[Editor: this article first appeared on www.ronsfishingblog and may only be used by permission of Ron Speed Jr.]

Holden Harrison with one of his many GIANT peacocks he caught during his trip.


Great news, peacock bass enthusiasts….it is no longer mandatory to show proof of Covid Vaccine for American citizens to enter Brazil!!! I know many of our customers that fished with us this past season already had the vaccine but there were also many that had been booked over the past couple of years that cancelled their trips due to the mandatory vaccine being enforced. Well, that’s no longer a requirement…as of now. We’re hoping it remains that way.

No more vaccine mandate for Americans to enter Brazil!!!

More great news…several airlines have started flying to Manaus from the U.S. again. There are TWO airlines with direct flights to Manaus now. One is AZUL AIRLINES and they depart from Ft. Lauderdale on Fridays. The other is GOL AIRLINES and they depart from Miami on Wednesdays…which doesn’t quite fit our fishing schedule but the Azul schedule does work better. Now, all this being said, I personally prefer a different airline and schedule and it’s NOT non-stop direct. It is United Airlines from Houston, TX to Panama…then change to Copa Airlines from Panama direct to Manaus. The United flight departing Houston on Thursdays. Copa is partnered with United Airlines and therefore you can get a “through” ticket all the way from Houston. Also you can fly United from Dallas, TX. Then change to United in Houston and on to Panama. Again, all the way a “through” ticket. The reason I prefer the United/Copa through Panama is because the two airlines have a very high rating where I don’t know much about Azul or Gol. I spoke at great length with our partner in Brazil who operates nearly year round for Eco/Nature Tours in the Amazon. He told me he has nature tour customers that have used all three airlines and routes with ZERO problems. That is great news! However, I still prefer the Houston-Panama-Manaus on United/Copa since their schedule fits better with our fishing schedule. The best news of all is now our customers do not have to travel all the way to Sao Paulo and backtrack north to Manaus anymore. Hallelujah!!!


Danyelle Hemphill caught the most BIG peacocks out of her group!!

Ron Jr’s early years with Peacock Bass Fishing on Lake Guri, Venezuela (1989 – 1992)…

My first experience and battles with the mighty peacock happened in June of 1989. My father had made a deal with Steve Shoulders who was manager of the beautiful “Puedpa” fishing lodge on Lake Guri, Venezuela. My father had gone there a month before my trip to check it out. He returned with some video footage of the lodge and the fishing. I was amazed at the loud topwater explosions and watching my father and Steve try and get these beasts in the boat. They didn’t catch many “big”peacocks during the week. The largest was 16 lbs caught by my father but most ranged from 8 lbs – 12 lbs…but lots of them. Still, I was amazed and could not wait to get down there to sample some of this explosive topwater action! I asked the outdoor writer (at the time), Buddy Gough, from the San Antonio Express newspaper, to join me on the trip. Buddy and I just thought we were prepared for these bass on steroids. Boy were we WRONG! We were fishing with baitcast rods/reels but using 20 and 30 lbs Big Game Trilene monofilament line. We were also using a small wood topwater lure with a propeller called “Bass Agitator” created by renowned bass angler and manufacturer of wood lures, Sam Griffin. While the “Bass Agitator” did it’s part in attracting massive topwater explosions from the peacocks, the rest of our equipment did NOT do it’s part. We were constantly getting our monofilament lines snapped…so much we started hesitating to throw the Agitator anywhere near brush or rocks. Still, we were able to put almost half of our fish in the boat. HALF.

Stefani Hada seems to always land the big ones!!

During that very first peacock bass experience on Lake Guri, Venezuela, Buddy and I landed approximately 10 peacock bass per day, lost approximately 10 per day…and most ranged from 8 – 12 lbs. We did manage one giant of 18 lbs caught by Buddy. My largest was 16 lbs. All the rest were 12 lbs or less. Still, we thought we had died and gone to Heaven! The peacock lived up to expectations and we could not wait to return. It was truly the trip of a lifetime!

My father and I became the exclusive outfitter and booking agent for Puedpa Lodge on Lake Guri. We promoted/sold many trips for 3 years. Then the fishing started to decline and I decided to venture further south to Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.

Heath Hemphill got in on the BIG fish action!!!

Ron Jr’s trips to Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest (1992 – Present)…

A breathtaking view from above the Amazon Rainforest.

