August 2020 Brazil, Mexico and Covid-19 Update

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


John Barns landed this Picachos beauty late January 2020. John and his partner landed a lot of bass in the 5-7lbs range during that trip!!

Back in the saddle again…Yea i’m still stuck on Gene Autry. Hi folks! I have waited over 2 months to bring you an update. I wanted to wait and see how things progressed in Mexico and particularly with the Mazatlan area and areas surrounding our 3 lake/lodge operations as it relates to Covid-19.

In my last update near the end of May, I mentioned we were planning to reopen our 3 lake operations in Mexico on June 25th. At that time of the update, some businesses in Mexico and particularly in Sinaloa state and Mazatlan were allowed to reopen. However, I was more focused on when the Mexican government was going to allow the beaches and hotels in Mazatlan to reopen…because THAT would tell me that the Mexican government was optimistic that tourism for Mazatlan was safe and low risk of contracting the virus. Well, the Mexican Government allowed all beaches/hotels in Mazatlan to reopen July 1st. Therefore we officially reopened our fishing operations (lodges) that same day…July 1st.

El Salto Restaurant and porch moments after being sanitized.

I’ve waited over a month since our first groups started fishing with us in early July to put out an update. I wanted to give our customers sufficient time to return home from their trip and then see if anyone had contracted or tested positive for the virus? Please note before I go any further that I would not have opened our camps if I was convinced the risk of contracting the virus was high. When I decided to follow the guidelines for reopening that the Mexican Government put in place, I was convinced that it was time to reopen. We went through the “sanitation” requirements set forth by the Mexican Government which included having to completely wash every house, room, furniture, bed, boat, restaurant, down with a particular sanitizing chemical that was mandatory for the government to pass us on inspection.

After one month of groups at both Lake El Salto and Lake Picachos, I had Bill (office/sales manager) contact our customers/groups to inquire on their current health status? He’s still waiting on a “few” to get back with him but at the time of this writing, he’s been able to reach nearly 70% of the groups or group leaders…and thus far, NOT ONE customer or group leader has reported feeling sick and NOT ONE has reported testing positive for the virus. You can contact our office Mon – Fri, 8 am – 4 pm, to receive more updates as Bill continues to reach ALL customers that have fished with us and returned home. Again, thus far or as of today, NOT ONE has reported having contracted the virus and NOT ONE has become sick or feeling ill. That’s encouraging but we’ll continue to monitor all returning customers/groups so we can give you up-to-date ACCURATE information! That is always my first priority and goal… whether it relates to fishing or safety.

RSJA employees wearing facial coverings at all times when customers are present.

FYI, the precautions we’re taking besides completely sanitizing the camps and boats are that we DO make it mandatory that all of our employees (includes cooks, waiters, bartenders, managers) wear a mask when customers are close by or in the camp. We leave wearing of masks optional for the individual customer. We will have masks available at the camps and also available for everyone at the airport when your driver picks you up. Most if not all airlines require every passenger to wear facial covering and it is my understanding that all airports require facial covering once you enter the gate area after passing through TSA Security Checkpoint. Therefore most will have a mask already in his/her possession but we’ll have masks available as well should anyone want a fresh mask or lose one.

The El Cid Moro Beach (L) and the El Cid Casilla Beach (R)

Last week I contacted the C.E.O. of El Cid Resorts in Mazatlan. He oversees 4 El Cid Resort Hotels in Mazatlan. I asked him for an update on how the reopening has gone over the past 35+ days? He informed me that they opened when allowed on July 1st…took the same precautions for sanitation as we were required to do…and they have been operating at approximately 70% capacity. He was very excited and pleased to see the desire for tourism return. We have been referring and recommending El Cid Resorts in Mazatlan for over 21 years now and consider them to be first class and always putting their guests’ safety first…the same as we do!


Justin Wright is all smiles after landing this nice Picachos CHUNK!!

