Skip to main content

4 South of the Border Lakes for Over 10-Pound Hawgs

It's time to dust off that ol' passport and head South to one of Mexico's finest lake fisheries

4 South of the Border Lakes for Over 10-Pound Hawgs
4 South of the Border Lakes for Over 10-Pound Hawgs

If you want to catch a 10-pound-plus bass, perhaps several lunkers that size, your best chance lies in planning a fishing trip to Mexico. Dozens of lakes built by our neighbors south of the border offer good fishing opportunities for huge largemouths, thanks to a long growing season, plentiful forage and Florida bass genes that produce hawgs often reaching double-digit weights.

The question is, which of many prime Mexican fishing waters currently offer the best chances for landing that bass of a lifetime? Here are four you certainly should consider.

El Salto

Location: 75 miles northeast of Mazatlán in western Mexico’s Sinaloa state

Size: approximately 24,000 acres at full pool


Lake record largemouth: 18-1/2 pounds. Only three U.S. states - California, Florida and Georgia - have produced records greater in size.


Facts: Fishing pressure on El Salto can be heavy, but this scenic lake has borne the pressure well. Salto’s abundant largemouths put on an astounding 2 pounds annually. Untold thousands of 7- to 14-pound bass swim here. Many experts believe this to be the best trophy bass lake in the world.

There are times, especially in years following high water and a good spawn, when the biggest issue is getting away from 1- and 2-pound fish. Sometimes bass school up by size and you’ll wreck 3- to 5-pounders for hours. Other times, just when you think they’re all small, a 9- to 12-pounder will suddenly test your tackle.

In May 2005, Les Melton of Charleston, W. Va. established a lake record by catching five bass one day that weighed a total of 66.8 pounds. The five largest bass caught during his seven day trip weighed 71.5 pounds, an average of 14.3 pounds each!

Fishing tips: Salto is full of excellent cover and structure for bass, everything from rock piles and standing timber to deep creek channels and long points. Consequently, big bucketmouths are caught throughout the lake on a wide variety of lures.


Many of the heaviest fish are caught on deep-diving crankbaits or swimbaits fished on flats adjacent the old Elota River channel, on super-sized Carolina-rigged worms and lizards fished by the dam, and by running long-billed crankbaits or big Rat-L-Traps through deep holes where hawgs suspend.

October 1 through April 30 produces the best fishing for sheer numbers of bass, including some heavyweights. Prespawn usually occurs between December and January, with spawning February through March. The best months to fish for big postspawn females are April, May, June and July. Trophies can be caught almost year-round, from Sept. 15 thru July 31.

Lodging and guided fishing: Angler’s Inn


Huites

Location: approximately 100 miles (a 3-hour drive) east of Los Mochis in Sinaloa

Size: approximately 30,000 acres at full pool

Lake record largemouth: 15 pounds, 3 ounces

Facts: It’s possible to land scores of 2- to 8-pound largemouths daily on Huites, but tactics that catch smaller bass rarely work on the lake’s 10-pound-plus trophies. You must be 100 percent focused on catching a big fish if you are to succeed. You must tell yourself, “If I don’t get but one bite a day and it’s a 10 pounder, I’ll be happy.”

Fishing tips: To increase the odds of catching a bass exceeding 10 pounds, don’t fish shallow water along the lake’s shores. Fish open-water structures instead. Big fish typically hold off the ends of points, on deep breaks or humps, and often along the dam face.

Explore the water with deep-running lures until you find fish on these structures, then once you’ve pinpointed bass, hammer them with big swimbaits, deep-diving crankbaits and spinnerbaits, three of the top trophy-catching lures here.

Plan your trip when the weather is hot, the hotter the better. The weather is more stable then, the water’s warmer and big bass are most active. Prime time is from mid-April until mid-July.

Lodging and guided fishing: Lake Huites Lodge

Baccarac

Location: approximately 90 miles due east of Los Mochis in Sinaloa

Size: approximately 30,000 acres at full pool

Lake record largemouth: 19 pounds, 2 ounces, a record for Latin America, including Cuba. Local netters, who harvest tilapia in Baccarac, say they have caught and released largemouths exceeding 22 pounds.

Facts: Like many Mexican bass lakes, Baccarac has experienced ups and downs in bass fishing due to droughts, hurricanes, fish kills and other factors. Just a few years ago, some anglers were saying it was long past its prime, but conditions recently have been favorable for good spawns and growth of older bass, bringing the lake back into the limelight as one of Mexico’s prospering blue-ribbon destinations for sizeable bass in numbers. Visitors today can expect to catch 60-100 bass daily, including, if they’re lucky, one to several 10-pound plus monsters.

