Fishing trip to Jurassic Lake in Argentina

Denis Isbister from Wild Fish Wild Places tells us about his incredible, yet strenuous fishing trip to Jurassic Lake in Argentina.

“The southern end of the Patagonia region close to El Calafate is one of the most unforgiving and inhospitable areas I’ve ever visited in my fishing career. Dry, windy, barren and all around tough conditions make it a much uninhabited area, with the exception of sheep ranches and GIANT rainbow trout!”

According to Denis, Estancia Laguna Verde is the home base of operations for Lago Strobel, or as most have come to call it “Jurassic Lake.” The lodge has many fishing lagoons and depending on the time of year, the creeks are full of great fishing opportunities. Most people go there to chase the big trouts.

Denis, along with his buddy Martin, a 6 year veteran to Elv lodge, decided to make a hike one day to an area they call “the island” and the “aquarium.” Only a small handful of people have fished it the entire season due to the difficulty of the hike. It’s a 3-mile hike over treacherous boulder piles and slick rocks. The guys main focus was getting to the lake to go fishing.

 

Even though the guys were tired from hiking they were determined to go fishing. The next day they drove as far as they could and loaded up their packs for the day. As they made their way down the giant boulder field crawling over rocks, and jumping in between crevasse’s they could hear the splashing of fish eating on the surface. That alone was enough to kick the adrenaline in to overdrive and keep them moving toward their first spot called “the island.”

“As we approached our spot Martin spotted the first fish immediately and lined Dreu up on the mark. As he pulled his olive jig fly loose from his rod and made a cast it was almost automatic, like the fish have never seen a fly….oh wait they haven’t! The fish turned with reckless abandonment and ate the fly like it hadn’t had a meal in a week. The fight was on the fish got airborne 4 or 5 times and made some fast runs finally giving up to the net and Dreu had his first 12 pounder of the trip”

 

 

The morning went on like this for a while with more 8 to 12 pound rainbows getting landed. For the smaller trout the Okuma Celilo rod and the Okuma Inspira reel was used. For the larger trout the Okuma SST Trout rod and the Okuma Helios reel was used.

Denis decided he wanted to explore the area a little so he took his producer and started walking around. “We found a great spot high on the rocks with a deep water shelf within close proximity, perfect for big fish! As we looked around we spotted a nice fish cruising the shoreline and started making some casts to it. After a few rejections we changed colors and started back in with an olive bead head wooly bugger with brown hackle and a brown tail. I made a few casts and finally he bought it, the hook set and the fight was on. This fish knew the game, he immediately took me into the closest rock pile trying to break me free, then the next rock pile and again the next rock pile. This went on for 3 rounds in 4 different rock piles as I chased him one direction trying to keep him locked in when finally, I tired him out. Martin came to the rescue with the net job and landed this Jurassic Lake monster of 18 pounds.

What a day for a hike!

Fishing with Captain Joe Testa

Capt. Joe Testa, owner of No Fish Left Behind Fishing Guide Service has been fishing since he was a little kid. “Fishing for me is more than a business, it’s a passion and a pursuit. I love to catch fish, and I love to help other people learn how to catch fish. One of the keys to helping people catch fish is having the right equipment. That’s where Okuma comes into the picture. We started using Okuma rods and reels and fell in love with them right away. A rod and reel combo in the Helios series weighs around 10 ounces. These lightweight combos are super sensitive and yet have the ability to land big fish.”

Capt. Joe has two locations where he likes to guide. Inland lakes in Michigan for walleyes using super aggressive techniques, and The majestic Lake George in upstate New York where he focuses his efforts on beautiful smallmouth bass and monstrous lake trout.

“This past summer we expanded our repertoire on Lake George when we started jigging for lake trout in deep water. We used spoons and plastics and found the Helios 7’ MH spinning rod paired with a Helios HSX-30 spinning reel to be the perfect tool for the job. We caught a lot of nice fish, including some fish that had to push the ten to twelve pound mark.”

