By Jason Luther
Trek International Safaris
Last week, I joined a group in Mexico to celebrate the life of Les Gast, the father of three members of our group who passed a few years back. The Gast brothers had long envisioned an event to honor their father, who never missed an opportunity to share an abiding passion for bass fishing with his boys.
Longtime Trek partner Anglers Inn provided the ideal venue for this truly special event. The exceptional fishing and high level of service extended by the Anglers Inn staff, both on the water and at the lodge, is among the best you will find anywhere.
Fishing creates a bond that transcends generations and connects us with nature and our fellow anglers in a deeply edifying way. While our group of ten landed thousands of fish, including a solid number of trophy largemouth bass up to eight lbs., the camaraderie we shared and the warm hospitality of the Anglers Inn staff surpassed even the incredible action on the water.
Our adventure included two days fishing at perennial big bass powerhouse Lake El Salto and two days at their new lodge on Lake Picachos. It was truly a “best of both worlds” experience.
Lake El Salto was first stocked with Florida largemouth bass four decades ago, and the combination of time and excellent lake management has produced a staggering number of monster fish for visiting anglers. The lake provides a perfect laboratory for growing big fish, with textbook structure, Florida strain bass and an actively-managed tilapia population that enables the fish to grow.
No less an authority than Kevin VanDam, the all-time money winner in professional bass fishing, referred to Lake El Salto the ultimate “bucket list” destination. VanDam caught his personal-best five fish stringer totaling over 50 pounds on El Salto, and every day both novices and experienced anglers alike set their own personal bests.
The popularity of El Salto has grown to such a large extent that Anglers Inn recently expanded its operation to include Lake Picachos, which has quickly established a reputation for producing fishing days filled with both quantity and quality bass for anglers. Picachos is less than a decade old, but it’s already pumping out trophy bass thanks to a strict management regime, fertile brood stock and an ample population of protein-packed tilapia.
During the best times, it’s not unusual for a pair of skilled anglers to catch 200 to 300 fish in a day, and there really is no bad time. The fishery is just so healthy that it’s the perfect place for novices and experts alike to fish until their thumbs are raw.
The real question is how do you want to catch them? There may be no better topwater lakes on earth, but if you’d like to work on your flipping, or cranking, or your deepwater game, any of those can put you on the best bite of your life.
Both El Salto and Picachos lodges are located just moments away from their respective boat launches. Angling addicts who love long fishing days with tons of action will be blown away by the experience.
Each morning after a hearty breakfast, our highly experienced local guide had us in casting range of hungry fish before the day’s first light. Those first casts each day were among the most exciting of my life, as several big bass blew up on topwater presentations and were landed as the sun began to cascade a ruby-red reflection across the Sierra Madre.
The seasoned guides at both El Salto and Picachos utilize boats specifically designed to get you where you’re going fast, but also able to squeeze in among the standing timber. They feature wide casting decks big enough for two, Humminbird electronics and Minn Kota trolling motors. Most importantly, these guides have been working here for decades and know the lakes end to end. They understand the seasonal fluctuations and work diligently to make sure that you go home with plenty of good pictures and stories to tell.
Anglers Inn is easy to get to as the arrival city is Mazatlan, a popular tourist destination serviced by all major carriers. Rides to each lodge range from 90 minutes to two hours, and our time on the road flew by as the group shared stories about life, love and fishing.
Thoreau once wrote that some men fish their entire lives without realizing it’s not really fish they’re after. Our group was fortunate to genuinely realize the meaning of this sentiment, as the bonds we forged together will stay with us long after the fish-brag pictures have faded from memory.
For more information on this incredible adventure, please contact Trek at [email protected]