In 1992, I found an operator for peacock bass who had a houseboat operating on the Trombetas River in the far eastern regions of the Amazon. I put together a group of 10 anglers for a checkout trip that my father would accompany. About the same time (August of 1992), I received a call from a man that was referred to me by Dallas Morning News outdoors editor/writer, Ray Sasser. This man was living in the DFW Metroplex but had spent many of his adolescent years in the Amazon as his father did missionary work there. This man told me he was quitting his job in DFW area and moving back to the Amazon to start a peacock bass fishing operation using a houseboat for accommodations. So I met with him to learn more about him personally and his experiences in the Amazon. After approximately 2 hours of meeting, I decided to set up a second “checkout trip”…one I already had set up for my father and this second one would be with the son of a former missionary. Surely these two checkout trips would result in success and a new location to promote our peacock bass fishing in South America? Weeeeell… it did not quite work out that way. Let’s just say that the fishing with the second checkout showed me enough to explore further into the Amazon but neither operations were….well, let’s just say I was hesitant to make a business relationship with either of the two men. I’ll leave it at that.

The Amazon waters are full of toothy creatures like this Pirandia fish.

I was not ready to give up on the Amazon as it’s potential to provide good peacock bass fishing was there….but I loved the Houseboat concept as it added HIGH ADVENTURE for everyone and especially for those who may not be diehard anglers or not want to rip big topwater lures all day long. Therefore I continued to scour the earth in hopes of finding another operator for peacock bass in Brazil…but there simply wasn’t anyone else. Well, so I thought. One day in March of 1993, I was visiting my friends at Fishin’ World in Dallas, Texas…then owner Key Puckett. In Key’s store he had a brochure/magazine rack with tons of brochures. I was just talking with Key while thumbing through a few brochures and I came across this one that had a picture of a houseboat on it…and said, “Join us for our couples Nature and Fishing in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest”….wow, BINGO! As soon as I returned to my office, I called the number on the brochure….a number in California. The man heading up this trip was Harry Gualco…who later became a great friend and booking agent for us in Mexico. Anyway, I told Harry what I was looking to accomplish and finding a new place to fish for peacock bass…and focus was on Brazil. Harry informed me that he and some couples do this trip to the Amazon once a year…but it was more for eco/nature purposes and that the operator in Brazil doesn’t really offer a full time “fishing” operation. Harry was kind enough to give me the Brazilian owner’s name and contact information so I could deal with him directly. I didn’t waste any time calling. That Brazilian operator is named Carlos Probst. We immediately set up a checkout trip….actually TWO checkout trips for September 1993. Again, one group of 10 for my father to lead, one group of 10 for me to lead. This time I would be the one leading the first group.

Another happy client after fighting this beauty into the boat.

To fast forward on this…BOTH trips were beyond anything we could have expected or hoped for with the fishing. We landed several peacocks over 20 lbs and MANY in the 15 – 19 class! It was incredible. We also learned that we needed to get away from any type of monofilament line as these monsters would snap even the strongest mono line with ease. We were using the 7 inch wood topwater lures with props made by Luhr Jensen. These were giant lures with huge propellers…that could really create a lot of water movement and attract those giant peacock bass…not just attract them but really make them FURIOUS!

This baby black caiman (alligator) just hatched.

We had found our new home and partner! Since the Amazon Clipper Houseboat operation was more of an eco/nature tour operation, we had to transform it into a fishing operation. The boats we fished from were long 25′ wooden pongas…big enough to carry up to 30 bird watchers. LOL….nope, those won’t sit well with our anglers! So we purchased a fleet of 10 AlumaWeld boats made in Arkansas…now known as Xpress Boats. We purchased them fully equipped with trolling motors and all the bells and whistles. Now it was time to start promoting. That next fall of 1994, we filled every trip to maximum capacity for Sept/Oct Season. We also filled every trip to maximum capacity for January through March Season. Fishing was incredible and we knew we were going to be there for a very long time barring any unforeseen “hiccups” with the country/government. Well, little did we know that 30 years after those first two exploratory trips, we would still be there…but here we are. We also have the same partner, Carlos Probst. His son Gustavo runs the day to day stuff and is an absolute pleasure to work with in this business. Also, of all the current operations in the Amazon for Peacock Bass fishing, nobody has been there longer than Ron Speed, Jr’s Adventures!


The 5 star Amazon Otter… the Mothership for RSJA customers!!

