Por El Bassdozer y Los Amigos
Welcome to Our World!
Approximately sixty anglers compete on Mexico's
Pro Angler Tour, including Carlos Gloria, Dago Luna, Pedro
Carrasco and Jorge Bruster who helped contributed to this story.
Mexican anglers are masters of catching big bass. They have
the most modern bass boats, highest-powered engines, latest
electronics, top-of-the-line tackle - and possess the expertise
to use it all.
Mexico's tournament anglers are better-powered and
better-equipped than bass anglers in Europe or some other
Larry Evans of GYB, Eliud Garcia, Gary Yamamoto and Jose
Garcia meet at ICAST, the annual international tackle trade
convention in Las Vegas. The Garcias operate BEST FOR BASS pro
shops in Mexico. They attend ICAST every year and make business
trips to manufacturers headquarters during the year to discuss,
handle and test rods, reels, lines, lures, clothing, bass boats,
motors and fishing electronics in order to determine which of
these are the best possible products for bass fishing in
Mexico. Anglers there owe BEST FOR BASS deep gratitude for
pre-screening, selecting and thereby equipping Mexican anglers
with the most ideal, trouble-free and reliable products for them.
In this way, BEST FOR BASS role has served as a cornerstone for
Mexican anglers' progress, advancement and success in the world
of bass fishing.
The elite National Freshwater Fishing Team from Mexico won the
gold medal in the 2007 world championship of bass fishing held in
Spain. 2008's team (shown above) will compete in October 2008 in
the the bass fishing world championship to be held in Italy. The
team's outfits are the same uniforms as worn by Mexico's Olympic
athletes. Next to his team tournament partner, Arturo Fuentes, is
Carlos Gloria (far right). Carlos is one of Mexico's top pros and
top fishing guide who shares his successful tactics and many
years of experience with you in this book.
Pedro Carrasco and Jorge Bruster are top tournament pros who
share tips with you in this book, based on their many years of
Mexican fishing success.
Mexican anglers shown here are some who have contributed their
years of experience and insight in order to publish this
definitive book for you. From left to right: pro Pedro Carrasco,
Russ Bassdozer, FLW Tour pro Brent Ehrler, Mr. Rodolfo Garcia
(kneeling) of BEST FOR BASS, Eliud Garcia of BEST FOR BASS,
Carlos Cano Villalobos and pro Jorge Bruster.
Recommended Rods for Fishing Mexico
Selecting suitable rods for Mexico is a daunting task of
separating the wheat from the chaff. For all practical purposes,
most spinning rods can be summarily dismissed. Mexican anglers
don't ordinarily use (and most don't own) spinning rods.
That leaves us with baitcasting rods.
Of these, I estimate that 90% of bass fishing baitcasting rods
on the market may not suited for fishing in Mexico. Main reasons
are the rod power's not strong enough or the rod tip action's too
The remaining 10% of powerful baitcasting rods on the market
still may or may not be suitable for fishing in Mexico. Finding a
good rod for Mexico is like trying to find a needle in a haystack
- and you can make expensive mistakes by buying the wrong ones.
On the other hand, if you live in Monterrey, Mexico or visit
one of the BEST FOR BASS pro tackle shops there, then the rods
suited to Mexico are easy to find. They're at BEST FOR BASS. The
Garcia family members and Arturo who operate BEST FOR BASS have
done all the hard work, pored over all the rod catalogs, and met
personally with rod manufacturers. They've handled and considered
all rods at major tackle trade shows. They've gotten feedback on
rods from the top tournament pros and many avid, expert bass
anglers in Mexico, and BEST FOR BASS shop staff actively fish the
tournaments themselves. BEST FOR BASS knows what rods work well,
and for what techniques. They stock only the very best rods
suited for fishing in Mexico, and they educate and inform anglers
as to the best rods for their needs.
If you can't get to BEST FOR BASS, we'll share a couple of
reliable rods that BEST FOR BASS has recommended to me, and that
I favor for fishing in Mexico now.
In terms of power and action, many Mexican anglers rely on two
basic rod powers/actions and so do I. No angler should fish
- a heavy action rod suited for 50-65 lb braid, mainly for
working Texas rigs shallow or deep
- a medium heavy action rod also suited for 50-65 lb braid to
handle most everything else - spinnerbaits, buzzbaits,
crankbaits, for example.
Now, not all models of heavy action rods stocked by BEST FOR
BASS are the same. However, heavy rods (as a group) act more
similar to each other than do medium heavy rods.
With medium heavy rods, the differences between different
medium heavy models can be quite dramatic. Some medium heavy rods
don't pass. They're just a little too light for everyday usage in
Mexico, and these "light" medium heavies are not
Falcon's Expert, Carra and Falcon's other rod series are
reliable rods that BEST FOR BASS has recommended to me. BEST FOR
BASS also recommends St. Croix and other fine rod brands too. In
considering all their recommendations, I selected and favor these
two Falcon rod models in Mexico:
- Falcon Expert #EC-7-H.
7'. Heavy with 65 lb braid for Texas rigs, jigs or other weighted
- Falcon Expert #EC-7-MH.
7'. Medium Heavy with 50 lb braid for weightless plastics,
spinnerbaits, crankbaits, lipless, etc.
Expert #EC-7-H Heavy (top) and #EC-7-MH Medium Heavy.
Mexican anglers (really depending on how short or tall the
angler) prefer 6'6" or 7' rods. What's good is the most
popular rod models in Mexico like the Falcons shown above, they
come in both 6'6" and 7' and are identical in every way,
except length. So a short hombre's likely to use the 6'6"
rods. A tall amigo may opt for the same rods but in the 7'
Yamamoto Tournament Rods. Two rods that
recently performed flawlessly in Mexico are Gary Yamamoto
Tournament Rods. These are new rods for 2008 and they have now
been proven successful in Mexico:
- Gary Yamamoto Tournament Rod
#SM3601HF. 7'0". Heavy with 50-65 lb braid for
Texas rigs, jigs or other weighted sinker rigs
- Gary Yamamoto Tournament Rod
#SM4661XHF. 7'6". Extra Heavy with 50-65 lb braid
for Carolina rigs, big swimbaits and other extra heavy
Gary Yamamoto's 7'6" Extra Heavy (top) and 7'0"
Heavy Tournament Rods worked fabulously. Gary Yamamoto
custom-designed these rods for use with his soft plastic baits.
Many adjustments were made to every feature of these rods until
Gary perfected the rod actions that were optimal for fishing with
GYB soft plastics. A top Mexican pro who's the first to fish
with these rods remarked upon their sensitivity to detect even
light bites - plus raw power to set the hook, to control and land
huge bass quickly.
Rods Not Used So Much. You won't find many anglers
with rods marketed as spinnerbait-specific or crankbait-specific
models (or similar technique-specific rods). They tend not to
pack the chutzpah to control belligerent behemoth bass charging
through some of the worst heavy cover you'll ever face.
Some of the top pros do use them, and feel they gain
technique-specific presentation advantages, but they will say
that many technique-specific rods raise their risk of losing fish
in heavy cover because such rods tend to run a little light for
The majority of anglers in Mexico rely on two all-purpose,
highly dependable rod models - the heavy and the medium heavy -
in the manner described above.
Indeed this makes perfect sense to me. Why? Because most of
the rods (even relatively heavier models) marketed as
spinnerbait-specific or crankbait-specific, they tend to be too
soft in action, have too slow or parabolic a bend to even rip a
stuck lure off heavy cover, never mind power-winch a
deeply-buried big fish out of it.
So although some avid Mexican anglers may own say 5-7 rods
(for example) and may make use of them all when they fish -
they're mostly 5-7 (or however many) of the generic, all-purpose
heavy and medium heavy models described earlier, and they're used
for all techniques and tactics.
Outdoor TV show host Martha Morales is Mexico's best woman bass
to Use. Two of my favorite reels for this style
of fishing are the diminutive Daiwa Sol and Daiwa Fuego models.
These two reels are incredibly small and light - but powerful as
all heck. They will withstand years of flipping or casting in
Mexico with 50-65 lb braid, for which the spools have ample line
capacity. They have become my preferred reels for fishing in
Rodolfo, Eliud and Jose Garcia of BEST FOR BASS first set me
up with these two reels when the Sol and Fuego first hit the
market several years back. At first I didn't know what to expect.
The Sol and Fuego looked like a mismatch for heavy rods and heavy
I quickly realized that their very smallness provides an
advantage in palming the reel in these heavy cover situations.
Due to their small size, these reels almost melt into your hand
and disappear while using them - and their power is second to
There is no advantage to using a larger reel here. Quite the
opposite. For flipping and casting heavy cover all day long, the
smaller, lighter yet incredibly powerful Daiwa Sol and Daiwa
Fuego will give you an advantage over bigger, heavier reels.
As good as these two reels perform, as rugged and solid as
they are, many Mexican anglers cannot get past how small the
reels seem to be. I've stood at the reel counter display at BEST
FOR BASS and I've tried to instill confidence in anglers there
that the Sol and Fuego are two of the best choices. Most anglers
who are unfamiliar with them, prove unwaveringly hesitant to
trust such small reels under such extreme fishing conditions as
found in Mexico. I don't think I've ever convinced a prospective
buyer to purchase one from BEST FOR BASS. They'll listen to my
spiel, give the spool a spin, and then purchase a bigger, bulkier
After all, a reel is "supposed" to be big if you
want to catch big bass in bad cover.
