Run with the bulls in Venice

Capt. Boola Landry likes to target big bull reds like this one with purple or chartreuse soft plastics on a 30-pound fluorocarbon leader a couple of feet under a 4 Horsemen popping cork.

Grouper, cobia also solid offshore options

Inshore action out of Venice has been consistent this summer, and may be one of the best parts of the state if you’re looking to battle bull redfish.

A bull red is considered any redfish over 27 inches in length, and in Louisiana, you are allowed to keep one bull out of your five-redfish limit. On light tackle, they put up a tremendous fight and are a lot of fun.

Capt. Boola Landry of Reel Tite Fishing Charters recommends looking for slicks, or the sheen on the water created by predators eating in schools of baitfish. A lot of times you actually can see the bulls attacking.

“We’ve been using the 4 Horsemen cork with 2 ½ feet of 30-pound fluorocarbon leaders, with soft plastic baits,” Landry said. Generally, he recommended purple and chartreuse as solid colors, as well as lemon head Matrix Shad, but said when they’re feeding they aren’t picky. And if you’re checking tides, the bite tends to be best just after high tide on a falling tide.

Just remember, when you release a big bull give it ample time to recover beside the boat. Move water through its gills until it regains enough strength to swim away on its own.

Offshore, deep-dropping has been popular lately, as the summer has been somewhat inconsistent for tuna so far. If you’re looking to weed through red snapper for some grouper, be sure and send baits down with a heavy enough weight so the current doesn’t move your bait off the target spot.

Two- to 3-pound weights aren’t too much. Be sure to drop your baits to the bottom, and crank up two to three times so that it’s not slack — but stay as close to the bottom as you can while maintaining a tight line.

If you’re not on the rigs, look for sunken wrecks, reefs and pipelines in generally more than 400 feet of water for species like yellowedge, scamp and gag grouper. Ideally, live baits work best, but if you don’t have that be sure to at least pick up some frozen squid. Unlike a red snapper, grouper take longer to commit to the bite, so be sure to let them eat. If you miss one, send the bait back to the bottom quickly because a grouper will not chase your bait up.

Cobia have also showed up on rigs. They are a naturally curious fish, and aren’t tremendously picky about baits. If you’re using artificial lures, be sure and have a sturdy rod and reel, like a Shimano Saragosa or Stella. A good weighted sparkle jig or plastic grub will lure them in by jigging: Start around 100 feet and work your way up.

When you do land a cobia, they can be notoriously difficult to gaff — so be ready and have a bat in the boat as well.

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