John's Journal...

More Fishing at the Speckled Trout Capital of the World- Hackberry Rod and Gun

Night Fishing

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: The first week in June, I fished at the Speckled Trout Capital of the World – Hackberry, Louisiana, located on Lake Calcasieu. In 2005, Hackberry 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 home to giant speckled trout, big redfish and plenty of medium-to small-sized fish. This week, we’ll take another look at fishing in Hackberry. Kirk Stansel, one of the owners of Hackberry Rod and Gun, a guide service in Lake Calcasieu, was my guide at Lake Calcasieu. Although the weather was extremely hot (mid-90 degrees with high humidity), I was cool wearing my new Under Armour fishing shirts and shorts. Under Armour’s HeatGear Performance Polos wicked moisture away from my body to keep me dry and provided ultraviolet protection from the sun’s intense rays. And, the Guide Shorts had mesh venting for coolness.

Question: Kirk, tell me about your night boat.
Stansel: One of our biggest successes is our night-fishing boat, which is 44-feet loClick to enlargeng and powered with twin, 115 hp Mercury four-stroke engines. This is the fourth year we’ve been doing night fishing, running from May through October. This trip is definitely a beat-the-heat fishing trip. The boat has a 1200 kW generator that powers five, 1500-watt lights that are as bright as those found on a football field. The boat goes out into Lake Calcasieu, anchors up on an oyster reef and turns on the lights that draw in baitfish, which attracts speckled trout and redfish.

Question: What kinds of fish do you catch?
Stansel: Our night boat catches speckled trout and redfish that will be from keeper size to 15- to 18-inches long, and occasionally, the fishermen will catch a big one. We mainly fish with live bait because at night fishing with live bait is easiest.

Question: How is the trip conducted?
Stansel: We serve dinner at Hackberry Rod and Gun at 7:00 pm. After dinner, the fishermen ride out to the reef in the boat. They fish all night and return to the dock at 4:00 am or 5:00 am. The boat is a houseboat, so they can sleep, if they get tired. The boat carries six people plus the captain and a deck hand. Most nights, all the fishermen catch their limits.Click to enlarge

Question: What does it cost for a night of night fishing?
Stansel: We charge $1200 for up to six people, a price that includes dinner before you get on the boat and lodging until noon. You can bring your own rod, or we rent rods for $10 each per day. But you have to buy your own shrimp.

Question: What do you charge for daytime fishing?
Stansel: We have two ways of charging. For walk-ins, we charge $500 per day, Monday through Thursday, and $525 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That price includes up to three people fishing. Our package deal, which includes dinner, lodging, breakfast, lunch and drinks on the boat, is $350 per person with two or three people on the boat. We recommend a minimum of two people.

Question: Why does Lake Calcasieu produce so many big speckled trout and redfish?
Stansel: Because we’re surrounded by 500 miles of private and federal marsh and there’s a trClick to enlargeemendous amount of baitfish in Lake Calcasieu, the trout and redfish at Calcasieu have a very productive habitat. With the large amount of bait available, the lake draws plenty of fish and provides an area for a lot of fish to breed and grow to legal size. Our fishing will remain productive year round, as long as we don’t get a lot of rain. Even in December, January and February, we make great catches of speckled trout and redfish. We usually don’t catch the numbers of fish we catch in the spring, the summer and the fall, but during those winter months, we usually catch big fish.

Question: How do fishermen book a trip with you?
Stansel: They can contact us by phone, or by visiting our webpage.

For more information on Under Armour’s top-quality summer wear, go to

To learn more about Hackberry, go to the web page at, or call 888-762-3391.

Tomorrow: Fan Casting

Check back each day this week for more about "More Fishing at the Speckled Trout Capital of the World- Hackberry Rod and Gun"

Day 1: Night Fishing
Day 2: Fan Casting
Day 3: Fishing Slicks
Day 4: Bank Fishing for Speckled Trout and Redfish
Day 5: Hackberry – A Great Place for a Family-Fishing Vacation



Entry 409, Day 1