The Otter houseboat or mothership is a 5-star floating hotel and offers 8 luxurious cabins (double occupancy) with each cabin offering it’s own private bath and air conditioning. These rooms are spacious with NO BUNK BEDS!!! These are TWIN size beds. The rooms also offer closet space to hang clothes. The Otter also offers a HUGE dining room and the food is awesome. Nobody leaves the dining room hungry! Most tell us they can’t believe how good our food is considering we’re in some of the most remote regions of the Amazon! The Otter also offers a lounge area on top deck with two more lounge decks front and back of the 3rd deck…and with a bar as well. Last but not least, the Otter now offers Starlink Satellite Internet service on the boat! Now our customers don’t have to rely on our satellite phone to call home. Now with very good internet, one can download communication Apps such as WhatsApp to call or text back home. Just need to make sure the family or people you want to contact also have WhatsApp downloaded on their phones. WhatsApp is much clearer than a cell phone call as I communicate with all of our staff in both Brazil and Mexico via WhatsApp! It’s WONDERFUL!!!

Brazil Peacock bass fishing at its best with comfortable accommodations

First class cabins aboard the Otter!

The fishing boats and guides…again, we use all welded 100 gauge aluminum boats by Xpress. This is the best aluminum boat on the market…the same we use in Mexico! The guides? Well, I personally do not think any operation offers better guides with more experience. Most of our guides have been guiding our customers for 20 years or more and several for 25. One guide (Amaral) has been with us since that very first checkout trip in 1993. These guides know about boating/driving safety and of course where to find those BIG peacock bass! Our manager (Franz) is second to none. Franz has been with us for 20 years and is an expert in everything he does…and that goes for managing a fishing/houseboat operation to managing Eco/Nature tours. He is by far the best manager I’ve had in South America…and it’s not even close! Franz will be happy to take you and your friends on a jungle hike through the forest to meet and trade with the natives. Trade for bows, arrows, spears, paddles…whatever you desire. Everyone loves Franz!!!

Visit and trade with the natives of the Amazon Rainforest.

Our staff in Manaus is also THE BEST! Gus or Franz are usually the ones that meet our customers upon arrival at the Manaus Airport. From the time they meet you in the airport on Arrival Day till the time you leave Manaus on Departure Day, you are in very good hands! There are many years of experience in our overall staff. They are the reason we’ve been there so long and have the most years of experience operating in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest. The peacock bass is pound for pound the strongest and most explosive fish that swims…in fresh or saltwater. However, this TRIP…offers so much adventure and that is why I say it’s THE BEST FISHING ADVENTURE IN THE WORLD! No other fishing trip I’ve been a part of can stack up to the high adventure this trip offers! Whether it’s a “Bucket List” trip or wanting to find a new fishing adventure, you can’t go wrong with this one. Call us today and find out for yourself!


For over 15 years, yes folks 15 years, Ron speed Jr’s adventures has had the pleasure of recommending our travel partner Martin Travel Services. Simply put, they have your back when the airlines don’t.  Airlines have thousands of schedule changes. If you book it on your own, you are on your own and when it hits the fan and it will, get ready for long hold times and hard to understand foreign agents. Do the smart thing, call David Kochman or Kevin Martin at Martin Travel Services to reserve airfare or hotels. 800-627-8468
(ask about their American Airlines extra legroom specials)

Ron Speed, Jr. 

Winter 2023 Mexico Update

[Editor: this article first appeared on www.ronsfishingblog and may only be used by permission of Ron Speed Jr.]


Tom Overbeck landed many El Salto TOADS like this one last week.


Picachos trophies showing up this year. Logan Zimmerman with his 8.0lbs Picachos lunker.

Folks, the bass are growing up in Picachos! Actually they have been growing every year as far as average size but now we’re seeing more and more in the “trophy” size being caught by our customers! When I say “trophy” I mean 7 lbs and larger. I visit with a lot of our customers in person at the lakes as well as by phone after their trip and you would be shocked at how many have told me that they’ve bass fished for 20+, 30+ and even 40+ years and never caught a bass 7 pounds and larger! We hope to change that for all that have never experienced landing a bass that size…and bigger.

First let’s talk about numbers because “most” that choose to fish with us at Picachos are choosing numbers over size.

David Bednar with one of his bigger Picachos bass he landed this past December.