“The baits we used were pretty basic. Our most successful plastic was a 4-5” minnow style bait on a 1 oz. Old Fart Lure jighead. With lake trout, your two best colors for plastics are white and white! We used Garmin’s LakeVu HD ultra maps to find key areas to fish – mostly looking for humps coming out of deep water.  We scouted for humps that topped out at 80-90 FOW often with 100-130’ of water around them. Often the key was to scoot around the humps looking for fish and drop down right on top of them. If that didn’t work, we would work the edges of the hump where active lake trout were trapping bait up against the rocky bottom.”

 

When it comes to catching big fish Capt. Joe loves using the Okuma Helios rod and Helios spinning reel.

The Helios 7’ MH gave me a super lightweight rod with a lot of backbone to set the hook in 100 feet of water and the Helios HSX-30 reel’s super smooth drag performed flawlessly when a big trout would peel off a pile of line as it dove for the bottom. We love to expose clients to Okuma rods and reels because we believe in their products.”

“We would love to expose you to these products if you are ever in the Lake George area and want to tangle with a big Laker!”

Joe Testa

No Fish Left Behind Fishing Guide Service

www.nofishleftbehind.com

www.nofishleftbehindmichigan.com

instagram – @nofishleftbehind

facebook – No Fish Left Behind

What is CFR?- Cyclonic Flow Rotor

With the introduction of the Inspira Spinning Reel in 2015 and the new Helios SX Spinning Reels, people often ask us about the features.  One of the key features we get asked about often is, What is CFR?  CFR stands for Cyclonic Flow Rotor.

          Helios SX CFR

 

The Cyclonic Flow Rotor (CFR) was designed to create a “cyclonic” airflow, which significantly increases air flow through the ported rotor.

Cyclonic Flow Rotor

This thoroughly tested design allows for a much faster drying time if the reel becomes wet, minimizing corrosion possibilities throughout the reel.

CFR also creates a lighter weight and a more rigid rotor which reduces the flex and rotational coherence and creates a more precise mechanical operation.

CFR Rotor Design

Within this light weight design, Okuma utilizes its C-40X carbon technology in its new Helios SX Spinning Reels.  The C-40X carbon technology utilizes a specially blended graphite polymer.  The carbon fibers in the material are elongated and reinforced, creating a substantially stronger composite than standard graphite materials.  At 25% lighter, 1.5 times stronger and 100% anti corrosive, C-40X translates into an extremely lightweight and durable construction. The Inspira Spinning Reels feature standard graphite with its CFR.

Inspira CFR

                  Inspira CFR

The CFR can be found in both the Inspira Spinning Reel as well as the new Helios SX Spinning Reels.

Helios SX CFR

Wire-to-Wire Victory for Lassagne at the B.A.S.S. State Championship

Weighing limits of 13-10, 11-10 and 12-4 at the B.A.S.S. Nation Regional Championship, Mark Lassagne from San Ramon, Calif. On the final day edged out Rod Brown and Jason Hemminger as the California State Boater champion advancing to the B.A.S.S. Nation Nationals. Lassagne also earned the A.R.E. Top Angler award of $250 as the top-finisher, using the brand’s truck caps.

lassagne_BASS_Western_Championship

Lassagne stated he had one goal this week, which was to win his state and advance to the Nationals for a shot to compete at the 2017 Bassmaster Classic. He added that he was very proud of his travel partner Michael Coleman who earned the non-boater championship for California. They will both be traveling back to the national event together.

“The practice session at Lake Mead started out tough,” said Lassagne. “I only landed a few fish each day, but those few fish gave me the confidence to expand on what little I found.”

The key was fishing into the fish rather than what’s happening right now. So many times we fish the fish that are biting right now, but are moving away from that pattern. Lassagne figured with the nice weather the fish would be on the move to spawn, but he knew most anglers would be targeting the usual spawning places. With that in mind he decided to look for the out of the way spots, those subtle places that others wouldn’t look. Each day after boating a limit, he had to search for new water for the next day as each of his spots only held a fish or two.

“I found all of my spots using my 1040XS Garmin,” he stated. “The depth shading option on the Garmin was the key. Since the lake was over a 100 ft down, the normal mapping would show the coves going way back but with the depth shading you could see exactly where each cove ended.”

Lassagne’s fish were caught in less than 2 ft of water on a 5 inch, green pumpkin Yamamoto Senko.

