(semi-likely) or darkness set in (most likely). Joe Thomas, a professional angler and the host of The Outdoor Channel’s “Stihl’s
Reel in the Outdoors,” is here to tell you that the good ol’ days
of Mexican bass fishing are right now. He’s a veteran of many
trips to the famed Anglers Inn in El Salto, having filmed seven
shows there, and just about every episode produced a 10-pound
bass or something very near that mark, often in numbers. It’s
downright hard to make Joe Thomas fly into Mazatlan and
go anywhere else. Now, though, he’ll have to think twice about
which lake to fish.
“El Salto is still the mama, and I still think it’s the best lake
in the world, but Picachos is so new and coming on so fast,”
says Thomas. “It’s exciting simply because it’s so young and
very few people have fished it.” The lake, less than an hour from
Mazatlan, was created just five years ago when the Baluarte
and Presidio rivers were dammed to provide water for the agricultural needs of the western state of Sinaloa. With the fertile
Sierra Madres in the background and a rolling landscape around
the shorelines, Picachos looks very much like El Salto from a
distance, but up close, its newness is apparent.
When Thomas arrived at Picachos, he was awed by the
unaltered ruggedness of the lake. The fields of standing timber
lay untouched and unbroken. But Thomas was, at best, cau-
tiously optimistic about the fishing. He figured the rumored
“hundreds” of “two- to four-pounders” would turn out to be
“dozens” of 12-inch bank runners. Then, on his second cast, he
felt something pick up his lure and take off for Puerto Vallarta.
After a prolonged fight – after all, these Florida-strain fish pull
like hot-sauce-swilling tuna – he lipped a nine-pounder.
Think about it. That nine-pounder was barely five years old.
Forget for a second that it would be a trophy anywhere, and
marvel at the fact that these fish are growing almost two pounds
a year. The beer-bellied bass in Joe’s hands was limited not by
its environment or any sort of competition for forage but sim-
ply by the fact that it hadn’t yet grown long enough to pack on
any more weight. If he’d decided to get a replica of it made, the
taxidermist likely would’ve had to walk past the bass molds and
create one more in the shape of a gargantuan bluegill.
There are no guarantees in bass fishing – every experienced
angler knows that – but this is as close as it comes. The double
digits are calling. The good ol’ days are now.
Veteran outdoor writer Pete Robbins works for a wide variety of
magazines and websites, and calls the Potomac River home.
To fish Lake
Picachos, first fly to
Mazatlan, a port city
on the Pacific coast
of Mexico. Picachos
is about a 50-minute
ride once you clear
customs. If you book
with Angler’s Inn,
staff will meet you at
the airport to drive
you to the lodge.
Packages start at
$1,695 per angler for
4 night/3 days.
If you’d like to
be among the first
groups of American
anglers to fish Lake
Also, check out
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