RSJA To Reopen at Lake Comedero!
[Editor: this article first appeared on www.ronsfishingblog and may only be used by permission of Ron Speed Jr.]
It’s here, folks — your dream has finally come true! Many of you have called our office during the past few years or since we temporarily closed at Comedero 6 years ago, asking when we plan to reopen our camp at Lake Comedero? Many of you have not asked but rather “begged” us to reopen! Well, it is about to happen soon and I am just as happy as anyone about it!
We have kept close watch on Comedero for the duration of the 6 years we’ve been closed. In September of 2013, I received word from our General Manager in Mexico, Carlos Lizarraga, that commercial fishing on Lake Comedero had been suspended due to possible contamination of the fish in the lake.
The “rumor” was that there had been a mercury spill into the lake from the mines up the river that feeds into Comedero. After hearing of this rumor, I quickly bought an airline ticket to Mazatlan and asked a couple of longtime customers and friends (Mike McGowan and Steve Betzelberger) if they would like to go check out the fishing at Comedero? Both immediately replied with a firm “YES!” But the earliest we could get there was late October. As the day arrived to head south, I noticed Tropical Storm “Sonja” heading straight for Mexico’s west coast, particularly right at the middle to northern part of Sinaloa state. This put El Salto and Comedero right in the path of Sonja. I was fearful this would ruin a potentially great fishing experience of a lifetime. On departure day, we had to hold up in Phoenix overnight and allow Sonja to pass. Once we arrived in Mazatlan, I decided to buy some time for the aftermath of Sonja and whatever adverse effects the storm may have had on the fishing at Comedero.
Therefore the three of us along with Carlos headed for the new lake — Picachos! We spent a day and a half there checking out the fishing. Keep in mind, this is before we started our operation on Picachos (Jan 2014)and the new lodge wasn’t finished yet. We killed the numbers at Picachos and we also added one bass of 8 pounds and one of 7 pounds. It was a nice way to begin our fishing trip but we had BIG BASS and Comedero on our minds. After 1.5 days at Picachos, we headed up to Comedero and started fishing 3 days after “Sonja” had passed. The lake was not in the best of conditions from a water clarity perspective. The lake was on the rise and very muddy in color on the east side of the lake where the river flows in — effects from the tropical storm. The one thing that did make me smile was that we did not see one single commercial net on the lake nor one single boat other than our own boats. There was no sign of civilization whatsoever.
We had this 30,000+ acre lake all to ourselves for however many days we decided to fish. The first two days were tough, very tough. I expected it to be tough due to the rising and muddy water, but tough was an understatement. Both boats (two anglers per boat) averaged 15 – 20 bass per day during the first two days — nothing over 5 pounds. The third day started out with similar results but one thing had changed when we arrived that morning at the dam and our boats: the water gauges at the dam showed the lake was no longer on the rise. By noon, the lake had fallen 1/4″. It was then that I believed we might see improvement in the fishing — and boy did we ever! That afternoon both boats landed over 50 bass (one boat had over 60) and many bass of 6 and 7 pounds. Keeping in mind that this is the first few days of November, a time that has never been the “ideal” for fishing in years past, and also a bass weighing 7 pounds in early November will most certainly top 9 pounds by Jan or Feb when the spawn takes place.
The fourth day was absolutely incredible! We had decided to draw for partners and have our own two-team tournament. This would be our final day of fishing and it was memorable to say the least. Both boats landed over 75 bass for the day, one landing 76, the other 84 — but keeping up with our 5 biggest fish for the tournament, both boats were culling 6 pound bass before noon! All 7 and 8 pounders! What was the magical lure, you ask? My favorite: SPINNERBAIT, Terry Oldham’s spinnerbait! The storm had caused the lake to rise and cover a lot of vegetation and green bushes. After several days of that green vegetation being submerged, and with the warm climate, algae began to grow on these bushes. Thus attracting the shad to move in to feed on the algae, thus attracting the bass to move in to feed on the shad! We absolutely wrecked the bass, slow-rolling 3/4 oz Oldham spinners through those bushes! It was truly an incredible day of fishing! This would definitely warrant a return “checkout” trip in the near future. Although I must say that I had already seen all I needed to know about the fishing and bass population in the lake. Again, this was a little over 1 1/2 years ago, early November 2013. Now fast forward to January 2015….
