UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

My First Trip to El Salto

My First Trip to El Salto
Jesse Schultz

About 20 years ago I read about U.S. anglers traveling to Mexico to catch giant bass, and ever since I’ve wanted to see for myself if the fishing is still as good as they said it was back then. A double-digit bass can be caught in lakes around the United States in places such as Clear Lake, the California Delta and Lake Guntersville. However, I’d always heard the likelihood of catching one at El Salto – Mexico’s premier big-bass destination – was much higher.

I finally got my chance to find out thanks to an invitation from Abu Garcia and Berkley for a three-day fishing trip to Angler’s Inn on El Salto. I jumped at this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, hopped on a plane and went in search of my own Mexican bass fishing adventure.

 

El Salto

Arrival

Angler’s Inn greeted all the members of the outdoor media that were participating at the Mazatlán International Airport with an air-conditioned van and a cooler full of cold drinks. It was my first taste of Angler’s Inn’s hospitality, and the staff was fantastic from start to finish.

After an hour-and-15-minute drive we rolled through the gates of Angler’s Inn Resort to a view that had everyone’s fishing juices flowing. Like most trips to the resort, we arrived in the afternoon, and the staff wasted no time getting us settled into our rooms and off to meet our guides for an evening session of fishing.

The first evening I was paired with a guide named Luis and Hunter Shryock. If you don’t know Shryock, he is a video wizard that started his own production company called 496 Films. Shryock is also an accomplished angler who just recently qualified for the Bassmaster Elite Series and will now fish alongside his brother, Fletcher. With Hunter’s advice I tied on a Berkley 10-inch Power Worm to catch my first El Salto bass. Within the first hour of the trip we were both hooked up on a couple quality fish that would set the tone for the rest of the week.

 

Angler's Inn

Our schedule

Angler’s Inn operates on the perfect schedule: eat, fish, eat, fish, eat, sleep … repeat. We were greeted every morning at 5:30 a.m. with coffee in our rooms. A hot breakfast was served at the outdoor dining room at 6. Fishing boats and guides were ready to go by 6:30. And as soon as there was safe light to run we were off to our first spot.

At about 11:30 each day, when everyone’s sides were aching from setting the hook so often, the crew headed in for lunch. I’m a selective eater, some might say, but I found plenty to like at each meal throughout the week I was at the resort. If you’re thinking about making a visit and you’re pickier than me, don’t worry because lunch and dinner both come with dessert options that no one could pass up. You won’t go hungry. Just don’t go to Angler’s Inn expecting to lose weight.

I took advantage of a quick nap each afternoon to prepare for the evening fishing session, which started at around 2:30. For me, the morning sessions were the most enjoyable for the fishing, but during the evening sessions the sunsets were incredible. The lake is surrounded by mountains that provided fantastic opportunities for scenic photography.

The dinner bell rang each evening at 7:15, and as the group gathered the bragging began by 7:16, usually led by the person who caught the biggest bass of the day.

During dinner and over games of cornhole after, we shared stories of big bass landed and bigger ones that got away. By the end of each night I was beat, bruised and tired but eager to sleep it off and do the whole thing over again the next day.

 

Jesse Schultz

The fishing

Fishing on El Salto is very similar to fishing lakes in Texas such as Lake Fork. Fishing offshore structure was the most prominent pattern, as we were still in the late-summer season. Because the lake is drawn down 20 to 40 feet each year, the guides knew the bottom contour of each hump and break that we fished. They’d line us up to make the best cast possible even without GPS. The areas that we fished had standing timber, rock and even a house foundation from before the Rio Elota was dammed and flooded to create El Salto.

Most offshore spots we fished were in 10 to 15 feet of water. The obvious bait of choice we used was the Berkley 10-inch Power Worm in black/blue and blue fleck, Texas rigged with a 3/8-ounce tungsten bullet sinker and a Berkley Fusion19 6/0 or 7/0 Superline EWG. Sometimes the fish would just grab the tail of the big worm, so the oversized hook was key to hooking more fish.

After catching more than 100 fish a day I started experimenting with a few hook and worm combinations. I’d brought along some 1/2-ounce Secret Lures Ledge Shaker heads because I knew they worked well when fishing offshore on Kentucky Lake, and I rigged them with straight-tail Strike King 10-inch Bullworms. It started catching a bunch of fish, and soon realized that the standup-style head was produced more bites than a Texas rig when fishing with the Bullworm as well as the 10-inch Power Worm and the new Berkley Maxscent Kingtail Worm.

Berkley Dredger

Other baits that worked well for the group were the new Berkley Dredger crankbait and Berkley Warpig lipless crankbait. When the fish were active these baits shined. We found feeding fish in the morning that were willing to hit a topwater, but burning a Warpig through the feeding zone produced even more bites.

 

El Salto

Trip recap

Overall, this trip exceeded my expectations. The travel was simple, with no issues getting in and out of the country with a U.S. passport. The crew at the resort was there when you needed it and wanted to make every part of the trip memorable. And, even though I never landed a double-digit bass, the fishing was amazing. I hated to leave but, on the flight home, was already dreaming of visiting again in search of that fish of a lifetime.

I want to leave you with a short list of must-haves for when you get the chance to take a trip to El Salto.

 

Baits

Lipless crankbaits

Deep-diving crankbaits

River2Sea Whopper Ploppers

Big worms

Big swimbaits

 

Tackle

Heavy-power rods

15- to 20-pound-test line

Pliers

Scale

 

Misc.

Bug spray for your ankles (thank me later)

Tags: el-salto  mexico  jesse-schultz  blog 

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