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Event Article

Okuma Goes Savage at Lake El Salto, Mexico (continued)

Using some of the proven El Salto favorites, Senkos and lizards, it didnít take long for us to start hooking up just a few feet from where the guide boats were tied up. The water in the cove looked like chocolate milk but that didnít stop the fish from biting, and we caught a bunch of bass ranging from 1 to 3lbs. in size before we had to regroup for dinner. The fish we caught were just enough to whet our appetite for the main course.

Cal cranks up a healthy El Salto fish

The next day Cal and I were given a guide and a boat of our own to break in the tackle. Okuma provided everyone with some of the latest Savage Gear baits including soft plastics from their existing lineup as well as both hard and soft swimbaits from their 4Play series, and prototypes of their new finesse hardbaits that will be introduced at this coming ICAST.

Jeff catches a fish with the new Savage Gear Vibra Prey lipless crank

Savage Gear is being represented by Okuma here in the U.S. and is a very well known brand in Europe. Originally out of central Europe and Scandinavia Savage Lures offerings are known for producing strikes when targeting everything from Perch to Pike and the series has now been expanded to further address the U.S. market. Armed with these new baits we fished them side by side with other lures that we brought specifically for El Salto. My typical El Salto kit consists of plenty of Senkos, an assortment of lizards, both hard and soft bodied swimbaits, a couple of blade baits, and an entire box of deep diving crankbaits (yes, you lose a lot out here to snags). 

Dave and Jeff pitch for fish

The first half of the day Cal and I proceeded to land fish using our confidence baits. Being at El Salto twice before was definitely an advantage for me as I instantly keyed into the structure and type of patterns that the fish seem to really like. This included the citrus shad crankbaits and green plastics. Over the course of the first few hours we had boated around 20 fish up to the 4lb class. On any other lake this already would have been a great day but on El Salto this was discouraging. It was time to mix it up.

The 4Play swimbait variations

Using the Roman Made Negotiator side by side with the Savage Gear 4Play swimbaits we set our sights on catching bigger fish. It worked, and it wasnít long before we were getting fish in the 5-7lb. class. The 4Play hard swimbait is named so because of the four segments and three joints. Unlike most swimbaits the head of the bait, right behind the gill plates, is a separate section. This implementation shows gives the illusion of the gills opening and closing as the bait swims.

Kelly lands a nice fish

This swimbait comes in four versions, the standard, a swim and jerk and two lipped models. The standard swimbait has two places to line tie eyes and when tied to the lower eye the lure exhibits a large s-curve action. When tied on to the lure swims a little more erratically. The lipped versions exhibit more vibration and dive down quickly. One of the things I really liked about this swimbait was the lureís ability to move and swim with just slight movements of the rod tip, the 4Play even quivers on the drop and we seemed to draw most of our strikes with the 4Play right after pauses.

An unexpected quality blade fish

We continued to land quality fish on swimbaits but as we proceeded into an area that was once a complete orchard and was now a huge tree graveyard I saw a lot of tilapia activity near the surface. I tied on a custom RMD spinnerbait and proceeded to cast into the activity and immediately got a few short strikes. I couldnít understand why the bass were not sticking but it soon became apparent what was hitting the spinnerbait was not largemouth but their prey, Tilapia. I kept on casting and pulling the bait through the surface commotion and my heart almost stopped when I witnessed a largemouth charge the bait no more than ten feet from the boat, a minute later I landed the 7.8oz. fish.

Dave continued to catch lunkers each day

Next Section: 100 fish and a 10lbr.