Deep Into Picachos


The last time I’d visited Mexico’s Lake Picachos, in the summer of 2015, the fishing was insane. The guides, all of whom by local ordinance have to be from the villages that were flooded to make the lake (don’t worry, they were all compensated and relocated), could simply beat the bank and lead you to one fish after another after another.

“There’s where I went to school.” Three-pounder.

“This used to be a cemetary.” Four-pounder.

“You’re fishing the edge of the former road to Mazatlan.” Twenty more fish ganged up along the side.

They didn’t have to do much more. The fish were that young and dumb, full of piss and vinegar.

After a three and a half year absence, I finally made it back to Picachos last week, and while there are still plenty of fish to be caught on the obvious shoreline stuff, the guides have really upped their game. Former Elite Series and FLW Tour pro Terry Baksay and I fished with Fermin, who has clearly developed a penchant for the offshore game. He’d pull up to a non-obvious piece of structure, point in a particular direction, and softly say “Crankbait.”

We complied.

We caught lots of fish.

Often 20, 30 or 40 from a single spot in a single visit.

I’m still not sure which crank is best there. A citrus shad Fat Free Shad is the longtime El Salto gold standard. I’ve come to increasingly rely upon an 8XD and 10XD and in recent years the Berkley Dredger has also been worked into the rotation. Baksay swears by a Rapala DT20 and he pretty much wore the bill off of one grinding it into flooded timber and hardmouthed bass. More than the design itself, I think it’s critical to throw something with some chartreuse in it. Our man Fermin was a master of getting them unstuck, too. Without his patience and assistance we each would’ve lost seven or eight expensive plugs, but instead we just sacrificed one or two apiece to the fish gods.

We didn’t catch any true gigantors, but there was a steady stream of fours and fives, and I have credible reports from friends I trust of a number of 8- to 10-pounders in recent months. Most of us in the under-50 crowd will never again have a chance to fish a new or semi-new impoundment, particularly not one with such a long growing season. The beauty of Picachos, at a decade old, is that it is just nearing a peak, and I’m certain that there are still mega-schools that haven’t been found and may have never seen a lure.

The proof of my seriousness is in my rebooking. I take my time away seriously, and have lots of places still on my bucket list, but I’ve already reserved some rooms at Picachos for mid-November. I might even have one or two left, so if you don’t want to get left behind, contact me ASAP and dive into the deep end.

Editor’s Note: Actually, they don’t let Pete do anything involving coordination or currency. If you want to book a trip to Picachos in November, or at any time, contact his wife Hanna at