David & Cindy Bednar fished from November 22nd to Dec 2nd (1/2 day on Dec 2nd)…and in 10 1/2 days of fishing, this great husband/wife landed 2,920 bass! Their largest was 6.18 lbs. Landed many 4 and 5 lbs bass. Also, and this is eye popping…In the 10 full days they fished, 5 of those days they landed over 300 bass. The other 5 days they landed 210,154, 203, 258 and 293. Then their last day of fishing which was only a 1/2 day, they landed 246 bass! Yes, in 1/2 day of fishing!!! These two fish every year with us and usually 2 – 3 times each year. They just love Picachos and the great action it provides. I think they love our manager (Little Jorge), staff, guides, food and service just as much as the fishing. We love Cindy and David too!!!

Cindy Bednar with her Picachos trophy she caught this past December.

J.W. Peterson took 10 anglers to fish at Picachos from Dec 10th – 14th. J.W. and his partner Mike Sanders landed 789 bass in 4 days of fishing. According to J.W., most of their bass were 3 – 6 pounds with many in the 4 and 5 lbs category.

Now let’s talk about the increase in size of the bass in Picachos…

Cory Rose was all smiles after landing this big Picachos bass.

About 2 weeks ago, we had 14 anglers at our Picachos Lodge and on January 4th, Cory Rose and Todd Harrington landed 190 bass in one day. Their 4 largest bass weighed 10 lbs, 9lbs, 8 lbs and 7 lbs! That’s a great sign that not only has our average size increased at Picachos but the trophy size bass are really starting to show up as well.

Ron Speed Jr’s Adventures offers prime cut grilled ribeye steaks.

On Jan 2nd, Logan Zimmerman and Amanda Kesler landed 250 bass in one day with their biggest weighing 6.12 pounds…but LOTS of 3 – 5 lbs! The next day Logan and Amanda landed 270 bass in one day with their four largest weighing 7.0, 7.0, 6.5 and 6.3. Logan’s largest Picachos bass this trip weighed 8.0 lbs (see photo). These numbers do not include the many bass they landed in the 4 and 5 lbs range. Again, it was A LOT.

Rick Campbell snagged this 7.5lbs Picachos beauty back in December.

Also on Jan 2nd, and this goes back to the incredible “numbers” of bass in Picachos…Steve Cummings and his son Payton fished only 1/2 day their last day…they only caught 300 bass by noon! That’s right…you did not read that wrong…this father and son landed exactly 300 bass by noon (1/2 day of fishing). THREE HUNDRED!!! Picachos never ceases to amaze me and we’ve seen some incredible catches over the years, but this one caused me to call Steve upon his return to verify. Steve told me when asked about their incredible catch, “Yes sir, Ron…we caught 300 by noon. Our guide pulled the trolling motor up at 11:50 and said ‘Lunche’…but we told him no way we’re going in for lunch before we get to 300 bass. So we fished another 10 minutes or so and got our magical 300” There you have it, folks…straight from the horse’s mouth! Steve’s son had never been to the lake nor had he been to Mazatlan. Steve wanted him to enjoy the whole experience and not just catching bass but also experiencing the gorgeous 5-star beach resort of Mazatlan. Otherwise they would have fished a full day that last day. Makes me wonder what their total catch would have been had they fished for an entire day? That’s just another incredible story a customer has shared with me over the years about the amazing fishing at Lake Picachos. It just keeps getting better!

UPDATE (Jan 30): As I was finishing this portion of the newsletter/update, I received today’s fishing report from Lake Picachos…and it’s a dandy! Please read…

Mitch Frankfurt enjoyed catching some heavy Picachos bass. Here is is with his 8,8 pounder.

Today, Mitch Frankfurt and his partner Ed McGehee landed 88 bass…but their four biggest bass weighed 8.8 lbs, 7.2 lbs, 6.8 lbs and 6.1 lbs. That’s not all….they also landed 21 bass over 5 lbs!!! That’s just more evidence of the bass growing up in Picachos!
Also today…Gary Manos and his partner David Pigg landed 48 bass. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, especially for Picachos, Gary called me tonight to tell me they were targeting bigger bass out in deeper water. Well they found them…in 20′ – 30′ on Carolina Rig Fluke. Gary landed bass of 7.9 lbs, 7.3 lbs and 7.65 lbs..but told me lost at least 5 more that were that size and bigger. Gary’s partner (David) landed bass of 6.5 lbs, 6.0 lbs and another 6.0 lbs. David lost 2 more bass he said were of that size and bigger. So that’s 6 bass landed of 6 – 7 lbs with 6 more of that size and bigger LOST! I’ve said for years that Picachos has the big bass and even over 10 lbs (lake record is 13 lbs 14 oz) but most of the time, one has to change how they are fishing in order to find those bigger bass. That’s been true and still true today BUT…we’re seeing more and more big bass work their way to shallower depths.