The western pro had his plastic wacky-rigged on a Gamakatsu #2 dropshot hook with 10 lb braid married to 8 lb Sunline fluorocarbon spooled on a 7 ft, medium-action Okuma Helios spinning rod and a 2500 Helios spinning reel.

Helios Spinning

 

“The Helios set up played an important role in my success as I needed a sensitive rod and a reel that could make a long cast,” added Lassagne. “I would position the boat about 30 yds. from the back of a cove and cast the open-hook Senko on to the bank. I would drag it in the water to about a foot deep, wait for about 30 seconds, make another cast and then head to the next cove.”

Helios SPinning Rod

 

Follow Mark Lassagne on Facebook www.facebook.com/marklassagnefishing or at www.marklassagne.com

 

Marine Bass Angler – Mark Lassagne, from San Ramon, California is a popular pro bass angler, former US Marine, outdoor writer, guide, promoter and top competitor. In addition Mark is the editor-in-chief of Bass Angler Magazine

Getting Dialed in with FLW Pro Jacob Wheeler

As the bass season kicks off around the country, you want to be ready to go as you hit the water.  Be it casting large swimbaits, working bedding fish, or finessing a shoreline, you want to be ready when you make that first cast.  Getting your reel dialed in is key. Here is a great little video of FLW Pro and Forrest Wood Cup Champion Jacob Wheeler explaining how to get the internal breaking system on your new Helios and Komodo reels dialed in for the season.  There is nothing like making that first cast right to the spot you want, and nailing that fish of a lifetime.

 

For more information on the Helios TCS reels that Jacob is using, please join us at http://www.okumafishingusa.com/product/view/reels/baitcast-reels-low-profile/helios-tcs

For more information on the Komodo reels that Jacob is fishing, please join us at http://www.okumafishingusa.com/product/view/reels/baitcast-reels-low-profile/komodo

____________________________________________________
http://www.okumafishingusa.com
https://www.facebook.com/OkumaFishingUSA/
https://twitter.com/OkumaFishing
https://www.instagram.com/okumafishingtackle/

Lassagne’s Victory With The Okuma Helios Rod And Reel At The California B.A.S.S State Qualifier

lassagne _Okuma

 

 

Mark Lassagne qualifies for B.A.S.S. Federation State Team at the California Delta.

A one-two punch claims tidal water trophy.

The decision to stick with two techniques and two areas paid off for the Yamamoto pro, as the event’s anglers found the tidal water system fishing small and tough.

Lassagne’s one-two punch included two Yamamoto presentations – a Senko in depths from 10 to 30 ft and a Flappin’ Hog for shallow punch fish.

The strategy earned Lassagne 12.8 lbs on day one, rocketing him 4 lbs above his nearest competitor. The final day he came to the scales with a limit of 11 lbs, widening his gap by nearly 5 lbs and claiming victory with a tournament total of 24.9lbs.

“It’s not often when you can win a California Delta event with 25 lbs for two days, said Lassagne. “I did it in a limited area, grinding out a limit each day.”

TOOLS
Lassagne tempted the deeper bass with a wacky-rigged, 5 inch, watermelon red Senko, using a Gamakatsu wide gap finesse weedless hook and a River2Sea 1/16 oz nail weight. He fished the plastic on an Okuma Helios medium-action spinning rod, paired with a Helios HX-25 spinning reel spooled with 8 lb fluorocarbon.

The punch rig consisted of a green pumpkin/red Flappin’ Hog on a Gamakatsu Super Heavy Duty 3/0 hook with a bobber stopper and a River2Sea 1 oz Trash Bomb. His punch gear was the Okuma 7.11 Heavy Matt Daddy rod, coupled with a Helios 8.1:1 reel, spooled with 65 lb braid.

DAY ONE
Lassagne found himself in cooling temps, gin clear water and flat-calm conditions. This prompted him to head over to an out-of-the-way marina.

Although his strength is flippin’ and punchin’, Lassagne was metering fish in 20 ft on his Garmin 1040 XS and knew he had to go with a deep-water finesse presentation.

Targeting the banks was a popular choice for other contenders; but Lassagne stuck to the deeper water, fishing open slips and backs of boats.

“I was tossing the rig up, letting it sink on a slack line and then waiting for it to start swimming away,” he recalled. “Even though the bite was tough, having the right equipment played a huge role in my success. It started with my rod. The Helios is so light and sensitive, it played a big part in me being able to detect the bite.”

