Some call it the Mecca of Red Fishing, some anglers call it the Holy Grail of Fishing in general, others call it “Leeeesiana”, but I prefer to call it what it is: The Mississippi Marsh. Sure, it’s not actually in Mississippi; but if it weren’t for the Louisiana Purchase, most of this area likely would be part of Mississippi anyhow. We will skip the history lesson since I’m about as good with that as I am with technology; mediocre at best! Venice, Louisiana -- which is at the outermost point of the Mississippi River Delta -- certainly is an area every angler should experience at least once in their lifetime.
“There ain’t no big redfish around,” we were told. “They're all gone.” We were assured that there were more small redfish than we’d know what to do with. One captain said it was a slow day when they had landed 80 fish. Not what a Florida boy would consider a “slow” day of fishing for redfish. Another captain sent over a picture of the previous days catch, which consisted of a couple rat reds, some sheepshead, and a few trout. Definitely not what our group of guys drove 16 hours for.
Popping Corks. Lots of popping corks they kept telling me. “You NEED popping corks if you’re going to catch big redfish in Louisiana!” I can count on one hand how many times I’ve used a popping cork in my life, and it was for one thing only: trout fishing. Man, I tell you what…you need popping corks if you want to catch big redfish in Louisiana in early spring. The river is high, which means the water level in the marsh is high and the bait and fish move out to deeper water as a result. Find the birds, find the bait. Find the bait, find the fish. My word of advice: throw the orange popping corks. For whatever reason, the redfish key in on the orange popping corks and will often try to eat the cork itself. It’s wild, and wildly effective!
I don’t know if you can go wrong lure wise. After all, these fish are attracted to smackin’ the hell out of the water with a giant popper and then attempt to eat said popper. We had the most success throwing the XL SSTs by Slayer Inc Lures and the Z-Man scented paddlerz. My recommendation is to match the water. Due to the Mississippi flowing aggressively through this area, the water is typically murky and thus a darker bait typically produces better than a lighter colored bait.
All in all, we caught 20 bull redfish in three days of fishing. During that time, we destroyed a lower unit, endured two cold fronts, and ran around for hours trying to figure out what we were doing. Not too bad for a group of Florida boys on a bachelor party in an area we’d never fished before. Excuse my grammatical errors, I withdrew from English II twice and finally finished the class with a C. They should have let me write about fishing. Until next time…
-Ty “Red Ripper” Nelson