Maybe it’s because most folks around me are older that the term “bucket list” has become part of more and more conversations.
Maybe it’s because more guys my age took time to take in Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson starring in the movie “The Bucket List,” that they decided to make their personal list.
And when you hear avid Florida fishermen talk about a trip to Venice to be one of the adventures on their bucket list, you get the idea that Louisiana has more to offer the world than food, the fun of Mardi Gras, hundreds of festivals, plantation tours and New Orleans.
There’s a photo on this page of five men posing with a 238-pound yellowfin tuna, a catch recognized to be the second largest yellowfin on record taken from the Gulf of Mexico. Billy Fazio, of Florida, caught this giant on a trip that “Bloodstream” boat captain Mark Wilson said was on the bucket list for Fazio and three other Florida saltwater anglers.
The trip went out of Venice, and Fazio’s yellowfin truly is spectacular.
Yet to most of us in the Capital City area, Venice is just another place to launch, another spot to catch any of a number of freshwater and saltwater species, another place among many to take bragging-sized fish.
It’s not that Venice falls into any sort of familiarity-breeds-contempt category for us, but we seldom hold Venice in the regard that prompted a national magazine to proclaim this town at the end of the mighty Mississippi River to be among the top five fishing destinations in the world.
We’re wrong about that approach, and so are our elected state officials.
In the last months, we’ve been pelted by TV commercials telling folks around the country about the wonders awaiting any tourist in the five Gulf States. BP money from the oil disaster has funded this push.
Yeah, those TV ads work for Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and to some extent Texas, and for our state’s food and fun. But when is somebody who works in the north section of downtown Baton Rouge — you know the neighborhood with that very tall granite building one block off the Mississippi River — going to get the idea that our country’s fishermen might like to know about the wonders places like Venice hold for them?
Fishermen throughout the four other Gulf States marvel at the limits we have on species like speckled trout and redfish. Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas are much more restrictive, much more.
And when you pair our liberal limits (25 specks and 5 reds per day) with the bounty of our offshore waters, there’s little doubt why fishing folks in the Deep South want to fish here and pay nonresident fishing license fees to do it.
We have liberal limits because we have fish and we have lots of fish to share with our brethren across our country. Maybe it’s time we send that word.
Enough studies in the last 10 years indicate more recreational fishermen mean more jobs, and we can use more of them now.