Why Shell Beach?

Lower St. Bernard Parish, whether one launches out of Shell Beach, Hopedale, Yscloskey, or Delacroix, has long been a sportfishing playground for New Orleanians. Fishermen can launch at any of the four sites to access the rocks at the end of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.

Both Brian Guidry and Steve Kissee grew up fishing St. Bernard. Sixty-year-old Guidry was raised in a working class neighborhood in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, then moved to the suburb of Chalmette.

Kissee is younger than Guidry at 52, and was born and raised in Chalmette. He became a neighbor and fishing friend to Guidry until both were run out by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Both ended up in the Lakeview section of New Orleans, and interestingly enough, again were neighbors. They are close enough friends to share ownership of their fishing platform, a 21-foot Hydrasport.

“Shell Beach is our stomping grounds — our whole lives,” said Kissee. “Our dads brought us here.”

“We liked it because the fishing was always good,” added Guidry. “And when we lived in Chalmette, it was close to home.

“Dad had a 15-horse motor and we would rent boats at Delacroix, Paris Road, or Rat’s Nest Road in Slidell. Before we had a motor, my dad would row along the (Lake Pontchartrain) Trestles in old wooden rental skiffs with bait wells in their middles.”

Guidry sardonically referred to himself in those days as “poor white trash.”

Kissee laughed and reminisced that their first boat was a small 14-foot boat with a 40 horsepower Evinrude Lark motor. “It was a treat! Before that we went with our neighbor who had a boat.

“My grandfather had a camp on Lake Catherine. That’s how I got hooked on fishing. I would sit with a cup of shrimp all day long and catch croakers. They averaged 8 inches long; I kept them all. We would scale them, cut their heads off, and fry them.

“Now our preference is to fish with live bait year-round if we can get it. When live bait is unavailable, we use soft plastics. Live shrimp is our first choice.”

“Yeah,” said Guidry, “it’s different now. When I was a kid we were poor. We didn’t have the luxury of affording live bait. We put a chunk of dead shrimp on a shad rig and threw it out.”

About Jerald Horst 959 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman.