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Event Article

BMB Fishing Tours Presents an Untouched, Unspoiled Mexican Bass Fishing Destination: El Novillo Lake

Date: 3/21/09
Location El Novillo Lake, Mexico
Event Dates: March 14th - 18th
Reviewer: Team TT




Introduction: In the heart of Sonora, Mexico, lies a sleepy little town by the name of San Pedro De La Cueva. It is here where Bob Hildebrand and Bill Schmitt are building what could very well be the next big thing in Mexican Bass Fishing. The lake that borders this town is not El Salto, nor is it Baccarac, Commadero, or any of the other famed Mexican bass lakes. Instead, it is a seventy mile long impoundment with endless points and coves amidst mountainous terrain and three small towns with a combined population of only 1,800 people. El Novillo Lake is home to a mean strain of Northern Largemouth bass and if an affordable Mexican bass adventure is what you seek, Bob and Bill have just the operation to feed your adventurous fishing appetite.

Background: Bob and Bill have fished El Novillo Lake for over ten years. Together with another friend, Mike, the three of them discovered the lake by weird chance and always enjoyed banner days out on the water. The mix of the lake’s accessibility, fishability, and natural, unspoiled, undisturbed state was a major draw for all three. They often discussed opening up and sharing this experience with the outside world, but as most know, it’s difficult to share a hot bite with anyone. Unfortunately, just a few short years ago, Bob and Bill lost their friend Mike and to honor his passing, they started BMB (Bill, Mike, Bob) Fishing Tours and are now ready to share their honey hole with the world.

JIP blogging progress of our travels on TackleTog.com

El Novillo Lake is a 70 mile long reservoir fed by the Yaqui and Moctezuma rivers. It is a mountainous lake with many steep bluffs, long points, complex coves, submerged brush and boulders. Formerly consisting of only largemouth bass, the local municipalities planted 375,000 Florida strain fingerlings three years ago in the hopes of increasing the size of the average catch here which is roughly only two pounds. The lake record, however, is thirteen and a half pounds and fish in the range of four to six pounds are caught regularly. Natural forage for the bass in this lake are shad, bluegill, crappie, and of course tilapia.

From Phoenix to Hermosillo, we travel by turbo prop planes.

We caught wind of this operation through Jonah Li, owner of Hi’s Tackle Box in South San Francisco. Jonah called us up and told us of this operation he’d been in contact with in Mexico and added he was thinking of going down to check it out. He suggested we join him and with the unique opportunity to jumpstart our Year of the Crank reviews, join him we did.

Bob and Bill met us at Hermosillo International and once loaded up, it was on to San Pedro De La Cueva!

Typical trips with BMB Fishing Tours run from Saturday to Thursday and include four days of fishing with Saturday and Thursday being travel days. To fit our busy schedules, we cut our trip down by one day planning to depart Mexico on Wednesday instead of Thursday. The cost for a full 6 day trip with BMB? One thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) per person plus travel expenses. That’s just $375 per fishing day including all food and lodging.

TT HQ for the next few days. BMB's casa in San Pedro De La Cueva.

To reach the final destination, you have one of two options: 1) fly into Hermosillo International Airport in Mexico where Bob and Bill will pick you up or 2) meet them in Tucson, Arizona and drive to their bed and breakfast in San Pedro De La Cueva together. It is a two hour drive from Hermosillo, Mexico to San Pedro De La Cueva and a six hour drive from Tucson. Meeting in Tucson can not only help save on overall expenses, but this option has the added bonus of allowing you to tow your own boat if you’re so inclined.

As you walk in the front door, you are in the dining room where a table large enough for eight awaits.

We chose option one and took off dark and early from San Francisco International Airport, connecting in Phoenix, Arizona to Hermosillo, Mexico. The biggest challenge? Getting all of Cal’s equipment to the airport, through security and onto the airplane!

The living room area has ample seating to relax and satellite TV.

Fortunately, all went off without a hitch and we were greeted at Hermosillo International Airport by both Bob and Bill. In official attendance on this trip were Cal, JIP, Jonah from Hi’s Tackle Box, Dean Yoshizumi of Blackwater International, and Justin Wolf from Angler’s West Television. We loaded our gear into Bob and Bill’s van and off we went for the two hour drive to their location in San Pedro De La Cueva.

TT bunked in this room...

The drive from Hermosillo to San Pedro De La Cueva is a pleasant one with paved roads through the undulating hills and modest mountain passes. We drove through several small towns on the way and thought back to a century ago when life in Mexico was a little less civilized and a lot more wild.

... while Jonah, Dean, and Justin slept here.

In fact, Bob and Bill shared with us a story where legend has it Poncho Villa retreated to San Pedro De La Cueva after suffering a defeat in battle. He decreed the town as his new residence, and when the townsfolk rose up against his occupation, he slaughtered them all and buried them in one mass grave. A monument is erected in town, at the spot of this grave next to the old church with a list of the dead. However, some research reveals remnants of a telegram dating back to May 1915 which reports of a victory by Poncho Villa over General Venustiano Carranza’s troops in San Pedro De La Cueva leaving 844 dead and 1,233 captured. Could this be the true story behind the legend?

One of two bathrooms in the casa.

As we romanticized about this more savage time in Mexico’s history, we arrived in town to see the modernized ranch style homes built of brick and concrete. Roads in town were a mix with some consisting of compacted dirt and others concrete that was poured and laid by hand.

Full kitchen facilities are in the house as well.

La Casa: Then we turned on a street and could see a house with bass boats parked out front, and we knew we had reached our final destination at last. BMB’s bed and breakfast is a modest three bedroom, two bath home with a lot of local flavor. As Bill saw to our bags, Bob took us on a quick tour ending in the rear patio where a cooler of refreshments awaited. It was here the game plan for the next several days would be formulated.

Outside on the patio it's serious business getting ready for the first day on the water.

Time to gear up and hit the water!









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