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Mexican Bass Fishing Adventure

Ok I have an exclusive knock-knock joke for Fish On Line Readers (FOLR)
Ramon: "Knock, knock"

Wil: "Whose there?"
Ramon: "It's me Ramon"
Wil: "Ramon who?"
Ramon: "Ramon who is bringing my two new amigos freshly squeezed orange juice and hot coffee.
Wil: "Ah, that Ramon - please come in".
Ramon: "Gracious senor. I will put it down here on your nightstands. Your breakfast will be ready in 20 minutes. The fishing guides are all set for you down by the boats and they say there are lots of bass jumping in the lake. It looks like it will be another beautiful day!"
FOLR: "That's not funny at all!"
Wil: "No - you're right it's not - but does it sound like heaven or what!

This is exactly how I started each morning at Anglers Inn for six glorious days during my bass fishing adventure to Mexico in February 2008. So, even though the knock/knock joke was terrible, that fishing trip was far from it and if you've ever dreamed of catching all kinds of bass in a beautiful location down in a tropical paradise, then read on my FOL amigos.

The Journey Begins:
After flying into Mazatlan on the west coast of Mexico I was driven to Lake El Salto an hour or so away where the main lodge is situated. Once there I would meet my friend and fishing partner Robert Montgomery. He hales from Missouri and is an award winning outdoor writer with Bassmaster Magazine. He had already visited Anglers Inn a dozen times before we arrived but this would be my first trip to Mexico. We stayed at Anglers Inn Resort, the premier bass fishing lodge in that whole Latin American country. Although he's fished around the world, Robert still calls Anglers Inn his favorite bass fishing destination on the planet. I was about to discover why!

Anglers Inn Main Lodge at Lake El Salto

Anglers Inn Main Lodge at Lake El Salto

My first bass of the trip came on my third cast with my trusty Rapala Skitter Pop before the sun even came up. It turned out to be about average during our stay at El Salto - a chunky three pound Florida strain largemouth that didn't know the meaning of the word quit. These Mexican bass fought harder than any largies I had ever encountered and not surprisingly the bigger they got the harder they pulled!
Later that morning we experimented with a variety of baits until we hit upon the two that would be most effective. For me it was a pink and white Rapala X Rap Jerk Bait and for Robert it was the chartreuse, red and white, X Rap. Unlike back home though where our Canadian smallmouths often want these lures worked with rapid, short twitch-like motions, these Mexican bass demanded long drawn out jerks with lengthy rest periods in between. As the bait rested you would suddenly watch your line tearing away to the side as another largemouth would grab hold and head for the hills that surrounded the lake.

Robert Montgomery

Robert Montgomery with a BIG FAT Mexican Bass caught on chartreuse X Rap

Speaking of hills - El Salto is situated within the beautiful Sierra Madres Mountain Range where everyday we watched Mexican eagles, ospreys, white pelicans and a host of other birdlife. Although Anglers Inn is in this idyllic secluded area, the lodge is first class all the way down to its private bathrooms, satellite TV, phones, air conditioning, wireless internet, spa and an amazing outdoor eating area overlooking the lake.

Sierra Madres Mountains

Sunrises & sunsets were equally beautiful over the Sierra Madres Mountains

One of the most exciting aspects of fishing El Salto is that you never know if your next cast will produce that magic 10 pounder that you have dreamed about your whole life. In Canada, the fulfillment of that dream is almost impossible but here guys like Robert have achieved it over ten times. The lake record is 18-pounds 5-ounces. The best five fish from one angler's single-day catch weighed a combined total of 53-pounds 5-ounces. My largest bass of the trip was about 6 ? pounds and came from that X Rap, but I had plenty of four and five pounders to keep me busy.
After the morning fishing sessions, all the anglers would head in at 11 am for a delicious lunch. Anglers Inn had pretty well full occupancy when we were there with 50 anglers; most from the US. Together we would swap fish tales, have a couple of Margaritas or Pacifico's (delicious Mexican beer in small bottles with lime) and then it would be Siesta time - when you could kick back and read, watch TV, have a massage or sleep until fishing began again at 2pm.

Everyday during the afternoon fishing excursions, it would be considerably warmer; high 70's low 80's, with a gentle warm breeze that made it feel like heaven out there. Vincent our guide, who spoke some English encouraged us to use 'plasticos' at least until the sun began to set later in the day. So, we would toss Texas rigged plastic lizards or big Berkley Power worms to catch bass until around 5pm when the top waters would come out once again.