"The days of the big, bulky reel are over," says
Shimano representative, Bob Mahoney. "A modern flipping reel
like the Shimano Core 100MGFV is both lighter weight, smaller and
more powerful than any earlier, bulkier flipping reel models,
making the Core 100MGFV the ultimate lightweight powerful reel
for pitching the flooded timber of Mexico."
"The Core 100MGFV is designed for flipping and pitching,
and features Shimano’s Instagage thumb bar to engage or
disengage the reel in or out of gear using only your thumb,
without having to turn the handle. The Core 100MGFV is made with
extra heavy-duty brass gears for locked-down drag situations like
in Mexico. With its strong, oversized brass gears and oversized
power handle, the Core 100MGFV is perfect for moving big fish out
of heavy cover," says Mahoney. "The Core 100MGFV
retrieves up 30-inches of line per crank. The super high speed
7:1 gear ratio allows anglers to gain line on fish quickly when
they feel the strike, to set the hook and have fish moving up out
of cover before the fish can turn and bury themselves into the
cover. That's critical, and it's what the Core 100MGFV is
designed for," explains Bob.
Shimano pro staffer Jeff Gustafson (above)
stroked these four 9-pounders on Sugar Lake in February 2008. His
set-up was Shimano's Core 100 MGFV reel, Shimano Crucial 7’6”
Heavy Flipping Stick, 50 lb braid and soft plastics to flip
Core 100MGFV is the ultimate lightweight powerful flipping reel
Braided Line or Bust
Overall, 50-65 lb braid is the main line in Mexico for
one main reason: it minimizes the overall odds of losing baits or
losing that big bass of your lifetime in heavy cover. For that
reason, 50-65 lb braid makes perfect sense.
"I'll occasionally use some other brands, but the best
overall braid for me is PowerPro," says pro Dago Luna.
"I favor this line's harder nature. I think PowerPro's
stiffness gives me more sensitivity to detect bites and to sense
the lure contacting cover on Texas and Carolina rigs."
"Also, PowerPro does not cling to your rod tip or cling
to brush as much as softer braids do, so it comes through brush
better," according to Dago.
"I've also enjoyed using Berkley Fireline Crystal 20-30
lb braid in more open areas with cranks and lipless because it
has the little stiffer feel like PowerPro and the Crystal has
lower line visibility than other braids. So I've used it for
cranks and lipless for those reasons" mentions Dago.
Luna (left) and Carlos Gloria fish tournaments together.
For flipping and pitching shallow cover, pro Carlos Gloria
recommends, "The brand of braid I use for pitching and
flipping right into the trees is Western Filament Tuf Line. The
most important tip I can give you why I use this one in
particular for flipping is because when I'm fishing trees, I
never take my eye off the line. If I see the line stop before the
lure hits the bottom, I know a fish has got the lure and when
that happens, you know you have to reel it in very fast or the
fish can get away. What I mean with all of this is that the Tuf
Line floats more and the line's color contrast is more visible to
me that way. And well, to do that (see the line float on the
water) you have to pitch first, and then strip some line out of
the reel with your hand a little faster than the Texas rig or
whatever you're using sinks. So you strip a little more line so a
little bit extra floats on the surface, thereby creating a most
visible and effective strike indicator. For flipping and pitching
shallow cover, I do not use my rod to feel for bites as the rod
is not as perfect a tell-tale."
"With the depthfinder, you can see how deep is the water
under the boat. But that isn't always the depth of the trees you
flip at. The trees may be up on a little underwater bank, the
boat may be over a little underwater channel. What you need to
know more than exact depth of where you flip is the exact time it
takes - exactly how much time your flipped lure takes to sink to
the bottom at the base of the trees. If the line does anything
different before that length of time - if the line stops, stalls,
slows down, speeds up or of course twitches or starts to move
sideways instead of straight down, a fish has it. You will never
feel anything. You are not using the rod sensitivity here. So
precisely timing your lure's descent on each flip, and comparing
how long the lure takes to hit bottom each flip is critical - and
it varies with different weight sinkers and depths."
"With Carolina rigs or fishing offshore structure, that's
different. Watching the line for bites is not possible there. You
need to feel bites with your rod's sensitivity in these cases.
The rod I use for offshore has 65 lb PowerPro, and for the
Carolina rig, I use 20 or 25 lb test Yo-Zuri Hybrid for the
leader," recommends Carlos.
and Fluoro Not
Used So Much. It's not that monofilament and
fluorocarbons lines aren't used at all - they're just not used
anywhere near as much as braided line in Mexico.
Some of the top pros do make regular use of mono and fluoro
here, and feel they gain technique-specific lure action
advantages in some cases. For instance, mono for topwaters. They
also feel mono or fluoro reduces their percentage of lost fish
(with certain lures like crankbaits) due to less thrown hooks
while playing fish on fluoro or mono versus braid.
"For crankbaits, lipless and spinnerbaits with relatively
open water casting lanes in between light to moderate cover, I
opt to use Yo-Zuri Hybrid line, 12 (for smaller cranks), 15 or 20
lb test depending on the particular lure and the density of
cover," says bass pro Carlos Gloria.
"This line is neither mono nor fluoro but a hybrid of
both. It has good abrasion resistance like fluoro and stretches
like mono. The stretch is what braid does not have. The stretch
is what helps keep the hooks intact when a bass tries to jump or
shake itself free. Line stretch will keep more jumping fish
pinned with Hybrid than with braid using spinnerbaits, crankbaits
and lipless," explains Carlos Gloria.
"But if I'm fishing cranks or lipless in heavy cover,
I'll have to use braid. I'll use Power Pro that's for sure, 30 or
50 lb, not more," says Carlos. "I also use 50 lb
PowerPro with spinnerbaits where there is heavy cover, because
you may have to make a long cast over and under some trees and
branches in order to hit the right spot. PowerPro is a harder
line than Tuf Line. What I mean is when you cast and it's a
little bit on windy side or it's late in the day and you are
tired and not making such sharp casts, PowerPro stays really
straight on the cast. Tuf Line and other lines tend to drift over
and drape over some branches or trees and you'll lose one good
cast that way. The PowerPro's going to fall straight down in
between the trees like perfect. That's how important one cast can
be. The biggest bass of your life or the one that is going to
make you winner of a tournament could be there."
|The argument over
braid versus fluoro or mono is a good one - and there's never any
end to it.
Let me make my points in favor of
braid in the argument below, says Russ Bassdozer.
I sent this book you are reading,
I sent it to a famous American fishing writer, friend of mine,
who goes to Mexico often and has a reputation in USA for writing
stories about his trips to Mexico. I asked him to review the book
He wrote back that the book was
pretty good but I had overplayed the use of heavy braid. He said
he uses 17, 20, 25 lb mono in Mexico, and uses the same rods he
fishes with in USA - not all heavy.
When his wife goes to Mexico, she
uses medium spinning with mono and they both catch many 10
pounders in Mexico that way.
He sees no advantage to braid.
Well, I thanked him for his
review, and the only comment I gave him was this book is not
about what rods and reels that anglers bring with them to Mexico.
The difference in this book, it's what rods and lines that
Mexicans whom I've met, it's the tackle and tactics they favor.
Most whom I've met, they don't own spinning rods. Most use
baitcasting and braid.
What I did not write back to him
are my feelings. I'll share them now. They are opposite to his:
- He sees no advantage to using
- I see no advantage to NOT using
The line-handling properties,
diameter, way it works on the reel spool with 50-65 lb braid is
much the same as 17-25 lb mono. No, that's not true. 50-65 lb
braid handles superior to heavy mono.
So why NOT use braid?
Another anecdote from a couple
years ago. I was fishing spinnerbaits with a Mexican friend. Very
good angler. Maybe he felt the water was too clear (I don't know
his reason why), but he was using 17 lb fluoro to fish the same
spinnerbait (I gave him the spinnerbait) in the same boat as me.
I was using 50 lb braid.
It was thick cover all the way.
The last few feet of his fluoro were getting chewed up bad by the
heavy cover. All morning he cut off damaged line and and retied.
Finally, he turns to me, curiously and says, "Don't you ever
I say, "I don't need to, I'm
I had checked my braid all
morning, and it looked pretty bad (braid gets that way) but I
knew from experience, the bad-looking braid was not in need to be
One other thing, we had to land
the spinnerbaits a long way in close to shore, casting past trees
all the way in. Many times (say 75 feet back on a 125 foot cast)
the middle of the line would tangle into a tree. You'd have to
snap it out hard.
Now me, when I got a nice fish, I
never needed to worry about the braid being weakened in the
middle of the spool. Him, he needed to worry about it a lot!
I am not sure why he used fluoro
that day. Maybe the water was too clear for him to trust using
visible braid was one idea I thought to myself.
Many anglers cannot get over how
braid looks so visible. But to me, using braid is like ending a
romantic relationship. You may not want it to ever end, but the
woman may give you no choice.
It's the same with braid. You may
not like that braid looks highly visible, but it gives you no
The only thing you can do is...
