Ron’s Fishing Tips and Stories: A Bass Fishing Lake Called “Infiernos”
This week I want to tell you a story about a CHECKOUT trip to a lake in Southern Mexico. The year was somewhere around 1977. Back in those days I was a very adventurous guy who wanted to find all the great bass fishing lakes in the world.
One night about midnight I got a long distance collect call from a fellow named Randy Bland who was a true Indiana Jones. Several years before, Randy had taken some TV cameras into Mexico to film a Virgil Ward show. Virgil was nervous about taking cameras into Mexico and Randy somehow overheard our phone conversation and made the offer to help. This was about 2 years before he called me at midnight in Texas.
Anyway, I accepted the collect call and Randy was raving about a lake he had found in Southern Mexico named Infiernos. It was in the state of Guerrero, north of Acapulco up in the wild rugged mountains of Mexico. He had just returned from the lake and said it was a huge lake full of huge black bass. He had caught over 100 fish that afternoon, fishing from the bank with a lot of fish in the 4-, 5-, 6-pound range with one fish going about 8 pounds. Randy said the lake was about 70 miles long with no commercial fishing. Of course he convinced me to go and check it out.
The next morning I called my partner, Jose Martinez, at Lake Guerrero and told him about the lake and to send a couple of our employees in a pickup with a boat and motor. Bob Blackburn from Ft. Worth and Nacho Enriquez were working for us then and they left Cd. Victoria on a 20-hr drive looking for this mystery lake. Two days later I flew to Mexico City where I met Jose who had flown in that same day. We spent the night and the next morning we chartered a plane to fly us to the lake. We landed on a dirt strip that had been cut out of the side of a mountain.
When we arrived, there was Bob and Nacho waiting on us with the boat. They said the trip was long and terrible and the worst part was going through Mexico City with the boat. It was about noon, so we went into town to get some snacks before going to the lake. Everywhere we went people looked at us like we were crazy. Jose stayed in town to find us a place to stay that night as there were no motels.
The little town was about 7 miles from the lake and no one knew anything about a ramp or for that matter anything about fish in the lake. We left town on the road to the lake and after about 2 miles we came to a military check point. Three soldiers stopped us and we had to get out of the pickup while they searched it. All the soldiers kept their rifles at a READY POSITION which I had never seen before in Mexico. They asked me what we were doing there and I replied we were going to fish for black bass. One soldier asked me what was a black bass and he said he didn’t think there were any of those fishes in the lake.
I could tell he didn’t believe me but he let us pass anyway. Once we got underway we talked about the checkpoint for about 10 minutes and BAM there was another checkpoint. We went through the same routine again, except this time the soldiers seemed a lot more nervous… which of course made us more nervous. Finally, we found a place near another checkpoint where we could put the boat in the water. While the three of us were pulling and pushing the boat, Nacho whispered to me to slowly look behind us. There stood one of the soldiers from the checkpoint holding a rifle trained on us with the rifle butt against his shoulder. Man oh man I thought WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON?! We finally got the boat in the water and started fishing and TALKING. Nacho was a nervous wreck and said “We have got to get the hell out of this place. It’s just too dangerous!”
We fished about an hour without a bite and I said “Let’s go.” Even if we were catching a 10 lb bass on every cast this lake was just too dangerous to bring clients. We went back and loaded the boat and started through the checkpoints to get back to town. At one of the checkpoints I finally asked one of the soldiers why there were so many soldiers and why they were so nervous. He told us that these mountains were full of guerrillas and drug growers. He explained that each year several soldiers are killed. When we got back to the little town and found Jose, the first thing he said was that we had to leave this area. It seems he had found out in the town that this area of Southern Mexico was not safe for travelers.
Jose said we would have to call the charter plane in from Acapulco to cancel the return flight. All four of us crowded up in the pickup and headed down the mountain. It seemed like two days before we got to Acapulco but it was only maybe 10 hours. Upon arrival to the outskirts of Acapulco we ran into two different military checkpoints. Both checkpoints made us get out and searched the boat and pickup. It seems like they were trying to keep the bad guys out of this beautiful and famous resort city without the tourists ever knowing what was going on OUTSIDE the city.
The next morning, Jose flew back to Mexico City, I caught a direct flight back to Dallas and Nacho and Bob left for Lake Guerrero. This is a CHECKOUT trip I will never forget. I am not certain, but I believe the situation in that state has changed very little through all these years. Over the years I made several CHECKOUT trips but I did a ton of research on the areas in advance. Be assured that I will never send a client to a place in Mexico, Brazil, or Central America where I wouldn’t send my own two sons.
This area of Mexico is probably at least 1000 miles South of the lakes we are currently fishing in Sinaloa state. I would highly recommend that all you Indiana Joneses stay out of the jungles of Southern Mexico.
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR FISHING AND WEAR THAT LIFEJACKET