At 11 a.m., Lassagne had a small limit and his co-angler had two keepers, when he decided to go punching to improve his weight. With a short amount of time and a small bite window, he ran about 25 miles to a dead-end slough, fishing slow until the tide started to turn.

“The shallow fish didn’t start to bite until the tide was coming in,” he shared.

Around 12:30 p.m. he got his first shallow punch fish – a 3 ½ pounder. During the next hour, he boated another 3 lb’r. The clocked ticked down, showing only 10 minutes of fish time remaining, when he landed two more largemouth – a 2 ½ and a 3.

Day Two

Day Two

DAY TWO
The night brought in a big northern storm with heavy rain that gave way to sunshine and windy conditions.

With a good high tide, Lassagne decided to forgo the marina bass and head straight to the shallow punch fish.

“I figured it would take a few bigger fish to seal the win,” he stated.

Making a short run from the ramp, Lassagne landed a quick 2 lb’r and gained the confidence to swing for the shallow punch bite. “My next two stops failed to produce any fish; but it didn’t deter me, I know that’s the way it is when you’re fishing for better quality fish,” he said.

The next stop put Lassagne along an inside bend used for fall to winter transition. It was a productive area, landing Lassagne four bass.

As it hit the mid-day mark, Lassagne felt he had a lock on the win with 11 lbs in the well. His co had not fared as nicely and no keepers in the boat. Lassagne returned to the marina, allowing the co three hours to fish for a limit.

Within the hour, his co was culling and ended the two-day event in 2nd place on the non-boater side.

Q&A With Okuma Pro Jeremy Starks

Five Questions answered by Okuma Pro Jeremy Starks on Bass Fishing in the Fall

426C9D0E-3870-4416-8E82-D0CA1002652FOkuma: What is your favorite technique for targeting Fall bass?

Starks: My favorite technique for fall is crankbaiting. The baitfish are grouping up and bass are not far behind. There are few things better that will help you on your next trip out.

Okuma: What type of cover/location do you look for first thing in the morning in the Fall?

Starks: If I’m on a river I look for two things to start the day. Current and creek mouths. This is a great time to fish below locks or damns on a river. Bass are relating to the bait and not necessarily to cover. So I can just fish open water with a crankbait and find bass schooled up on the bait. I use this same technique on creek mouths.

Okuma: What type of tackle setup or setups do you have on the deck in the Fall?

Starks: My tackle setup is pretty simple this time of year. I have three or four rods set up for cranking. I throw a squarebill and a small shallow running crankbait on an Okuma Helios 7′ med action and a Helios reel. For my medium and deeper diving baits, I use an Okuma C3-40x 7’6″ medium casting rod paired with a Komodo 5.4:1 reel.

Okuma:  How much, if at all, does your strategy change in the afternoon vs. the morning when fishing in the Fall?

Starks:  One of the great things about Fall fishing is the time of day doesn’t change the fish much. I tend to fish the same types of areas both morning,afternoon and evening.

Okuma:  Any specific tips you can give for targeting Fall bass?

Starks:  There are a few things that have helped me be more successful in the Fall. I try to match my bait to the size of the baitfish. On dark days or early morning I will use a brighter bait or even chartreuse. Fishing open water, the further you can cast the longer your bait stays in the strike zone. That’s where my Okuma reels come into play. I can get more distance than with any products I’ve used in the past.

Okuma’s Mark Lassagne Drags Home New Triton/Mercury Boat with Win

Mark’s 35lbs of bass helped spur the California team to a 1st place finish at the BASS Western Divisional on Clear Lake.

Mark’s main technique was fishing spawning coves looking for fish moving up in grass and then ripping vibrating baits through the grass provoking a reaction strike.

“The bite was tough where you needed to land every single bite making your equipment the most important part of the equation,” Lassagne said.  Using the Okuma 7’ 11” TCS Power Crank coupled with 8.1:1 Helios Reel and 15-lb. fluorocarbon line, Mark was able to land 7 of the 8 bites, which is pretty darn good using treble hooked baits.