True, you will be alone for a
little while, but in time, everything will be fine and fish will
So just get over it, okay?
Lack of stretch of course (with
cranks or any jumping bass) is an issue with braid, but otherwise
I don't see any advantage to NOT using it.
Oh yes, even the most powerful
braid cuts like butter on sharp-edged rocks - but actually cuts
through weeds and into soggy wood. So a fluoro or mono leader is
required around sharp rocks.
So that is my argument mainly in
favor of braid. Please enjoy it!
Don't Drag It Out
With 50-65 lb braid, Mexican anglers use minimal reel drag -
or else fish will use even the slightest bit of drag to get into
trees and get away. Therefore, little or no drag is used. Battles
with big bass that would take several sweat-soaked minutes
elsewhere are over in a few short seconds in Mexico. This ability
to land big fish quickly is critical in heavy cover. However,
Mexican anglers are so skilled at fighting fish rapidly this way
that they do the same thing (land giant bass with little or no
drag in seconds) even in more open water.
"The key is to know when the big bass wants to jump, and
to use the downward rod angle to prevent a jump. All the while,
you never stop moving the fish toward you, not letting it move
where it wants to, except toward you" says Carlos Gloria.
"Bass don't normally go around jumping out of the water.
There is only one reason they ever do - because they are so good
at unhooking themselves as they jump. If you can prevent them
from jumping, they cannot get off the hook, only when they
Mexican anglers tend to use some of the mightiest hooksets
you'll ever see. "This is necessary to instantly move bass
up and out of deep cover immediately upon the hookset. Since
braid does not stretch, an inch of rod tip movement equals an
inch you're moving the bass. So you are not only setting the hook
but extracting the bass from where it's holed up in heavy cover
at the same time in one single rod movement. If you do not set
the hook very hard, there will always be some little bit of line
available that the bass can use to run under cover. So any kind
of half-hearted hookset gives a fish the opportunity to gain
freedom in heavy cover," says Carlos Gloria.
The drag is kept so tight that it will rarely slip when you
hook an "ordinary" small to medium size fish,
Instead the powerful hookset moves ordinary fish several feet up
out of cover. "Big bass are not nearly so easy," laughs
Carlos. "When you set on a big bass, you will hear a "Zzzzvvvttt"
sound of the braid on your reel begrudgingly give a couple feet
of drag. When I hear that sound, I know this fish is one too big
to budge it on the hookset. Big fish cannot be moved, even with
all that hookset force, and the tight drag slips for a split
second as you lean into the hookset," explains Carlos
"With the drag set tight, and a big fish that can't be
budged even by your hardest hookset, something's got to give -
and you hope it's not your hook, but that may be the weakest
component in your tackle set-up" winces Carlos. "You'll
find out right there and then if your hook choice is any good. If
it's not, it will come back bent open and the big bass will get
away. A bent hook, whether it's bent by a bass or by pulling out
a snag should no longer be used. It's seriously weakened. You
can't bend it back in shape and expect it will work. The damage
is done. And the fact that a hook even bent in the first place,
that's really a message telling you to get rid of that brand or
model of hook entirely, and switch to a better, stronger brand or
model of hook."
A Lesson in Locating Shallow Water Bass
Some say the problem in locating shallow water
bass in Mexico's lakes is that there's literally too much
good-looking shallow cover where bass can hide. So there's just
too much heavy cover that looks too good, and it can confound and
confuse an angler as to exactly where to find the fish.
It makes things a whole lot simpler, and it puts
the odds in your favor, if you summarily dismiss and never even
attempt to fish 90% of the good-looking heavy cover you find in
Mexico (or anywhere else for that matter).
Instead, only focus on finding and fishing the
10% or less of heavy cover that runs along original waterways -
the original main rivers, its side stream tributaries, creeks,
original flood washes, original smaller lakes/ponds (either
natural or man-made) or whatever other forms of water or
watershed drainage veins of any kind that may have existed on the
land before the lake was impounded. If you take this approach and
mindset, you will be fishing exclusively the original watershed
system that still remains intact underwater. These now-hidden
original "waters of life" rank among the most
productive fish-holding locations even after the damming and
filling of any impoundment in Mexico (or anywhere else for that
Many good Mexican anglers (or anglers elsewhere)
partly do this, but are not completely aware that they're doing
it. For instance, when I visit and fish with different friends in
Mexico (or elsewhere), they'll proudly take me to enjoy many of
their very best spots with them during the day. Almost always I
anticipate that they will mention to me at some point at each
good spot that, "There's a stream bed that goes through
there," or "The water will drop off suddenly soon,
because a small pond used to exist right here," or "Our
boat is over a little deeper channel here and the trees we're
flipping to are up on its former bank, now ten feet
underwater," and other comments that connote their
"good spots" invariably tend to be associated with or
in proximity to the original waters that existed prior to the
Most anglers in Mexico (or anywhere else for that
matter) tend to know some of these "good spots"
associated with the flooded land's original water features. What
most do not know, though, is an overall plan and system to find
and manage fishing the "rivers under the lakes" as I
call it, including the original ponds and small lakes too, that
are now under the impoundment.
Make it your plan, make it your system of
fishing, and you'll never look at an impoundment as if it was a
lake again. It's a flooded river system and you should fish it
that way. You won't be sorry and you won't really care to try the
other 90% of the "water-less" impoundment.
An original stream bed runs directly below where
pro Dago Luna stands here. Bass like this 7 pounder retain a
natural affinity for cover bordering these natural waterways
lying hidden beneath the impoundment.
Fish in shallow heavy cover tend to stay holed up
deep in the direct center of trees. Your chances of catching fish
tend to get lower the further away your cast or lure gets from
the center of individual trees. It's as simple as that. You need
to flip your lure into the very center of trees, near the trunk
where the fish tend to stay most of the time. It's a difficult
task, but your lure needs to land far inside the tangle of
outstretched smaller limbs, and hit bottom near the thickest main
If you can only see the emergent upper crown or
ring of branches that constitute the tree top but you can't see
the submerged main trunk - then aim to land perfectly dead center
as if there was an imaginary bullseye you are aiming at in the
exact middle of the emergent circle of outstretched tree limbs.
The limbs and branches of a mesquite tree tend to extend
upward and radiate outward from the center on a 30 degree angle
as shown above. Together, they form an ice cream cone-like 3D
shape with an open, empty space in the middle of the cone where
the ice cream would go, and that's right where to cast. Where the
branches emerge from the surface, they form a circle, with each
branch positioned on the outer perimeter of the circular area.
Bass tend to lie near the bottom inside the open space in the
middle of the cone. That's the sweet spot that your Texas rig
needs to go into (the open middle area of the cone). That's where
good fish will tend to be, hunkered down, usually on or near the
bottom in the middle of the cone. The open inner cone that holds
fish is approximately as wide as a mesquite tree is tall. So a
flooded tree that's five feet tall has a cone area inside that's
about 5 feet wide. A tree that's 20 feet tall may have an open
inner cone area that's 20 feet wide inside. That's where your
lure needs to go, in the middle of the inner, empty cone, which
is where bass tend to hole up.
Thick bands of impenetrable shallow cover such as
that shown above, behind Pedro Carrasco, make it impossible for
bass anglers to ever fish the actual terra firma shoreline
located many hundred of yards behind this thick band of trees.
Instead, Mexican anglers probe the outer tree lines. The reason
why the sharply-defined tree line behind Pedro may have
originally formed, before the lake was impounded, is there may be
an abrupt, sheer, rocky, soil-less, dry ridge that suddenly
dropped off and resulted in a tree line, or else there may have
been an original waterway and that tree line grew along its
original banks. In both cases, there will tend to be a drop-off
underwater, say 20 feet of water exactly where the tree line
ends, and the trees themselves may be in say 10 feet of water.
That's a real good place to catch fish like this one Pedro has!
amigos from bass pro Pedro Carrasco of Monterrey.
A Lesson in Offshore Structure and Deep Cover
Mexican anglers fish lots of offshore structure. Main lake
points, humps, underwater islands, channel ledges and all manner
of offshore hot spots are fished daily by Mexican anglers. On a
typical day, fishing starts in the morning in shallow brush,
flipping Texas rigs or tossing spinnerbaits, for example. If the
shallow bite shuts down or is not working, Mexican anglers shift
focus to offshore hotspots. The same heavy rods, 50-65 lb braid
and same Texas rigs are used offshore, say in 10 to 30 feet of
Outdoor TV show host Martha Morales releases bass caught
Even offshore structure in Mexico has heavy cover (mainly
mesquite trees) on it. And the chances of hitting a giant bass
are equally as good offshore as in shallow cover. So the use of
heavy tackle and snag-resistant Texas rigs makes as much sense in
deep water as in shallow.
For these reasons, Mexican anglers use the same heavy tackle,
50-65 lb braid, tight drags and Texas rigs offshore too.
Eliud Garcia (left), proprietor of BEST FOR BASS tackle shops
and Russ Bassdozer fishing deep cover offshore. On the surface,
offshore fishing may look like snag-free open water, but it's
not. There is almost as much heavy tree and brush cover offshore
as in shallow water. It's just not visible to the eye. Big fish
and heavy cover make stout tackle and Texas rigs the most popular
offshore option, same as in shallow cover.
