John's Journal...

The Speckled Trout Capital of the World- Lake Calcasieu

Big Trout on the Shoreline

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Last week, I fished the Speckled Trout Capital of the world – Hackberry, Louisiana, located on Lake Calcasieu in the western section of the state. In 2005, Hackberry Rod and Gun was destroyed by Hurricane Rita. However, in 10 months, with a lot of hard work and sweat, it was restored. Today, it’s better and stronger than ever before, and the lake homes giant speckled trout, big redfish and plenty of medium-to- small fish. This week, we’ll take a look at fishing from Hackberry Rod and Gun. But I won’t be able to show you the delicious food I ate – gumbo, fish and all your favorite vegetables, meats and desserts. Life doesn’t get any better than it is at Hackberry. Kirk Stansel, one of the owners of Hackberry Rod and Gun, was my guide this past week on Lake Calcasieu.

Question: Kirk, why are the big trout on the shoreline instead of under the birds or on the reefs?Click to enlarge
Stansel: Bigger baits are moving up to the shoreline, and since the big trout feed on big bait, they go where the big bait lives.

Question: Why do you fish in a different place for big trout than you do for average-size trout?
Stansel: You can catch big speckled trout anywhere, but if you want to target trophy trout, you need to fish where the trophy trout hang out. Today, we’re catching numbers of these big trout where we normally catch redfish. The redfish and the big trout prefer mullet. Right now, the mullet are moving up on the shoreline along the mud flats, so that’s where we’re finding the redfish and the big trout.

Question: Why are the redfish and the big trout living together on the shoreline and the smaller reds out in the open water, feeding under working birds and on the oyster reefs?
Stansel: Smaller trout and redfish feed on smaller menhaden and shrimp. But the big fish want to eat bigger baits, because they can expend less energy and get more food when they eat big baClick to enlargeits than when they have to chase a lot of little bait.

Question: What kinds of baits are you using to catch the big trout and the redfish?
Stansel: Early in the morning and on slick, calm days, we fish a lot of top-water lures like the MirrOlure She Dog and the Corky, a Texas lure. The Mister Twister grubs, the spoons, the Slimy Slug and the Exudes baits have really been good in muddy water.

Question: What pound-test line are you using?
Stansel: I fish 12-pound-test line with a 2- or a 3-foot piece of 30-pound-test leader that I attach to my main line with a surgeon’s knot.

Question: Why are you putting a 30-pound leader on your line?
Stansel: If you fish a lot around oyster shells, you can really nick and cut lines. Also, a big trout can swallow a lure and rake its teeth across the line and nick or cut it. By using heavier leader, we give our anglers a little more protection to prevent them from losing the big trout. We’re also catching some nice redfish that will be from 20- to 30-inches long with sandpaper-like teeth that can really wear on a line and cause smaller line to break easily. These redfish will weigh from 4- to 10-pounds each.Click to enlarge

Question: When you target big fish, how many do you expect to catch in a day?
Stansel: On a good day, you’ll catch 15 to 25 nice-size trout and usually a limit of redfish, and you’ll probably throw back at least that many. But fishing varies from day to day. I’m happy if we catch 10 to 12 trout that will weigh 3- to 9-pounds each and produce a limit of redfish for each customer that weigh 3- to 9-pounds each.

Question: How many people do you have in your boat when you’re fishing?
Stansel: I usually take two or three customers with me.

Question: How do you work your lures to make the big trout bite?
Stansel: There are many factors that cause the big fish to bite, including water clarity, wind and the amount of baitfish in the water. If the water’s dingy, slow down your presentation. If the water’s really clear, speed up your bait. At this time of year, our water temperature is hitting the 80-degree mark, so we can work our baits really quickly to entice more strikes.

To learn more about Hackberry Rod and Gun, go to, or call 888-762-3391. For more information about Mister Twister’s top-quality products, visit

Tomorrow: Trout Fishing Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This

Check back each day this week for more about "The Speckled Trout Capital of the World- Lake Calcasieu"

Day 1: More Trout and More Reds on an Ill Wind
Day 2: Big Trout on the Shoreline
Day 3: Trout Fishing Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This
Day 4: What about the Redfish?
Day 5: What about the Birds?



Entry 408, Day 2