BassWestUSA - January/February, 2011, Page 58

ished bass populations. This cy- clicality is often due to large water usage for irrigation needs and therefore drops in lake levels during spawning times. Therefore it is always important to gauge any lake’s current bass production versus its long-term reputation. Currently, for a combination of size and numbers of bass, Lake El Salto is one place that’s tough to beat for sustained performance. In recent years, it reliably produces over 500 bass per season which exceed the scale’s ten pound mark. El Salto covers approximately 25,000 acres at an altitude of just over 500 feet in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range. The lake was built in the 1980’s and opened for shing around 1990. Weather is mild with a yearly tem- perature average of 82 degrees. The rainy season runs from July to October. Com- pared to other Mexican lakes, the conve- nience factor is huge. El Salto is just ninety minutes by car from the airport to the lake. There are several lodges on the lake. All of them provide adequate shing boats and guides for guests, as well as comfortable lodging and food. There is plenty of game for the sportsman who wants to combine hunting with his shing. It is just off the Paci c coast for easy access to offshore and inshore saltwater shing, scuba diving or just plain beaching it. This is beautiful terrain and offers excellent hiking and bird watching opportunities. We selected the El Salto Lodge for our yearly father-son tournament. Siguis Benitez is the manager. He has been on the lake since it was built and Siguis is a tremendously accommodating gentleman with whom to do business. Compared side by side with most international shing

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pack- ages, this trip is a true bargain. It is an ideal venue for putting on a small private shing tourna- ment - a Mexican bass esta. The best single day by members of our group was by my brother Mike, shing with his sons who boated 220 bass. Per- sonally, my son Hunter and I had our best day with 165. This was within the context of trying for quality sh not just numbers. Every good sh was weighed for the point system so piscatorial ction was re- served for dinner con- versa-

tion. Best ve sh weighed eas- ily exceeded fty pounds. Mexico or more long- ingly, Old Mexico is the land of many boyhood travels with my father. Around us, the exposed layers of rock strata in the rugged mountain es- carpments silently revealed the geological history of this realm. It is a kingdom of ancient pyramid builders who worshipped gods in the form of feathered serpents; a people who still keep many secrets. It is so quiet out on the water. I can hear the individual wing beats in a squadron of cormorants two hundred yards away and the solitary bell on a distant Brahman cow, gravid with calf nearly a mile in the distance. It’s this quiet because the largest friggin’ large- mouth I’ve ever

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January/February 2011