The fourth longest river in the world rolls right through our backyard and flows south into the Gulf of Mexico. For thousands of years, it has shifted course as deposits of silt and sediment began clogging its channel, forcing it to find a new route into the open ocean. Where it once flowed is now known as the Louisiana wetlands—10,000 square miles of bayous, marshes and swamps. This is the legendary Mississippi River Delta and it’s hands-down one of the best fisheries in the world.
We typically pull out of the Venice Marina at first light on the hunt for redfish, speckled trout or flounder. The surrounding bays, inlets and ponds we fish are covered in them throughout the year. We may head southwest towards Fleur Pond, north towards Yellow Cotton Bay or south down towards the Pass A Loutre State Wildlife Management Area. It just depends on what’s biting where and what you’re looking to catch.
Unlike our offshore charters, our inshore trip is a little more relaxed. If we’re not creeping through canals or floating a bay where the bite is hot, we’re cruising up and down the coastline looking for fish (we can run 30-50 miles out on an offshore trip). Here the water is usually calmer, the winds are usually lighter and the fishing is relatively consistent throughout the year. That’s why an inshore trip may be perfect for novice anglers or fishing with the kids.
But don’t think for a minute the biting, fighting and action won’t get your heart racing or your blood pumping. With lighter tackle, battling a big redfish or angry trout can be the thrill of a lifetime. And the action can be non-stop; one legendary day in May 2017, we caught our limit of reds in less than an hour and threw back over 100 more before the day was over.
Then there’s the fly rod.
Anglers looking for the ultimate in-shore challenge know nothing beats site-casting to a tailing redfish with a fly rod. As Captain Blake stands on the poling platform in the back of the boat quietly pushing you toward the fish, you’ll secretly wonder how the boat is moving in only a few feet of water. Your mind will begin to wander, too, as you soak up the tranquil beauty of your surroundings. Then you’re instantly jerked back into the reality of the moment as your rod is almost jerked out of your hands. A big red or hungry trout just slammed into your fly. This is where you lose yourself, and find yourself, at the same time. And anyone who’s dreaming of landing a big fish on a small fly knows there’s something almost mystical about it.
Days like that are more common than you think, and that’s why we love fishing in our own backyard.
These trips usually last eight hours; we leave the marina around 7:00 am and you’re back posing for pictures under the world-famous Cypress Cove Marina fish sign by 3:00 pm.
Up to 8 hours | $750. (2 anglers. $100/per additional angler. Maximum of 4)
Islamorada Boatworks Morado 24
Beavertail BT3 Skiff
We use spinning reels with 7’ rods perfect for 10-17 lb. line but also have baitcasters available if that’s your preferred rig.
Sight-casting topwater plugs (nothing beats a fish slamming into a topwater lure), live bait under a bobber, plastics, spoons or bouncing plastic jigs off the bottom all depending on water clarity, weather conditions, targeted species and season.