Take your pick out of Venice

Tuna, red snapper, speckled trout and redfish all great options in June

Offshore, Venice fishing got off to a slow start in 2018, but almost halfway through the year things are finally turning around.

Late tuna action this spring meant larger fish in May, but not tremendous numbers. So heading into June, live bait will be important.

Pogies can be caught with cast nets in the bays out of most passes. Other species of live bait will soon be showing up on the rigs, and can be caught using sabiki-rig set-ups.

“Catch your bait as early as possible, and shoot for a minimum of 75 live baits,” Capt. Andre Boudreau of Louisiana Offshore Fishing Charters said. “Spend the time to catch your bait and be patient.”

Your best bait will likely be live pogies, but croakers, mullet and hardtails are known to be eaten, too. Hardtails will soon show up on the rigs, and also can be caught on sabiki rigs.

Hook your live bait through the shoulder, being careful not to pierce the brain or hook too far back.

If yoit u’re looking for tuna, you’ll definitely want to find blue water. Set your drift by backing into the current. And always keep a topwater rod set up in case you come upon tunas in open water on your way out, or between rigs. Plan on traveling an average of 25 to 35 miles out of the river to locate rigs holding fish.

With red snapper season opening late in May in both federal and state waters, it should mean fast limits — as they are both plentiful in numbers and large in size. Cut bait, with whatever weight necessary to get through the current, dropped 50 to 100 feet should result in quick hookups. Remember, legal limits are two red snapper per person, with a 16-inch minimum total length. Mangrove snapper limits are 10 per person, with a minimum total length of 12 inches.

“Trout have come in and we are starting to see action at the islands. And as long as the weather calms down, the redfish should be on fire, as it should be,” said Capt. Larry Hooper, with Our Freedom Charters. “Redfish grow approximately an inch per month, so all of the 15 ½-inch fish we caught in May will be perfect eating size by June and July. Live bait suspended under a popping cork about a foot-and-a-half works best, but redfish will also eat dead shrimp.

“Plastics become more challenging as bait thins out in the marsh.”