Guide Vincent

Above our guide Vincent examines a bass we caught that had escaped from one of many gill nets set by local fishermen for tilapia

Supper would be waiting for us shortly after our arrival back to Anglers Inn - a great mixture between authentic Mexican food as well as thick juicy steaks and other familiar dinners. After relaxing a bit in the warm night air it would be bed time before we knew it. The same scenario would then repeat itself the next day and one more after that . until it was time to pack up and say goodbye to our new amigos at Anglers Inn El Salto.


During our last night at El Salto, Jose made a special Mexican Coffee for us

On To Lake Mateos and more bass fishing

As great as this trip sounds . the best was still to come because we weren't packing to go home but merely for the second leg of our journey. This time it would be to Lake Mateos - a new lodge operated by Anglers Inn near Culican, 2 1/2 hours away and even deeper into the Sierra Madres Mountains.
The 2 1/2 hour drive deeper into the mountains revealed parts of Mexico few tourists ever have a chance to experience. For me, this is exactly the type of vacation experience that intrigues me the most- much more so than the typical tourist attractions that you would get if you stayed at an-all inclusive resort in downtown Mazatlan for instance.


Our journey showed us how rural Mexicans really live and their self dependency was evident everywhere. Many homes had front lawns scattered with cows, donkeys, pigs and chickens - far more practical than such luxuries as color TV and the internet. I was also intrigued to see Mexican workers on miles and miles of farmland that looked very similar to our own Holland Marsh around Bradford Ontario - a town that hosts hundreds of migrant Mexican farmhands every summer.

As intriguing as the drive was, once we reached Anglers Inn at Lake Mateos , we were treated to all the luxuries and first rate accommodation we enjoyed at El Salto. As soon as we drove up we had experienced the unmatched hospitality and service that Anglers Inn is renowned for . when, just like at El Salto, one of the staff came running towards us with a tray of margaritas for us! Unlike El Salto though, this resort was even more secluded and intimate - with only about half a dozen other guests, compared with 50 at El Salto. Just like El Salto though, our mornings began with "Knock, knock. Good Morning Senor's . It's time to wake up and go fishing - here is your coffee and juice." Can there be a more glorious way to start your day?


Above the main lodge at Lake Mateos

This lodge was brand new and opened in November 2007. Everything was built by local village residents and the resort has become one of the region's major employers. Working at Anglers Inn is a much sought-after job for local residents. Our guide for the next three days was Lupé - a former commercial tilapia fisherman on Mateos who knew the lake inside and out. While it was still dark he was able to weave in-between all the markers (floating plastic pop bottles) that designated where all the commercial tilapia nets were.


On the top you can see the authentic Mexican shower in our cabin. Our cabin at Lake Mateos came complete with full bathroom, satellite TV, loaded fridge, three beds, two air conditioners and plenty of room. Below you can see the artistic sink. Anglers Inn bottled water is everywhere and all food and drinks are included in your stay.



Often where the tilapia (above) were, the bass were not far behind. And, not surprisingly tilapia are the major food source for Mateos and El Salto bass and one reason the fish grow so fast so quickly. They are also a favorite fish of many Mexicans and in recent years have become popular in Ontario as well.

Believe it or not, the first part of our first morning at Mateos was especially memorable not so much for the fishing but because of the birdlife. We were fishing one of the many islands in the lake only to discover (once daylight came upon us) that we were fishing in front of a major Great Blue Heron Rookery. Here I saw more herons nesting in one place than I had ever witnessed before in my whole life and the sight left us spellbound. Even more remarkable perhaps was that many were nesting on cactus trees ... ouch!


If I thought the birdlife and scenery was spectacular at El Salto, it was doubly so at Mateos. We saw twice as many white pelicans, egrets, hummingbirds, buzzards, grebes and the Mexican eagles seemed to be flying all over the place. There even seemed to be a few cormorants here and there, but they did not dominate the waterfowl population like they often do back home. Mexico has more species of birds than the USA and Canada combined. An added bonus of course was that we also saw and caught more bass ... but it took us awhile to figure them out.


