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by Karl Malik
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
"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
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
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.
Our 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
are knowledgeable and eager to please their clients. Importantly,
the guides are masters at retrieving snagged crankbaits from rocks