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We went on the bass fishing trip of a lifetime with Huk Performance Fishing on Lake El Salto.
Opportunities at catching the biggest bass of your life don't knock on your door every day, so when we got the chance to head down to Mexico and fish Lake El Salto with Huk Performance Fishing, there was no sense in thinking too hard about it. This was the place Kevin VanDam commented on as "bucket list-worthy."
We were going, and setting our sights on a new personal best. Along the way, we got to try out some awesome new apparel from Huk, as well as some other fishing gear we hoped to put to the test.
It was all tested, that's for sure.
My colleague Jeremy and I got a real taste of American-influenced Mexican bass fishing at the incredible Angler's Inn International, nestled in the remote mountainous region of western Mexico. The resort's owned by Billy Chapman, Jr., who, right alongside his staff, was around to make us all feel welcome and taken care of.
The relatively young, manmade El Salto has quickly revealed itself to be an amazing lake for both size and numbers, both of which can reach levels unseen in the continental United States. Originally stocked with Florida strain bass, it's reached world class status already.
As soon as we exited the van from the Mazatlan airport, the staff at Angler's Inn had our rooms ready and margaritas waiting. How's that for a sure sign you're in the right place?
Our group couldn't wait to hit the water, and the guides at Angler's Inn couldn't have been more helpful and accommodating. Despite a terminology barrier (that tested my high school-level Spanish knowledge), we could communicate pretty easily through the global language of fishing.
We wouldn't have had as good of a time if it weren't for all the new Huk shirts, shorts, and shoes we had on, seeing as the midday temps were reaching the high 90s and the sun wasn't letting up much at all. Everybody knows wicking and venting features come common on most Huk gear, and the ability to withstand the conditions were essential if we wanted to keep catching fish.
And as well as they were biting, there wasn't a chance we were going to bow out early.
The first morning session produced my new personal best, a 6.5-pound largemouth that hit my black buzzbait instantaneously after it hit the surface in about two feet of water.
It was the best bass I'd ever caught. It had a belly, was nice and long, and it was seemingly ready to eat even more. Releasing that trophy bass was a moment that'll sit atop my sportfishing career for a long time.
The lake levels were about 20% full, meaning the conditions weren't great compared to what they can be. Out of the group there weren't any double digit bass like the lake's been known to produce, but there was plenty of good fish caught, lots of time spent on the water, and a ton of good conversation and learning opportunities.
The guides at Angler's Inn were great, knew the water, and were equally comfortable helping rig our gear or sitting back and letting us run the show.
We had several pairs of Huk Next Level Shorts, which they apparently can barely keep in stock, and some Icon Long Sleeve Shirts with the new Mossy Oak Elements fishing camo pattern. They kept us cool, dry, and blocked from the sun. The shorts in particular are exactly what the greater fishing world needs: a pair of subtly but smartly designed bottoms that fight against sweat, have stretchy and stain-fighting fabric, and still look dang good.
Huk also supplied us with their new Attack Performance Fishing Shoes, giving us no-slip grip, 360-degree drainage, and their own Kryptek pattern. These shoes were great, and are going to get a lot of use throughout the rest of the year.
Along with the awesome Huk gear, we were supplied with another piece of required equipment for any Mexican bass quest, and that's polarized shades.
A couple new Abu Garcia reels and several of Berkley's newest swimbaits were certainly up for the task, and made finding and landing fish that much easier.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip, with fantastic hosts in Huk. The guys showed us a really good time, and the group was jovial and in good spirits. That says a lot; getting a few strangers together and making sure everyone's taken care of and feels comfortable enough to let loose a little bit it's easy. We accomplished that, and then some.
I mean, that's what fishing in Mexico should be about.
When the time comes to seek out the bass that will tip your own personal record's scales, then Lake El Salto needs to be on the shortlist.