Venice is a small town at the end of the Mississippi River but its reputation for giant fish has made it one of the top destinations to head offshore. The Mississippi River created the landmass that Venice sits on and also cut the deep channel in the seafloor that creates some of the best fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Also known as the Tuna Capital of the Gulf, Venice is a bucket list location for any angler that loves to chase deep sea giants.
In 1682 when French Explorer Robert Cavalleir La Salle ended his trip down the “great river” he landed in Venice. Before the 1800s, Venice had very few if any permanent residents because the marsh at the mouth of the Mississippi River was believed to be full of evil spirits by the native people who lived nearby but visited to go fishing. Today very little has changed, this small town is also the only place that has had the same boundaries since it was established in 1807. Venice is also the last inhabited place along the Mississippi that can be reached by car which has given it the nickname “the end of the world.”
Venice is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River and has open access to the Gulf of Mexico. The rich water from the river mixing with the gulf creates an environment that is teeming with life and is home to a diverse population of fish species. Venice is 70 miles south of New Orleans which makes it the closest location in the Gulf to deep water capable of holding big fish. Because the Mississippi River Delta juts out into the Gulf traveling to prime offshore fishing spots is much shorter.
Warm water pouring into the Gulf where the seafloor drops away quickly means the bite is hot year round. Not only is the bite always on but these waters are known to hold giants thanks to the Continental Shelf which routinely produces big fish every year. These underwater features are only part of what makes Venice an incredible place to take a trip. With mild weather and a small town feel, this is the perfect place to get away and get hooked up.
When you book a trip to Venice it’s all about the yellowfin tuna. The quality and quantity of the tuna here are incredible easily reaching 200 pounds or more. Blackfin tuna also frequent these waters and while they don’t grow as large catching one is always a bonus. which has earned Venice the title of “tuna Capitol of the world.”
Once your yellowfin is safely onboard, you can turn your attention to the other sportfish that live here. Blue and white marlin can also be caught on a deep sea trip out of Venice. The Blue marlin here average 200 to 300 pounds but bigger is always a possibility. The state record blue marlin was caught just 12 miles offshore and weighed over 1,000 pounds which is a certified grander. White marlin are considerably smaller typically weighing around 70 pounds but are able to reach a hefty 180 pounds. While white marlin may be smaller they are strong and will put your skills to the test every time.
If the tuna and marlin weren’t enough the fishing for wahoo, mahi-mahi, and kingfish also happens to be top notch. Whether you want to troll or drop live bait these fish will crush anything that looks like food and peel line off the reel. These fish are some of the fastest fish in the ocean and if you hook into a big one, long runs are to be expected. To top it all off tuna, wahoo, mahi, and kingfish are the best of the best when it comes to delicious fish.
Red snapper and amberjack are some of the most popular target species in these waters second only to tuna. While these fish are often thought of as nearshore fish, Venice is already far away from the normal shoreline, and these fish love deep structure. The abundance of deepwater structure provides the perfect place for these fish to seek shelter and eat as much as they want which is a great combination for catching some truly massive fish.
Swordfish are also a popular catch and there’s a variety of ways to get a bite. In the mornings and evenings swordfish will feed closer to the surface which is the perfect opportunity to catch one while trolling or drifting bait. During the day these fish retreat to the depths but bottom fishing has proven to be very effective at producing bites. The average swordfish weighs around 100 pounds which is no small fish but they have also been known to reach over 500 pounds.
It’s no secret that the fishing is great almost everywhere once you leave the docks but over the years anglers have discovered spots that consistently produce big fish. The first of which is any of the deepwater oil rigs that start at only nine miles offshore. The oil rigs sit in water that range from 100ft to 7,000ft deep which is ideal for big pelagic species. These rigs provide structure in what would otherwise be open water which pulls in unbelievably large schools of baitfish. Yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, wahoo, mahi, red snapper, amberjack, cobia, and kingfish all take advantage of these bait balls making the rigs some of the best fishing spots in the Gulf.
The Continental shelf is always a factor when it comes to trolling for pelagic species and Venice has a big advantage. Because Venice is so far south it is the closest spot in the Gulf to the Continental Shelf shorting your travel time to deep water. The shelf is where the seafloor drops off and is usually a very productive place to fish with baitfish being chased through the currents. While the oil rigs will be productive for most sportfish the Continental Shelf is the best spot for targeting marlin which prefer to hunt in open water.
