Meantime, several coves over in a different part of the lake it was magic time. Jonah and Dean were having a field day swimming Basstrix minnows through the dragon bushes. Jonah was on them and kept positioning Dean for the bite pointing out the best places to cast. Finally, on one perfect cast between a grouping of dragon bushes, Dean placed his bait in a clear lane of travel. Just as he started his retrieve, both he and Jonah could see a huge wake form from fifteen feet away on the left. It was a huge bass on a direct intercepting path to Dean’s bait! KABOOM! This double digit bass crashed into the bait and immediately loaded up Dean’s 735 (Dobyns Rods). The drag on his Daiwa Zillion was locked down tight but it didn’t matter as the crazed bass continued on its relentless path and stripped line off of Dean’s reel like a two hundred pound tuna! Try as he might, Dean could not turn the fish, then, just as soon as the fish crossed over to the right, KABOOM! and Dean’s 20lb test fluorocarbon exploded leaving him heartbroken. The fish was gone.
JIP lands these bookend 4lbers.
“That bass was easily over 10lbs,” Jonah exclaimed. We could hear Dean’s blood curdling cries from several coves over.
Cal's has enough, and takes out his big bait rod!
Several casts later, way back in another cove amidst a gathering of tilapia, Jonah instructed Dean to place another cast with the Basstrix Minnow as far back as he could. Dean, still heartbroken complied and right as the bait touched down behind the tilapia, a vortex formed around the bait and it disappeared into a black hole. Tilapia exploded and fled all around them as another huge bass rose out of the water, danced on its tail, and spit Dean’s bait back out towards the boat! In the span of 20 minutes, Dean had lost two double digit bass!
Later landing this fish on the new Baitsmith shad!
Back in the TackleTour boat, Pedro was still feeling out the Punker Cal had handed him, JIP was down to one hook on his beat up DLN, and Cal was experimenting with other varieties of topwater big baits he brought for the trip. At the front of the boat, Pedro was smiling like a small child and dreaming of how effective this bait would be during the hot topwater bite of the summer. Then, it happened, on a cast parallel to shore, over the top of the shady side of a long point WHOOSH! A huge swirl swallowed up Pedro’s Punker! Cal jumped off the back deck to grab his lipper, JIP ran over to wind up both his and Cal’s rod and the fight was on! “REEL REEL REEL!” Cal yelled as Pedro did his best to comply but the bass refused to give in peeling off line before finally rising next to the boat. Cal deployed the lipper and lifted a seven pound bass into the boat. The Punker was now Pedro’s!
Cal loans Pedro his injection molded Lunker Punker and Pedro later catches this 7lber!
Back at the house, at the end of Day 3, the crew begrudgingly packed up their tackle in preparation for the long journey home. “Just one more day” is what everyone was thinking, but our schedules had been predetermined. Had we stayed for the traditional 4th day of fishing, who knows what might have materialized for that day, the clouds re-emerged and it was a nice, mostly overcast day. The reaction bite might have been off the hook! Better to leave wanting for more than to leave having had your fill we suppose.
Jonah with a nice pair of Basstrix bass.
Meals: Bob and Bill make sure you are well fed during your stay at their casa. Breakfast is cooked fresh and served hot each morning, lunches are ready for you on the boat each day, and dinner is ready to go by the time you return to the lodge at night. Meals vary from steak to chicken to fresh fish with traditional Mexican dishes like chorizo and chile rellanos mixed in to help round out the menu. Fresh fruit is also available throughout your stay and beverages are fully stocked as well.
Three towns were flooded with the formation of Lake El Novillo. This church serves as a reminder of this event and was our landmark for meeting up at the end of the day.
An old photograph shows what the church looked like prior to the
Booking: BMB Fishing Tours’ season runs from September through March. They do not book trips during the suffocating heat of the warmer months, but they are looking into ways to accommodate these requests in the future. To book your trip with BMB Fishing Tours on El Novillo Lake, contact Hi’s Tackle Box and ask for the TackleTour treatment.
From left to right, JIP, Dean Yoshizumi, Bob Hildebrand, Jonah Li, Justin Wolf, Bill Schmitt and Cal. Gracias mis amigos por un tiempo maravilloso.
Conclusion: Ever wish you could have fished El Salto or any of the other famed Mexican bass lakes in the early days? El Novillo Lake receives very little pressure throughout the year, and the fishing will only get better as those young, Florida strain bass reach maturity. Residents of Arizona already know about El Novillo Lake as on any given weekend 80% of the license plates at the launch ramp are Arizona plates. The busiest day we witnessed was the first day of our trip, a Sunday. There were maybe 20 other cars with trailers in the lot, if that. For a 70 mile long lake, that’s a drop in the bucket. Oh and by the way? Ray Scott, founder of B.A.S.S., has not one, but two houses right across the street from BMB’s Bed and Breakfast. Now why would that be? Bob Hildebrand and Bill Schmitt are on to something and their number one objective is to make accessible, their little honey hole of a lake. They make no claims to be a resort fishing destination, but what they do provide is a clean, comfortable, and affordable place to relax and sleep before and after your time on the water. As for the fishing, well, the numbers have always been there and from what we’ve witnessed first hand, so is the big fish potential. Bring the right bait, put it in the right place, and it's magic time. Just ask Dean Yoshizumi.