Reds, specks create action for inshore anglers
Katie Duplass and her husband, John, are in their first year running Pelican Charters, but they aren’t new to the Venice fishing industry. They have a firm grasp on what the bite is like at any given time.
According to Katie Duplass, January is when the offshore pivots towards migrating pelagic fish such as wahoo and larger yellowfin tuna, while the inshore fishing pushes guides and anglers alike to the interior marshes.
“The wahoo begin to show up sometime in January and early February,” she said. “When wahoo are in thick and the bite is on, we try to get them when they are in season.”
However, problems can arise when the fronts come through.
“Cold fronts are brought by north winds, coming down and pushing water out from the Mississippi River,” Katie Duplass said. “Fishing can be good before a front or a few days after. You have to wait until the water clears up and the dirtier water is pushed back, especially if you are after wahoo.
Calm water isn’t the ticket
“When you go offshore to target these fish, you’ll want the Gulf to be a little rough. Look for clean, just about green water. You will want to pay attention to how the current is moving, too. A good current edge can result in more bites.”
She said to be on the lookout for tuna when you are heading out.
“You’ll likely see them bust the top of the water,” she said. “As soon as you see that activity, you need to head to it, if possible Tuna are year-round fish out of Venice, so the time of year will only determine where they are showing up, not if they will show up. Lump season, which begins around February, is when the really big tuna arrive. These can be over hundred-pound fish.”
Wahoo and yellowfin are the primary focus this time of year around Venice. Other fish aren’t as common or normally targeted.
“The cobia go deep when it gets cold, so we don’t really catch cobia this time of year,” Duplass said. “Mahi mahi aren’t too common, either, during colder months.”
Clear skies for inshore fish
The Duplasses primarily focus on offshore trips, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a keen eye on the inshore fishery.
The best days to fish the marshes upriver are when the skies are clear according to Katie Duplass. It makes spotting fish activity simpler.
“There are places within the marshes of Venice where you can find trout and redfish at the same time,” she said. “In one instance, you can throw in a certain direction and catch a trout, then, throw a different direction and catch a redfish — without moving the boat. The colder weather won’t change this.
“The speckled trout have been thick inshore, and I don’t see that changing. They will just move to deeper water within the marshes once it gets cold. The redfish normally are good all year round in Venice.”