Fishing the mouth of the Mississippi River

I was on an interesting fishing trip — actually I was filming for a sponsor — yesterday [Monday] that I thought you might like to hear about. It was out of Venice, La., right where the river flows into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a unique place; I’ve never fished anywhere like it.

The variety of species that’s available is unbelievable. It’s no exaggeration to say that you can catch a limit of redfish and a limit of largemouth bass from the same spot and on the same lure. While you’re doing that you might boat a few trout and maybe something else. In fact, while we were out there fishing a huge alligator gar came up right alongside our boat to see what was happening.

The redfish we caught were really big. They spawn in the fall so right about now was when they were moving in shallow. The smaller ones weighed about 18 pounds. The big brutes were in the 35 pound class. Let’s just say that they were big enough to give us a serious fight and to do some serious damage to light tackle. In my world we call that fun. 

We fished small swimbaits and jigs under a cork for the show. All we did was throw our rigs out and then pop the cork along until we got a bite. To be honest it isn’t much different than crappie fishing with heavy tackle, except that no crappie ever hit the 18 pound mark.  

I don’t think I made more than three casts without catching one. They were on fire. I even had one slash at my cork. That’s unusual in the stained water we were fishing. They usually only hit topwater plugs when the water is clear.

Our spot was about 3 miles offshore, right out in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve fished a ton of tidal waters, rivers and bays alike. There’s nowhere else that I’ve ever been that has this mix of species. It’s a hoot to cast a lure out and know that you’re going to catch one but not know what that one will look like. I think it has something to do with the way the water lays and flows.

The saltwater is down near the bottom and the freshwater is on top. It doesn’t mix and it isn’t brackish. It’s in two separate layers. That makes for something that’s agreeable to all of them. And, since we fish out on a flat where the water is only about 3 feet deep the fish can travel through either layer to get something they want to eat.

The reason I’m telling you about all of this and going into so much detail is because I think it would make a really different kind of fishing trip for anyone who has the itch. There are a number of fish camps and lodges in the area where you can stay, and a number of guides and charter boat captains that’ll take you fishing. All you need is the desire to do something different.