The 7’11” Power Crank coupled with the Helios 8.1:1 reel is the perfect combination rod for yo-yoing vibrating baits, you can cast this set up a mile, the rod has the perfect tip action and a backbone to get the big ones hooked up and in the boat.  Many pros lock their drag down because they don’t trust the reel – not the case with the Helios. Mark would set the drag pretty tight and let the big ones strip line just enough so they wouldn’t pull out the hooks, the Helios smooth drag was key to landing more bites.

Quest for Big Bass at Lake El Salto

On Monday, November 18th, Okuma’s Sam Brenner and I departed Los Angeles International airport destined for Mazatlán, Mexico. On arrival in Mazatlán we met up with our guests Woody Wood, West Coast sales rep for Okuma Fishing Tackle. He was accompanied by our special guest and former professional bass angler John Bidwell of Fisherman’s Warehouse tackle, located in Northern California. All four of us were greeted at baggage claim by Hono Elizalde, owner/operator of El Salto Adventures to start our trip.

Sam with El Salto topwater bass

Sam Brenner, Okuma Vice President of Sales and Marketing, displays one of many eager topwater bass.

Author John Bretza with El Salto Bass

Okuma Director of Product Development and author John Bretza with healthy El Salto bass.

As we loaded our bags and hit the road on a two hour drive destined for the world famous lake, our quest for big bass grew closer. The anticipation and excitement of all four anglers continued to grow as we exited the highway and pulled down a long dirt road. While getting knocked around on the uneven dirt road, we could see a set of lights come into focus in the distance. On approach it was obvious we were not pulling into the Ritz, rather a rustic old world Mexican charm that made this trip so unique and special. As the sun dropped down over the lake and disappeared behind the mountains it was truly pitch black, without a hint of city lights on the lake or in the sky.

The glow of a fire just behind the lodge’s kitchen drew us to the eating area, where Hono and Chef Susie treated us to barbecued steaks and freshly made chips and salsa. The hospitality was exceptionally welcoming. They go the extra mile to make sure that each individual angler was taken care of. It was a great way to kick off the trip and get in the right mindset prior to rigging our tackle for the early morning fishing.

In preparation for the morning events, each boat was well equipped with new Okuma TCS and Helios rods, as well as the latest Helios Air, Helios and Citrix reels. The tackle boxes were overflowing with Savage Gear lures, especially the Top Prey, Sand Eels, Sand Eel Slug and Vibra Prey which have all been proven performers on the lake. With the equipment prepped and anglers ready to rock and roll, we got a short 5 hours of sleep, meeting for a hot breakfast at 5:30am. The meal prepped us for a long day of fishing. A short 50 yard walk in the dark really surprised us, arriving to find two 18-foot Ranger bass boats rigged with Lowrance electronics and Mercury outboards sitting under the lights and ready to take us fishing. All four of us have fished El Salto previously, but the guides have always fished from basic aluminum boats, so this was quite an unexpected treat.

Okuma Fishing Tackle and Savage Gear lures

Each angler would be prepared with an elite level arsenal of equipment.

Grave Sites

Submerged tombstones remind anglers of the submerged city that lies beneath the surface of El Salto.

As we pulled away from the dock in the dark we heard Omar, the lodge handyman yell out “Buenas Suerte”. It was not long before we were fishing as the spot we started at was literally 100 yards from the dock. The first thing we noticed was the famous tombstones that anglers always mention about El Salto, partially exposed in the lake. Lake El Salto was a former town that was flooded by lake construction and all the structures we were fishing was remnants of the city such as the cemetery, houses and school. Hono yelled out, cast the Top Prey toward the Escuela and the action started. Sam and I were in the boat with Hono and we started by throwing Savage Gear Top Prey lures and using a “walk the dog” technique to draw surface strikes. We had several blow-ups on the baits which got our hearts pumping, but it was a strange feeling to think we were casting at half submerged schools and tombstones. It is this type of history and structure that make El Salto truly unique.

John Bidwell of Fisherman's Warehouse with a hefty carolina rig bass.

John Bidwell of Fisherman’s Warehouse with a hefty carolina rig bass.

Woody Wood with El Salto largemouth bass.

Woody Wood hangs a beautiful El Salto bass for the camera.

