Mexico Bass Fishing

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by Karl Malik

Reel Mexican Adventures - Karl MalikI was staring out my office window watching an early-January rain gradually change to a wet snow when the phone rang. "Hello," I answered. On the other end my friend Gary Laden immediately blurted "Hey, you want to go fish for bass in Mexico next week?"

I was taken aback momentarily by the abrupt question. I needed to noodle through the proposal and its repercussions for a few seconds so I stalled by grunting "Ahmmm, well" a couple of times. Anywhere in Mexico was certainly better than dreary Maryland in January. However, there were work obligations, plane fare, and the wrath of my wife to consider.

"Uh, well, I would love to go to Mexico, but I don't know if I can," I finally said. "Exactly where would we be fishing?"

Gary explained that he was excited because the opportunity just came up. The trip was to Lake Huites, Mexico and we would be staying at Lake Huites Lodge. Lake Huites Lodge has a great reputation as the best facility on Lake Huites and Lake Huites itself has been quickly developing a reputation as one of, if not the, best bass lakes in Mexico.

Now I was excited. I did a quick check of fares to Los Mochis, Mexico on the Internet while we were chatting and discovered that even at this late date the price as was very reasonable - bordering on cheap.

"OK, I'm in!" I said. I knew there would be some fall out at work and at home, but this was a great opportunity and I was betting that the trip would be worth dealing with the repercussions later.

Lake Huites Lodge

Lake Huites located high in the Sierra Madre mountain range near the town of Choix in the state of Sinaloa. It is an impoundment that provides power and irrigation to the surrounding region and is one of the most beautiful and remote lakes in all of Mexico.

After flying into Los Mochis, Mexico (the closest city to Lake Huites) in the late afternoon, we were transported several hours in a comfortable van across flat desert and then into the mountains to Lake Huites Lodge.

Upon arrival in the evening, our group was welcomed with cocktails and delicious meal. After dinner, Rene Salazar, the camp manager was making the rounds making sure that we were settled and comfortable. The rooms were excellent, but Gary and I were curious about the fishing that we could expect in the morning. We had been warned before coming that recent rains had turned the lake very muddy and the fishing had become tough; we were all given the choice to travel or to visit another time when the conditions improved.

"Well, the water is starting to clear at the far end of the lake and where feeder creeks enter the canyons," he said, "but the fishing has been tough." Tough? What exactly did that mean? "The last group here only averaged ten to twenty fish each per day and the fish size was down to about a three-pound average," he said with a wince.

Ten to twenty fish per day and the average is 3lbs? Back home that would be a banner day, but at Lake Huites that is embarrassingly slow fishing. In typical conditions one hundred fish days are not uncommon on Lake Huites. While the fish in the three-pound range are most common, many fish are caught each day in the 5- 7-lb range, and 8- to 10-lb fish are uncommonly common.

While we were on the subject, I asked Rene about the baits that were the best producers. "Bill Dance Fat Free Shad," he said without hesitation. I asked if there was anything else that was producing. "You'll catch a few fish on almost everything you throw, but if you want to catch numbers run from point to point and crank a Fat Free Shad."

Fishing Lake Huites

The next morning Gary and I were woken by a knock at the door and the delivery of coffee to our room-a very pleasant little lagniappe. We dressed quickly, ate a hearty breakfast, and rushed down to the waiting boats to begin fishing.

Reel Mexican Adventures _ Largemouth BassOur guide had us zipping across the lake before sunrise but a full moon over a totally clear sky illuminated the lake as if the sun were already up. The air was a little nippy and I hunkered down into my coat as I watched the sky turn purple and blue behind the cactus-studded mesas as the sun finally began its ascent.

On our way to Huites Gary and I made a pact. We wanted to catch at least one fish using every common bass-fishing technique that we had equipment to try. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, Zara Spooks, lipped-crankbaits, lipless-crankbaits, worming, flipping Texas-rigged tubes, jigging heavy brush, and twitching a Slug-Go - we were committed to figuring out a way to catch fish with everything we had in our box.

Our guide made his first stop in a canyon that snaked to and terminated in a wide shallow bay with weeds on the edges and flooded brush. It looked like spinnerbait water to us and we hit the water with a vigor that is only reproducable in the first few hours of a trip. We soon discovered that chartreuse with gold blades was the color combination that the fish wanted and took several nice bass. We scratched spinnerbaits off our lists and moved on.

Next we moved on to a large flat that had flooded brush. The tops of the dead bushes stuck out of the water several feet and in most places the bushes were spaced 16- to 20-feet apart. "This looks like worming water to me," Gary said. Not being much of a bass angler I had seldom fished a worm and Gary promised to demonstrate the technique and help me become proficient.

