Fishing Report: Topwater Baits:
Lobina Lures Rio Rico poppers or Yellow Magics: white, white with sparkles and bleeding shad.
Heddon Zara Spook and Lucky Craft Sammy: shad, chrome with black top and white.
Storm WildEye 4- and 5 -inch Swim Shads: Pearl and Bunker (Hot Colors)
Yum Money Minnows or Basstrix: 5-inch in bluegill, hologram shad and herring with 5/0 or 6/0, 1/8-ounce weighted hook.
Booyah double willow blade: ½-ounce in white/chartreuse.
Eight-inch Zoom Lizards: watermelon red flake and watermelon (Hot Colors!!!!)
Berkley Power Worms: 10-inch, black with blue tail and green pumpkin.
Yamamoto Senkos, Yum Dingers or Bass Pro Shops 5-, 6- and 7-inch Stinkos:
watermelon red flake, watermelon and black with blue flake.
A small bullet weight goes very well with these baits in 1/8 and 1/16-ounce.
Zoom Super Flukes: pearl white.
Bomber Fat Free Shad: deep diver in citrus shad.
A full moon rose over Lake El Salto during this report period, and that was good news for visiting anglers. February’s full moon marks prime time for spawning bass down here south of the border, and the fishing has been hot.
Here’s what some recent guests had to say about their trip, starting with our friend Bruce Holt, executive director of G. Loomis Rods and a lifelong angler, who says he enjoyed some of the most incredible fishing action he’s ever experienced during his recent visit.
“When it comes to consistently catching big bass, Mexico’s Lake El Salto is where it’s at,” he said. “The bass grow big, and they are aggressive. Pound for pound, there isn’t a bass anywhere that fights harder than those in El Salto. There are tons of fish in the 4- to 7-pound range, with fish up to 15 pounds available. I have taken several El Salto bass over 10 pounds, with the biggest being 13 pounds, 5 ounces. El Salto is about as good as it gets. I can’t remember the number of fish I’ve taken there in the 5- to 9-pound range. Having just spent a few days on the lake with fishing buddy Renaud Pelletier, I was reminded just how good the fishing can get, not to mention the unbelievable service that crew provide.”
Bruce and Renaud caught some really quality fish on their trip, with four around the 8-pound mark. One morning, they had 20 bass of five pounds or more in about a 90-minute period. On another day, they say a “wolf pack” of 4- to 8-pounders attacked a school of shad off a secondary point right in front of their boat. They hooked several before they moved off, but adrenalin coursed through their veins for the rest of the afternoon!
“We were so excited it was hard to settle down,” Bruce told us. “We caught most of our bigger fish on 5- and 6-inch soft-plastic swimbaits like Strike King’s Shadalicious or an 8-inch Mission Fish in deep water – 15 to 24 feet. We did really well with a Bomber Fat Free Shad (Citrus color, ¾-ounce size). Zoom watermelon 8-inch lizards caught us a number of bass, but those fish were smaller on the average than those caught on big crankbaits and swimbaits. Another great big-fish bait is Yamamoto’s 7-inch Senko in watermelon/black flake or watermelon/red flake, fished on flats around timber or around cover along the shoreline.
“The one thing that really makes the difference in a fishing trip is the lodge,” Bruce continued. “A bad day at most lodges is just that. But at even the bad days can be great. due to the food, the surroundings and the staff’s attention to detail and your every need make even the worst day of fishing great!” Bruce’s friend Renaud Pelletier is a three-time qualifier for the Bassmasters Classic and a serious, successful tournament fisherman in the Northwest. “If you're looking for a way to shed wintertime cabin fever,” he said, “there's no better escape than to Lake El Salto in Mexico. On his fourth trip to in ten years, we got exactly what my bass-starved ego needed. Bruce and I spent four days there and caught plenty enough of those hard-fighting Mexican bass to tide me over till they start biting up here in the Northwest. The accommodations, service and friendly attention of the staff and guides made the trip exceptional.”
Renaud said that while they didn’t catch any bass over 10 pounds, as is common at El Salto, they caught plenty of fish in the 5- to 8-pound range and many more 3- to 5-pounders. Our most consistent pattern for larger fish was using 4- to 6-inch swimbaits fished slowly along the bottom in 10 to 15 feet over offshore humps and creek ledges,” he reported. “Heavier weighted-keel hooks rigged Texas style in shad and minnow-colored Berkley Hollow Bellies and Basstrix worked best. I also got into a good bite with a 6-inch Mission Fish, landing two over 7 pounds on consecutive casts. In one midday stretch, we caught four in the 7-pound class in less than half an hour.”
Renaud said their next best pattern was cranking 3/4-ounce, deep-running Bomber Fat Free Shad crankbaits in Citrus Shad color over creek channel swings. “On day three, we had an incredible hour and a half stretch where we took 20 or more bass over 5 pounds and another 20 between 3 and 5,” he said. “And man do those crank fish get mad when hooked. I had forgotten how aggressive and strong they are down there. I also caught two or three quality fish each morning and evening on an 8-inch MS Slammer wake bait, the largest of which was 7.5 pounds. It seemed most of the better fish were not relating to shallow shoreline cover on this trip except for very early and late.
“Of course, we caught many good fish on the standby Salto plastics like 8-inch Zoom lizards, 10-inch Berkley Power Worms and larger Senkos,” he continued. “You can't go to Mexico without them! Just prior to our trip, a party whacked some 8- to 10-pounders on a 7-inch Senko. Watermelon black, watermelon red and green pumpkin for lizards and Senkos worked best. The black/blue tail Power worm was also a consistent producer.