Damage hard to find



I spent most of the day running around the marsh with Paul Rossi of Skeeter Boats. Both of us have limited experience in the marsh.

We're not green, having put in several hours around the Venice area, we're just not familiar with every nook and cranny. That takes years of experience. As a result, and despite years of roaming around here some, we got lost, or better put, turned around.

The trip took us down several of the passes and canals around the Venice area. While we were hunting redfish, I was still keeping an eye out for oil damage. After burning about 40 gallons of gasoline, we caught several redfish. (Enough for me to add several dinners to my freezer.) But we never once saw any oil damage.

Obviously, we weren't just riding around and looking for it. But we covered enough miles that if it were prevalent, we would have seen it.

By contrast, I fished the Delacroix area three weeks ago and I did see some small patches of oil-burned grass within that marsh. Not much, though.

While there is no denying the oil has screwed some things up down here and continues to do that. (As an example, a lot of the passes are congested with anchored drilling rigs and equipment just waiting for the go ahead to get back in the gulf.) Overall, though, the interior of the marsh is as cool a place to visit as it ever was.

You pull up to a grass bed or point in one of the passes and toss an H&H spinner or a jig and you are liable to get your arm broke. I saw a lot of waterfowl as well that were transferring about.

I'm sure there are some bad spots down here. We just haven't run across them. Tomorrow, I head out into the gulf, hopefully to catch tuna.

Several of our crew caught tuna today, nothing in the 200-pound range, but several pushing 100 pounds.

One of the more interesting scenes this week: We are staying at the Lighthouse Lodge in Venice. It's typically a fisherman-only type place. Most of the hotel is taken up by Haz-Mat crews still working on the oil spill.

In one parking spot, you see a boat with the big letters SKEETER written down the side. In the next space you see a truck with HAZ-MAT written all over it.