If you’ve read my Lake Picachos updates in the past, I’m going to sound completely redundant. That said, this lake continues to amaze and show that it just keeps getting better….if that’s even possible? Well, here’s how it’s possible. Two weeks ago I had a group fishing at Picachos…a small group of three (3) anglers. Dr. Justin Wright, Phil Judson and Bob Peters. This group had fished at Picachos several times in the past couple of years…but this was THEIR BEST TRIP EVER! The fact there were only 3 anglers in the group and we don’t allow 3 anglers to fish from same boat (safety rule), that meant every day one of the anglers would have to fish alone. They were there to fish 3 days and the first two days saw them average around 100 fish per boat with the two anglers and 60 – 70 a day for the single angler. That changed their 3rd and final day. Dr. Justin Wright fished the last day alone. His guide reported that Dr. Wright landed 325 fish that day! I read that in my WhatsApp report that night and thought that had to be a mistake! I waited for Dr. Wright and group to return home before asking him to verify that single day’s catch. His comment was “325 would be conservative”…he also stated the following…

John Barns (L) with Neil Vandebeizen (R) with a Lake Picachos trophy!!!

“I sucked it up so bad that morning (bet I caught less than 30), but that afternoon it started to rain and I went through 6 bags of swimbaits and knocked the paint off 3 or 4 of my Arukus (Spro’s shad colored crankbait and same crankbait Terry Oldham landed crazy numbers of BIG bass at Picachos last March)…325 would be conservative. I was calling Phil and Bob to come over at 200 when I stopped for a quick drink. I was (upset) when I ran out of swimbaits because we couldn’t get them off fast enough with the trebles (hooks) all around! I had 4 rods/reels rigged and ready…I kept boat flipping them and would drop the rod, pick up another rod…and within seconds, cranking another to the boat…IT WAS WILD! My rib cage on my right side was sooooo bruised and still hurts from setting the hook and crankin’! The bottom of the boat looked like a tackle murder scene where I was biting off the heads of the swimbaits until I had whittled them down to completely unusable! It wasn’t until 7 pm when lightning began to show over the mountains and had to call it quits. That’s ok because quite frankly I was worn out. So it was 4.5 to 5 hours of sheer catching that afternoon. The number of times I reeled back without a fish was just laughable…meaning, VERY FEW TIMES. Best day or afternoon of fishing in my lifetime and one I’ll never forget!”

Phil Judson and his two fishing buddies landed 770 on their 3 days on Picachos

I cannot tell you or share with you all of the stories and testimonies like this one we’ve received over the past 5 or 6 years…too many to keep count. However, this one was definitely at the top of the “shareable list” because Dr. Wright set a Ron Speed Jr’s Adventures record for a single day’s catch by ONE ANGLER. We’ve had quite a few boats of TWO ANGLERS catch over 300 bass in one day but never had just ONE angler catch over 300 bass in a single day while fishing alone. Well, not until NOW. Congrats Dr. Wright…you’re now at the top of the record book and we’ve made you famous! 🙂

Justin Wright proves that it’s not only the bass that are big in Picachos after landing this 4lb tilapia!!

Folks, this lake just keeps getting better and better and I say that mostly because the average size of the bass just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Just one week prior to my closing the camp on March 21st due to the virus, I had a group catching 150 – 250 bass per day per boat but 50% of their bass were over 4 lbs! Many in the 5 – 6 lbs class! Even some 7’s and 8’s. Oldham and I were catching the same but a lot of our bass were in the – 8 lbs class because we were targeting deeper water (ledges, humps and points next to creek channels). The bigguns are in there if one so desires to fish deeper and slower…but that’s been difficult for most of my customers to do when they know they can just go catch crazy sheer numbers of bass in the 2 – 4.5 lbs class!

Continued landscape improvents at Picachos!!

Here’s another recent update…

Steve Johnson and Nathan Rothstein arrived at Lake Picachos on August 3rd to fish for 4 days. These were their daily catch numbers…
Day 1 – 156 bass to 4.5 lbs
Day 2 – 161 bass to 4.10 lbs
Day 3 – 302 bass to 5.16 lbs
Day 4 – 354 bass to 7.14 lbs * They landed on this day, 7 bass over 5 lbs and 40 total bass over 4 lbs!

Total bass landed by 2 anglers in 4 days = 973 bass!

As you can see, their last two days were the best…both for numbers and size! For many anglers in this world, their first two days would have been the best days of fishing in a lifetime. Not the case for Steve and Nathan! That’s what makes Picachos so great. It’s a lake that you can go to and have your best catch ever of a lifetime in one day….and break the record one or two days later! Simply an amazing bass factory and ranks up there with the best new lakes ever in my lifetime!

The water level at Comedero has been rising fast in the past 3 weeks!


