Imagine driving to the airport in January with 6 inches of snow on the ground and the wind pushing the temperature below zero. You get on your plane in the morning and by that afternoon, you are in 70 degree weather
Imagine driving to the airport in January with 6 inches of snow on the ground and the wind pushing the temperature below zero. You get on your plane in the morning and by that afternoon, you are in 70 degree weather and being greeted with margarita’s as you arrive at your destination. Lodge staff grab your bags and equipment and rush it to your room as the lodge manager makes you feel welcome and briefs you on the day’s fishing. You are fed like a king that evening and you head to your room for a restless night’s sleep knowing that the next morning, you will be on a lake loaded with Grande bass that will hit just about anything you throw at them. Sound like a dream, well it can be reality.
What I am talking about here is Mexican Bass Fishing. I have been fortunate enough to have fished many of the Mexican lakes made famous recently by outdoor television and fishing publications. My first trip to Mexico was with Alan Warren, TV Show host, to Lake El Salto and I have never been the same since. My wife and I have returned 2-3 times a year for the past 5 years and look forward to many more trips in the future. I am going to provide a general summary of what is involved in planning a trip to Mexico and hopefuly answer your questions you may have concerning a trip of a lifetime South of the Border.
Choosing a lodge and lake: The first thing you need to do in your planning process is to choose your destination. There are a number of great lodges to choose from on a number of lakes. One of the best ways to investigate is to do a search for current fishing reports. Please search for reports from both the lodges and from those who have recently fished there. Some of the top lakes to search include; Lake El Salto, Lake Huites, Lake Baccarac, Lake Mateos, Lake Comedero, and Lake Agua Milpa to start with. Lake El Salto has the highest number of lodges to choose from and the widest range in pricing. Please call the lodge representatives and inquire about the lodge ammenities, price, transportation from the airport, and current report. There is nothing wrong with asking for names of those who just left and most people have no problem in speaking with you about their experiences there. Prices normally range from $1100-$2000 for a 4 night/3 day fishing trip that includes all meals, drinks, lodging, guides, and transportation to and from the airport. Some lodges charge extra for the transportation, so please ask. Once you have chosen a lodge, you need to choose the time of year to travel. Most lodges are open from October-June. The fishing from month to month varies greatly and your favorite tactics to fish should be a consideration. The lakes are at full pool in October from heavy rains in August and September. If you like to fish topwater, spinnerbaits, shallow techniques, then I would choose a trip from October-January. The spawn normally begins in January and ends by March. You have a chance at a prespawn fish during those three months, but it can be hit or miss. April-June is normally better deep water fishing months with plastics, crankbaits, and swimbaits. I personally like fishing May/June because the lakes are at lower pool levels, the big fish are congregated, and I have caught my biggest fish in those months.
Equipment: One of the first things I learned about bass fishing in Mexico is to come ready for battle. I highly suggest Med/Hvy to Hvy rods from 6.5 to 7.5 ft in length. Baitcasters or Spinning reels spooled with 50-65lb braid or 17-20lb mono. Why take a chance of losing a fish of a lifetime because tour equipment failed. Depending on the current fishing conditions, I would always take large plastic worms, lizards, stick baits, swimbaits, deep diving cranks like the DD22, topwater lures, spinnerbaits, plenty of hooks, sinkers, and extra line. Base your color selection and lure choices off of current reports.
Personal Items: Clothing based on the temperatures for the time of year you are fishing. Many lodges offer laundry service so there is no need to bring more than 3 days change of clothing. These lakes are very remote, so bring any personal items you may need during your stay such as: medications, toiletries, passport, sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, a good camera, notebook for recording your fish measurements and weights, hat, rain gear, and light jacket. Also advise the lodge manager of any allergies you may have to food, etc..
A Normal Day: You will be awoken about an hour before daylight and served a full breakfast. Your equipment will be loaded for you in the boat. After breakfast, you will be taken to the boats and introduced to your guide for the day. Most guides speak enough English to communicate with you. You will fish the morning period and then take a break for lunch and short siesta if you choose. You then will return for the afternoon and evening fishing. You will be brought back to the lodge at dark for evening dinner and turn in for much needed sleep. Day 2, same agenda until your last day. This is a normal schedule at most lodges. Please refrain from telling your guide where to fish. The guides know where the fish are and they will tell you what to use to catch them. No matter how hard it is to not do your own thing, please don’t. These guides are good and understand the more enjoyable your trip, the better the tip. You may suggest things such as fishing for numbers, or for large fish. No matter how good the guide is, they cannot make you catch fish. If you listen to them, your chances will greatly improve. If it sounds like I have travelled this road, you are right. I did not know more than my guide!
Last Day: After fishing with your guide on the last day, it is customary to tip them. I normally tip $25-50 a day for the guides and the same for the lodge staff. For example: I will tip my guide $75 and I will give the lodge manager $75 to be split up among the lodge staff. If you had a great trip, please tip accordingly. Your equipment will be loaded for you and you will be returned to the airport for your flight home.
This is a very short summary of a bass fishing trip to Mexico. Not all trips are the same and some will be better than others. I think you will discover that the service you get on these trips is top notch and one of the main reasons you will want to return. Fishing is fishing and even though you are fishing in Mexico, it is not guaranteed you will catch a monster largemouth bass. I feel that the trip is a total experience package from the service, to the friendships made, to the fishing. If you have ever contemplated about taking a trip to Mexico, please take at least one trip, as I am pretty sure you will have a great time.
Jay D. Schurz, President
Mexican Bass Connection, LLC