White Pelicans were almost everywhere you looked on Lake Mateos


Massive rock walls could be seen everywhere on this massive man-made reservoir

Lake Mateos is has a reputation as one of the world's finest topwater largemouth bass lakes, so admittedly Robert and I went in with pre-conceived notions of catching bass on topwaters all day long. That first day we threw them relentlessly and although we caught some bass, the action was kind of slow. Finally, we began to throw spinnerbaits later that morning and our action picked up considerably.

My top producer was a 1/2 oz Terminator model with a small gold Colorado and larger silver willow leafed blade coupled with a white and chartreuse skirt. This bait could be worked methodically among the brush piles and was great in water less than 10 feet or so. Made from titanium, it could also withstand the numbers of hard fighting Florida strain bass without getting bent out of shape and needing re-tuning.

When the owner of Anglers Inn - Billy Chapman heard most of our action was coming from spinnerbaits he asked us to try a jig and pig presentation once that slowed down a little. "Work that bait near the trees you've been catching spinnerbait fish at, but try it deeper too - to some of the submerged brush that you can only see with your depth sounder."

Later that evening Robert and I were excited for the next day's fishing - with a new game plan and high hopes. We were not disappointed; not only did the shady side of the trees produce plenty of nice bass but it seemed we got even bigger ones out in the 15-20 foot range near submerged brushpiles that you often couldn't see without the sonar.. In fact, Robert had one that hit 7lbs which came from 18 feet of water and rapped herself amongst the brushpile before he finally worked it loose and we got it in the boat.

Robert Montgomery

Robert Montgomery with his seven pounder caught on a flippin jig in Lake Mateos

Although I never did land one that reached seven - I did get plenty of 3's and 4's on a black and blue Terminator jig tipped with a Berkley Gulp Wicked Wing trailer. I lost plenty of big fish too ... including a couple that may have touched that magic ten pound mark. These Florida strain largemouth pull so hard that they are sometimes almost impossible to keep out of the brush below and if they do get wrapped up or the line gets nicked - it's usually game over.

Time to go Home:
Before we knew it our last day at Lake Mateos was over. Robert and I had probably boated 150 bass between us in three days - slightly more than at Lake El Salto. Although El Salto may have a reputation for bigger bass, Mateos has comparatively less fishing pressure so it may just be a matter of time before some real giants are found in her as well. Both lakes and Anglers Inn lodges, operated by Billy and his son 'Chappy' Chapman have their own unique charm that will want you coming back for more.

Our last night in Mexico was at the Sun Spree Resort in downtown Mazatlan. Here we did the typical tourist thing of sitting by the beach sipping a cool drink and reliving our recent bass fishing adventure and already planning for the next one.


Wil took this last sunset shot by placing his Rapala Fishing glasses overtop his camera lens to relieve the intense glare.

If any avid Fish On Line readers ever have the good fortune to visit Anglers Inn and are able to try both lakes, I can guarantee you won't regret the experience. In fact if you are interested in planning a trip there and have a few questions you'd like to ask me about travelling to Mexico's Anglers Inn, I can be reached through this website. Until then I am already looking forward to my next opportunity to revisit Anglers Inn - because I just know for sure there is a big ten pound Mexican, Florida strain largemouth there with my Dutch Canadian name on it!

Summer Camp & Big Bass?
While I was there I was able to sit down with Billy and discuss his latest venture that will take place in June and July 2008. "Here at Anglers Inn we are going to run a special Summer Family Camp Program that will be geared to families who want to experience the type of outdoor angling adventure that will provide special memories to last a lifetime."

Billy explained the idea is that . "After an incredible morning of fishing and a delicious lunch, mom and dad can enjoy a well-deserved siesta, while their kids go out with the qualified and helpful Anglers Inn professional staff. Our pros will conduct the safety training for the activities so that the kids will have an incredibly fun and safe time while their parents are kicking back enjoying their holiday".

When the folks arise refreshed from their siesta it's back on the water for one or both of them for more non-stop bass action." He concluded by saying, "If the mother for instance would rather hang back at the resort to relax - have a massage perhaps or just read a book then of course that's fine too. Like I said Wil, we want to tailor make this family camp so that everyone involved leaves knowing they have just had the best vacation of their lives".


Above some small kids who have caught some BIG bass at Angler Inn. Photo Courtesy www.anglersinn.com

The Family Camp is available in two different packages.

Package Number 1 features bass fishing from the beautiful lodge on El Salto Lake, saltwater angling out of Mazatlan and leisure time for Mazatlan sightseeing or shopping.

