Last month I was lucky enough to fish Mexico’s Lake El Salto, one of the best trophy bass lakes in the world. If you throw any bait for long enough at El Salto you’ll eventually catch fish. But, there are four baits you don’t want to head down there without.

One of the many nice things about El Salto is that it calls for basic bass fishing methods (think crankbaits, jigs, and Texas-rigged worms). So even if you’re not Mexico-bound, these baits will certainly fool bass on your home waters.

1) Havoc Federale Worm


With bass in the trees, you need some strong braid and a Texas rig. Havoc’s 10-inch Federale worm in black grape worked the best for us. The bait has a unique “ribbed egg sack” that supposedly gives it more action. But, more importantly, the ribbed design allows for better hook sets as it lets the hook point slide through easier than a full-bodied worm (trust me, I missed a bunch of fish using other Texas-rigged worms). We fished the worm with a bullet weight fixed with a rubber stopper.

MSRP: $3.49 (per 5 pack)

2) Bomber Fat Free Shad


When the sun came up and the bass went deep, we targeted timber in 20 to 30 feet of water. The best performing crankbait, by far, was Bomber’s 3-inch Deep Runner Fat Free Shad in Citrus Shad. The baits ran deep and hard and hooked some huge fish. An erratic action worked best. Crank the bait down as deep as you can and then retrieve in a stop-start action, giving it erratic jerks on the retrieve. The more limbs and rocks you can run it into the better.

MSRP: $5.99

3) Havoc Poppa Pit Boss


We caught most of our big fish around steep rock bluffs. We pitched jigs tipped with a 5-inch Poppa Pit Boss in black-blue out of Berkley’s super popular Havoc line. The big body on this bait made the jig fall slowly, and slow fishing is key at El Salto. Fishing this bait couldn’t be simpler: flip it out, let it hit bottom, jig it and twitch a few times and repeat. For fishing in waters where big bass (8 to 12 pounders) are unlikely, the regular 4-inch Pit Boss should suffice.

MSRP: $3.49 (per 5 pack)

4) Sebile Crankster


This funny looking little guy was a go-to bait in shallow timber. It runs 4 to 6 feet deep and its lip design allows it to bounce off timber easily. It has one big bead that creates a loud, low-pitch rattle. We did well with the 2 1/2-inch tilapia yellow version (tilapia is the main forage source in El Salto).

MSRP: $16

What’s Lake El Salto you may ask? Oh, it’s only the spot where you’ll catch your biggest bass ever.