Trout Talk w/ Our New Writer - Meet Hunter Quarles

This is when I am supposed to say something eloquent and formal such as “hello everyone, my name is…” but I’m from Southwest Louisiana so “Hey y’all I’m Hunter” will have to suffice in the meantime.

I’m a 23-year-old native of Lake Charles, Louisiana that grew up fishing the Calcasieu-Sabine Basin which consists of many different estuaries including Calcasieu, Sabine, Prien, and many others. I’ve always enjoyed catching speckled trout, but I never really had the “itch” that I now have to consistently treat to keep mentally sane, shin-deep solitude usually does the trick. As Theodore Gordon once said, “The angling fever is a very real disease and can only be cured by the application of cold water and fresh, untainted air.” After quickly learning I can’t fish 24/7 365 days a year (Stupid, I know!) I had to find alternative methods to silence the ensuing madness, I found that a notebook and a pen provided ample tranquility. I stumbled upon “The Speckled Truth” a year or two ago and instantly became intrigued, there was a collection of ideas and opinions in an endless sea of science-backed information that would take a considerable amount of time to digest. In addition to this already useful trout encyclopedia, the “Dirty 30 Citation Program” was created by the guys at Speckled Truth to collect data on the “holy grail of big trout fishing” a 30"+ sow.

Speaking of the devil I recently read something interesting in a book titled “World Class Texas Trout Tomorrow…” written by Scott Murray, an angler and active conservationist on the Texas Coast. An average nine-year-old female seatrout is 30.8 inches in length and 10.23 pounds while an average nine year old male is 20.4 inches in length and 2.9 pounds. Only about .03% of the sea-trout population are nine-year old females, sounds more like “Finding Big-Foot” than fishing to me! Why do the majority of trophy-trout purists suddenly become self-proclaimed philosophers you ask? Well if you had to describe your journey to a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, you’d probably use descriptors out of your IQ range too! The mere thought of a double-digit trout sends my eager brain into frantic overdrive, a firework show of synapses to be more specific. The process of transferring these pre-conceived notions and hopeful tomorrow’s onto paper has made me question my sanity a few times, I’m not going to lie to ya!

A level-headed gentleman once said, “The Charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of that which is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope,” which resonates with my “trout-itch”. It might take five rough drafts and a few Miller Lites to halfway make sense but it’s authentic and written with passion in hopes that you (the readers) stay intrigued and learn a thing or two along the way. I’ll be speaking with some of Calcasieu’s most prolific anglers as I dive into the notorious history of the Calcasieu-Sabine Basin, a gulf-coast renowned trophy trout fishery.

My goal isn’t to sit here and preach seldomly regurgitated opinions or boast occasional fish stories, the goal is to reach as many like-minded anglers as myself and form a conservation-oriented coalition so that future generations have the same opportunities and experiences we are presented with. I’d like to think that if you’re truly passionate about catching seatrout this should present no argument, this whole “well nobody left any buffalo for me!” idea is a plague amongst the fishing community. “You said you weren’t going to preach.” I know… I know… I just want to say that ditching the stringer at the dock doesn’t make you a tree-hugger, a common misconception amongst Team Zip-Loc.

I like to refer to the current saltwater fishing community in Southwest Louisiana as “a house divided” which must soon find a symbiotic approach towards the future of our estuaries before we’re faced with completely irreversible affects. So, when Capt. Chris asked me if I’d like to start writing a monthly piece for them, it was a no-brainer! A platform such as “The Speckled Truth” holds indefinite reach across the Gulf-Coast/East Coast saltwater fishing community which is exactly what’s needed to effectively spark a new-found interest in “The Process”. Capt. Mike McBride explains this process as “learning the formulas of nature and putting together as many elements as we can for a better chance at success” which coincides with lure fishing as well! The sense of accomplishment that comes with selecting an appropriate color, bait-profile, and lastly presentation enticing a seclusive sow into inhaling my lure outweighs the reading on the boga’s in my opinion. As a millennial that caught the tail-end of a once fabled Calcasieu-Sabine Basin I’ve adopted a “let em swim” mindset early on with hopes and aspirations for a sustainable comeback trophy seatrout population.

Once you (the readers) become familiar with the peculiar science of seatrout and their timely habitual movements especially during spawning season, you will look at them more respectively. At the end of the day I’m all for fish fry’s and cold cervezas but this “Mister Twister Prover Mentality” solely for dock shots and Instagram likes has got to go, there’s an ample population of corky-killers (redfish) if you’re that mad at em! Find your process and you will slowly begin to realize why I would rather be shin-deep with a 15+ MPH norther gradually turning my extremities purple than just about anywhere else. There is just something special about standing in sub 50-degree water with a stomach full of acorns watching gray ducks get acrobatic over the Rosso infested marsh.

I hope you all enjoyed; I’m already looking forward to next month! Until the next one, tight lines but most importantly “Let Em Swim!”.

-Hunter