As most of the United States settles into a long period of epic heat, it may actually be cooler here in Mexico – our combination of mountain air and sea breezes keep it temperate on summer afternoons. The one thing that hasn’t cooled down, though, is the fishing. Both El Salto and Picachos continue to turn out great numbers and size, and as we shut down for a brief period of maintenance and rejuvenation during the rainy season, it’s a shame because the fish are still chewing!
One of our last groups at El Salto was a group of executives from B.A.S.S. and our new partner, Mossy Oak.
Elite Series angler Brandon Lester, who came here last January for the first time and experienced what he characterized as “a ridiculous cranking bite,” came back on behalf of Mossy Oak and found the fishing to be just as exceptional at a different time of year, using some different techniques.
“We averaged 40 to 60 fish per morning or afternoon session,” he said. “My biggest this time was 8-04, but Bassmaster editor James Hall had the biggest in the group, a 9 pounder. You could catch as many as you wanted on a ½ ounce or ¾ ounce lipless crankbait, but most of the bigger fish came on a worm or a ¾ ounce jig. The bigger fish seemed to be suspended in the deeper trees or on bluffs.”
He said the best color for the lipless bait was a standard chrome/blue, and the best jig color was a traditional black and blue. When it came to worm colors, though, he deviated from our norm. Most of our guests experience success with a black/blue worm, or some shade of green like watermelon or green pumpkin. Lester said he “killed them on red bug.” It’s worth throwing a few packs in that shade in your bag on the next trip, just for good measure.
Mike Whitlow has led ultra-successful February groups to the lake for many years, but the demand got so high that he added two July sessions for his friends as well in recent years. His first group of 20 arrived on July 9th, half veterans, half first-timers. Lynn Landrum and his wife, also named Lyn (no second “n”), brought their granddaughter Bailee Krotzer and fishing with Pancho they absolute wore the paint off their Berkley Warpig lipless crankbaits.
Whitlow put his group on a good soft swimbait bite, including Rustin Morgan from Texas who caught 66 bass from 3- to 7-pounds from one large flat using a 4.8” model in the Sexy Shad and Sight Fish colors. Steve Chikato of Idaho caught his personal best 9-pound “grande” and has already rebooked for the same week next year.
“The hottest bait by fast was the Warpig in blue and silver,” Whitlow said. “You would get into schools of 1- to 1 ½-pounders, then some 3- and 4-pounders, and then, BAM, you’d hook a 7 or an 8.”
Whitlow’s second group of 33 arrived on July 14th and consisted of all first-timers (except for him and his wife), including nine couples. Eight members of the Puyallup Hawg Hunters bass club from Washington attended and they were blown away by the lodge, the food, the service and of course the fishing. It didn’t hurt that most of them caught their personal best on this trip. It is really the perfect place for a club outing – if you’re tired of fishing the same old waters, or if you feel you can never really get away from the office on your local lakes, a trip to Mexico is just what the doctor ordered.
“We celebrated several birthdays on this trip, but the most special celebration was that John and Christi Reid from New Mexico decided to honeymoon with us at the lodge,” Whitlow said. “We had some others celebrating wedding anniversaries, including Rick and Brenda West from New Mexico celebrating their 50th with us.”
There were also several fly anglers in the group, including Tom Paulson, Kurt Pratt and Jamey Liddell. The beauty of our lakes is that you can fish any style you want and still experience success. Our guides are carefully trained to understand various techniques and to be able to consistently put you in the right position to get bites and land them.
While the Warpig has made a solid showing since its introduction, don’t forget to bring lipped crankbaits if you come this time of year. Whitlow noted that the Berkley Dredger 20.5 in “Big Money” was a consistent producer of fish up to 9 ½ pounds.
Coming to Mexico with a big group can be incredibly festive and exciting, but there’s nothing wrong with traveling with a close friend, your spouse or your child for some special bonding. New client Tom Denniston brought his son Taylor and they’re already trying to figure out how to get back. It didn’t hurt that they caught 8 ¼ and 9-pound bass, both on watermelon red lizards.
