For most anglers, heading somewhere foreign to chase trophy sized bass is a once in a lifetime type endeavor. From an expense & logistical standpoint it can be a tough to meal to swallow… That is until you’ve pulled the trigger, and usually end up deciding you can’t imagine not making it at least a once a year requirement! That being said, each trip you take requires changes – Not only to your gear and techniques, but also to the way you interpret fish behavior…
The fine folks at Anglers Inn International– One of Mexico’s top fishing lodges, hit us up on twitter recently asking us our “Top ModZ” for catching giant Mexican bass… Here’s a few great tips and modifications (in no particular order) to help you target GIANT bass south of the border with with two of Anglers Inn’s hottest trophy bass lakes: Picachos, the newest lake to be added to the A.I. Family… And El Salto a trophy bass mainstay where the lake record is over 18lbs & the small ones run about 6, taking into account:
- #1 Shiny & New isn’t always a good thing – When fishing lakes where giant bass grow we’ve found that our more beat up lures tend to get the most action. Frankly, we’ve found that to be true just about everywhere we fish both foreign and domestic — But particularly in places where bass grow at a larger rate than average like Mexico. Maybe it’s the congruency with the amount of sunlight… Or with how stressful a life the forage has being chased by the open mouthed whale sharks of bass that inhabit the waters they live in… Or maybe it’s the fact that so many anglers buy all new product specifically for the trip and tend to only throw lures fresh out of the package… But it always seems like our most productive lures are either sun-baked, beat to heck, or marked up. Simply pre-treating some of your lures before you leave will not only save you time on the water but also give you something just different enough to stand out. The biggest bass in most lakes tend to be extremely smart and not overly aggressive comparatively. Muted, more natural colors, and injured looking patterns tend to receive more attention than loud, bright, and obnoxious ones. Sun-baking for example takes a long time to do properly… Other little things like Un-trueing your lures line ties, sharpening the diving lips or grinding them down slightly to change their shape and action are also best done before you hit the water — Start when you book you’re trip and you’ll be better prepared when you get there.
- #2 Don’t Rock The Stocks – Giant bass not only weigh more… They also have larger, thicker, harder to pierce jaws — Always upgrade your stock treble hooks and split rings whenever it’s possible without destroying the action of the lure. Key aspects to consider here include hook gap size, sharpness, strength, & type. Make sure you have hooks big enough and sharp enough to not only pierce a thick jaw but stay attached… Also make sure you are using the type of hook that BEST suits the situation. It’s bad enough to be using the wrong shaped treble or too short of a length from the body at home when fishing for fun. Being around trophy sized fish is a big opportunity, give yourself the best chance to convert those opportunities by not sacrificing them before they even arrive. There’s something to be said about hooksets here too — That snap-set looks cool, but far too often ends in heartbreak… Possibly one of the biggest modifications or corrections you can make for big fish is to always employ a steady pull or sweeping hookset… But having dull, improperly sized, or weak hooks and rings can quickly make even the most proper hookset just as heartbreaking!
- #3 Play With The Locals – Most trophy bass lakes have at least one if not a few well known lures or colors that just out perform all others by a wide margin… Bring LOTS of them! In the case of Lake El Salto that’s a Fat Free Shad in Citrus Shad, soft stickbaits, and big jigs… None of that information however is a secret, and you can bet you WILL NOT be the only one utilizing it… However using this tip in conjunction with the ModZ we mentioned in tip #1 and having a strong supply of backups with slight variations to them — Will help you stand out from the pack, while still giving the fish exactly what they want.
- #4 Go Big Or Go Home! – As much as this can be true about your lure selection (Do they make a 14 inch Senko? They should!), it’s even more so of your gear selection — Bring the proper gear with you to match the fish you are going after. Sure, it might be fun to try and use the 6ft M spinning rod you use at home for finesse to catch a teenager (Bass over 13 lbs)… But more likely than not, that will just end with a bunch of graphite in your face. You aren’t fishing at home for the size bass you would normally find… That’s why you are taking a trip somewhere else in the first place most likely… So make the most out of it by having what you need! Unless you already fish in an area with an abundance of double digit fish — Consider an upgrade to your usual rod, reel, line, terminal tackle, and hook size choices. As well, a lot of us have lures or gear we’d prefer to save for a particular situation or rainy day… If you aren’t already going into the trip with the intent to specifically throw them for once… Chances are that day will appear on your trip anyway! They are doing you zero good sitting on a shelf or in a tackle box. Just do yourself a favor and also bring the right gear to throw them without fear as well.
- #5We Know, We Know! …Match The Hatch! – No seriously though, simplicity is key — Just match the hatch. This tip goes along with #3 except that it’s not so much about a particular lure but about the type of forage found where you are going. The last thing you want to do when heading to a new lake is have every type of forage imitating color except the one they eat in that lake… So begin with finding out what that is and start from there when selecting colors to take on your trip. In the case of most Mexican lakes like El Salto and Picachos that means tilapia & Shad… So you can probably leave the pink, perch, blueback, & trout colored lures at home.
- #6 Lake Age Matters – It should go without saying but aggressiveness of fish is a comparative thing… Overall, Mexican lakes get far less pressure than some of the least pressured lakes found anywhere in the U.S. — That having been said using the age of an impoundment in newly forming trophy bass filled areas of the world is an important factor to consider. Newer lakes like Picachos (5 yrs old) should have more aggressive – less weary fish in it than would be found in an older more established lake like El Salto. However, newer lakes generally also have less natural cover and patternable history so take that knowledge into account when selecting your presentations. So for example while I will still take them into account — I might not be as concerned with tips 1 & 3 at Picachos as I would be at El Salto or at a long established natural lake in the same vicinity.
We hope these tips and tackle modifications will help you when heading south of the border to catch trophy sized bass. It’s really a treat that every angler should experience once in a lifetime if not as many times in a year as there life will allow!
If you are looking for more info on Anglers Inn International and fishing in Mexico please check them out at: www.anglersinn.com or call 1-800-468-2347
“Michael Ferman is the founder of TackleModZ Media – Follow him on Twitter @TackleModZ & Check out the TackleModZ FB Page: www.facebook.com/TackleModZ“