Eric Hada Amazon January 2020

Last week I received an update from our manager (Franz) in Brazil. Franz informed me that businesses in Manaus and surrounding areas of the Amazon Basin were allowed to reopen nearly a month ago…particularly our types of businesses for Fishing and Eco Tours! The hotels in Manaus were allowed to reopen nearly a month ago as well. This is not the case for every city and or other areas of the country but definitely it’s good news for the Amazon, Manaus and areas we operate in for fishing! The Amazon Otter will definitely follow the government’s guidelines for taking safety precautions regarding the virus. Once American Airlines reinstates the non-stop direct flights to Manaus from U.S., we’ll be ready to roll! At the present time, AA shows they plan to reinstate that flight on October 25, 2020…two months from NOW! Of course this could change on short notice but as of today, that’s what I’m hearing! So good news all around and we’re anxious to get started up again! As I know all of our valuable customers are also anxious to do battle with the mighty peacock bass again!

Amazon Otter Beach Barbecue


Since things definitely look to be trending in the right direction, I would strongly recommend getting your date secured but just as important, your AIRFARE purchased! Just a little over one month ago, the flight from Dallas to Mazatlan (through Phoenix) was averaging around $300.00 roundtrip in economy class…and I personally purchased a business class ticket for a little over $500.00 roundtrip. However, those cheap fares are GONE…at least for the time being. Still, depending on dates traveled and availability of the two class of seats/tickets, one can still buy it as low as $400 roundtrip in economy…but it can also range as high as $800 roundtrip if availability of seats/class is limited. In other words, this would be an EXCELLENT time to start “bird dogging” the flights and fares…and if you have your date with us secured, then purchase your tickets NOW…if the fare is low! Once everyone gets back to normal travel (pre-virus), I feel as though the fares are going to continue to rise. Timing is everything. Don’t wait too long! You can call our preferred travel agent Martin Travel and get an up to date quote on fares. They are the best agency in the travel industry and we’ve used them for almost 20 years now! Also, if you want to spend any extra time in Mazatlan and need hotel recommendations, I strongly recommend El Cid Resorts. I mentioned them previously in this update. The best resort in Mazatlan. Oh and…all of RSJA customers get a nice little discount at El Cid Castilla Beach hotel….if you book your reservation through Martin Travel Services. First class resort right on the beach and located in the “Golden Zone”…which is the prime tourist zone. Call Martin Travel Services TODAY to secure your air travel and hotel arrangements! 954-614-4994 and ask for Karen Schmier. Tell her you have a trip booked with Ron Speed Jr’s Adventures and she’ll be happy to take care of your travel needs!


May 2020 Mexico Bass Fishing NEWS!!!

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


Ron Jr. landed this 9.8lbs Comedero lunker March 2020

Folks, the time has FINALLY arrived!!! It’s time to go fishing in Mexico!!! Last week when I read that Mexico will be reopening certain areas to include Mazatlan and the state of Sinaloa, I got so excited I started singing Gene Autry’s “Down Mexico Way”… all day in the office. I drove Bill and Matt crazy playing it on Youtube and singing along. Once I arrive at our El Salto lodge, I’m going to insist that Lupe replace his constant singing of “Guadalajara” with the Gene Autry classic! To say I’m excited is the understatement of the year!

RSJA’s new Picachos restaurant offers spacious dinning!!

In my previous two updates, I mentioned that we would reopen when all the stars aligned with Mexico reopening the state of Sinaloa for business…the airlines flying to Mazatlan again…and of course if the data supported the safety part of reopening. Last week our Homeland Security Department announced it would be extending the non-essential travel ban with Canada and Mexico until June 22nd. However, there are still flights currently flying to and from various cities in Mexico and Americans traveling into Mexico and returning to the U.S. It appears that the boxes have been checked and therefore we have set a date of June 25TH to open ALL of our lodges on the three lakes…Comedero, El Salto and Picachos. We have kept a close watch on the number of virus cases in Mazatlan and they have been low compared to other areas of the country and other parts of Sinaloa. The warm climate of the three lakes can only help. Mexican government feels it’s safe to reopen, the numbers show it’s safe to reopen…and therefore…we’re going to do just that…REOPEN! This of course is based upon Mexico and U.S. governments lifting the non-essential travel ban on June 22nd. We have already begun taking reservations for open dates starting June 25th and all open dates available throughout the summer…and of course next season.

Terry Oldham landed this 8lbs Picachos fatty in March 2020!!!

