Cold Margaritas & Hot Fishing


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Lake Huites LodgeMexico has emerged as the place where even the most fantastic bass-fishing dreams come true. Transplanted Florida-strain largemouths thrive in their south of the border domain to produce fisheries of incredible potential. For any bass fanatic desiring to boat lunkers by the dozen, a trip to one of Mexico's phenomenal bass factories is an absolute must. I made my personal pilgrimage to bassing nirvana early last fall. My destination was Lake Huites, high in the Sierra Madres of western Mexico.

Lake Huites is a relatively new fishing impoundment, having been first opened to American anglers in the spring of 1997. A large reservoir-almost 30 miles long and comprising 30,000 acres at full pool, Huites supplies life-giving water to irrigate the fertile agricultural regions throughout the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

Arriving at Lake Huites Lodge late the first evening, our party relaxed with a delicious dinner, a few margaritas, and some good conversation before retiring for the night.

The next morning the twelve of us were up before dawn. After a hearty breakfast, our guides loaded all the tackle and shuttled us to our boats. Eager, but in no hurry, my partner and I were the last to launch, content just to watch as the gathering dawn revealed the first glimpse of the spectacular scenery that is everywhere on Huites. Once underway, the fishing possibilities were almost unlimited. Dozens of great-looking coves, points, and sunken trees along with plenty of interesting shoreline all beckoned our attention. We relied on our guide, Rene Salazar, to help sort things out for us. Rene methodically moved us from spot to spot, and we took fish on a variety of lures, with plastic worms accounting for the most bass. Mid-morning produced the first of many Lake Huites monsters, when my partner nailed an 8-pounder on a watermelon lizard.

Mexicn Largemouth BassAfter lunch, Rene wanted to try a different section of the lake. Plastic worms and lizards continued to be effective. Late afternoon found us working a shoreline adjacent to a shallow flat. Fish began breaking the surface there, a few at first, then a near frenzy. A bunch of bass had herded a school of shad onto the flat and were busting them mercilessly. We quickly slipped within casting distance and began throwing Rat-L-Traps into the fray. For 20 minutes, the action was frantic. These fish only averaged about two pounds, but almost every cast produced a solid strike. Just as things started to slow down, a savage strike just 20 feet from the boat caught me off guard, breaking my
14-pound line.

As productive and interesting as my first day on Lake Huites was, I still couldn't have imagined what I was in for on day two. Rene had a hunch about a certain cove, and we made our way there in mid-afternoon. We drifted down the middle of it into an area that was between 12 and 17 feet deep. Rene began casting a chartreuse Fat Free Shad. On the second or third cast a good fish clobbered the deep-diving crankbait, and a short time later the seven-pound bass was in the landing net. Rene handed me his outfit rather than waiting for me to tie on a lure like he was using. He pointed to where he wanted me to cast and set about anchoring the boat to hold our position. It was a masterful call. My first cast produced an eight-pound largemouth. A few casts later I landed a 6 -pounder, and shortly after that, one better than seven pounds. My partner was also throwing a deep-running crankbait with similar results, and our guide was getting plenty of practice with the landing net.

Reel Mexican AdventuresIt hardly seemed possible, but I hooked a fish that seemed even bigger and stronger than anything so far. The bass came to the boat quickly, but stayed deep. I wrestled the fish to the surface a little at a time. When I finally got a look at it, all I could do was gasp. It was close to 10 pounds. To make things even more dramatic, the lure came free the instant Rene slipped the biggest bass of my life into the net. After a timeout for some photos and a cold drink, I switched to an eight-inch, blue plastic worm and landed two more bass over seven pounds. In a little over an hour, I had the bass-fishing experience of a lifetime-catching six bass in a row over six pounds, including my biggest bass ever. Not a bad afternoon's work.

But exceptional days are the rule not the exception on Lake Huites, especially in terms of the size and numbers of fish most anglers are used to. Here, boating 100 or more bass a day is not uncommon. Huites largemouths average three to four pounds; five- to seven-pounders are a common occurrence; fish of ten pounds or better a constant possibility. One can quickly become spoiled when exposed to this kind of world-class fishing. And if catching numbers of huge bass isn't satisfying enough, imagine not having to contend with jet skis, water-skiers, and the armada of pleasure boats that churn so many great bass lakes into a froth day after day throughout the season. The few boats you are likely to see while fishing Lake Huites will probably just be other small fishing craft like yours. Fishing pressure itself is so light that you can concentrate completely on outwitting the bass rather than competing with other fishermen for the good fishing spots.

