John's Journal...

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

Bank Fishing for Speckled Trout and Redfish

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. The Guide Shorts had mesh venting for coolness.

Question: Kirk, for two days you’ve fished one bank with big speckled trout and redfish on iClick to enlarget. What makes this 1/2-mile of bank more productive than any other bank we could possibly fish?
Stansel: This bank attracts and holds bigger mullet than some of the other banks in the lake. I don’t know if it’s something in the mud, the way the current hits the bank, or where the bank’s located that makes the mullet come to this shore. But these mullets offer a bigger bait for bigger trout to feed on, which is why the bigger trout are coming to this bank. At the right time of year, with the right tide, the mullet will come on this bank, and so will the big trout. Generally, the biggest fish come in on a rising tide. If you want to catch bigger trout and redfish, you have to find the places that hold the biggest bait.

Question: Kirk, I just had a big speckled trout blow up on my bait, and I missed the fish. What happened?
Stansel: Well, John, you’re fishing a top-water bait, and you tried to set the hook on the strike. On speckled trout and redfish, you can get more hook-ups if you wait until you feel the fish on the line before you set the hook. The best advice I can give my fishermen is close their eyes when they’re fishing top-water baits. That way, they won’t see the strike and set the hook too early. I don’t set the hook on a strike when I’m fishing top-water baits like the Corky and the MirrOlure She Dog. I wait to feel the fish and then set the hook. Many times, speckled trout and redfish will swat at the bait and try to kill it or injure it before they eat it. So, when a fish strikes at your lure and misses it, you need to keep the bait walking at the same rate it was walking or stop the bait until the fish returns to eat it.

Question: You told Mike Sheldon, the president of Mepps, a company that also ownClick to enlarges Mister Twister, that when a fish misses a top-water bait, he should cast right back to the spot where the fish struck with a Mepps spoon or a Mister Twister Exude Saltwater Shrimp. Why?
Stansel: The top-water bait gets the fish excited. So, many times, if the fish misses the top-water bait, it will attack one of those other lures to come through that same area.

Question: How many times will you catch a fish with the second lure, after it misses the top-water lure?
Stansel: Many, if not most of the time. When trout and redfish are attacking top-water lures, they’re very excited and want to feed. So, when you throw another lure to them, they’re still excited and wanting to feed. Therefore, the chances are really good to catch the fish with the second presentation, if you don’t catch it on the first one.

Question: What size fish do you usually catch on this bank we’re fishing?
Stansel: At this time of year, we often will catch speckled trout that weigh 4- to 9-pounds each on this bank. The redfisClick to enlargeh we catch often will be 20- to 30-inches long.

Question: What are your favorite top-water lures?
Stansel: I prefer the MirrOlure She Dog and the floating chartreuse-colored Corky. When I’m fishing both baits on 12-pound-test line, I use a steady retrieve and twitch the bait as I bring it to me. I like the Berkley Big Game line with the 30-pound-cast leader.

Question: Kirk, this may be a little personal, but why do you fish with a pink rod?
Stansel: This American Rodsmiths Rod is a really-good rod, and since the guides and I started using the pink rods, we’ve proven that only real men fish pink rods. These have become somewhat of a trademark for us. We’ve had a lot of people purchasing these pink rods, and you’d be surprised that it’s not a lot of women but many men. Many men don’t think their masculinity is threatened by fishing with a pink rod. The pink rods also have a soft tip, limber action, and they’re ideal for catching speckled trout and redfish. If some of the fishermen who read your webpage think they’re man enough to fish with a pink rod, they can call us and order one.

For more information about Under Armour’s cool summertime clothing, visit You can learn about Mepps at and Mister Twister at

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

Tomorrow: Hackberry – A Great Place for a Family-Fishing Vacation

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 4