We were fishing twelve-inch purple worms and Gary missed several short bites. However, after over an hour of fishing we hadn't landed a fish. Finally, I decided to go back to using a spinnerbait and just as soon as I made my first cast, Gary struck hard and was into a nice fish. After making a couple of swashbuckling moves to keep the fish out of the brush, Gary landed a 5-lber.

"You gave-up too quick," he said after taking a big self-satisfied sniff. I agreed and went back to worm fishing. Within five minutes I saw my line move towards the boat and set the hook. Not to be outdone, just before I landed my fish, Gary nearly fell out of the boat setting the hook on yet another fish. Immediately, the fish ran full steam towards open water and I could see from the bow in Gary's rod there was considerable pressure being applied but the fish did not seem to be taking much notice. After a battle that lasted several minutes and featured a thrilling gill-flaring headshake just out of the water, Gary finally landed a ten-pound whopper. What a way to start a fishing trip! It wasn't even noon of the first day yet and we had already boated a ten-pound trophy and a fist full of smaller fish each.

At Lake Huites Lodge, anglers return to camp each day at noontime for a cocktail (if you wish) and a leisurely lunch. You then return to the water to fish until dark. On our ride back from lunch on the first day we saw Rene fishing a cove that was formed by a point that followed a line perpendicular to a very narrow spot in the canyon.

Bill Dance Fat Free ShadAs we were passing-by Rene began waving to us wildly and motioning that we should come toward him. As we approached we could hear him yelling, "Bill Dance! Bill Dance!" Rene had found a huge school of fish and was hooking up on nearly every cast of a Fat Free Shad. Gary and I grabbed our cranking rods and threw into the cove. As soon as our crankbaits dove near the bottom they were inhaled. For the next hour we caught fish after fish-nearly on every cast--a true fishing blitz. The fish were all cookie cutter replicas, weighing just over 3-lbs. What fun! We finally grew board with taking fish on each cast and moved on to find some bigger fish that would present a greater challenge. It isn't often that you willingly leave fish to find fish.

The rest of our trip to Lake Huites included some fast fishing when we would find a roving school holding over a point, interspersed with some challenging fishing along banks or flats filled with brush and stumps. It was truly great fishing in that for most of the day it was just challenging enough to keep us on our toes with steady action--and then occasionally a roving school would provide a thrilling blitz bite.

Grand Finale

The highlight of our trip occurred in the waning hours of our final day. Gary and I asked our guide to run-and-gun points. We would approach a point, cast a crankbait five or six times each and then move on if we did not get a bite.

Lake Huites Lodge - 14 pound largemouth bassThe fourth point that we fished extended from horseshoe shaped island. A deep channel separated a high canyon wall from the island on one side and the other side of the island opened into a long and wide flat that finally dropped off into the deeper part of the lake. The wind had kicked up and a strong current was created in the channel. After six casts our guide suggested that we move-on but this spot looked too good to leave. As we drifted in the current within the channel, we suddenly saw bait boiling in the shallower water between the arms of the horseshoe. For the next two hours we caught fish after fish-nearly on every cast. When the action finally slowed, we switched from crankbaits to spinnerbaits and made a circuit around the island plucking individual fish from pockets along the island's bank. We then returned to the inside portion of the horseshoe and discovered that the school had reformed once again and enjoy another round of blitz fishing. We finally left the fish at dark still biting. Our arms and hands were sore from battling fish and our thumbs raw and bleeding from lipping so many fish. It was a perfect end to a great trip.

What of our pact to fish with everything in our tackle box? We nearly succeeded. We caught at least one fish on every bait except for some odd reason, I was unable to get a bite on a pig-n-jig combination. I blew it. As a penalty I am going to force myself to go back to Lake Huites Lodge later this spring and practice with a jig-and-pig combination until I get it right.

About Lake Huites Lodge

Lake Huites Lodge is widely considered the best operation on Lake Huites. The accommodations are spacious, very clean and comfortable. Food at Lake Huites Lodge is delicious and very high quality. American style breakfasts and Mexican style lunches and dinners feature something for everyone. Bottled water, juice, soda, beer and margaritas are all available in unlimited quantities.

Boats used at Lake Huites Lodge are modified v-hull bass boats and provide comfortable fishing for two anglers. Lake Huites Lodge guides are knowledgeable and eager to please their clients. Importantly, the guides are masters at retrieving snagged crankbaits from rocks and stumps.