El Salto Feb. 10-14, 2018 Bob Blum
Largemouth bass fishing is the most popular fishing in the US. They are available in every state except Alaska. However, I have never gone bass fishing. When I heard that Let’s Talk Hook-up and Cass Tours were organizing a trip to Lake El Salto in Mexico in February, I decided to go.
El Salto lies 600 miles below the border in the state of Sinaloa. It is about a two hour van ride from either Culiacan to the north or Mazatlan to the south. The lake was formed sometime in the early 1980’s with the damming of the Elota River and when full incompases 27,000 acres. Shortly after the lake was full, tilapia were introduced and in short order a commercial fishery for the tilapia was established which is ongoing.
Around 1990 Bill Chapman, Sr who considers himself the king of bass fishing in Mexico. introduced Florida strain largemouth that thrived and a sport fishery quickly evolved. Chapman and others introduced the bass into at least 10 other lakes all of who claim the most and biggest bass. El Salto has five different lodges that cater to sport fisherman. We stayed at Bill Chapman’s Bass Fishing Adventure Lodge that opened in 2000.
To get there we drove to the border, walked across the border to the Tijuana Airport, and flew Volaris to Culiacan where a van and truck were waiting to take our group and our gear to the lodge. When we got there we were greeted by the staff with margaritas and dinner.
The typical day was wake up at 5, breakfast, fish 6-11, lunch, siesta, and fish 2-6. We were two to a room and two a boat with a guide. The boats were flat bottomed 17 feet with a 50 hp Honda two stroke and an electric motor..We fished with crank baits, swim baits, spinner baits, plastic lizards, and Senkos-a kind of plastic worm. Everything worked some of the time. Nothing worked all the time. I even caught bass on a fly rod.I thought that 100 fish days was just advertising hype, but Cass and Gary had a 91 fish day and a 111 fish day. Pete and John had a 95 and 105 fish day. The average bass was 2-3 lbs. The biggest fish of the trip was 9 lbs, caught by Pete. I think everyone had at least one fish over 5 lbs. The lake record is 18 lbs. 5 oz.
Hey, the lodge is good, the food is great, the people are nice, the fishing is terrific, and the price is reasonable. For more information call Cass Tours at 800-593-6510 or stop by the Let’s Talk Hook-up booth or the Cass Tour booth at the upcoming Long Beach Fred Hall Show.
El Salto 2018- add on to Bob Blum’s story
By Pete Gray
I last visited Lake El Salto 15 years ago, and though some has changed, much remains the same. What is the same is amazing numbers of bass you can catch using multiple methods. Also, the beauty and abundance of bird life. The Mexican hospitality is still fantastic. What is different to me was the number of boats now on the lake. There are 5 different resorts, in addition to several private boats that come fish the lake. 15 years ago, it was rare to see another boat. Today on a busy day there could be 40, but with the immense size of the lake it is not a problem, still plenty of fishing room. Still a wonderful destination.
Captain Frank LoPreste recommended we move our Let’s Talk Hookup/Cass Tours group to Bill Chapman Sr. resort, and we were not disappointed. Last years trip was to Ron Speed’s Lodge, and though also a great lodge, the group seemed to prefer Bill Sr. resort. I enjoyed the family atmosphere and the people were fantastic. The fact that it was just our group of 16 at the lodge made it special. In addition, we were able to fish an extra ½ a day and not need to move to a hotel in Mazatlán.
Upon arrival at the resort Bill Jr greeted us along with his sister Karla and her husband Carlos. They made sure everyone was happy. Jesus the bartender was amazing and always made sure your glass was full. The kitchen staff was very traditional Mexican but whipped up some great food, both American and Mexican, including fantastic rib eye steaks the last night.
I was a bit leery of fishing in a panga for bass, but they turned out to be fantastic platforms with comfortable seats and plenty of room for two anglers. The guides varied in experience but most all knew the lake well. My brother in law John and I fished with Hector and he was great! Our fish count was 70 the first day with fish up to 6 pounds. 98 the second day including 2 at 7 pounds. 105 the 3rd day with a 9 and 8.25 pound bass. The last ½ day was our slowest with “only” 25 for the morning.
If you would like to join us for our Let’s Talk Hookup/Cass Tours trip next year stay tuned to the show and we will let you know the dates. The trip is very popular, so don’t hesitate to get on the list now with Cass Tours 800-593-6510. If you would like more information on Bill Chapman Sr. Resorts check www.fishingwiththechapman.com