LAKE COMEDERO, Mexico – Fishermen are accustomed to hearing "You should have been here yesterday." For a group of Texans and others from around the country who traveled to Lake Comedero, the mantra was "Wait until tomorrow."
Considered possibly the premier big bass lake in the world, the northern Mexico lake has been producing trophy bass for a decade. Malakoff’s Ron Speed Jr., who operates the only camp on the 30,000-acre lake in northwestern Mexico, does not have to brag about the number of 10-, 11- and 12-pound bass in the lake. He just shows the pictures.
This year, however, something happened after the first spawn in mid-January and the weeks leading up to February’s spawn. The typical spinner and jig bite changed to a topwater bite, and then for a few days even that slowed down.
As the fishermen ate dinner the first night in camp, they looked around the walls of the dining room. They are covered in white boards listing the names of every fisherman who had already caught an 8-pound bass or better this year. There were five boards, all nearly full, showing the big bass and what they had been caught on. There was another board with the top 10 of the year. That took an 11-pounder to even get recognized.
Comedero is one of three that Ron Speed Jr. Adventures has fishing camps on north of Mazatlan on Mexico’s west coast. With a 19-6 lake record, Comedero is the crown jewel. It is located about three hours north of Mazatlan and is the most remote of Speed’s camps. The van ride to the lake takes fishermen past El Salto, another with a Speed camp, and the one with the second-best reputation for trophy fish. Picachos, located just a short ride out Mazatlan, is the newest of the three and presently known for its numbers over size.
The Comedero camp first opened in 1984. In those days, the ride from Mazatlan to the camp was a dusty six hours up an unpaved road through the mountains. With its reputation, it still attracted a following of adventurous fishermen. The lake became a destination for trophy bass in 1994, seven years after the introduction of Florida strain bass.
Like other lakes throughout the region, there is seasonal commercial net fishing for tilapia on Comedero, but because of the lake’s size it is not as noticeable as it can be on other lakes. Because of the depth of the lakes, and the relatively shallow placement of the nets, they really don’t have an impact on the lake’s bass population.
At about 300-feet deep when full in the fall during the rainy season, Comedero can start out difficult for fishermen not accustomed to depth. During the fishing season, the lake that provides irrigation water for downstream farms can drop 100 feet or more. Last fall, the rainy season for the region, the lake only filled to 85 percent of capacity so the drop has been more dramatic this year, reaching levels in February it was at a month later in 2017.
However, following the suggestions of guides and talking to other fishermen, the learning curve is quick. The wise fisherman goes prepared starting with reels spooled with monofilament for topwaters, fluorocarbon for a variety of subsurface baits and 60-pound braided line for the 1-ounce jigs and spinners. A variety of lures is also important, but can create a conundrum. While the theory that big lures catch big fish is usually right on Comedero, that certainly was not the case this time.
Knowing the spinner/jig bite was off, the fishermen brought out an assortment of baits on the first day, but it was the 5-inch Zoom Fluke and Yellow Magic topwaters that stole the day. The big bass was an 8.1, a good fish, but disappointing by Comedero standards. Steve Ven Huisen of Illinois caught the bass and more than doubled his previous best in doing so.
On the positive side the fishermen, including Kelly Hall, Mike Robertson, Clay Gossett and Cody Jones of Henderson, Jimmy Smith of Edgewood and Paul Kirk of Red Oak, sacked up big numbers of 100-plus per boat and a good many of those were quality fish.
Armed with a day’s experience, the fishermen found the big fish on day 2 including three over 11. The best was an 11-15 caught by 76-year-old Virginia fisherman Tom Seaman. Ven Huisen caught another one, breaking his personal best for the second time in two days.
While the last two days of the trip did not produce any more 11s, there were plenty of 8s and up to make for a good trip, and two fishermen had days with five over 8 individually. The final count included 16 8-pounders, six 9s and four weighing over 10 pounds.
One of the 10s was an egg-laden female that Kirk caught on a Yellow Magic fishing brush just off a steep bank. That was a pattern Kirk stayed with throughout the trip, fishing the topwater lure the whole day whether overcast or bright sunshine, windy or calm. It paid off for the fisherman who had both numbers and one of the 11s along with some of the other biggest fish of the week.
Others' success came from everything from small Flukes to the deepest running crankbaits. In all, each boat averaged about 90 fish per day.
By the end of the four days, the spinners and jigs were beginning to produce as well. The spinners should be a key pattern going forward because as the fish stack up in deeper water, spinners have historically attracted big bass, and often multiples that will chase it back to the boat.
In the last year, Speed has undergone a major renovation of the camp, along with adding new rooms for fishermen who prefer to spend their last night at the lake instead of returning to Mazatlan.
For more information, go online to ronspeedadventures.com or call 1-800-722-0006.