VENICE, La. -- No disrespect intended to our Canadian lodge owner friends, but Spencer Petros and I agreed that our days of doing yet another Canadian fly-in trip are not on our radar screens. And here's the rationale for that bold statement.
We just returned from the southernmost tip of Louisiana after experiencing a week of the hottest and most intense angling ever.
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I am not exaggerating when I tell you it was nonstop action and catching the entire time we were on the water.
Petros and I shared a boat with Palatine resident Ken Kortas and photographer Mike Seeling.
Our 22-foot craft was captained by Bernie Frueh and his pal Ray Gallant, who was a very hardworking first mate.
This was my second trip here to "the end of the world," as it's sometimes called. Even after Hurricane Katrina roared through the lower sections of this state, tossing boats and buildings around like matchsticks, Venice and the angling as well as many residents returned in a very big way.
In fact, ESPN named Venice the No. 1 location for in-shore fishing.
And after each day of tiring ourselves out from hauling in fish after fish, Petros and I realized after 50-plus years of hunting big northern pike and lake trout in sub-Arctic waters, almost everything a fisherman would want is right here without ever using a passport.
Here's what I really like about our adventure with Bite-Me-Venice Charters.
This great destination is about the same distance from Chicago as some of my favorite Canadian locales. There aren't any border crossings or restrictions; you have higher creel limits, thereby allowing you to take lots of fish home in your cooler.
And then the real corker -- you have superior angling 12 months a year. No late ice-out to ruin a trip.
Our bag-o-plenty consisted of about 15 or so different fish species, from bull redfish to speckled sea trout.
Black drum and red snapper were so plentiful that we thought the schools would never end. Of course, the season has been closed for red snapper, so every red slab we caught went right back into the water.
Bite Me Venice Sportfishing Charters supplies everything you'd need for a successful and exciting trip. All the gear is part of the package, as is the lodging, all meals, fuel for the boat and two expert guides who know the real score about both in and offshore fishing in the Gulf as well as in the various Mississippi River channels.
Both Bernie and Ray are from LaGrange. Bite Me Sportfishing also runs a Lake Michigan boat out of Waukegan.
But it's the wonderful river and Gulf angling that has both Bernie and Ray wanting to spend more time here.
The temperatures down here reached the mid-70s, which had us seriously considering -- upon our return to the tundra -- turning right around and heading back south.
If you go
Charter: Bite Me Sportfishing, Venice, La.
Time of year: All 12 months
Cost of our trip (sportshow special): Five days, all inclusive, $2,195 per person
Contact: (763) 218-5044