Tree lines like this are obvious when they emerge in shallow
water as shown here being fished by pros Jorge Bruster (left) and
Pedro Carrasco. What's not so obvious is that these same kinds of
tree lines exist offshore submerged under 10-30 feet of water
behind Pedro and Jorge.
Pedro Carrasco, a top tournament angler, bested this bass
(approx. 7 lbs.) while fishing offshore structure with a light
weight Texas rigged lizard and 50-65 lb braid. The structure was
a very long, underwater main lake point, about 8-12 feet on top
and dropping off to 25 feet deep on the original river channel
side, thick with gnarly brush and trees.
Jorge Bruster, one of Mexico's top pros, landed this bass
(approx. 9 lbs.) with 50-65 lb braid and a light weight
Texas-rigged lizard. The fight lasted only seconds. Mexican
anglers have perfected a unique fighting technique whereby they
adroitly use their rods instead of line drag to expertly land big
fish in almost no time, without losing them. This bass hit in
12-20 feet of water far offshore on a wide flat peninsula that
protruded way out into the main lake. Most every offshore spot
has treacherous underwater trees and brush that give big bass
chances to foul your line and get away.
Another nice offshore bass (approx. 6 lbs.) is released by
Ricardo. He's a very good team tournament angler and proud to be
a member of Mexico's original bass club, formed about 25 years
ago. This bass hit a bullet-weighted Texas-rigged 5" Senko
(9-series) in color #913 (green pumpkin with luminous chartreuse
tip). Again, a very long main lake point with plenty of tree and
brush cover in 12-25 feet of water was the trophy bass location.
Five! Family members Rodolfo, Jose, Eliud and
Pepe Garcia are avid bass fanatics. With store manager Arturo,
the Garcia family proudly operates two BEST FOR BASS pro tackle
shops in Monterrey, Mexico.
BEST FOR BASS informs us that these
are the five top-selling and most productive Yamamoto soft baits
in Mexico, shown from left to right:
- Yamamoto's 8" Big Grub
(10-series) in color #066 black chartreuse core-shot
- Yamamoto's 7" Lizard
(13-series) in color #919 green pumpkin lemon laminate
- Yamamoto's 5" Senko
(9-series) in color #901 watermelon cream laminate
- Yamamoto's 5" Senko
(9-series) in color #906 watermelon lemon laminate
- Yamamoto's 7" Lizard
(13-series) in color #901 watermelon cream laminate
booth of BEST FOR BASS at Monterrey's Interkampp outdoor show.
Colors are Better Than One. That doesn't mean
one color won't work. Classic monotone colors like green pumpkin
(#297) or watermelon red pepper (#208) are top producers that
will catch fish all day every day. Basic black (#020) will excel
every time everywhere.
However, the water color in many of Mexico's lakes often runs
a pale tea brown or else a pale pea green, and can range from
lighter to darker brown or green in different areas of the same
lake. In fact, brownish and greenish water can often be found at
different areas on the same lake. Sections of very dark and quite
clear water also exist on every lake, but to a lesser degree. The
predominant water color fished most often in Mexico is stained
green and stained brown water, in varying degrees.
These kinds of water colors, plus the fact that heavy cover
often blocks a fish from fully seeing a bait, these
sight-diminishing factors combine to raise the odds that you'll
get more hits quicker with soft baits that embody marked visual
contrast between two colors on the same bait.
Any two colors may do the job in any combination or pattern.-
and it is not so much the colors or a natural baitfish blend, but
the contrast between the colors that clicks with fish. It could
be a laminate where the bottom is one color, the top another
color. It could be where the body is one color and the tail tip
is another color.
Silverio Machuca (left) and Carlos Gloria are two of the
premier tournament pros and the top fishing guides in Mexico.
Bass (approx. 6-7 lbs.) hit a highly-contrasting color
Texas-rigged Senko cast down the middle of an original small
stream bed (only a few feet wide) that meandered between heavy
mesquite tree cover in 3-4 feet of water. It does not matter much
(within reason) what the two colors are; what matters more is
that they contrast.
Shown below, the rainbow trout color #908 (top) is a secret
"big bass" color of Mexico's pros in the know. There
are little or no rainbow trout in Mexico's bass lakes, but the
marked visual contrast of green and bubblegum clicks with fish,
often big ones. Shown in the middle is the "luminous"
as it's known in Mexico. Color #913's chartreuse tail tip is
luminous, like a little beacon beckoning behemoth bass to belt
it. Shown at bottom is color #927. It combines two of Yamamoto's
top ten colors - #157 smoke pepper with purple flake back and
#031white pearl blue with silver belly - to make color #927 a
worldwide producer of large numbers (quantity) and large sizes
(quality) of bass.
Ways to Rig a Senko. The 5" Senko
(9-series) is regarded by many worldwide as the best bass bait
ever made. Many Mexican anglers may be inclined to agree with
that, and they rig the Senko many ways, such as:
- Weightless. What can be
said except weightless is what made the Senko so famous, and
always a good way to rig one.
- Gary's New Jig. Shown top
left. A new jig style designed to Texas-rig soft plastics.
- Carolina Rig. Mojo
in-line Carolina sinkers (shown top right) are favored in Mexico
for Carolina-rigging on deeper offshore structure. These have a
line hole bored directly through the sinker from end to end. The
thinner Mojo shape comes through heavy cover better than other
bulkier Carolina sinker shapes. Mexican anglers may Carolina rig
on deeper offshore structure with as little as 3/16 and up to one
ounce sinkers, depending on the fishing spot. Mexican anglers who
Carolina rig a lot may carry an additional rod - an extra heavy
and longer 7'6" model primarily for Carolina rigging. This
is a longer and heavier rod than used for Texas rigs.
- Screw-In Sinker. Shown
bottom left. Sizes from 1/4 to 1/2 oz are used to keep a sinker
and Senko together as one unit for flipping into heavy cover.
Lighter 1/32, 1/16 and other lighter sizes tend to be used as
casting aids. With a weightless Senko, especially on windy days,
a very light screw-in sinker helps casting accuracy and distance
while reducing spool snarls. Secondly, a small screw-in sinker
helps prevent heavy cover from pulling the head of a weightless
Senko down off the hook.
- Bullet Sinker. Shown
bottom right. The mainstay of anglers in Mexico. There are ways
to peg a bullet sinker in place, however Mexican anglers tend to
let a bullet sinker slide unpegged on the line. This lets a soft
bait express a little more freedom of movement and independent
action. Mexican fisherman constantly assess how much weight or
how heavy a sinker they have on the line. They'll vary the sinker
weight throughout the day until they hit the sinker size that's
just right to trigger more bites quicker. This attentiveness to
sinker weight as a strike-inducing variable applies to Texas rigs
in shallow cover and also offshore structure. A switch in sinker
weight can make a difference in how many hits - and a difference
in sinker weight will affect how many snags happen. So it is wise
to constantly calibrate the correct sinker weight to use to
maximize hits and minimize snags. Usually, a heavy sinker will
snag more. Some days it may be problematic. Other days, not. If
you sense you are snagging too much, lighten the weight. Every
day is different.
Okay, so maybe there aren't fifty ways to rig a Senko, but
Mexican anglers do possess knowledge of many rigging variables,
big and small, that all add up to their success with Texas rigs
and soft plastics.
And although we used the Senko as our example in order to talk
about the rigs above, keep in mind that most any other soft bait
(Yamamoto Lizards, Kreatures, Yamamoto's Big Grub, etc.) can all
be rigged in the ways described above.
1/4, 5/16 oz sizes with 5/0 hooks.
Senko and Gary's new Jig. The 5" Swimming
Senko (shown in laminate color #912 green pumpkin/watermelon) was
new last year, and immediately proved successful in Mexico. This
year, Gary's Jig is new. For Texas-rigging soft baits like the
Swimming Senko, Gary's Jig proved exceptionally snagless during
its debut this year. Gary's Jig fished through Mexico's heavy
cover proved to be about as snagless as the traditional Texas
bullet sinker rig. The Swimming Senko has a tail like a swimbait
so that it can be swam along through shallow cover on Gary's Jig
- or on a traditional Texas sinker rig. It is not designed to
work weightless like the original Senko. Instead, the Swimming
Senko is designed to swim it through heavy cover. It performs
especially well when fish are actively roaming the shallows early
each morning, when it's overcast or windy. In fact, it's common
to run out of Swimming Senkos first some days, and then spend the
rest of the day mainly fishing with 5" Senkos and 7"
Gotta Love the Lizard. Dr. Rogelio Villarreal
of Monterrey with his lifetime personal best. Rogelio landed this
behemoth on a lizard. Lizards are a staple of Mexican bass
fishing. Lizards are steady producers of monstrous bass. Either
on a Texas rig or Carolina rig, the wider, flattened body of a
lizard and the protruding side legs provide a little better
snag-deflection, ushering the hookpoint away from snags before
they happen. In comparison, a thinner, round bait like a skinny
worm puts the hook point into much closer proximity to snags.
That little extra bit of snag protection given by a lizard is
what makes it a winner.
Carolina rig lizard. 3/4 oz Mojo sinker. Rattle strap. 7'6"
Extra Heavy Rod.
spelled success with this mammoth monster.
