Lake Picachos is a fishery where you’ll raise eyebrows if you catch a hundred a day – not because you’ve done something special, but rather because you’ve lowered the camp average. It takes 200 a day to really impress someone who knows the score, and even then it’s not like you’ve set records.
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.
I haven’t been to Mexico since June, and I’m starting to feel a little bit itchy over the whole deal. I miss the fishing, the food, the people and the weather. I had one day available to fish in the past week and it was this Saturday, when the mercury didn’t rise above 31 degrees, so I elected to stay home.
One of the reasons Hanna and I go back to Anglers Inn again and again and again is because after a dozen or so trips the staff has started to feel like family. Actually, better than family – because none of my close relatives has ever unhooked a fish for me, tied a knot for me, or jumped up from the seated position to carry my overstuffed tackle bag from my boat to my room.
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.
At Anglers Inn El Salto, the guides fully expect to land every one of the many fish you’ll catch. I don’t really roll like that, so my general rule is to land all fish caught on single-hooked lures myself, unless they are net-worthy, and to leave the vast majority of fish caught on treble hooked lures to them.
Since we don’t live on the Tennessee River or some other classic ledge lake, Hanna and I don’t get a lot of chances to catch two fish on one bait on a single cast. I’ve done it once in my life in Virginia, landing two 1-pound non keepers on a Rat-L-Trap while practicing for a tournament at Smith Mountain Lake.
One of the nice things about traveling to Anglers Inn International’s properties is that they launder your clothes every day. Remove one item of clothing from your luggage and you can stow away a few more packs of Senkos. Drop another pair of shorts or shirt and there’s room for another big crankbait or several more topwaters. It is, in the truest sense, addition by subtraction.