Package Number 2 will be based at the new Anglers Inn Lodge on Lake Mateos. Here you and the kids have a chance to fish for bass, go kayaking, snorkelling, bow fishing or enjoy river float trips. Either of these packages can be tailored to your own family's specific needs.

Objective: To create the ideal outdoors experience to be shared by Fathers & Mothers with their children and grand children. This trip of a lifetime will acquaint & reaffirm the wonders of the great outdoors and help establish Anglers Inn as the Disney land of the outdoors.

What: 4 Nights / 3 Days of Family Fun
When: June and July
Where: Anglers Inn Riverside Resort at Lake Mateos located just 2 hrs. and 45 minutes from Lake El Salto or 3 ? hours from Mazatlan.

Top 10 Activities For Families to Enjoy at Angler Inn Camp:

1) Superb Lake Fishing at Mateos

2) Superb River fishing on the Humaya River

3) ATV's and ATV safety instruction

4) Kayaking & Kayaking safety instruction

5) Gun Safety Instruction & Pellet Gun Target Shooting

6) Professional dirt track for racing remote controlled race cars.

7) Archery

8) Baseball hitting cage.

9) River Swimming and River Exploration.

10) Waterfowl and bird watching opportunities

Valid from June 1st, 2009 - July 31st, 2009

This is the perfect opportunity to spend QUALITY TIME with your family outdoors. They'll learn fishing techniques that will make them a better fishing partner while having fun doing other activities such as ATV riding, kayaking, etc.
Anglers Inn wants one shot at your family business. We can customize a package that has something for everyone. Your wife can enjoy unlimited spa access or relax sipping a pina colada while you are at the lake with the kids.

Father at full price: 2,015.00
First child: 980.00, Second child: 685.00
Included: 4 Night/3 Day fishing package, deluxe lakeside lodge (3-to a room), all meals at lodge, 19-ft Custom bass boats (3-to a boat), 75 hp Yamaha engine, two 55 lb. thrust Minn Kota trolling motor (bow and transom mount), Humminbird depth finder, guide, open bar, soft drinks, Gatorade, purified bottled water and ice, laundry service, ground transportation to and from lodge and Mazatlan airport.
Not Included: Airfare, gratuities for guide and staff, reels, fishing tackle and any other items of a personal nature.
Optional: Rental package of reels and fishing tackle is available upon request. Loaner rods are also available upon request at no charge.

Father at full price: 2,015.00
First child: 980.00
Second child: 685.00

This is the perfect opportunity to introduce your kids to an overall fishing experience and enjoy the best of both worlds: Freshwater and saltwater fishing: 3 Nights / 2 Days at Lake El Salto, 1 Day of Bill fishing, 1 Day of Light Tackle. A mixed bag of adventure!
Included: 3 Night/2 Day fishing package, deluxe lakeside lodge (3-to a room), all meals at lodge, 17-ft Tracker boats (3-to a boat), 48 hp Yamaha engine, two 55 lb. thrust Minn Kota trolling motor (bow and transom mount), Humminbird depth finder, guide, open bar, soft drinks, Gatorade, purified bottled water and ice, laundry service, ground transportation to and from lodge and Mazatlan airport, a day of billfishing, a day of light tackle, 3 Nights at the SunSpree Resort in Mazatlan, fishing licenses (saltwater), box lunches, live bait (billfishing), etc.
Not Included: Airfare, gratuities for guide and staff, reels, fishing tackle, taxis, meals and drinks during your stay in Mazatlan and any other items of a personal nature.

Optional: Rental package of reels and fishing tackle is available upon request. Loaner rods are available upon request at no charge.


Billy recently sent me a quick email to pass on another great deal for Fish On Line Canada readers:
"About 4 years ago I decided to prove to the world that the fishing was great at El Salto during the months of June and July and with our experience in service, personnel etc., we could keep everyone air conditioned, full of food and on some of the best fishing you could find. I offered some special rates, the anglers came and the case was proven; big fish stacked up! Well, here we go again but this time it is our new Riverside Resort at Lake Mateos.

This is the one time special rate for June and July for Mateos. (2 for 1). Yes, two go for the price of one angler at $2,015. This is the perfect opportunity to bring a family member or favorite fishing partner and get hooked on some of the finest largemouth bass fishing on the planet."
Please visit www.anglersinn.com for more information.

Wil Wegman

Last modified onSaturday, 08 March 2014 23:14