Twin Tail is Big Surprise
(and Long Overdue)! This trip (in 2008)
was the first time that pro and fishing guide Carlos Gloria had
ever tried Yamamoto's 17-series double tail on a Texas rig - and
it instantly proved productive! Using Gary's new jig, Carlos hit
several nice bass right away on the Double Tail Grub, including a
massive eight-pounder that hit it within the first few
casts. For the next two days, Yamamoto's big twin-tail grub
generated a noticeable number of hits and fish. "Best of
all, the grub's bulky size makes it selective for big bass,"
Yamamoto's 7" Big Double Tail Grub (17-series) is shown
above in color #520 (black body blue tail) and #521 (black body
with red tail). Yamamoto's 8" Big Single Tail Grub
(10-series) in color #066 (black body with chartreuse tail) is
also shown for size comparison purposes. Both the double tail and
single tail are big, beefy grubs. Both were designed around the
same time (mid-1990's) by Gary Yamamoto in Mexico for Mexican
bass fishing. The big single tail went on to become one of
Mexico's most famous big bass baits. Meanwhile, the big double
tail fell into relative obscurity - until now.
You can bet that Carlos Gloria, his fishing partner Dago Luna
and I will be Texas-rigging the unsung 17-series double tail in
Mexico from now on. You should use it too. Big bass will thank
you for it. It just may become the new "secret"
Yamamoto bait of Mexico - twelve years after Gary designed it for
Gary and Beverly Yamamoto (shown here on Baccarac) are
"veterans" of many trips to Mexico. In Gary's case,
he's made more than fifty trips spanning two decades. Yamamoto
originally designed the world famous 5" Senko during fishing
trips to Mexico in the early 1990's. During that same time
period, Yamamoto also designed, the 17-series Double Tail Grub
and the 8" Single Tail Big Grub in Mexico for Mexican bass
You Want to Super-Size That Senko? Another
large size GYB bait designed by Gary in Mexico in the mid-1990's
for Mexican fishing is the super-sized 7" Senko (9X-series).
I brought a big bundle of them to Mexico on my recent trip. The
9X is GYB's biggest Senko by far. It's 7" long, has quite a
girth and weighs a lot even without any sinker. Suffice it to
say, a lot of soft plastic goes into a 9X Senko.
For Mexican anglers, the 9X Senko is not commonly used (and
may not even be sold) in Mexico tackle shops today. But I knew it
needed to be tried there now. So I gave a small handful of big 9X
Senkos to every Mexican angler I fished with this time. I really
hoped that they would try them. Only Dago Luna did. That's good
for Dago because he landed a 7-pounder and many other fine bass
with the super-sized 9X Senkos Texas-rigged on Gary's new jig.
"The big 9X Senko (on Gary's Jig) seemed to get more hits
than any other soft baits I tried that day," says Dago
Dago Luna, a leading tourney pro, landed many bass like this
on 7" Senkos (9X-series) Texas-rigged on Gary Yamamoto's new
jig. Dago flipped Gary's Jig with the 9X Senko dead-center into
the crowns of shallow flooded mesquite trees.
Another angler who has discovered the big 7" 9X Senko is
Rogelio Villarreal. "One bait that always produces monster
bass is the big 7" Senko wacky-rigged. Big bass love this
presentation. You need to use a rubber O-ring or a rubber band in
the middle of the Senko, so the bait lasts a longer time. If you
place the hook directly in the Senko, they'll tear off the hook
too quickly. Not only doe this cause a bad backlash if the big
Senko flies off during a cast, but you will run out of them too
quickly, and that's the most terrible thing that can happen to
you in Mexico. So use an O-ring, a rubber band or another way to
help wacky-rig the big Senko so it lasts," explains Rogelio.
In a pinch, however, the 7" Senko can be wacky-rigged by
double-hooking it as shown below. Exposing the point as shown is
recommended for better hook-ups.
Kreatura in Mexico. No, we are not talking of
the mysterious chupa cabre here, but something almost as surreal.
Hard to believe, but the Yamamoto Kreature is considered a
down-sized or finesse bait in Mexico. It's true the Kreature is a
bulky, compact flipping bait, not quite as big as other soft
plastics used in Mexico. However to hear it called a
"finesse" bait fished on 50-65 lb braid is unusual yet
true. That's the role of the Yamamoto Kreature in Mexico. I
usually prefer to Texas-rig the Kreature with skirt-to-front
(like a Yamamoto Hula Grub). In this way, the Kreature displaces
more water, creates more turbulence and causes a commotion like
some kind of creature in the water.
BEST FOR BASS tackle shop's #1 selling color and the leading
"finesse" bait in Mexico is the black chartreuse color
#522 Yamamoto Kreature. Shown Texas-rigged with blue plastic
bead. When the sinker hits the bead, it makes a click that may
Undiscovered Yamamoto Models for Mexico. There
are several other Yamamoto soft plastics that have worked fine
for me in Mexico too, such as the hefty 6-1/2" Kut Tail Worm
(7X-series). I've had good results with Yamamoto's 5"
Swimbait (SB5-series) there too. Most anglers in Mexico, however,
have not tried Yamamoto Kut Tails or Yamamoto Swimbaits yet.
Also, we had good action with the 17-series Big Double Tail
Grub on our most recent trip, but other anglers do not try them
in Mexico. Same thing with the huge 7" 9X Senko. Good
results on this last trip, but the 9X Senko may not even be sold
in Mexico at this time.
Therefore the 5" Senko, Swimming Senko, Big Single Tail
Grub, Lizard and Kreature constitute the main Yamamoto fare used
in Mexico at the current time.
Hopefully, Mexican anglers will soon enjoy discovering other
Yamamoto baits like the Big Double Tail Grub recently used by
Carlos Gloria, the 9X Senko used by Dago Luna and Rogelio
Villarreal, plus the 7X Kut Tail Worm and Yamamoto Swimbait will
certainly work as well for others as they have for me.
Super Line Hooks or Bust
Mexico features bigger fish in badder cover
caught on heavier rods and lines with tighter drags than most
anywhere else on the planet. Because of these rare and extreme
fishing conditions, hooks have to be in line with the rest of the
program. Only specially-designated Superline hooks will do. Most
every hook manufacturer has these Superline hook models. Overall,
the 5/0 hook is the single best size for most soft plastics used
in Mexico. Keep in mind that different brands and models of 5/0
hooks vary slightly in size. 4/0 is about as small as practical,
and only useful for relatively small baits like the Yamamoto
Kreature for example. 6/0 may be more roomy with relatively
bigger, beefier plastics like the Yamamoto 8" Big Single
Tail Grub and the 7" 9X Senko. But overall, 5/0 is my
mainstay hook size for soft baits in Mexico.
For use with heavy braid, Steve Tagami, sales
manager for Mustad, suggests two Mustad hook models - one for
flipping and the other for casting:
Flipping and Pitching. Steve says, "The
primary model we are referring for heavier braids is the
#38104BLN Big Mouth Tube Hook (shown in photo below) for flipping
and pitching soft baits. The #38104BLN is designed to let you
make the most consistently reliable hooksets when flipping. What
makes it so good is the soft bait will move down the neck of the
#38104BLN, but only when a fish grabs hold, and that moves the
bait out of the way, leaving the partly bared hook in prime
position for a solid hookset. It's the ultimate flipping and
pitching hook for solid hooksets with soft baits."
Casting. Tagami adds, "We are also
referring the #38105BLN "Z" bend for fishermen to cast
soft baits some distance or with harder force. The #38105BLN
"Z" bend will keep soft baits securely in place for a
proper presentation even with weightless baits cast hard and far.
With the #38105BLN, the bait will come through tree branches,
limbs, brush or thick weeds with the "Z" bend holding
the soft plastic bait more securely in place. When you are
pulling through thick cover, you can be more confident that the
bait won't get pushed down the shank of the hook as much. This
allows you to continue fishing the bait all the way back to the
boat, and you'll enjoy more casts and more fishing time with the
bait presented properly with this "Z" bend hook"
flipping and pitching, the Mustad #38104BLN Big Mouth Tube Hook.
Super Line Hooks.
Big Spinnerbait Bass
Texas-rigged soft plastics are by far the most popular lures
in Mexico. Spinnerbaits are second most popular.
The reason why spinnerbaits are so popular in Mexico is that
spinnerbaits come through heavy cover better than most other
lures (except the Texas rig).
The wire arm safely guards a spinnerbait's hook from snagging
in heavy cover. That makes the spinnerbait a top lure in Mexico.
Following are photos of trophy bass all caught on spinnerbaits
in October 2007 at Lake Baccarac by a small group of friends.
Please enjoy their spinnerbait bass photos first. After that,
we'll tell you tips how you can increase your chances to land
trophies like these on spinnerbaits in Mexico.
Dr. Rogelio Villarreal (above) of Monterrey and friends
(below) landed these trophies - all on spinnerbaits - during
their trip to Lake Baccarac in October 2007.
Tips for Mexican Spinnerbait Adventures
Many anglers who hope to tangle with Mexico's trophy bass can
put the odds a little more in their favor by throwing the biggest
spinnerbaits possible - full one ounce - and under the right
conditions, even monster 1-1/2 oz spinnerbaits!
