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Frequent visitors to this website know all about our affinity for Venice, Louisiana. My first visit to this incredible place came a year after Hurricane Katrina nearly wiped it off the map. I’ve since become a regular customer, making three or four trips to Venice each fishing season.

When the Deepwater Horizon disaster struck, I rushed to get a plane ticket to come back. I was inexplicably drawn here, to visit friends, to see if they were okay, to see if there was something I might be able to do to help. There wasn’t very much that I could do to help, of course, except to document what seemed at the time to be one of the greatest environmental disasters of our generation.

Today, although still haunted by much of what I saw firsthand at the time and via CNN, I stand somewhat optimistic that southern Louisiana might have averted catastrophe. I say, “somewhat optimistic” because in situations such as this, time will be the final arbiter and not enough of that has yet gone by.

What I have seen since inshore and offshore waters have reopened to fishing, though, has been nothing short of incredible. Fishing–yellowfin, cobia, redfish, trout–during two trips last fall were superb and I dare say the best I’d ever experienced. My most recent experience proved similarly amazing with some of the biggest reds of my life.

I’m neither expert enough nor intelligent enough to sound the “all-clear” signal for the Gulf. No, declaring that all is well with the fish and the fishery would be sheer folly, but I will say, “so far, so good.” Inshore clean up continues along some beaches and in some marshes, studies continue on the possible effects of dispersants on the marsh ecosystem, offshore captains have had a somewhat difficult time finding baitfish, but for right now the fishing in Venice is pretty damn good. I’m already planning my return trip and you should, too. There are a bunch of good charterboat captains who could really use your business.