There’s MORE NEWS I think you’ll like…we plan to keep the three lakes/operations open all summer and right up until when we normally open in October. Yes, the rainy season normally begins in early to mid-July. However, I fish the lakes nearly every summer during the rainy season and the fishing can be just as good as the rest of the year. There will be “some” disruptions during the day but mostly in late afternoons. However, with the days being much longer and dark not occurring until 8:30 pm, the opportunity to still fish 8 – 10 hours each day is possible…most days.

RSJA’s new lakeside restaurant/bar at Pichachos!

Those who book a NEW reservation for fishing during July 15th through October 31st will receive a 30% discount. The Father/Son or family member 2 for 1 discount that was for May/June will be extended from June through October 31st.

Another breathtaking sunrise at RSJA’s lodge on Picachos.

One more piece of good news…and as of this writing, Tuesday, May 26th, my travel agent Kevin Martin of Martin Travel Services, informed me that American Airlines fare from Dallas to Phoenix to Mazatlan and roundtrip was selling for a base fare of $260.00 + tax. That is incredible! If the fares remain low (subject to change at any time) and you combine the lower airfare with our 30% discount (July 15th – October 31st), this will be a great time to take advantage of tremendous savings! Yes, you have the opportunity or chance to experience world class fishing at a much lower cost than ever before!

RSJA added new Xpress boats at Picachos.


RSJA added new Xpress boats at Picachos.

Call our office for more details and learn the EXTRA steps we will be taking in our lodges for your safety and virus prevention.

RSJA boats waiting for safe light to take off. All RSJA boats offer running lights during early mornings/late afternoon running. Always safety first with RSJA .


For those of you who are still indoors, it is a great time to get caught up on THE BEST fishing show on television, Major League Fishing! We have a great relationship with MLF, and I can tell you that everything they do is always for the right reasons. For years while growing up as a kid, I watched ALL of the fishing shows on television every Saturday and Sunday…Jimmy Houston Outdoors, Bill Dance, Virgil Ward, Jerry McKinnis and Don Wallace to name a few. Then I grew tired of watching fishing shows with the exception of Jimmy Houston Outdoors. I’ve been blessed to have Jimmy as a friend for more than 30 years and have made numerous fishing shows with Jimmy during that time. However, that was the only fishing show I watched in the past 20 years until 4 years ago…when I tuned in to Major League Fishing. Now I watch TWO SHOWS…and in my opinion, they are the BEST two shows for fishing on TV.

Major League fishing crew love staying at Ron Jr’s camps in Mexico!!

The Major League Fishing Crew fishes with Ron Speed Jr’s Adventures at least two times every year! They love our lodging, meals, guides, fishing and overall services! Jimmy Houston has already made numerous shows with us on Lake Picachos…catching an 11 lbs and 12 lbs bass during his first trip in 2014.

Pro angler Edwin Evers and Ron Jr having fun in the Amazon 2004.

As a former tournament angler, I can tell you that I absolutely love the format for fishing that MLF offers! About a year and a half ago, many of the top pro angler names in the tournament industry joined MLF…making it even MORE enjoyable to watch. Many of those pro anglers are friends of mine. Names such as Edwin Evers, Kelly Jordon and Alton Jones to name a few. Kelly and Alton fished some of the same circuits I did back in the 90’s and it’s great to see how they have taken their talent to such a high level. Edwin Evers and I became friends in 2003 when he was still making a name for himself and he participated in my Peacock Bass Pro/AM events in Brazil every year.

Edwin Evers wins MLF’S Bass Pro Tour Event on Lake Conroe 2019

In fact, Edwin is returning to Brazil with me this coming season to get another round of those mighty peacock bass. Today Edwin is considered one of the hottest and most successful tournament anglers in the world! I love watching these GREAT anglers compete in the Bass Pro Tour events that MLF hosts! If you like watching great anglers and learning from them, then I strongly suggest you start watching Major League Fishing. You’re not just watching some guy catch a fish and say “That’s a real nice bass” after every catch…nope…no sir…no, these are some of the best anglers in the world competing. MLF makes sure that the viewer receives important tips on how these guys caught their bass…talking about the many variables that goes into an angler’s success to catching bass…such as pressure changes, wind, water temperature, water clarity, oxygen, sunlight, low visibility, etc. So next time you’re on the tube and want to check out some exciting fishing, please tune in to Major League Fishing and Jimmy Houston Outdoors.

Ron Jr and Jimmy Houston on Lake Picachos 2014.