We’re really just getting started with the “main season” as everyone wants to come from January through April (cold here in the U.S.)…even though the fishing is just as good in all other months. This has started out as our best season ever on Picachos and I don’t see the fishing slowing down. Nobody leaves Lake Picachos unhappy…NOBODY! Get there while this incredible lake is on fire! Picachos has yet to hit it’s peak…and that’s just hard to believe after being open 9 years! The big bass are really starting to make their presence known!!!

Ed McGehee with is 6.8 lbs Picachos Bass.


El Salto is starting to produce some BIG bass like this Beauty caught by Kurt Baker late this past January.

While we haven’t hosted a lot of anglers this fall or prior to the New Year, we’ve hosted enough to honestly say the number of bass and daily action has returned…and I’m talking better than I’ve seen in at least 5 years or more! We’re seeing our boats (2 anglers per boat) averaging 80+ bass per day BUT…there have been many land over 100 bass in a single day. That did not happen last season…and if it did, it wasn’t too often. Last year. for the most part, the numbers were dismal…to put it lightly. The big bass catches were great between January 20th and until the first few days of April. Then we saw something happen that I’ve personally haven’t seen in the 33 years of operating on El Salto…and that was when the Tilapia started spawning in early April. Literally billions of them in big dark clouds (schools) all over the lake. In “most” years, the Tilapia start spawning in May…and usually the latter half of May. That wasn’t the case last season/spring. What this caused was a major decline in the number of bass caught each day. It was the smaller bass catches that were affected the most as it did not take the smaller bass to fill up on the tiny Tilapia …and most of the time it was in the first 15 minutes of the day. Then we would experience one more bite of 15 minutes in the afternoon. THAT WAS IT! I was there most of May and half of June fishing the lake and my fishing partner and I would average 10 bass per day BUT…most of the bass were 6 lbs and larger to include several in the 8 – 10 lbs class each day. It was the first time in my life and fishing Mexico for 45 years that I caught more trophy bass on a trip than smaller bass under 6 lbs. The big bass would fill up quickly each day but naturally that bite lasted a tad longer. So my partner and I just sat on my favorite big bass spot the entire day and waited for those big ones to move out of the super deep and feed on the shallower feeding shelves….usually two 30 minute bites each day. That early big Tilapia spawn was GREAT for the future of the lake…but terrible for the short term and our end of season customers.

Here’s Tom Overbeck with a another El Salto giant caught this January.

Now on to this season…as I stated, the overall action/numbers have returned to El Salto with a fury. The bass are in great shape. The only fish that have been missing (at the time of this writing) are the bigger bass 10 lbs and larger. It appears as though we didn’t have many bass spawn on the full moon in early January. That means February “could” be incredible…as well as March (the third and final month for bass to spawn). The majority of “bigguns” have weighed 5 – 7 lbs. Most would not complain with that when coupled with the great action. Tom Overbeck just returned Saturday after fishing 4 days last week. Tom caught numerous bass between 5 – 7 pounds. Tom told me he PERSONALLY CAUGHT 325 bass in 4 days of fishing and nearly half of his catches weighed over 4 lbs. Tom told me the bass are FULL OF EGGS. So the upcoming moon should see a lot of giants being caught. I’m just glad to see the incredible numbers of bass come back after last year’s low numbers and action. Mind you, these numbers aren’t a bunch of “dinks”…small bass. Nope, all good quality size bass!!!

Ric Younkin tricked this 9.2lbs El Salto bass with a white swimbait!

Ric Younkin, who fishes with us every year, arrived last Friday and his first day landed 60 bass total with a fat 9.2 lbs toad. Then yesterday Ric hit the jackpot again landing a 8.8 lbs lunker with a total of 111 bass…FISHING BY HIMSELF BOTH DAYS! So Ric has only fished two days and already landed 171 bass with two bigguns over 8 and 9 lbs…and a bunch of 5 and 6 pounders! We’re still waiting on those 10 – 11 lbs bass that our anglers come for when choosing El Salto. They’re still there and I believe it’s only a matter of time given we’re really starting the main “spawn” time…tick, tock, tick, tock.

