10 Must-Have Bass Lures for Mexico

Heading south of the border to chase bass? Consider packing these 10 proven lures for Mexico bass fishing that work to put big fish in the boat and smiles on your face.

10 Must-Have Bass Lures for Mexico

The Strike King 10XD is big and gets deep, which is good at El Salto in Mexico because big bass forage on tilapia and perch around deep cover. Take plenty, because even though guides are fantastic at getting them unsnagged even the best sometimes can't do it. (Photo: Pete Robbins)

Mexican largemouth bass are just different.

Sure, they’re Florida-strain bass. But they’re not quite as finicky as their Sunshine State ancestors, at least partially because they grow faster — no time to get smart! — and are generally less pressured. They’re also stronger, seem to have rougher lips, and often fight more like a smallmouth. 

Don’t confuse their aggressiveness for stupidity or carelessness, though. They don’t hit lures indiscriminately and sometimes will turn their up noses at less-than-perfect presentations. In my 15 or so trips to interior Mexican lakes, plus another half-dozen to the border to fish Falcon Lake, I’ve seen times when they only wanted one lure, or one color of that lure, and we worked tirelessly with a plug knocker or Super Glue to make sure we had enough. That’s complicated by the fact that I usually fly there. Limitations on luggage size and weight mean I typically have to make some tough choices.

At times, I’ve had great success down there with hard jerkbaits, square bills and Chatterbaits. But if you’re offered a trip to Mexico at any time of year, to any lake — or you’re advising a friend or client on the same —  here’s a starter list of 10 products you must take along:

10-Inch Worms

With a 10-inch black and blue ribbontail worm you have multiple options. You can Texas Rig it. You can Carolina Rig it. You can swim it through deep trees. It’s snag-resistant and offers a big profile while not discriminating against some smaller fish — and there’s something about that blue tail that drives Mexican bass absolutely nuts Pro tip: Make sure you have some sort of bobber stop to peg your weight. This helps minimize snags in the thick trees and bushes that hold the biggest fish.

Lizards

Like the big worm, the 8-inch watermelon lizard with red flake is good every day of the year and can be fished a variety of ways. I was tempted to lump them together, but there are days when the bass show a decided preference for one over the other. Pro tip: Bring chartreuse dipping dye or a marker pen. Mexican bass love a bright tail.

Stickbaits

It's basic, but definitely consider the 6-inch green pumpkin Senko. There are days when you can simply go down the bank with a wacky-rigged Senko and clean up. But it’s also exceptional on bluffs and on gravel points. Pro tip: While you can get away with braid in a lot of circumstances South of the Border, this is one technique that is markedly better on 17- or 20-pound fluorocarbon.

Jigs

Bass everywhere bite jigs, so take some ½ or ¾ ounce flipping jigs in black/blue or brown with matching trailers. Especially when bass are feeding on “langostinos” instead of tilapia or shad, this lure can be fished slowly in big fish holding areas. Pro tip: Make sure the jig you choose has a stout hook, or else these fish will bend it out and break your heart. 

Spinnerbait

Mexican bass will absolutely annihilate a big-bladed spinnerbait. These big offerings can be fished in inches of water or 20-plus feet deep. Opt for big ones, such as 3/4- and 1-ounce sizes, in shad colors or the basic white/chartreuse. When the wind kicks up, glue that rod in your hand and get to work. And hang on. Pro tip: Use a trailer hook judiciously. If they’re hitting short, you may have no choice, but in the thickest cover it will be a magnet for snags.

Rico Popper

It’s tough to choose only one topwater, but the blurping, popping, ½ ounce Lobina Lures Rico in a shad pattern is a proven winner. It can be fished painfully slowly or ripped across the water like a fleeing forage fish. Pro tip: Bring a selection of replacement trebles, including feathered trebles. The rough mouths of Mexican bass and thick cover demand frequent changes or you might lose the fish of a lifetime.


Mexican bass will absolutely annihilate a big-bladed spinnerbait. These big offerings can be fished in inches of water or 20-plus feet deep. (Photo: Pete Robbins)
Mexican bass will absolutely annihilate a big-bladed spinnerbait. These big offerings can be fished in inches of water or 20-plus feet deep. (Photo: Pete Robbins)

Storm Wildeye Swimbait

If you’re a swimbait guru you might have other preferences. But at a little over a buck apiece you can throw the 4- to 6-inch Storm Wildeye swimbait anywhere and not worry about getting hung up. Pro tip: Wait until the rod loads up to set the hook, or you’ll miss them nearly every time.

Zoom Super Fluke

Flukes? Yes, definitely, in white or watermelon/red. Fished shallow and weightless, the fluke will fool bass that won’t commit to a topwater, and there are times when it beats all other soft plastics on a Carolina Rig. They  also can be used on a swim jig or as a Chatterbait trailer. As with the jigs, remember to use a stout hook. Opt for 5-inch and 7-inch flukes in white and watermelon red. I like a 5/0 EWG for the smaller baits and a 6/0 Superline hook for the larger ones. Hook gap is critical to avoid missed strikes.  Pro tip: Bring a bottle or two of Super Glue in case this bite heats up. Even small fish can rip them up quickly.

Deep Diving Crankbaits

The biggest populations of bass live deep much of the year. Sometimes it takes a fast-moving lure to trigger them. The Bomber Fat Free Shad has long been the gold standard, but the Rapala DT20 and Strike King 6XD, along with the magnum 10XD, have their moments. Pro tip: Citrus shad and chartreuse/blue are excellent patterns, but cycle through different colors to keep the school fired up.

Lipless Crankbait

A chrome or shad-colored “trap” can be cast into the next county (or “next country” in this case), and is the absolute best choice for the schooling fish that occasionally come up “just out of reach.” Pro tip: When you’ve worn all of the chrome off of your lure, you know you’ve got a good one. Keep fishing it, don’t worry about its sad exterior.

That’s a starter kit that’ll get anyone going. Unless you get a hot tip on a specific hue or paint job, keep it simple. Lots of blacks, greens and whites in plastics, and shad colors with a dash of chartreuse in moving baits. When they put that suitcase on the luggage scale, you’ll be confident that its contents are adequate. 

Next time, I’ll discuss 10 lures that you might not think of as necessary, but which have saved my butt on Mexico's lakes on more than one occasion.

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