Kayak Bass Fishing in Cartel Land?

I’ve never been a roller coaster enthusiast, but as a kayak angler I do like to live on the wild side.  Corpus Christi conditions push me toward the Texas-Mexican border to a hidden area I now refer to as JurBassic Park. A place that is more known to feel like self defense fishing. A place where no kayak angler has boldly gone before.  A place where a modern day Castro possibly meets Hitler’s past time. I decide to pack my bags and paddle an area where apparently German engineers worked directly under Adolf Hitler in the early 1940’s to build this reservoir. This was of course in the midst of a neutral Mexican government, until Potero de Llano declared war with the Axis in June of 1942.  I hope you enjoy this week’s unorthodox report.


Remember how good fishing use to be in Mexico?  In 2010 the drug war begins between the Mexican government and various drug trafficking groups. Seven years later I get a call from Russ Whitesides, (Owner of Cowtown Kayaks) who enlightens me about a potential trip south of the border.  We are eventually connected with John Adami of Broken Braid Guiding Service, who educates us on where the older guides go when they feel like living on the wild side.



Rumor has it that when you fight a 4 pounder in this area, you’ll swear it’s a 10. Hook a 13 pounder and you’ll feel it will never end.  These Mexican bass are like none other with reports of bass boat sleigh rides on a regular. Located twenty minutes south after crossing from Zapata, this hidden treasure is located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The natives call it Presa el Azucar, and has escaped the spotlight even before the drug war began.  According to guide John Adami, this is the lake of choice where every cast has the potential to hold a monster.  Part of the reason I believe it’s never received large amounts of pressure is due to its location.  This isn’t a place you come to mess around, when you come to Sugar Lake, you make sure to bring your a-game and fish like it’s your last.  The territory is under control by one of Mexico’s older cartels, (Gulf Cartel) so it isn’t hard to find trouble if you’re asking for it.  My advice to anyone making this trip is to connect with a guide because local knowledge is imperative and this Lake has no mapping.  It’s been fished the old fashion way and has sunk first time boaters who dare sprint without knowledge of the lake.



When we think back to German allies, we don’t think of Mexico, but that doesn’t mean they were not working with each other.  Mexico’s rich oil, and positioning made it a neutral country in the 1930’s to early 40’s.  Tons of German influences throughout the Mexican culture can still be found today.  One you may find shocking is of course Mariachi music.  A twisted version of German polka now imbedded deeply in the Mexican music culture.  While digging deep into Sugar Lake history, we find that apparently German engineers were instructed to begin construction on this reservoir in the event that Mexico had decided to join the Axis.  The reports would make sense as a key component to any invasion would be a healthy water supply. If these events stand true, boy where we glad Mexico was on our side!


Little did we know that we would become the first kayak anglers to fish the area according to locals.  We were targeting these bass by flipping trees with lizards, and grand total of 78 bass landed on our first day.  By the end of the day I felt like I’d been arm wrestling a freight train! 7-8 pound bass where in that mix with 4-5 pounds being the average.  This trip quickly turned into a humbling experience and one that I will never forget. It won’t be the last time to visit, as I am still hunting for that once in a lifetime bass.  It’s rich and dark history make it one of the most historic paddles I’ve completed.  Now that I’m back in Corpus Christi, I will remain inshore as we keep a close eye for the next offshore opening.



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