Hackberry Hustle

E-mail this post

Remember me (?)

All personal information that you provide here will be governed by the Privacy Policy of More...

The results of my fishing trip on Lake Calcasieu last May exceeded my already high expectations. I had planned another trip this fall, but unfortunately hurricane Rita put an end to that.

My family has been using Hackberry Cajun Guide Service for several years -- they are the best! They really know how to put you on the fish. After you fish until your about to drop, you get to hang out at the lodge and drink beer while they cook up the best cajun food you have ever had! Trust me, I was born in Louisiana, and I have gumbo running through my veins. I never thought I would say this, but these guys cook better than my grandma! The guides clean all of your fish, and they earn every penny that they make, I guarantee!

Cajun Guide Service
Hackberry, LA 70645

I saw captain Freddy on TV after the hurricane, and the camp looked like it was wiped out. I almost cried! We talked to Freddy, and he said they might be open again in the Spring. I sure hope so, because I will be one of the first to sign up. We consistently have a terrific time, and I can't say enough good stuff about these folks.

Here's how it works... You arrive on Friday, claim a bunk, and start drinking beer. Soon after the sun goes down, they serve dinner. The first night is fried fish, more than likely caught and cleaned that morning. There is hush-puppies, cole-slaw, banana pudding, you cant stop eating! Its not long after dinner that you fall asleep. You had better set the alarm clock, though because the boats leave the dock at 5 am! Grab some coffee and a quick breakfast, and better do your business because its non-stop fishing until about 2 pm. Then you get to hang out with your friends and drink beer for the rest of the day until they serve the best gumbo that you have ever had! There's also potato salad, and pie for desert. The next day, you do it all again. After fishing on the second day, you pack up and go home. You better bring a jug of cajun coffee, because its a long drive back to Houston after fishing all day!

This last May, we launched extra early on Saturday. As we made our way across the lake, you could see the water boiling with redfish! Capt. Freddy looked like a little kid, he was so excited. He said, "that's 5 acres of redfish!". He cut the engine about 100 yards away, and he put the trolling motor on high to get ahead of the school without spooking the fish. I had on a lemon colored soft-plastic jerkbait (bass assassin) rigged weightless. I cast just ahead of a big redfish, and began twitching the lure. A giant mouth came out of the water, inhaled my lure, and moved off like a tug-boat pushing an oil tanker. The fight was on! It took me about 20 minutes to land the fish. We caught 3 more like that before a weekend warrior ran his boat full-throttle right through the middle of the school! The fish scattered, and that was the end of that! Freddy was pissed! That was just the beginning of a great fishing day, though.

Once the redfish scattered, we motored to the south-eastern shore of Lake Calcasieau, and drifted while casting pogies and shrimp on popping corks. I enjoy fishing artificial more than with bait, so I used a 1/2oz jig-head on a lemon bass assassin. I would cast as far as possible, wait a few seconds for the lure to sink, then pop up on my rod to simulate a fleeing shrimp or pogie. I was catching lots of small speckled trout, and a few keepers. The trick with specs is not to set the hook like when fishing for bass. They have very soft mouths, and you will pull the hook right through their lips! In my experience, the best way to catch one when you feel it bite is to apply steady pressure while you reel in while keeping the rod-tip down. If you let the fish breach the surface, it will easily throw the lure. Especially if you are fishing a jig. The fish shakes from side to side, and the weight slaps around, and pulls the hook right through the fishes lips. If you start feeling strong sudden bites, then pull your jig up to see that half of the plastic is gone, you have probably found some bluefish. Its best to go to the other side of the boat, unless you have a big bag of lures. The bluefish have sharp teeth, and will ruin your lure every time!

The biggest trout were caught along the edge of reefs. They seemed to be using the reef to sneek up on bait, similar to a bass patrolling a ridge. I found that in some places, artificial lures were used exclusively. According to the guides, if the fish are hitting on artificial, they will stop if you start throwing live bait. This was fine by me. I dont like fishing with bobbers, because you cant feel the fish bite. You have to watch the bobber, and this can be very fatiguing. If you want to fish with bait, you put a couple of split-pea weights about a foot above the hook, and a popping bobber about 2 feet above that. You hook the shrimp through the V-shape at the bottom of the tail. This seems to work the best for keeping the bait on the hook. If you are using pogies, hook through the eye sockets. This keeps the bait alive longer than when hooking it through the body. You cast out as far as you can, then give a strong jerk on the line every 20 seconds or so to pop the bobber. The bobber is designed to make a loud popping in the water, which attracts the fish. It sounds like a shrimp popping its tail to escape a predator. The same rules apply when setting the hook. Don't do it! Just apply steady pressure while reeling in, and keeping the rod top low. I find it difficult to get a good cast with a bobber two feet up above the hook. Especially if you have 4 people on the boat, and there are several rods standing up from the center console. For me, its much easier to use a bait-cast reel on a 7 foot stout rod with a flexible tip, 15 lb test line, and artificial bait. I can use an under-hand cast from the side of the boat, get a good cast and avoid getting hung up on someone else's line.

The wind makes a huge difference in the quality and quantity of fish you can catch. As long as the wind was out of the south-east, we were catching fish. As soon as the wind shifted to the south-west, the bite stopped dead. By mid-day, the wind was blowing strong out of the south-west, so we headed back to the camp, but stopped at a couple of small bays on the west side of the ICW (Inter-Coastal Waterway). The ICW has a fairly high berm that blocks the wind somewhat. The good news was that the redfish were working these bays, and were easily located by following schools of pogies around the shallows. You can see the pogies clearly when the sun was out; small schools of a couple hundred would move around in large black-looking balls. When the sun was behind clouds, you could see a shimmer on the surface of the water that would mark the bait. I soon determined that there was one large redfish behind every school. We caught several strong reds before calling it a day, and heading in around 2:00.

All-in-all, it was a very good weekend. I hope they can recover from the hurricane damage, so that I can go back again in the Spring!

About me

  • I'm Scott Gaspard
  • From Austin, Texas, United States
  • I really like to fish. I go every chance I can. You can pretty much bet that at any given moment, I'm using whatever spare cycles I have to plan my next trip.
  • My profile

Web This Site

Site Map







Fishing Reports

Web Sites

Unrelated Blogs I Like

Previous Stories