I came home from El Salto a few weeks ago not quite mad, but a little bit disappointed. My biggest fish on this trip was 7 pounds 10 ounces, which made it the second smallest “big fish” on any of the 11 trips I’ve taken there. My smallest big fish came on my first trip, when I topped out at a little over 6 pounds. It is a special place, one that will spoil you, and the vast majority of the time I've topped 8, usually several times. To put that in a bit of perspective, I’ve only caught one 8 pounder in Virginia in my life, and that one just pushed the needle to that mark.

Now that I’ve had some time to reflect, I realize what a great trip it was, not only because I left single digit temperatures for shorts weather, or because the service at Anglers Inn is so exceptional, or because Hanna and I averaged over 80 fish a day between us, but also because of the diversity of the fishing there. Some fish had already spawned a while back, others were moving up daily, and there was still a legion of big girls waiting to make the move. That meant that we could catch a decent number of fish on the widest variety of presentations possible. Specifically, I know that we caught multiple bass on each of the following lures:

·       Wacky rigged Senko

·       Texas rigged Senko

·       Texas rigged worm

·       Carolina Rig

·       Flipping Jig

·       Football Jig

·       Scrounger

·       Chatterbait

·       Spinnerbait

·       Ribbed Swimbait

·       Hollow Belly Swimbait

·       Prerigged Swimbait

·       Square Bill

·       Whopper Plopper

·       Popper

·       Walk the Dog topwater

·       Lipless Crankbait

·       6XD

·       8XD

·       10XD

I may be missing some, and I’m sure that others in our group might’ve added a few to the list, but truly the only reason that we didn’t catch them on other techniques is because we didn’t try them. While we were there, Brent Ehrler caught some on a magnum shakey head and a wobble head, and regretted that he didn’t have any Preacher Jigs with him.

It is a special place, one that my friend TJ Maglio said is where “all good bass fishermen go to die.” It was his first trip and it was refreshing to see the lake through his eyes and that of other El Salto virgins. You always wonder if someone will find a place as compelling as you do. On the one hand, you hope that they do, because it will validate your own beliefs, and I’m happy to share it with friends, but on the other hand, being the spoiled individual that I am, I’d love to have it all to myself.