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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 countries.

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 soft.

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 Mexico without:

  1. a heavy action rod suited for 50-65 lb braid, mainly for working Texas rigs shallow or deep
  2. 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 recommended.

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:

  1. Falcon Expert #EC-7-H. 7'. Heavy with 65 lb braid for Texas rigs, jigs or other weighted sinker rigs
  2. Falcon Expert #EC-7-MH. 7'. Medium Heavy with 50 lb braid for weightless plastics, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, lipless, etc.

Falcon 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' length.

Gary 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:

  1. Gary Yamamoto Tournament Rod #SM3601HF. 7'0". Heavy with 50-65 lb braid for Texas rigs, jigs or other weighted sinker rigs
  2. Gary Yamamoto Tournament Rod #SM4661XHF. 7'6". Extra Heavy with 50-65 lb braid for Carolina rigs, big swimbaits and other extra heavy applications.

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.

Technique-Specific 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 Mexico.

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.

Aventuras Outdoor TV show host Martha Morales is Mexico's best woman bass angler.

Hot Reels

Reels 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 Mexico.

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 cover.

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 none.

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 reel.

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 shallow trees.

Shimano Core 100MGFV is the ultimate lightweight powerful flipping reel for Mexico.

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.

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.

Mono 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 for me.

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 braid.
  • I see no advantage to NOT using it.

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 retie?"

I say, "I don't need to, I'm using braid."

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 retied yet.

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 choice.

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 still bite.

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 jump."

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 Gloria.

"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 matter).

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 impoundment.

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 tree trunk.

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!

Hola 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 water.

Aventuras Outdoor TV show host Martha Morales releases bass caught offshore.

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.

Plásticos Fantásticos

Gim'me 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:

  1. Yamamoto's 8" Big Grub (10-series) in color #066 black chartreuse core-shot
  2. Yamamoto's 7" Lizard (13-series) in color #919 green pumpkin lemon laminate
  3. Yamamoto's 5" Senko (9-series) in color #901 watermelon cream laminate
  4. Yamamoto's 5" Senko (9-series) in color #906 watermelon lemon laminate
  5. Yamamoto's 7" Lizard (13-series) in color #901 watermelon cream laminate

Busy booth of BEST FOR BASS at Monterrey's Interkampp outdoor show.

Two 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.

Fifty 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:

  1. Weightless. What can be said except weightless is what made the Senko so famous, and always a good way to rig one.
  2. Gary's New Jig. Shown top left. A new jig style designed to Texas-rig soft plastics.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

3/16, 1/4, 5/16 oz sizes with 5/0 hooks.

Swimming 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" lizards.

You 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.

"Shakey" Carolina rig lizard. 3/4 oz Mojo sinker. Rattle strap. 7'6" Extra Heavy Rod.

L-i-z-a-r-d spelled success with this mammoth monster.

Big 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," says Carlos.

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 that purpose!

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 fishing.

Do 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 happily.

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.

La 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 entice fish.

Other 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:

  1. For 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."

  2. For 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"

For flipping and pitching, the Mustad #38104BLN Big Mouth Tube Hook.

Gamakatsu 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 oz models.

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 big bass.

"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."

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 solidly.

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.

The 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.

1 oz Spinnerbait. #5-1/2 front blade. #6 back blade.

1 oz Spinnerbait. #5-1/2 front blade. #6 back blade.

1 oz Spinnerbait. Dual interlaced front blades. #7 back blade.

1 oz Spinnerbait. Dual interlaced front blades. #8 back blade.

Monster Bass Beware! Massive 1-1/2 oz Spinnerbait.

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, for example.

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 deep water.

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:

3/4 oz. #3 front blade. #5 back. Ideal to slow-roll deep water.

1/2 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:

1/2 oz Spinnerbait. Neutral coloration and "downsized" blades.

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:

  1. Start shallow early in the morning with big, bold spinnerbaits (which can produce all day under overcast or windy conditions),
  2. Slow-roll deep water with bottom-hugging spinnerbaits after the early shallow bite dies and
  3. 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

1 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.

1-1/2 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 arms.

These are truly trophy bass spinnerbaits.

3/4 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.

1/2 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.

Mexico's pescadors use crankbaits of all kinds, including shallow, medium and deep billed divers.

Top: 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 times.

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 Gloria.

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.

Ripping 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 Villarreal.

Monster bass destroyed the painted tail on this swimbait. You can see the lateral line painted on it by El Tigre.

Some experts say "El Tigre" is the best guide on Lake Baccarac.

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 possible.

Not only bigger size hooks but thicker wire hooks may be wise, such as the forged 3X strong Mustad #36329BLN treble hooks shown below.

Mustad forged 3X Strong #36329BLN. #2 on left. #4 on right. (Photo not actual size.)

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 tough snag.

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:

  • Cranks. The 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.

  • Lipless. 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.

Topwaters. On 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 topwaters.

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!

Top: Chug Bug popper. 1/2 oz buzzbait. Heavy .051 wire. Baby Bass Super Spook.

The criteria for topwater lure selection for Mexico is threefold:

  1. Not only must a good topwater lure attract fish with its action
  2. It must be solidly-constructed with relatively large, sturdy hooks so huge bass cannot tear it apart
  3. 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 situations.

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.

L to R: Yellow Magic Magnum, Chug Bug, Rio Rico are little bigger than usual poppers.

Rogelio 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," explains Rogelio.

Yamamoto 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!

Well-designed, streamlined bullet-nosed flipping jigs await their turn in Mexico.

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.

A 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

Trey 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 line.

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, big ones.

Fortunately, one football jig that has a heavy flipping hook is made by Gary Yamamoto.

Gary 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 football jig.

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.

Arkey jig heads are wide like football jigs, tend to come through wood better and have heavy duty hooks.

1/2 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.

ˇBuena Suerte!

Contacts If You Go To Mexico

Eliud Garcia
BEST FOR BASS Pro Tackle Shops
Monterrey, Mexico
Phone 011-52-81-8370-0505

Hector Aguilar and Joel Aguilar

Lake Guerrero, Mexico
Phone 011-52-81-8346-8066
In USA 1-800-531-7509

Carlos Gloria

Fishing Guide and Top Bass Pro
Monterrey, Mexico
Phone 011-52-81-1157-6262

Dago Luna

BassChannel TV & Video
Monterrey, Mexico
Website www.BassChannel.TV

The Best Bass Fishing Show in Spanish is BassChannel.TV

Pedro Carrasco

Top Bass Pro
Monterrey, Mexico

Pedro Carrasco's lifetime personal best released on February 23, 2008.

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