Woody and John started the day with a different approach. Rather than hammering the shoreline with topwater baits, they started throwing Vibra Preys, picking off a few fish and then their guide Jerry said, “Carolina rig”. These guys fished in 30-feet of water just in front of the resort and found the honey hole. It was Watermelon Sandeel Slug and prototype Savage Gear lizard that were the hot baits. On the radio we heard them report 5-pound fish right off the bat. Woody and John camped out on two spots in the same general area all day and finished with about 60 fish for day one. On the other boat, Sam and I finished day one with just under 40 fish, but the quality level of bigger fish went to John and Woody. Both boats averaged fish in the 3-lbs range, but big fish of the day went to Woody with a 7-pounder.

On day two the schedule was the same, but after talking with all the guys we realized that fishing was tough compared to El Salto standards that guys were used to when they come in the May and June time frames. Fishing in November is always a little slower, but there are always opportunities for quality bass. In addition, we were fishing on a full moon and battling Tilapia nets on every spot. These obstacles made us have to fish even harder and in the end we did well considering the conditions. Sam and I wanted to target big bass on top water again, knowing the numbers may be smaller, but there was a chance to see some big explosions on the surface. I got my biggest fish of the trip on day two, with a 5-pounder and Sam also nailed his largest fish at 4-1/2 pounds. The Top Prey was working and we missed some other truly big fish that exploded on the baits, but just missed the hooks. Our guide and friend Hono was also fishing with us and his Top Prey flew out of the water with an 8-pound bass connected to it, trumping Sam and I. It was awesome seeing these big fish blow up on topwater baits.

Hono with El Salto largemouth bass

Hono lands a slug on the surface with a Savage Gear Top Prey.

Woody and John had another great day on the water with very similar results on the Carolina rig. It was obvious that in order to get numbers you had to go deep and slowly drag the bottom. Not only were there more fish being caught with this technique, the fish were also bigger. John Bidwell commented that night at dinner that this was the best fishing trip he has ever had for multiple quality-sized fish. After fishing two days John had already recorded 7-pound, 8-pound, 9-pound-plus and 10-pound-plus fish. Quite an accomplishment even for a former tournament bass fisherman with several major wins under his belt. It was a great feeling hearing John say this was the best fishing trip he has had for multiple big fish.

Our third and final day of fishing came and we were all excited to see what would develop, especially since we all figured out what the fish were chewing on. Of course Woody and John stuck to their trusted Carolina rig that was a proven producer on the lake this trip, turning in similar result to days one and two. After a morning shot at topwater, Sam and I told Hono we were changing to a Carolina rig to put some numbers in the boat. As Sam was tying on his rig, I fired out a pearl Sand Eel working a ledge and it was an instant fish. Another cast and then another, all producing fish.

Savage Gear Top Prey

Savage Gear Top Prey in one of the many dozens of aggressive topwater fish.

It appeared we may have found the spot we were looking for. Sam finally got the watermelon lizard in the water and before he even dropped the bait down it got hit resting at the surface. It was obvious these fish wanted to chew and we pulled good numbers out of this hole on lizards, Sandeel Slugs and Sandeels. We had some bigger fish busting around the boat, but they were reluctant to hit anything on the surface.This was a mid-day bite in the extreme heat. As the day was slowly coming to an end, Hono said, “let’s see if we can finish off the trip with a top water bite”.

We headed back to an area where I had a lot of luck fishing the Sandeel Slug with the darter head. This was an area just off a cliff where the fish were holding. Sam and I both broke out Top Prey’s in the bone color and it did not take long. We finished off the trip with about a one hour long topwater bite. No monsters, but it was truly fun getting fish after fish on the topwater. We fished this into the dark until we ran out of light for the run back to the lodge.

Main Lodge

Under the beautiful desert skies, the resort offers an experience far away from any distractions.

El Salto is truly a bucket list trip for any angler.  It is a unique fishery that really gives you a shot at both numbers and quality fish. For a company like Okuma Fishing Tackle and Savage Gear, this destination offers us great testing grounds for our tackle with multiple hookups and big fish. Hono Elizalde, official Okuma product tester on this lake allows us to put our tackle to the test on a daily basis. If you are ever looking for a great experience fishing bass in Mexico, El Salto is a destination you should definitely look into.