Todd Anderson and Nick Massa from Illinois also came for the first time, and they experienced the thrill of catching 9-04 and 8-10 lunkers on Whopper Ploppers, the best topwater bite this side of the Amazon.
“Our trip to El Salto was great,” Todd wrote. “We really enjoyed our time at your resort and appreciated the hospitality that was given by every member of your staff. We did get into some good fish – exactly the caliber of catch we were hoping to find!”
Mat Mustard of California brought down a group of six – half experienced anglers, half novices. “I wanted to say thank you from my entire group,” he wrote our booking agent. “From you in the office to the drivers who picked us up at the airport to all the staff at the lodge and the guides on the boats, everyone was awesome. We caught well over 1,000 fish on our trip. The most productive baits in no order were a 3/4 ounce silver and black lipless crankbait, a 10-inch black and blue Power Worm, an 8-inch lizard watermelon with red flake (don’t forget to dip the tail in garlic chartreuse dye, and black and blue jigs in 1/2 and 3/4 ounce with large trailers. The biggest fish was a 8 3/4 caught on a lizard. Everyone caught a fish over 6 pounds. We caught 60 fish over 5 pounds. This trip was set up as a high school graduation trip for my son and it was simply amazing.”
The El Salto reports are amazing, but they’re standard fare. What has really inspired me this season is the fact that Picachos has truly turned a corner and become the world-class fishery we always knew it would be. The word is out and we’re already heavily booked on prime dates for the 2019-2020 season. We’ve been running full houses nonstop at both Picachos and El Salto all season, hosting legions of happy anglers and doing our best to provide them the best service on earth. Fishing can be unpredictable, even on world-class waters, so we control the things that we can to make sure that you have a true bucket-list experience. That’s probably why over 80 percent of our clients are return customers.
Picachos is just 55 minutes from the Golden Zone of Mazatlan, so it’s even perfect for day trips, but for you hard core guys, if you can’t decide which lake to visit, a combo trip is the way to go. Our new dining room sits right at the edge of the lake and you’ll be tempted to make a few casts between sips of your margarita.
Remember, our goal is to make your trip as hassle-free as possible, and one step in that direction is that we now have loaner rods for everyone to use at no cost. Thanks to our newly-developed partnership, our lodges now have a varied supply of St. Croix rods. “They made fishing pure pleasure,” said one recent guest. These technique-specific rods rods are the real deal, folks, and we are committed to giving you the best possible tools to land that fish of a lifetime. You don’t need to travel with a heavy and burdensome rod tube anymore if you don’t want to. Both lakes have an ample supply ready for you to use. We’re seeing fewer and fewer guests bringing their own rods. With the St. Croix sticks tailored to specific techniques, and available in a wide range of lengths and options, so really can’t go wrong…and it makes packing much easier to just bring your reels and tackle.
As I told you a few months ago, we’ve purchased an incredible property in Northern Idaho, a waterfront property with a marina, a gorgeous stone-and-timber lodge, home sites, and a breathtaking view of both the water and the adjacent mountains. I’ve been working on it nearly 24/7, getting it ready for initial guests and to make sure it lives up to the Anglers Inn name. Each day I start a new project to make it better and I’m passionate about my first U.S. vacation property. We’ve already brought in a few guests to get the ball rolling and so far we’ve gotten nothing but plaudits and kudos. Even if you’re not staying with us, our “Fat Bass Bar & Grill” is up and running. Come by car or come by boat, but join us for incredible food and drinks in a most picturesque setting.
For all of the smallmouth devotees who’ve been bugging me to add brown fish to my repertoire of largemouths and peacocks, your wishes have been answered. This is trophy smallmouth country – they grow big and mean and they’re relatively unpressured, so you’ll be able to scratch that itch as much as you want. But the fishing doesn’t end there – the region also has trophy largemouths that are even less pressured, big walleyes, hard-fighting northern pike and a variety of trout and salmon. You’ll never want to leave.
