John's Journal...

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

Hackberry – A Great Place for a Family-Fishing Vacation

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. I asked Captain Buddy Oakes, sales and marketing director for Hackberry Rod and Gun questions people had been asking us about Hackberry.

Click to enlargeQuestion: Buddy, why is Hackberry such a great place for a family-fishing vacation?
Oakes: We have great food, fishing and family fun. Kirk Stansel and his two brothers, Guy and Buddy, operate the business, and we have some of their wives and children working here. Kirk’s dad makes many of the lures we use. We’re a family-owned and operated business. So, we understand families and are always glad to have Moms and Dads and their children fish with us at the Speckled Trout Capital of the World. Eighty percent of our customers are 30- to 60-years old. About 15% to 20% of our customers are families who come here every year.

Because we have 16 to 20 boats fishing every day, we have a wide selection of guides. Some of our guides do extremely well with families, while we have other guides who are better with power fishermen. Too, some of our guides work better with business and corporate groups. So, we match our customer with the guide we feel best suits him or her and the people they’ve come with to fish. We have some guides who can take a man, his wife and his children out fishing, and if none of those people know how to fish, the guide can teach them all how to fish, where to fish and what bait to use. About 80% of our guides teach our customers how to catch fish. We believe that if we don’t teach people to fish now, we won’t have sport fishing in the future. So, we’re encouraged when we see families come to fish with us.Click to enlarge We have a good number of mothers and daughters, mothers and sons and blended families come in to fish with us. We have quite a few single parents who come with their children – maybe Mom or Dad doesn’t know how to fish, but their children want to fish. So, they can come here, and we’ll teach everyone how to fish. We also see grandfathers bringing their grandchildren to fish with us. So, yes, we’re a very family-oriented business. If you visit our website, you’ll see that we take numbers of young people fishing every day.

Question: You also have quite a bit of corporate business here, too, don’t you, Buddy?
Oakes: Yes, we do. We can accommodate up to 50 or 60 people and take care of all their needs. We have salesmen bringing clients, companies who use a fishing trip as an incentive program for their employees, and companies who just like to fish together that will book a day or a week worth of fishing.

Question: Buddy, how many fish over 5 pounds will your guides bring in every day?
Oakes: We’ll have four or five fish over 5 pounds come in just about every day. When you fish as many people as we do, we can spread out over a wide area of the lake. When one of our guides finds big trout, he calls in some of the other guides for what we call, fleet fishing. We make sure all of our customers catch good numbers of fish every day they go fishing.

Click to enlargeLake Calcasieu is a very-unique estuary because it only has one opening to the Gulf of Mexico through the Cameron jetties, and there’s no beach intrusion. I’ve heard that the biologists think that this area even may home a different strain of speckled trout because we catch so many big fish. Last year, the state had changed the limits. Today an angler only can keep two trout that are 25-inches long or longer. The last week in May, a friend of mine won the Speckled Trout Shootout with a 7-1/2-pound speckled trout. So, there are numbers of big fish and lots of fish here.

Question: Buddy, how plentiful are the redfish on Lake Calcasieu?
Oakes: The redfish are extremely plentiful. If you can’t fish a limit of redfish every day, it’s only because you’re not fishing for them. There’s an incredible number of redfish at Lake Calcasieu. Last fall, you could catch 100 redfish a day, although many of those fish were less than the 16-inch limit. But, if you just want to catch fish, you can wear out your casting arm. You can keep one redfish over 27-inches long. We also have some big redfish to be caught. Remember, those 16-inch redfish we were catching last fall are now 17- to 19-inches long, and they’re everywhere. If anyone wants to know more about the type, the size and the number of fish we’re catching every day, we’re putting pictures on our webpage, so visit the webpage and check us out. I think you’ve had a pretty good time, haven’t you, John?

John: I’ve had a fantastic trip. I’ve caught plenty of specks and reds every day. I’ve eaten too-much good food, laughed too much and had a great time. Can I come next week, Buddy?

For more information on Under Armour’s cool summertime clothing, visit

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

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 5