Two lakes in Mexico offer some of the hottest bass fishing on tap anywhere. El Salto in Sinaloa is noted for big bass, whereas Aguamilpa in Nayarit has super action for large numbers of midsize fish. Both are deep-water mountain impoundments loaded with flooded timber, and both have a prodigious supply of tilapia, upon which the bass feed vigorously. It’s not uncommon in either lake to find a floating dead bass with a tilapia wedged in its throat. Northeast of Mazatlan, El Salto spans 24,000 acres and offers the best chance of any lake in the world for catching a bass over 8 pounds. In recent years, 90 percent of its visitors have caught a largemouth over 6 pounds, and many have also landed a 10-pounder. Last May, an 18-pounder established a new lake record. Tangling with El Salto’s bruisers on surface lures amid heavy timber is a thrilling challenge. October through December is prime for big bass. Lake Aguamilpa is younger but larger than El Salto. A one-hour drive north of Tepic, it produces an incredible amount of bass from 3 to 7 pounds. It may yet produce giants (the record is 12 pounds), but now the game is action, as anglers regularly release 70 to 100 bass per boat in a day. Another blessing is that Aguamilpa’s water level doesn’t fluctuate widely like many Mexican impoundments; stable water means routinely good fishing. January and February are best for surface fishing. For details on the lodges at the lakes, call 800-468-2347, or visit and