Normally, 1/2 and 3/4 ounce spinnerbaits are the sizes most
used in Mexico. Full one ounce spinnerbaits are not as popular.
However, the bigger presence of a one ounce spinnerbait tends to
attract bigger bass and can support bigger blades. The odds are
you will catch fewer but larger bass on larger spinnerbaits. So
anglers who want to be selective for trophy bass should consider
using bigger spinnerbaits (up to one full ounce) more often,
ideally with bigger blades to catch bigger bass than 1/2 or 3/4
Double Willow blades are by far the most common spinnerbait
blade configuration on the planet, and double willows (one
nickel, one gold) are favored in Mexico also.
One problem (or opportunity depending how you look at it) in
terms of Mexican fishing is that most spinnerbaits on the market
don't have any bigger than size #5 Willow blades. On most
spinnerbaits, the front Willow tends to be a size smaller than
#5. The back Willow may be a #5 at most. These size blades will
catch many bass in Mexico (including big bass).
However, using bigger than #5 blades increases your odds for
"One of the most important tips
for trophy bass is to use bigger blades," says Mexican pro
and fishing guide, Carlos Gloria. "Blades bigger than #5 are
more selective. Bigger blades will catch fewer yet bigger bass.
Smaller blades will catch more numbers of smaller bass."
with a big tilapia.
"It is amazing the size of the prey they can eat. So your
chances are better when you use bigger baits for bigger
bass," says master angler Rogelio Villarreal.
Willow blades do come in sizes #5-1/2, #6, #7 and #8 is the
biggest Willow blade on the planet. These size blades are rarely
seen on spinnerbaits for bass, but if you want the biggest bass
that Mexico has to offer you, then offer them these bigger
blades, on one ounce spinnerbaits - and make sure you use no less
than 6/0 long shank hooks to ensure your odds of hooking them
In terms of blade colors, you have four basic options: 1)
front and back nickel, 2) front and back gold, 3) front nickel,
back gold and 4) front gold back nickel blades. Many days, all
four of these blade configurations will work. Some days, you may
notice or suspect that one of the four set-ups seems to work
better. So be attentive, try several of these configurations
every trip, and see if it matters. Keep in mind, many days it may
not matter much.
Painted blades also have their moments, although most anglers
do not throw painted blades much. Fishing is all about bettering
the odds, and trying painted blades for a few minutes each trip
will increase your chances, through empirical trial and
experimentation, of showing bass something they may want to bite.
One blade painted white and one painted chartreuse, for example-
or two blades painted white - are both reliable configurations
always worth trying for a few casts every day. If you happen to
get a bite, it's then worth trying for a few casts more. If you
get a second bite, you're onto some good fishing here. It's as
simple as that.
In terms of spinnerbait skirts, the most popular colors are
chartreuse/white, all white and all chartreuse. Actually,
spinnerbaits don't come in many other colors except those three.
Ninety percent of the spinnerbaits available on the planet are
chartreuse/white, chartreuse or white. Those three colors do
work, but if you can get spinnerbaits in other colors, they will
also work nicely. Green pumpkin, watermelon candy,
watermelon/white, june bug, black blue, black red, watermelon
red, bubblegum, fire tiger and many other spinnerbait colors are
hard to find - but increase the odds that you'll show fish
something they may want to hit. Fish can be selective like that.
spinnerbaits shown below have heavy duty closed wrapped loop eyes
on .040 diameter wire arms. This provides better odds
that you will land any lunker largemouth that latch onto one of
these spinnerbaits. Because the wire loop is wrapped closed, your
line can't slide up the arm and force the swivel end loop open as
can happen with an unwrapped open R-Bend arm. The closed wrapped
eye does not fatigue and snap as easily as an open R-bend wire.
In Mexico, the odds are lower you'll land lunker bass on
unwrapped open R-bend eyes. And the odds are lower that you will
land big bass on arms less than .040 diameter wire. Odds are
higher you'll land more bass on closed wrap loop eyes of at least
.040 wire diameter. So play the odds. You'll come out ahead in
the long run, with more big bass to show for it.
oz Spinnerbait. #5-1/2 front blade. #6 back blade.
oz Spinnerbait. #5-1/2 front blade. #6 back blade.
oz Spinnerbait. Dual interlaced front blades. #7 back blade.
oz Spinnerbait. Dual interlaced front blades. #8 back blade.
Bass Beware! Massive 1-1/2 oz
Don't Forget the Heat Shrinkable Tubing Too
Thin wall heat shrink tubing is a nice add-on to prevent the
fishing line from fouling in the wire wraps during a cast. It's
vexing to make a cast and have the line foul in the wire wraps.
You'll spend annoying little moments stopping in between casts to
unwrap the line out of the wire loop. Worse yet, a lunker bass
can snap your line more easily when the line's fouled in the
exposed wrapped wire eye. Covering the wrapped wire in heat
shrinkable tubing ends that potential problem. The heat shrink
tubing can help to keep the line positioned properly, prevent
fouling, and it only takes a few seconds to add it onto the eye.
It's also recommended to use the heat shrink
tubing on open R-Bend wires. This will help keep the knot placed
on the R-Bend, and reduces the chances that the knot will slide
out of place and up the wire arm when fighting a fish.
Spinnerbaits All Day Every Day
Spinnerbaits are one of the most popular lures in Mexico,
second only to Texas-rigged soft plastics.
Early morning is the best time of day to fish shallow heavy
cover with spinnerbaits. Bass tend to be up in shallow cover
during the morning hours, actively looking for food. So morning
is the best time to use the big one ounce spinnerbaits with big
blades. This is a good time to use some of the bolder, brighter
color skirts too. Fish will tend to be aggressive and active in
the morning in shallow cover. So the bigger, bolder spinnerbaits
have more appeal at this time. Due to their size, presence and
coloration, they can be glimpsed and sensed from further
distances through the sight-blocking, shallow heavy cover.
One ounce spinnerbaits cast farther and more accurately than
lighter spinnerbaits - and long, accurate casts are keys to
spinnerbaiting thick shallow cover. The X's above mark small open
pockets tight against the bank. These kinds of sweet spots on the
bank tend to hold good bass. The problem is, heavy cover tends to
be so thick, that it is too time-consuming and therefore
counterproductive or even impossible to move a boat close-in
along the bank. Usually, a boat can only maneuver effectively
with the trolling motor down when kept in the more navigable
water representing the outer tree line, which puts you a far cast
off the bank. So one ounce spinnerbaits can hit sweet spots on
the bank when cast from the outer perimeter of the tree line.
Smaller spinnerbaits can't reach these spots.
A boat can be impossible to operate inside the heavy tree line
or up against the bank, but a one ounce spinnerbait can hit tight
spots accurately from a long distance where the boat can't go.
In the section above, we emphasized one ounce spinnerbaits in
order to up your odds for bigger bass. In addition, 1/2 and 3/4
oz spinnerbaits do play a part, and we will tell you how now.
As the morning wears on, say by nine or ten o'clock, the
shallow, active spinnerbait bite may tend to shut down. Fish may
still be in the shallows, but may start to hole up in the center
of flooded mesquite trees, not willing to come out of the cover
to chase spinnerbaits any more. So by mid to late morning,
especially on clear or bright, sunny wind-free days, Texas-rigged
soft plastics flipped directly into the heart of heavy cover may
tend to be the better choice when bass stop roaming the shallows
and start to hole up in heavy cover by mid to late morning.
By noon or early afternoon, activity may diminish or be
finished in the shallows by this time on some days. However, fish
in deeper water may still remain active. So odds to find active
fish may be better in deeper water after noon, say 10 to 20 feet
deep. This is a good situation to try slow-rolling spinnerbaits
along the bottom. Deep bass tend to relate directly to the bottom
much of the time. Therefore, slow-rolling a spinnerbait must stay
close to bottom. In this situation, small-to-average size blades
may work better because the reduced blade size helps a
spinnerbait to better hug the bottom. Keep in mind, there are
many trees and brush on bottom in deep water too. That's the
strike zone. Also, when we say reduced blade size, this may
mean a #5 Willow back blade plus some smaller size front blade,
Chances for slow-rolling trophy bass are good on offshore
structure in Mexico. Therefore, the stronger, more reliable .040
twisted eye wire arm is still a good choice for slow-rolling in
Slow-rolling involves a lot of pauses during the retrieve to
let the lure periodically settle back to the bottom. You will
reduce your chances for a hit if you let the spinnerbait lift too
high above bottom. So always throw in a few pauses to let the
spinnerbait settle back to bottom, then resume reeling. A lot of
hits may come when you pause reeling as the spinnerbait settles.
When the spinnerbait is felt bumping brush or trees, then rip
or lift the rod high and/or reel quicker until the spinnerbait
clears the snaggy spot. As soon as the snag is no longer felt,
then pause to let the spinnerbait settle back to bottom. You'll
receive many hits right at that moment.
Below are two good blade configurations to slow-roll close to
bottom in deeper water:
oz. #3 front blade. #5 back. Ideal to slow-roll deep water.
oz. Strong .040 wire arm. Good deal for slow-rolling deep.