The fishing here is great throughout the year with plenty of overlapping migrations and some permanent residents. If you are after a specific species there are peak seasons when each of these fish are particularly abundant and voracious. Tuna are the prize of deep sea fishing in Venice and are known to stay in these waters year round but the best time to catch a giant is in the fall and winter months. During these cooler months, the flow of the Mississippi River drops off, and clean water pushes closer to shore which means you might not even need to go to rigs. The winter months are also prime time for big wahoo that prefer the cooler temperatures and come here to feed.
During the warmer months when water temps start to rise kingfish and marlin will be the first to arrive. Marlin can be elusive but luckily they have a long peak bite that runs from spring through summer and into the fall. Kingfish have the same general peak season but are usually more active throughout their stay. Mahi mahi like many tourists, do not tolerate cool water and show up during the summer months but when they do, it’s a feeding frenzy.
While the federal red snapper season runs in the summer, there’s a variety of other delicious snapper species that can be caught year round. Amberjack are also restricted with their season only open for harvest in the spring and fall.
The inshore and nearshore fishing opportunities are second to none but they are often overlooked because of the nearby bluewater giants. The array of structure nearshore and maze of marshy coastline fed by the Mississippi River creates some of the best fishing opportunities in the world outclassing many other bucket list locations. The exceptional inshore and nearshore fishing is no secret among the 232 Venice residents but to the rest of the world, it’s a hidden gem yet to be discovered.
Venice inshore fishing has more great spots than any angler could hit in a lifetime. The marshy coast has endless backwater inlets, cuts, and channels that create a diverse fishery packed to the gills with fish. Redfish are known to grow huge here with access to both salt and freshwater. With such a wide variety of habitats to choose from redfish can be caught year round but the giant bull reds arrive in the late summer and fall to spawn.
In the spring the speckled trout are on fire and it’s a great opportunity to do some wade fishing. Head to Venice in the spring to catch specks and find out what it’s like to have your bait crushed cast after cast by the beautiful but toothy fish. Catching a trophy trout can be tough but in the spring, Venice seems to have more than its fair share.
There are several other amazing fish to target while inshore fishing Venice including sheepshead, black drum, and the almighty tarpon. The silver king is a bucket list fish that’s a picky eater and a formidable fighter. To catch one you will have to be there in the summer when tarpon pass through on their annual migration.
The nearshore fishing in Venice is dominated by snapper, amberjack, mackerel, and cobia. There’s tons of structure just offshore from Venice with the oil rigs and reefs providing the perfect places for these fish to ambush their prey. Red snapper and a long list of other snapper species can be caught in nearshore waters where the water is deep enough. Amberjack often called reef donkeys, are known to get caught by anglers looking for snapper but the difference becomes clear pretty quickly. This fish can grow over 130 pounds and is one of the strongest fish in the ocean testing the endurance of any angler who is lucky enough to hook into one.
Spanish mackerel will school around the edge of structure and attack schools of baitfish with bursts of speed. If you are casting lures or floating live bait it’s likely that if one person gets a bite several anglers will all get hooked up in a matter of seconds. In deeper water occasionally the Spanish mackerel’s bigger cousin the king mackerel will show up and make somebody's reel smoke. Mackerel follow warm water and the best chance of catching them is from spring through fall.
Cobia are one of the most popular fishing in Louisiana and are often called lemon fish because of how delicious they are. While most fish tend to specialize and hunt particular types of water cobia are different and tend to have no predictable behavior. You may see a single cobia patrolling shallow bays or have a school of them cruise by while fishing way out on the rigs. If you want to catch cobia the best time to head out is in the spring.
Venice is a small town but there is still plenty of things to do before and after your fishing trip. The food here is excellent with the seafood stealing the show which is no surprise since it’s The Fishing Capital of The World. If you want to snag a bite or grab a drink check out Crawgator’s Bar & Grill which is one of the many great eateries in town. If you want to look around and see more of your surroundings jump in the car and head south a couple minutes where you find the southernmost point in Louisiana. The nightlife in Venice likely won’t blow you away but New Orleans is only a short trip north and has more entertainment than anyone can handle.