In most of my other operations and lodges, if the hard core angler’s family didn’t like to fish, they were just out of luck. There was little reason to bring them. This lodge shifts that paradigm. While the angler fishes, the rest of the family can engage in a variety of water sports, ski, go “glamping,” play golf or ride the hundreds of miles of trails. There are also world-class restaurants and shopping nearby. If you want to fish all day, that’s certainly fine, but it’s also possible to load the boat before everyone else gets up and then join them for a host of other activities.
All of this is less than 1 hour and 45 minutes from an international airport. You’ll feel like you’ve gotten away from it all, but it’s still easy to access – and you’ll be treated to the familiar Anglers Inn way when it comes to service.
Despite being thrilled about Mexico and enchanted with Idaho, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my other love – peacock bass fishing in the Amazon! I’ve been going there for decades and I manage to learn something new and see something breathtaking on each new journey. I personally hosted every Amazon trip this year on record-class waters and dates are starting to fill up for the 2019-2020 season. If you’re a serious angler and you haven’t been, you owe it to yourself to chase these mean suckers. And if you’ve been before, but not with me, I want to show you the Anglers Inn Way down there – everything is first class.
We have the most luxurious boat available, along with chefs and staff who’ve been trained in the Anglers Inn way. We provide an “Amazon Tough” bag to every customer and it’s filled with all sorts of things like insect repellent, sunscreen and the proper hat to make sure that you don’t miss out on any part of your trip. As with Mexico, we provide quality St. Croix rods and we have Abu-Garcia reels with braided line, as well as all of the right baits for the current conditions. Once you’re in the jungle there’s no tackle shop or mail order outlet, so we want to make sure that your trip of a lifetime is fully stocked.
You may also have seen my ad for a trip I’m taking in September to another part of Brazil to investigate a multi-species fishery that will knock the socks off of the adventurers among you, as well as anyone who wants to catch monster fish. I’ve chased peacocks for decades, and I still love them, but even if you’ve caught numerous 20 pound peacocks, if you haven’t seen a Wolf Fish attack a topwater you’re in for a shock. They are big, mean and prehistoric and I predict they’ll be the next popular exotic gamefish.
This place will also have peacocks, payara, and a variety of monster catfish. It’s going to be a bit more remote, and not for everyone, but I guarantee you that anyone who has “been there, done that” will jump at the chance when I have more details. Of course, everything will be done the Anglers Inn Way. I’ll have more news about that soon, as well as another resource I’ll be providing to the entire peacock bass fishing community.
If you haven’t seen it already, be sure to click on our website at www.anglersinn.com. We’ve had it up since early 2017, and the feedback has been tremendous – especially from guests who’ve found pictures of themselves with big fish gracing the site. Our theme is “Making Every Angler’s Dream Come True,” and while our web presence is no substitute for a trip to Mexico or Brazil, it’s the next best thing and a valuable tool for planning your next trip. We continue to update it with new information and items constantly, so don’t forget to hit us up regularly.
Just as we set the standard for international fishing trips, we want to set the standard online, too. The new site includes information about all of our properties, pricing and bios of our staff. We also update it regularly with new videos on our “Anglers Inn TV” channel, and provide detailed monthly reports like this one.
Whether it’s your first trip to an Anglers Inn property or your 20th, we hope that this site will provide all of the information that you need, but if it doesn’t we’re always just a phone call or email away.
While we often provide a generalized list of lures that work throughout the year, there are times when specific bites are ongoing and we don’t ever want you to arrive under gunned. Monitor the website and social media for updated info, and if you’re ever in doubt about what you need to bring, please call us or email us. We want to make sure that you’re outfitted properly to make the most of your vacation.
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