As the day progresses, if it becomes overcast or if wind
creates a chop on the water, then there's a good chance that
shallow bass may again become active and start roaming the
shallow shoreline flats again under overcast or windy conditions.
If that's the case, the same larger spinnerbaits as used in the
early morning may produce in the shallows again.
On the other hand, if the afternoon remains sunny and
relatively windless, you may need to tone down the size, color
and blades of spinnerbaits used around the shallows or to try up
high for bass suspended in the crowns of flooded treetops. In
Mexico, downsizing means a 1/2 oz spinnerbait with more muted or
subtle colors, more natural or baitfish-like colors, plus smaller
blades, giving an overall smaller, compact, more natural
appearance. You can think of this as a finesse or more stealthy,
subtle spinnerbait for high sun and low wind situations, such as
the following spinnerbait examples:
oz Spinnerbait. Neutral coloration and "downsized"
1/2 oz Spinnerbait. Natural shad coloration. "Hammered"
blades flash less.
The above two spinnerbaits are typical in weight (1/2 oz ) and
blades (size #5 and smaller) of many spinnerbaits on the market.
In Mexico, however, these "smaller" spinnerbaits can be
considered finesse lures for tough time periods during the day
when the sun is high, the wind calm, making a subtle, downsized
presentation necessary to fool fish that would shun bigger,
bolder spinnerbaits under those conditions.
In summary, spinnerbaits can - and should - be used all day
every day in Mexico. It's as easy as 1-2-3:
- Start shallow early in the morning with big, bold
spinnerbaits (which can produce all day under overcast or windy
- Slow-roll deep water with bottom-hugging spinnerbaits after
the early shallow bite dies and
- Finesse fish out of the treetops under bright, calm
conditions with natural-looking, downsized spinnerbaits.
During the course of a fishing day, I may try 5 or 6 or 7
spinnerbaits, each with different features. There's really no
substitute for showing fish a diversity of lures. Some days it
seems they'll hit them all. Other days, they may show selectivity
for one over the others. You'll never know unless you try them!
In this book, I have only touched on the basics for
spinnerbait success. There are many skirt colors, many blade
shapes and colors that all will work. Bass will hit many more
spinnerbait colors and blade combos than most anglers will ever
try. I hope you may see now, if you simply tie one spinnerbait on
your line and use the same one all day long, you are not going to
catch as many bass as you can by showing them different
spinnerbaits during the day.
Pro Carlos Gloria agrees. "Especially during a
tournament, if spinnerbaits are working, I may have 3 or 4 rods
with different spinnerbaits tied on them. I will pick up each rod
and try each one of those spinnerbaits one after another in each
spot. By showing fish several different spinnerbaits, I catch
more bass quicker than if I only used one spinnerbait."
Spinnerbait Choices for Mexican Bass Adventures
oz Spinnerbaits for Distance Casting in Shallow Water.
The 1 oz spinnerbait is the best size when it's time to cast
further for that big trophy bass, break out a big 1 oz
spinnerbait. The odds are you will catch fewer but larger bass on
these larger spinnerbaits. All arms are
heavy duty .040 wire.
oz Extra Heavy Spinnerbaits for Deep Water. Not
every angler who fishes in Mexico uses these monstrous 1-1/2 oz
spinnerbaits. They are strenuous to use for any more than brief
periods, but you may find that some of the very biggest bass in
Mexico are caught on these, some of the very biggest spinnerbaits
possible. All have heavy duty .040 wire
These are truly trophy bass spinnerbaits.
oz Spinnerbaits ~ General Purpose. Very popular
size. Useful in many situations. Not as heavy or tiring to use.
These 3/4 oz spinnerbaits will catch many fun-size bass all day
long. Plus many grande bass too! All
with heavy duty .040 wire arms.
oz Spinnerbaits ~ Mexican "Finesse" Size.
Smaller 1/2 oz spinnerbaits will also catch lunker lobina but
statistically, the odds are that you will catch more small to
average bass on these smaller size size spinnerbaits.
There's a place in Mexico for a 1/2 oz spinnerbait -
especially up in super shallow water or where you want a
spinnerbait to stay up more easily and more snagless in brush
tops, the lighter weight 1/2 oz spinnerbait gets the job done. All
feature heavy duty .040 wire arms.
Crankbaits are mucho popular all year round everywhere in
Mexico's pescadors use crankbaits of all kinds, including
shallow, medium and deep billed divers.
Bigger lipless is
selective for big bass. Center: Super deep (14'-18') diver.
Bottom: Deep (8'-12') diver.
Crankbaits with big diving bills are not so easy to work
through brush, but buoyant, shallow-diving models can be worth
the hassle to bounce them through the mesquite tree tops at
One of the very best situations for diving bill crankbaits are
flooded roadbeds or flooded stream and creek beds that don't have
a whole lot of brush littered straight down the open middles of
these areas. Just match the diving depth of the crank to the
approximate depth of the road bed, creek or stream channel.
A flooded road bed obviously runs down the middle
of the above photo. This can often be a red hot situation for
deep-diving crankbaits. Pay particular attention to working both
sides of the road, close to the edges of cover, but casting down
the open middle areas can prove productive too.
"A little trick with crankbaits on road beds
(or any patch of open bottom) is to try one that is rated to dive
deeper than the actual water depth itself. Say there's 8 feet of
water. Well, I may try a crank rated to go 8'-12' feet deep using
a stop-and-go retrieve to let it hit bottom, then stop so it
floats up a little, then go so it hits bottom again. You can even
use one rated to dive 10 to 14 feet, and by holding the rod tip
very high, you can get it to almost skitter or slide its bill
along the bottom in a fish-attracting way," reveals Carlos
Deep-diving crankbaits are also popular choices
on offshore structure. Cranks that dive to different depths such
as medium deep (6'-8') runners, deep (8'-12') divers and super
deep (14'-18') divers are deployed to match the approximate water
depths found at offshore locations.
In parts of Mexico, the lipless is the third most popular and
productive bass lure. Texas rigs and spinnerbaits are first and
second, respectively. Lipless are third.
Lipless are an everyday item for shallow brush. Using 50-65 lb
braid, lipless are possible to work through moderately brushy
areas, basically ripping them over, through and off every limb
they encounter. It's hard and tiring work to fish lipless this
way, but your exertion can be rewarded handsomely some days.
lipless in brush is tough but rewarding work.
What helps lipless work so well is that shad and
tilapia - two abundant bait species across Mexico - have the same
basic body shape as a lipless.
"On my last trip to Bacurato (Baccarac), I
found a lobina floating in the water. The fish was still alive
(10-12 lbs) and it had in its mouth a kind of big sardine,"
says Dr. Rogelio Villarreal. Note that silvery baitfish in Mexico
may be referred generally as sardines.
"The renowned guide "El Tigre"
told me we call this sardine Machete due to it's razor-thin
belly. I took a good look at the sardine and noticed that the
color of the fins is yellow and there's a yellow lateral line
crossing the fish's body. The color's very close to the
chartreuse color we use on fishing lures. "El Tigre"
said, that is why doctor, every time you use a swimbait (pearl,
shad, mullet color), I first paint the tail for you with a
chartreuse dip dye. I came back to Monterrey and did my homework.
It's a threadfin shad (picture below)."
"It is the color of the fins and lateral
line of this shad that makes a bait with a chartreuse tail or
other chartreuse accents a BOMB in Mexican lakes like Baccarac
and El Cuchillo that have threadfin shad," says Dr. Rogelio
bass destroyed the painted tail on this swimbait. You can see the
lateral line painted on it by El Tigre.
experts say "El Tigre" is the best guide on Lake
A Lesson on Treble Hooks, Hangers and Rings
Anglers may want to consider switching to
stronger treble hooks on crankbaits and lipless baits.
Many crankbaits and lipless may come with hooks
too small, made of wire too thin for fishing Mexican style. So it
may be wise to replace stock hooks with stronger and possibly
bigger hooks as follows:
On 1/2 oz or smaller
lipless or cranks, you'll really like to be using no
less than #4 trebles or even #2's if possible.
On bigger 3/4 to 1 oz
size baits, ideally use bigger #2 or #1 trebles if
Not only bigger size hooks but thicker wire hooks
may be wise, such as the forged 3X strong Mustad #36329BLN treble
hooks shown below.
forged 3X Strong #36329BLN. #2 on left. #4 on right. (Photo not
The hook hangers molded into a hard plastic bait,
which are typically figure-eight or hourglass shaped stainless
wire eyes will determine how big you can go with hooks (and how
heavy a rod/reel/line you can use). Thicker diameter wire hangers
molded deeper into harder plastic baits will be able to handle
bigger hooks without pulling the hangers out on a big fish or
And if the hook hangers themselves prove stout
enough, then the split rings may become the weak link. An
undersized split ring could uncurl under pressure if it is
mismatched for this bigged up approach.
Bigger hooks may also marry or tangle each other
more often, and in the final analysis, that may be a reason not
to big up hooks on a particular lipless or crank if it's going to
constantly marry on every second or third cast. Ideally, you want
to big up hooks on baits that won't marry very easily.
Bigging up the hooks will affect the lure's
action and movement as follows:
action of billed cranks is a a little more sensitive to bigger
hook size. A billed crank may not always wobble as well with
bigger hooks. So you need to decide if changing hooks affects a
crank to the point that the crank gets less bites with bigger
hooks on it. Often, you just need to gain new comfort that bigger
hooks will catch just as many fish as before.
