yellowfin tuna and red snapper, anglers have the opportunity to hook up with tripletail, gag grouper, red and yellowfin grouper, scamp, cobia, king mackerel and the rare rainbow runners. Marlin and sailfish are occasionally caught offshore, too. Most trips end with a cooler full of fillets. However, the amount of fillets is dependent on whether the livewell is filled with the right bait.
“The key is to catch more than you think you will need,” she said. “You can never have too much bait. Pogies (menhaden) don’t survive well in bluewater. They will work for a bit at the beginning of July, but don’t count on pogies being reliable as the month progresses. Bring Sabiki rigs or a heavy cast net to catch live bait such as cracks, discos and hornbellies around the rigs. You will need them for live chumming, which is more effective than chumming with dead bait.”
Offshore fishing in Venice should be consistent through July. There will be little difference between the beginning and end of the month when it comes to the bite, aside from the common day-to-day fluctuations.