12 Seventy miles south of New Orleans, the road following the Mississippi River ends at Venice, and paradise begins. It's not the scenery. Venice is a dusty, dingy oilfield town and fishing port where the air throbs with the growl of huge diesels. But it happens to be the gateway to the vast Mississippi River delta, one of the most prolific fisheries on the planet. It's all here: freshwater bass, crappies, stripers, and catfish; and every imaginable Gulf battler from redfish and speckled trout to tarpon, king mackerel, tuna, and marlin. The fish are plentiful and big, and something is always biting.