Bigging up the hooks on lipless usually will not affect the
action or how many strikes you get on lipless.
Bottom line, you'll hook and hold more fish with
bigger hooks, keeping in mind the caveats about hook hangers,
split rings and marrying above.
the other hand, with topwaters, you may want to big up the hook
sizes on topwater if possible. However, you may not necessarily
want to go to 3X strong hooks on all topwaters. Reason is, bass
often slash at and miss topwater lures. They tend not not to hit
topwaters as solidly as they hit lipless and cranks. So you may
want a regular strong wire hook (or a 1X strong hook) for
On topwater lures, a standard or 1X hook, being
thinner wire and therefore a much finer point, will grab more
easily when a fish, just barely misses it. That may help result
in a higher percentage of hook-ups with topwaters.
Topwater Fishing Frenzy
Soft plastics, spinnerbaits, cranks and lipless work well all
year long across Mexico.
Topwater fishing is the one technique that's seasonal in some
parts of Mexico, meaning it is not as productive during the
winter months, but can be phenomenal in spring, summer and fall.
When the surface bite is on, sturdy topwater lures like Super
Spooks, Chug Bugs and buzzbaits are very popular and just so
exciting to use for Mexico's big bass!
Chug Bug popper. 1/2 oz buzzbait. Heavy .051 wire. Baby Bass
The criteria for topwater lure selection for Mexico is
- Not only must a good topwater lure attract fish with its
- It must be solidly-constructed with relatively large, sturdy
hooks so huge bass cannot tear it apart
- Plus it must be big enough and weigh enough to cast with
relatively heavier rods and lines
Based on these criteria, many of the topwater lures on the
market are not constructed well enough, have hooks too small or
don't weigh enough to be practical in Mexico's big bass fishing
Rogelio Villarreal is not a fishing pro, but he
is an avid expert who fishes frequently during the year. He
concentrates all his efforts on fishing for trophy bass. The main
lake he fishes is Lake Baccarac.
"On Lake Baccarac, it is like a ritual that
early in the morning from first light until 8 or 9 o'clock, you
use big topwater baits in the shallows. On a recent trip, I had
the opportunity to try two new topwaters made in Japan - the hard
plastic Deps Buzzjet wakebait and the hollow rubber Deps
Basirisky frog - with excellent results mainly in the low light
of early morning and late afternoon. Other topwater baits that
are my favorites include the little bigger Rio Rico poppers and
of course, big Super Spooks," says Rogelio Villarreal.
to R: Yellow Magic
Magnum, Chug Bug, Rio Rico are little bigger than usual poppers.
Villarreal has done well on new Deps Buzzjet, Basirisky frog and
of course the Super Spook.
Although Rogelio makes wise use of them, hollow
rubber frogs and soft plastic topwater toads do not seem so
popular yet among Mexican anglers in general.
"During the midday hours in between the morning and
evening topwater fishing frenzies, we use mainly soft plastic
swimbaits at Lake Baccarac with impressive captures,"
5" Swimbait (SB5 series) excels in Mexico, but isn't used in
all regions yet.
Soft plastic swimbaits are more popular in some regions of
Mexico (Baccarac and El Salto for example), but are only just
beginning to try them in other regions of the country. This is
similar in the USA, where soft swimbaits have been more popular
in some states and regions, but not others.
Other lures like jigging spoons or hard plastic billed
jerkbaits are not so commonly used in Mexico.
And jigs of any kind, just are not big on the Mexican bass
fishing scene in most regions yet.
Flipping Jigs Come to Mexico in 2008
On this trip, I was delighted to make a brand new use for the
Yamamoto Kreature bait in Mexico - as a jig trailer on a 1/2 oz
flipping jig with a stout hook. Coupled with a Yamamoto Kreature
bait, it presents a bulky profile that's not been seen yet by
most Mexican bass. Best of all, it works!
streamlined bullet-nosed flipping jigs await their turn in
I had not tried flipping jigs here before, and in most
regions, Mexican anglers do not use them. So I never took any
jigs to Mexico. There are regions in the USA where anglers don't
currently flip jigs either. For instance, Florida. Jigs are
rarely flipped in Florida for the same reason cited in Mexico -
because they say jigs snag too much in heavy cover.
On this trip to Mexico, however, I had an unexpected stowaway
- one stout flipping jig. So I asked myself, "Why not?"
This flipping jig worked just fine. It did not seem to snag
any more than a Texas rig. If you think about it, the streamlined
bullet-shaped nose of a flipping jig is not that different from a
Texas rig bullet sinker shape.
flipping jig proved admirably snagless when cast deep into the
heart of heavy shallow cover.
Best of all, there were a few moments
when the flipping jig seemed to get more hits faster than the
esteemed Texas rig!
There is no doubt now that a well-constructed flipping jig is
about as snag-free, and holds promise as a new alternative to the
Texas rig in Mexico's heavy cover. Will flipping jigs produce
more or bigger bass than Texas rigs some days? That question
remains to be answered by the adventurous few who will be among
the first to embrace flipping jigs in Mexico.
Football Jigs Come to Mexico in 2008 Too
Kistler of Kistler Rods (left) and FLW pro Scott Martin in Mexico
where Martin recently gave a seminar on football jigs.
Since Scott Martin's recent clinic, football jig fever has hit
Mexico in a big way. Pro tackle shops like BEST FOR BASS
have just received the first shipments of football jigs, which
are selling like hot cakes (or should we say, hot tacos)?
Many Mexican anglers, inspired by Martin's seminar, plan to try
football jig fishing as soon as possible.
Now, football jigs have been used for decades in the western
US (Gary Yamamoto won the 1995 US Open using football jigs).
They've been favored forever for offshore structure fishing in
Arkansas, Missouri and thereabouts too.
However, football jigs can also be considered "new"
in a way. Top FLW and BASS pros only started to win major events
on football jigs within the past two seasons, and that has
sparked new interest in many regions where football jigs have not
been used yet, including Mexico.
My only caution to Mexican anglers who are eager to try them
is that many models of football jigs tend to have hooks not
strong enough to fish with heavy tackle and powerful braided
Point is, many football jig hooks are not strong enough to
fish that way. Football jig hooks are often designed for medium -
not heavy - tackle. Hooks used in many football jigs are not
"superline" strength. They'll bend. Fish will be lost,
Fortunately, one football jig that has a heavy flipping hook
is made by Gary Yamamoto.
Yamamoto's Heavy Duty Football Jig Head.
There's no worry that heavy tackle, 50-65 lb braid or a huge bass
could ever straighten the hook in Yamamoto's football jig. Plus
the stiff wire guard offers serious snag protection. Yet the hook
can be set easily despite the wire guard, on the heavy tackle
that Mexican anglers use. Yamamoto's Weedless Football Jigs
(44W-series) comes in 3/8, 1/2, 3/4 and 1 ounce sizes, all with
super-stout, long shank 4/0 Gamakatsu hooks that won't bend.
Yamamoto's 11-series skirts and double tails can be mixed and
matched with football jig heads. 5" Pro Double Tail
(16L-series) shown on left and right. 6" Double Tail
(12-series) shown center.
Deep Wood Goes Good with Arkey Jigs
Traditionally, football jigs have been at their best in deep,
rocky lakes and on offshore structure with very little or no
cover (brush, trees, etc.). Football jigs are originally designed
for rocks, gravel and hard, bare bottoms.
Due to heavy offshore cover in Mexico, football jigs may (or
may not) work so well in Mexico's tree and brush-infested
offshore areas. Nevertheless, Mexican anglers rightly plan to
find out what football jigs can do soon.
One other jig head style that is not in the fishing news
headlines lately but may be more beneficial to Mexican anglers is
the Arkey jig. The flat, wide shape of an Arkey jig has many of
the same merits as the flat wide football head, except the Arkey
comes through heavy cover and flooded trees far better than a
Arkey style jigs were originally designed, as the name
implies, in Arkansas over 45 years back by inventor Bob Carnes.
At that time, many of the bass fishing impoundments there were
newly-made. With so much freshly-flooded standing timber, the
Arkey jig was devised to fish through the trees without snagging.
So the Arkey jig is something designed for fishing deep, flooded
trees. For that reason, Mexican anglers should certainly try it.
Best of all, a good number of Arkey jigs tend to be made with the
heavy-duty hooks required in Mexico.
jig heads are wide like football jigs, tend to come through wood
better and have heavy duty hooks.
oz green pumpkin red Arkey jig with green pumpkin red (color
#318) Yamamoto Flappin' Hog trailer.
That's all I have to say about jigs for now. Historically,
they haven't been used much in most parts of Mexico.
Contacts If You Go To Mexico
BEST FOR BASS Pro Tackle Shops
Hector Aguilar and Joel Aguilar
BIG BASS Lodge
Lake Guerrero, Mexico
In USA 1-800-531-7509
Fishing Guide and Top Bass Pro
BassChannel TV & Video
Best Bass Fishing Show in Spanish is BassChannel.TV
Top Bass Pro
Carrasco's lifetime personal best released on February 23, 2008.