Everyone loves our beautiful El Salto Camp.

Oh and one more thing…we rebuilt the bar next to the big Capuli Tree. Now it’s even nicer to have a cold drink, watch your favorite sports team on the TV mounted in the tree…and of course play CORNHOLE. Yes, those of you that haven’t visited us at El Salto in the past year, we now offer Cornhole Boards for playing. I’ve never played and never heard of it until my office/sales manager Bill Mullins recommended we build some boards to offer at El Salto. He was right too as many of our customer groups love playing Cornhole. Bill is “supposedly” the Cornhole King around our parts or locally. Personally, I can’t get into it….probably it’s “the name” that gets to me. Yeah, that’s probably it.

Our 130 year old Capuli tree,Bar and Cornhole Game Site.


Lew’s… There is no substitute!!

Yes, folks…our lodges in Mexico and our Peacock Bass operation in Brazil, offer Lew’s Rods so you do not have to lug those big heavy rod cases through airports. We do not offer any reels for your trip as they are small and very light so as to be able to pack in your luggage. However, if you’re looking to buy the best reel(s) on the market, you will NOT find a better reel than those Lew’s offer.

For those who possess an unquenchable passion for fishing, the rods and reels of Lew’s boast the finest materials, elite craftsmanship, and a built-in legacy of over seventy years of exceptional performance. Ron Speed Jr’s Adventures partnered with Lew’s 3 years ago and we could not be any happier. Our customers tell us the same thing and many of our customers return home wanting to purchase Lew’s rods and reels. The team at Lew’s made it their mission to offer our guests the perfect cast, the smoothest retrieval, and the unmistakable feeling of fishing the best.

In 2023, Lew’s launched the highest achievement in baitcast performance with the all-new Elite-Ti. Pronounced casting distance, unprecedented palming control and comfort, and machined for on-the-water excellence. The Elite-Ti’s exceptional performance is matched only by its brilliant black titanium aesthetic, overlaying a powerful, yet lightweight, all-aluminum frame. With the Elite-Ti, Team Lew’s has reimagined a casting system that breaks barriers and boldly sets a new standard of casting excellence. Lew’s exclusive ParaMag™ Braking System eliminates typical magnetic interference, creating a longer cast with complete spool control. The angler is in full control of the cast in all wind conditions and with all lure weights. The Elite-Ti represents the perfect intersection of striking form and second-to-none functionality. Redefine exceptionalism on the water with Team Lew’s.

Lew’s Rods and Reels best in the fishing industry!!

Team Lew’s new Elite Rod offers the perfect balance between overwhelming rod strength and cutting-edge sensitivity. It is subtlety and power all at once. Extreme sensitivity for sensing the slightest lure movement and the softest strikes. Powerful hooksets. A strong and durable tip. All at the lightest weight and thinnest diameter. There is simply no finer rod for elite-level performance. This year, Lew’s is pleased to unveil eight Elite Series casting models and five Elite spinning models to put the angler in charge of the chase in any fishing scenario. Sensitivity and power in a beautifully refined package. When only the best will do, reach for Lew’s.

For a wide range of products to meet every challenge on the water, visit Lews.com and learn more! You’ll be very happy!!!


Many of you that know me personally, know that I am an avid deer hunter. I have been for 40+ years! Early on in my younger years, I was what most refer to as “a meat hunter”…meaning I didn’t care if the deer was a 6 pt or an 8 pt or a 10 pt trophy. I just wanted to kill a buck. If a buck wasn’t available, I’d shoot a doe for meat. It wasn’t so much that I liked eating venison (I’ve always loved the taste of venison), it was about coming back to the deer camp after a morning hunt or an afternoon hunt, with a deer in the back of my truck. As time passed and continued with my chasing after the deer, I graduated to more of a trophy hunter. The desire for a trophy buck was there, but due to time and of course money, I couldn’t travel all the way to south Texas to just hunt the weekends. Just too far…and of course, in my early years, I couldn’t afford it. So most of my life, I’ve hunted west Texas…the first 20 years in Coleman County and now the last 20 years in Mitchell County…which is just two counties west of Coleman.

Barrett/Ag’s Fortified Cottonseed grows big bucks!