The quality of the bass fishing in Lake Huites should remain outstanding for years to come. First, it is a relatively new sport-fishery and could possibly get even better. Because of its remoteness, fishing pressure will probably not become intense. And most important, Huites has been designated a catch-and-release lake, allowing this spectacular body of water to reach and maintain its full potential.

TACKLE:

It probably goes without saying, but there's no need to pack light tackle for a trip to Huites. Because of both the hefty average size of the bass and the possibility of largemouth of a lifetime on nearly every cast, it is prudent not to be undergunned. Nothing will tie your stomach in a knot like hooking the biggest bass of your life on gear that can't handle a real bruiser. A stout bait-casting outfit with 14- to 17-pound line would probably qualify as an all-around outfit for Lake Huites bassing. Because of the limited fishing pressure, Huites bass are rarely line shy, so heavier line provides an adequate safeguard without diminishing effectiveness. Having at least one reel spooled with 20- to 25-pound test line is also a \good idea for situations where it may be necessary to manhandle a good fish away from sunken trees, brush, or other heavy cover.

LURES:

During my trip to Lake Huites, plastic worms and deep-diving crankbaits were my most consistent lures. But on any given day, other fishermen at the lodge reported success with just about every type of bait. The important thing to remember is Lake Huites has almost unlimited amounts of nearly every variety of structure, so if you can't find the lures the fish want, you can probably find some fish that want the lures you have. Any bass fishermen with a well-stocked tackle box will probably have a suitable \arsenal to do battle with Huites bass. A short list of recommendations would include the following: Plastic worms and lizards in 6- to 8-inch lengths and longer. Most of the guides favored watermelonseed, pumpkinseed, motor oil, and similar colors. My two best worming sessions happened while using an electric green Power Worm and blue Mann's Manipulator, Texas-rigged on 4/0 worm hooks with 3/4- to 1-ounce worm weights.

The most popular crankbait was easily the Fat Free Shad in 1/2- and 3/4-ounce models. These deep-divers were certainly the ticket for big bass in deep water. For working the flats and medium depths, Rat-L-Traps inshad or chrome are a good choice.

STRATEGY:

Schools of shad and tilapia comprise the bulk of the forage base for Lake Huites largemouths. The abundance of these baitfish is responsible for growing and maintaining the lake's tremendous population of trophy-sized bass. Even though food is plentiful, Huites bass are not complacent when it comes to their feeding habits. More often than not, these fish take lures of all types aggressively, and sometimes strikes can be savage. Of course, like bass anywhere, there are times when the fish in a given area are not inclined to feed. Therefore, it rarely seemed worthwhile to spend too muchtime at any one spot that wasn't yielding a fish or two. Usually, we found that the most productive locations tended to pay off almost immediately.

LAKE HUITES LODGE:

Reel Mexican Adventures offers all-inclusive packages for anglers at beautiful Lake Huites Lodge. Even though the setting is remote, the accommodations are first-rate and reasonably priced. It truly is a lodge with all the amenities and a full staff on the premises, not a primitive fish camp with huts or trailers. Fabulous meals are prepared by an expert chef and served by the efficient staff. Daily maid service is provided.

The itinerary for a typical four-night, three-day fishing excursion starts with a late-afternoon arrival in Los Mochis, Mexico. Members of the lodge staff meet you at the airport and take care of all the details from that point on. The trip to Lake Huites Lodge is a three-hour drive, the last 20 miles over a rugged mountain road.

Upon arrival at the lodge, it's time for a fine dinner, a few of the best margaritas anywhere, and a little relaxation before settling in for the night. The spacious rooms are air-conditioned with large beds and a private bath.

In the morning, a hot cup of coffee is delivered to your door with the wake-up call, followed by breakfast in the dining hall, then a quick shuttle to the boat launch. The 18-foot boats are stable and roomy fishing craft, powered by 65 hp motors along with an electric trolling motor. Knowledgeable, friendly local guides operate the boat and work hard to put you on the fish, and there is always a cooler full of cold drinks on board.

You return to the lodge around noon for lunch. After the meal, there is time to relax or take a nap, then back to the lake in mid-afternoon to fish until dark. At the end of the day, you wind down with a great dinner followed by drinks and plenty of fish stories before turning in for some well-deserved rest.

At Lake Huites Lodge, a full day of fishing certainly means a full day of fishing.

After three days of dawn to dark bass fishing, you depart the lodge after breakfast for the trip back to the Los Mochis and your flight home.

The season at Lake Huites runs from the first of October until the end of June, making it ideal for a fall or winter getaway With your reservation, management of Lake Huites Lodge will provide a complete list of everything you will need to make your trip enjoyable and successful including an up-to-the-minute list of the hottest lures.