Fishing tips: Certainly other lures often prove productive as well, but on Baccarac, deep-diving crankbaits are valued above all others for enticing the lake’s huge bass. Casting big cranks all day will give you throbbing hands and wrists, but when the result is the bass of a lifetime leaping high above the water, you’ll be glad you made the effort. Cast close to the bank or visible cover, reel fast to get the big wobbly bait down to the fish zone, then retrieve with momentary pauses now and then. On good days, you’ll catch a bass every cast using this technique.

Can’t handle the rigors of chunking and winding crankbaits? All is not lost. Near dawn and dusk, big topwater plugs worked noisily on the surface often provide unforgettable action. Spinnerbaits, rattlebaits, large plastic lizards, worms and swimbaits will nab plenty of battlers throughout the rest of the day.

Plan well ahead for your trip. You’ll have to book early to get some of the limited accommodations during the September through June fishing season.

Lodging and guided fishing: Lake Baccarac Lodge

El Cuchillo

Location: in the state of Nuevo Leon in northeastern Mexico, a 1-1/2-hour drive on paved highway from the town of Monterrey

Size: 40,000 acres at full pool

Lake record largemouth: 14 pounds, 9 ounces

Facts: The newest Mexican Mecca for trophy bass is El Cuchillo. The lake is still unfamiliar to most American anglers but harbors an almost untapped gold mine of big bass.

Opened to fishing in 1994, El Cuchillo is home to a mix of northern largemouths and Florida bass, a combination that promotes the growth of huge bass with nasty attitudes. Be sure to beef up your line and tackle so you’re ready to handle these tackle busters. Anglers fishing recent tournaments have weighed in good numbers of 10-pound-plus fish.

El Cuchillo is a catch and release lake, and commercial fishing isn’t allowed, both of which promote growth of bigger bass. The water is not used for irrigation or power either, so lake levels do not fluctuate much, a bonus for visiting anglers.

Fishing tips: Many visiting anglers work big plastic worms and lizards through the lake’s plentiful trees and submerged brush to nab big fish. But reports indicate the best fishing for double digit hawgs may be around the many small earthen dams and irrigation canal systems flooded when the lake was built. Inundated buildings and road beds also produce monster bass, and areas where any of these features intersect can be real gold mines, especially in water 10 to 20 feet deep.

Favored local lures for El Cuchillo’s giants include Texas-rigged, 10-inch-plus soft plastics, big jigs rigged for snag-free retrieves and deep-running crankbaits.

Lodging and guided fishing: Rader’s Fish & Game

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Engel

Engel's High Viz Drybox Coolers

Versatile boxes available in four sizes; ICAST Fishing Gear Guide.

Bubba Blade: Multi-Flex Interchangeable Blade Set

Bubba Blade: Multi-Flex Interchangeable Blade Set

Four blades in versatile knife system to fit your needs; ICAST Fishing Gear Guide.

Tactacam Fish-I Camera and Remote

Tactacam Fish-I Camera and Remote

Recording your fishing success is a one-button deal with Tactacam's FISH-I Camera and Remote. Tactacam's Ben Sterns shares insight on the camera system with In-Fisherman's Todd Ceisner as part of our 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

Minn Kota Raptor

Minn Kota Raptor

Associate Brand Manager Adam Knowles, from Minn Kota, talks with Rob Neuman from In-Fisherman, about the all-new Raptor shallow water anchor.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?5 Great Lures For Bluegills Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides places to start.Are You a New Hunter Looking for Help? Hunting How-To

Are You a New Hunter Looking for Help?

Adam Heggenstaller - August 19, 2020

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides places to start.

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

Here's how to get your rig ready for archery deer season.19 Ways to Get Your Crossbow, Compound Ready for Opening Day Bows

19 Ways to Get Your Crossbow, Compound Ready for Opening Day

Bob Robb - August 21, 2020

Here's how to get your rig ready for archery deer season.

See More Trending Articles

More Bass

Here's how to take it one step further and actually catch bass.October Game Plan: Find the Food, Find the Bass Bass

October Game Plan: Find the Food, Find the Bass

Ken Duke - October 22, 2020

Here's how to take it one step further and actually catch bass.

Float this scenic southern Appalachian river for some of the south's best trout and smallmouth fishing.Hiwassee River Double-Header Fishing

Hiwassee River Double-Header

Bob Borgwat - August 10, 2020

Float this scenic southern Appalachian river for some of the south's best trout and smallmouth...

Employ these expert tips for world-class smallmouth bass fishing in rivers and streams.Go With the Flow for August Bronzebacks Bass

Go With the Flow for August Bronzebacks

Ken Duke - August 13, 2020

Employ these expert tips for world-class smallmouth bass fishing in rivers and streams.

Take advantage of better topwater lures and tackle to get more action on the surface.Topwater Tech: Get More Strikes, Hookups Bass

Topwater Tech: Get More Strikes, Hookups

Dr. Jason Halfen - July 08, 2020

Take advantage of better topwater lures and tackle to get more action on the surface.

See More Bass

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now