My current lease (2500 acres) is between Colorado City, TX and Robert Lee, TX (just north of San Angelo). I took that lease over 13 years ago. The hunters that had it leased before me must have been all “meat hunters” as it was overrun with your “run of the mill” 8 pt bucks…with many being cull mature 7 pt bucks. However, I saw enough evidence of 10 pt genetics to know I had something to work with…and hopefully change those genetics. So the first 4 or 5 years, I told my group of 5 hunters that trophy bucks were off-limits. Trophy being 10 pt or bigger…both juvenile and mature 10’s…DO NOT SHOOT! So we spent those first 4+ years just knocking down culls and of course taking our doe limits. We also began feeding protein pellet 9 months out of the year. After a few years, we started to see “some” improvement in our antlers and genetics and therefore we kept with the same feeding program for the next 7 years. Now we’re 10 years completed and to be honest, I wasn’t too pleased with what we were doing. We had A LOT more 10 pt bucks and bigger on the lease but they seemed to be lacking mass and length. We had fed the protein pellet (20% minimum) long enough that I felt like we should have more bucks scoring 150 and even 160 or more. We would see a few each season on camera that would score 150 or better but most of our mature bucks (5 years and older) were topping out in the high 140’s. So three years ago, we added cottonseed from a local cotton gin. It was dirty, dusty and just plain nasty to work with…filling bags with cottonseed out of the big trailer we had it stored on. Dust getting up in the nose and eyes caked up with that dust. I knew there had to be a better way to feed cottonseed.

Two and a half years ago, I was in the Tractor Supply (TSC) store in Sweetwater, TX. I saw they had 50 lbs sacks of cottonseed with vitamins and minerals AND 20% protein…which is plenty since a deer won’t absorb more than 20% anyway and actually less than 20%.. It said “Fortified Cottonseed” and I decided to purchase a pallet (40 bags). We started feeding this clean cottonseed in hog wire rings we made (see photo). Like anything new, we had to “entice” them to start eating it. While it offers an attractant in it, we doubled up by spraying it with a liquid apple flavored deer attractant. After about 3 months, we saw the cottonseed feed rings starting to go down faster…meaning they were eating more of it. We fed it in addition to the protein pellet for 9 months (January through September 2019). The next year we started seeing a MAJOR improvement in mass/length with the antlers. We also saw our deer MUCH HEALTHIER…to include the doe. We continued this feeding program for two years until I had seen all I needed to see. THIS STUFF WORKS AND WORKS TREMENDOUSLY! In fact, it works so well that we’ve dropped feeding the protein pellet and now feed strictly Fortified Cottonseed made by Barrett/Speer Ag in Hale Center, TX John Sewell of Harris Ranch/Turkey Creek is one of many. John’s deer are doing great on this magnificent Fortified Cottonseed! If you’ll visit their website https://fortifiedcottonseed.com/ , you can watch John Sewell talk about the success he’s had with it.

This Fortified Cottonseed not only helps grow big antlers but it’s cost effective in that the deer fill up on it rather quickly…as where with protein pellet, they literally gorge themselves but doesn’t produce nearly as good as the fortified cottonseed. Therefore you spend WAY MORE money feeding protein pellet than you do when feeding THIS cottonseed! It saves you money and you get better results! Add to that…anyone that feeds protein pellet like I “have” knows the cost of that stuff has gone SKY HIGH in the past 12 months! This cottonseed is “FORTIFIED” with vitamins, macro/micro minerals, and unique flavoring. These levels help support the development of the fawn, the milk production during lactation, and antler growth. Fortified Cottonseed by Barrett/Speer Ag is all you need. TRUST ME! Give them a call today! Office: 806-839-2122; Cell: 806-724-5856.

Fortified Cottonseed by Barrett/Ag even makes the 8 pt bucks BIGGER!


I want to thank each and every one of you that called, text and e-mailed me to offer your heart warming condolences on my father’s passing. I want you to know that I have read every e-mail and text that was sent and it meant so much to me and my family…to include my Mom. I thank you all so much and know that even though I have not been able to respond to all messages, I have read them ALL…and will eventually get around to responding to 100% of them. We’re talking over 1,000 condolence messages. I’m responding to each one in order received. In the meantime, please accept my HUGE “THANK YOU”…and with much love! God Bless!

Good Fishin’,
Ron Speed, Jr.

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