Team USA showed out at the 2022 Pan American Kayak Bass Championship on Mexico’s Lake Cuchillo. Guillermo Gonzales led the team and the event, winning the individual gold medal. His 3-person team, including Kristine Fischer and Matt Scotch also took top honors. When Team USA followed suit, it was a 3-way golden sweep for Gonzalez who not only put more inches on the Ketch board, but, by his own admission may have also eaten more tortillas than anyone in the party.

“We ate about as well as we could have possibly eaten,” said Gonzalez. “I don’t know how many tortillas I ate but it was a lot. It was bunch of tortillas! Man, we had breakfast tacos every morning – they had them ready for us. It was as good as you can imagine.”

“I really enjoyed that lake, but I enjoyed the people more than anything. Every day after fishing we all hung out. There was a little bit of a language barrier, but I speak Spanish so I was able to do a lot of translating. They’re such good people and they really treated us right.”

Gonzalez was joined on Team USA by Cody Milton, Kristine Fischer, Josh Stewart, Rus Snyders, Eric Siddiqi, Mike Elsea, Matt Scotch, Jamie Broad and Team Manager Craig Storms.

“It was a great honor,” said Gonzalez, “especially when you consider the talent that was on the USA team. There’s no question that if you asked anybody who some of the best kayak anglers in the U.S. are, I guarantee you that a lot of people on that team would come up. To be able to perform and do as well as I did, knowing how good every angler on that team is, it’s really an honor.”

Guillermo Gonzalez (left), Kristine Fischer and Matt Scotch were the top trio in the Pan American tournament.

This competition featured a 3-bass limit. “I had 51 inches one day and 57-and-a-half the other day.

“As far as cover and structure, what I gathered from being there is pretty much any time other than spring, you want to be fishing offshore. I did not fish offshore. I fished on the dam. I did that because, in the fall under just about any conditions, I have had a lot of good luck in Texas fishing dams. The conditions were changing. A lot of those fish were resident fish. I was fishing up shallow on the dam, probably in the first 1-to-5 feet and I figured throughout the tournament there’d be fish moving up and down the water column along that dam and I’d be able to pick them off as time went on.”

Gonzalez got plenty of exercise. “Unfortunately, the dam was about a 4-mile kick from the launch location so every day I had to quit fishing early and I didn’t get to start fishing ‘til late. It was worth it. I caught some really good fish over there including a 9-pounder. Had a great time.

Gonzalez with a 9-pounder

“On Day 1 I caught the majority of fish on a spinnerbait, and I caught the majority of them on Day 2 with a Rat-L-Trap. It’s hard for me to look at rocks that go on forever and just count rocks,” said Gonzalez concerning his decision to use moving baits. “I wanted to cover a lot of water and find the active fish where I could find them, and it happened to work out for me.

“On Day 1 it seemed like there were wolf packs. Day 1 was a little wilder. Day 2 was a little slower. On Day 1 it seemed like, if I got a bite, I was going to get a bite again really soon. I hit certain sections that just had them. But on Day 2 it was a little more random, had to cover a lot more water for every bite and that’s actually why I changed to the Rat-L-Trap because I just couldn’t get the spinnerbait working like I could on Day 1.

“For whatever reason, I was able to catch them on the ‘Trap. Couldn’t tell you why, but it definitely worked better.”