VENICE: Delta Force Fishing
To most eyes, the last town on the Mississippi River-70 miles south of New Orleans-is an oil-patch eyesore filled with the roar of diesels, the smell of drilling fluid, and the brass-knuckle ambiance of roughneck bars.
To fishermen, it's as beautiful as its Italian namesake. That's because Venice is the jumping-off spot for the best fishing in the lower 48.
Where else can you fish for largemouth and striped bass, seatrout, redfish, tarpon, dolphin, tuna, wahoo, amberjack, and marlin-all in the same day?
Venice owes its high adventure quotient to its location at the head of the Mississippi River's vast delta, a place where freshwater from the continent's largest river mixes with saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting estuary is one of the planet's greatest fish incubators, providing a stream of prey that flows into the Gulf where it attracts legions of hungry predators.
Incredibly, local anglers had this secret to themselves until the mid-1980s, when two recreational marinas finally opened. Now anyone can launch a boat or hire a charter for casting in local marshes, wade-fishing the barrier islands, bottom-fishing the nearby oil rigs, or trolling for big gamefish in the Gulf of Mexico.
Best of all, it's a year-round spot; something is always biting. Which makes Venice a beautiful spot-drilling rigs and all. For more information, call Venice Marina (985-534-9357; www.venicemarina.com) and Cypress Cove Marina (800-643-4190; www.cypresscove.net)