January 2015 — return trip to check fishing at Lake Comedero. This checkout trip would consist of a much larger group of anglers. A group of 9 longtime anglers/friends plus myself. Terry Oldham, Steve “Big O” Parks, Mike McGowan, John Billy Koonsman, Ted Wayland, Ed Lewis, Steve Bauer, Tom Gridley, Leon Nicholes — and yours truly. Once again, we arrived to nearly a full lake at Comedero due to all the unseasonal rains. This time the lake was not rising but we were 6 days past the full moon, which meant possible post-spawn. Also, once again, we did not see one single commercial fishing net on the lake nor one single local boat. Here we were again, having this beautiful and huge 30,000+ acre lake all to ourselves! Prior to our first day of fishing, I reminded all anglers that while we were there to have fun, we were also there for a purpose: to check all areas of the lake and it’s fishing. I advised all to please not stay on one fishing hole all day and wear them out. Move around and check other areas. Also, I would prefer each boat keep up with total numbers, biggest single fish and each boat’s 5 biggest fish, the same we would do if we were participating in a bass tournament except no keeping bass in livewell. Simply weigh the bass, record it, release the bass back to lake immediately. The first morning started off with a BANG! Terry Oldham landed a bass just shy of 13 pounds on one of his 1 oz spinnerbaits on a 15 foot ledge up the river, and she was spawned out! Otherwise, that bass would have been pushing 15 pounds! Steve “Big O” Parks landed one of 12 lbs, 6 oz as well. Again, on an Oldham spinnerbait! That first day would result in ALL boats landing at least 50 bass for the day and most over 75 bass! Also, all boats had a minimum of 40 pounds on their 5 biggest bass! Lots of 8’s, 9’s, a couple of 10’s, one of 11, two of 12 pounds!
There was no drop-off on the second day, with each boat again landing a minimum of 40 pounds on its five biggest bass. This day would result in Steve Bauer landing a 11 lbs, 2 oz HAWG! He and Mike McGowan also landed 109 bass on this day, mostly casting medium diving crankbaits. Every day produced similar results — big stringers, big bass and good solid numbers of 50 bass or more per boat, per day! Carlos and our El Salto staff (Jorge and Lupe) also got in on the action. Jorge landed a giant 11 pound bass on a green pumpkin horny toad topwater! Lupe lost an absolute monster on a Pop-R that broke his line. There were insane numbers of big fish hooked and caught each day, all spawned out mind you. All boats were landing at least 40 pounds on their 5 biggest bass, and even one boat had already topped 50 pounds on its 5 biggest. Now to the final day — REAL tournament day! Everyone was paired up and poised to go for another giant stringer. All for fun of course, but each boat of anglers had their serious “game faces” on. All boats equipped with new fish scales. My partner (Tom Gridley) and I decided to head north to what I call the “365 hole.” It is an area off the main lake that produces great fishing and big bass 365 days of the year. Well, it always had done so in past years. It is made up of a series of coves — no creek channels or rivers — just coves with good depth and deep water access close to the shore, and tons of cover. It’s ideal for slow-rolling an Oldham 1 oz (or 3/4 oz) spinnerbait. Gridley had already landed a spawned-out hawg of 9 pounds earlier in the week and was looking to top it on this day. He also had caught the biggest “topwater” bass of his life earlier in the week. My biggest bass of the week prior to this day was also a 9-pounder. We knew we could do better and we set out to do just that! It didn’t take long for us to reel in 5 bass in excess of 5 pounds, maybe 45 minutes? We were culling 6 pound bass by 8 am. Then around 9:30 am, the bass I will never forget crashes on my 1 oz spinnerbait. As soon as I set the hook into her, I yelled “OH YEAH, GET THE NET!” This fish started out racing right toward me and it was all I could do to reel quickly and keep up. She then turned left to head toward a nearby bush and I leaned on her with everything this 51 year old body had. She turned just prior to going into the bush. She then heads to open water. Oh yes, I’ve got her now. SHE’S MINE! Ummm, nooooo. She did a 180 degree turn on me, threw slack in my line, enough to allow her to jump and clear the water very close to the boat. She shook that monster head 4 or 5 times