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Looking at El-Salto from the main lodge ing. After all, 4:30 am would be upon us soon. I took this opportunity to stroll the area around the camp, gazing into the moonlit Mexican sky. It was snow covered back home, and the warm 60 degrees felt very nice. There is something to be said about meeting eight new friends only a few hours earlier, all sharing the some common goal, to have fun and catch a big - and I mean big! - Lago El Salto bass. In my case I felt a bit more pressure than the others might have. You see, I knew I was on this trip to help in any way I could to ensure a good time for everyone, including myself. That meant locating and catching El Salto’s most precious bounty, the eight pound plus El Salto bass. The night air was still, and I couldn’t help but notice how quiet things were, not a peep except for the occasional frog. The whole experience had brought me back to my child hood days, waiting for, preparing for, and expecting an incredible day on the water. Thankfully, many of them have been just that. Morning broke, and the tranquility of night was soon shattered as we were greeted at our door by Jose, bearing coffee and freshly-squeezed juices. Showers were taken, duties were done and some of us even shaved, and then it was off to the breakfast table. Everything - and I mean everything - you needed for an authentic Mexican breakfast was there. We all shared in a few war stories and were off to the water. Dale Brown and I were paired for the first day with guide Fermin Rodriguez Vega. In short order, Fermin proved his skills. We traveled only a few miles up the lake and turned into a very small cove which would be our starting place. Because of our calendar period and the moon phase, one could expect to find spawning or at least prespawn bass, and Fermin knew this. His approach was to work the mouths of these smaller pockets, fishing every stump and standing tree in our path. Prespawn stage fish will often hang on these structures prior to entering their actual spawning areas. However, I was able to discover through conversations with Bill, Tony and Fermin that a severe cold front had come through only a few days prior. This meant we could expect to find our bigger fish staged a bit deeper, and not quite into the bays on beds, exactly what our guide’s approach was indicating. Although there may at times be a language barrier, these folks really

Lax Reproductions know their bass, and if you express a desire to fish using a certain method or technique, they know where to put you. Our lures would include most of the more common ones, stick baits or jerkbaits such as Odyssey’s 5” Piglet, spinnerbaits, such as Strike King’s 3/4 oz. Pro Model, Berkley’s Power Worms (10” that is), Poe’s 400 and 400 Plus crankbaits and, of course, Rattle Traps in 3/4oz. and 1oz. sizes. Remember, we were dealing with some true potential for monsters. This was not the time to be conservative. Within the first ten minutes my surface jerkbait was consumed by a healthy 25” bass. Folks, this fish was well over eight pounds. As we continued to the back of the bay it was obvious that something had pushed the fish out, and I’ll put my money on the cold front. Although our water temps were around 60 degrees, only a few days earlier they were barely breaking 58 degrees. While fishing, if you are hit with such a cold front during a spawning period, be it January, February or March, you can expect most of your larger prespawn females to seek slightly deeper water in an attempt to avoid the negative effects of a surface water cooling trend. However, one can also expect bass to be aggressive and shallow after recovery from the cold front, usually within a day or two. We continued to fish this same pattern for about half of the day, picking up the odd stray, but not the quality of our first fish. Keep in mind, our “strays,” as I put them, were in some cases nearly 6 lbs. Fermin continued to show us new spots, spots he conceded had given up some big bass in the past, and at one point, Dale took three or four bass off one of those spots - all of them, I might add, were very nice fish. Before we knew it, it was noon and we were on our way back to the lodge, but not without stopping at what must have been one of Fermin’s hot spots. He suggested we present our deep diving crankbaits, and without hesitation we did. Our drift took us through what appeared to be an old village. That’s right, I said a village! We were literally tossing to old building foundations. On about the third foundation Dale proceeded to hook up with a nice El Salto bass in the seven to