and I watched my 1 oz Oldham spinnerbait whizz by my head. After a moment of silence, I heard Tom say, “WOW, that may have been the biggest bass I’ve ever seen!” Well, I honestly do not know her exact weight and we all know the ones that get away usually weigh more in the mind of the angler than the actual weight of the fish. That said, I can tell you that I have fished Comedero for the 28 years it has been open. I have a personal best of 12 lbs, 10 oz on that lake, and more than 50 bass of 10 lbs or larger. There is no doubt in my mind she would have topped my all-time best biggest, not just on Comedero but any lake for that matter! I’m guessing somewhere north of 13 lbs, and that is being VERY conservative. Remember, all of these bass were either spawned-out or were going to be February spawn bass that hadn’t finished building their egg sacks yet. Bottom line, she was truly a bass of a lifetime and she’s still there! By noon, Tom and I were sitting at 47 pounds on our 5 biggest bass. We ended the day with 48 pounds — not nearly enough to win the tournament as Oldham and Big O landed a sack of 54 pounds! Folks, to put that in its proper perspective, that is over a 10 pound average per bass on 5 bass! All boats, once again, landed a minimum of 40 pounds on 5 biggest bass. All anglers claimed that it was not only their best bass fishing experience of their lives but Comedero, in their opinion, was the best trophy bass lake in the world! The lake record is still sitting at 19 lbs, 6 oz but I have to believe there are some new lake records swimming around in Comedero. Who knows, maybe a world record? It certainly has the very best conditions for growing a world record with the year-round warm climate (bass feed year-round), high protein forage to include Tilapia, tremendous depth and cover for protection and most importantly, very little to no fishing pressure.
There you have it folks. This lake is ready to fish! It is full of giant bass that have seen no lures or at least most haven’t until we fished there in January. A couple of things to note: We know that since that January trip the local commercial fishermen have decided to put a “few” nets out as they are doing what they have to do in order to provide for their families. We cannot blame them. That said, we know there are not that many nets at this time. We also know that they have now adopted a similar conservation program and foundation like we have at El Salto and Picachos, where they will conduct regular inspections of the lake/nets, have set days where the nets are in and nets are taken out. Comedero has never had this in place and this should only make the fishing better, if that’s possible! Comedero is MUCH BIGGER than most other lakes in the nearby area. This lake is also much deeper as far as average depth and this is why commercial fishing has never had a negative impact on Comedero. That’s why it is still the best trophy bass lake in the world today after opening 28 years ago! No pressure on these bass! One last great piece of news: the road is paved all the way to the lake now and not just to our camp in Higueras, but all the way past our camp and to the dam! This makes the drive from our camp to the dam ONLY 7 MINUTES! Also, this has reduced the drive time from Mazatlan to 3 hours and 30 minutes. This does not include the stop in the old historic town of Cosala to refuel, use bathroom, stretch legs and take photos.
We are now taking reservations for fabulous Lake Comedero! We will reopen for December 2015, Jan, Feb and March 2016. As with our other lakes, all arrival days will be Mondays (4 or 7 days of fishing) and Fridays (3 or 7 days of fishing). We will also offer combo packages for Comedero, El Salto and Picachos. Some have already mentioned they want to do all three lakes in the same trip, and we can do that as well. This gives our valuable customers the three best bass lakes in Mexico, if not the world — two of the best trophy bass lakes (Comedero/El Salto) in the world and the best lake for sheer numbers of quality bass in Picachos. You take your pick, we’ll make it happen for you! No other outfitter/operator in Mexico is currently providing this many great lakes for their customers! RSJA is leading the way! Space will be limited to 12 anglers maximum and therefore early reservations will be a MUST if you want to fish Comedero this season! Call our office today and book your bass fishing trip of a lifetime! 800-722-0006.
Ron Speed, Jr.