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DUMB-BASS QUESTIONS

A HARD NO!

DUMB- BASS QUESTIONS

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 10, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Over the last 3 decades or so down here, I’ve been asked some crazy head-scratching questions.  I call them dumb questions from smart people.

Hey, I’m just as guilty of opening my mouth before I can put the brakes on and something idiotic comes out.  I do it more often than not.

But, when you run through hundreds of fishing clients and friends each year, you realize that often we are a clearing house for information.

Understandably.  It’s a foreign country.  People speak Spanish.  It can be difficult to navigate.

We live here.  We have answer.  No problem.

So, daily, we get the usual questions about the weather, restaurants, siteseeing, shopping and where to purchase things.  All very typical on a vacation trip.

Then, there are the other kinds of questions that leave us wanting to give a smart-alec response.  But, we hold our tongues and realize that the questions are very sincere and require a somewhat sincere response as well. 

“Will I get wet if I go snorkeling?”

“What happens if a shark bites me?”

“When do the salmon run upriver?”

“How come everyone speaks Spanish in Mexico?”

“What’s the best day of the week to catch a blue marlin?”

“If I’m fishing out on the ocean and have to go ‘Number Two’ and can’t hold it, what happens?”

“How come in Mexico the sun sets in the East?”

We always tell folks there’s no such thing as a bad question. But, I have to admit there’s “dumb-bass” questions like these.

I do my best to provide a deservedly sincere answer.  I grin and try to remind myself that these are honest questions.

There is one subject however, that I get irked about when asked.

I recently got pulled aside by a fishing client who wanted to speak to me alone in my office.  Sure.  No problem.  C’mon in.

I thought he wanted to complain about his hotel shower or tell me he only wanted vegetarian meals for lunch on the boat.

Instead he says, “Dude.  Jonathan.  Where can I score some pot or coke? I can’t find anyone or don’t know where to go. Help me out.”

(pause)

(hard stare and a longer pause)

Are you kidding me? 

Yea, this deserves an honest answer.  Frankly, I’m a bit put out that someone would think I know where to score illicit drugs…in MEXICO!  And yes, this is more than just a dumb-bass question.

It’s a truly stupid question and the kind that will get you in a lot of trouble.

It’s not the first time someone has asked me something like this, and honestly, it never ceases to amaze me when I hear it.  I look at the knucklehead who asked me. 

Maybe I’m just naïve about all this. 

First of all, I tell them NO!  A HARD NO!

It’s not my line or my wheelhouse and I tell them if you go around asking, or you’re solicited, you could very well be talking to a narc who is looking for an idiot tourist to make a bust.   

Or you hang out with the wrong people and you get in even more trouble.

I tell the person if they would enjoy being in a dirty Mexican jail with a bunch of other Mexican guys with a coffee can toilet and zero rights.

Here in Mexico, I remind them that it’s not like the U.S. 

You are “guilty until you prove your innocence.”  Unlike the U.S., in Mexico you are automatically guilty.  And if you’re a tourist…especially an American tourist…you’re triple-dog-dare guilty.

Think long and hard about automatically being guilty!

So, someone could tell a police officer you wanted to buy drugs or a police officer could say you bought or used drugs.  And, it would up to you to PROVE you didn’t do it.

Try that without being able to speak Spanish. 

At worst, your life is might change radically in a bad way.  At best, your vacation is ruined and you’re probably in for a bad few days.

I tell ‘em don’t be an idiot.  Or a victim. 

If you really need a buzz, drink tequila like everyone else. 

If they are already carrying stuff get rid of it.  And yes, I’ve had people actually travel INTO MEXICO with illicit drugs and chemicals.

I get away from them as soon as I can.  Maximum space.  Social distancing to the umpteenth power.

Don’t do it.  Don’t ask me how to do it.

Yes, there are stupid questions.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing
www.tailhunter.com

 

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter Sportfishing

8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

 

Phones: 
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

 
When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”
 

OOPS!

THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT MEXICAN ETIQUETTE

Originally Published the Week of July 24, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

The longer I live here in Mexico, the more I realize that there are so many “nuances” to social etiquette that can only be garnered through experience.   Sometimes, embarrassingly so!

It’s not enough to know a language, although that’s a great place to start.  Lord knows after 30 years, I’m hardly fluent.  By most standards, I’m hardly even passable. 

But, I get by. 

I try to learn a new phrase or word every day.  But, even then it’s not just what you say, but how you say it and the context in which something is used.

Like in any country.

There are some things that I learned long ago that are just bad form.  I hear Americans unwittingly say and do things that make me cringe.

For instance, hearing someone ask a local, “Do you speak Mexican?”  Ouch. 

That’s right up there with walking around and committing one huge faux paux of telling folks, “I’m American.”  As if that gives you extra cred.

Or even worse, telling a local, “Well compared to how it is in Mexico, in the United States this is how WE do it…”.

Go ahead and be an arrogant bastard.

Here’s a few other things I’ve learned about social etiquette over time.  Admittedly, I’ve goofed on many of these until I got “schooled.

Where to start…Here are some nuances that I bet you didn’t know. 

It’s rude to stand with your hands in your pockets.  Standing with your hands on your hip signifies you’re angry.  Really?

This is a very macho country on so many levels and it’s part of the very fabric and DNA.  For instance, only men should propose toast at a table. Especially rude for a foreign woman to propose one.

Try to figure out this one…

As a foreigner, you are expected to be on time.  But, if you show up “on time” at a social event like dinner at a restaurant, you’ll be the only one there…maybe for a long time!

It’s quite alright for locals to customarily arrive 30 to 60 minutes or more late.  We see this in our own restaurant constantly.

They’ll reserve a table for 8 at 6 p.m.  Great.  But, by the time everyone shows up, it’s 7:30!

In business, it can really be frustrating.

“On time” for a meeting means your Mexican counterpart might show up unapologetically half-an-hour or more late.  Expect it.

On top of that, it’s considered rude to just “get down to business.

Business in Mexico is largely based on relationships.  Resumes and pedigrees are fine, but locals deal with counterparts they like and trust.

Business…real business, is not done on the phone, text or e-mail.  Even the smallest thing is best done personally.  In many cases, it will ONLY be done person-to-person.

So, expect small talk first.  And it’s expected that you will ask and be asked about family, friends, etc.

By the way, get everything in writing.  A “promise”  culturally means nothing.  It’s part of small talk.  Unless committed to writing, it’s not serious.

If business or entertainment is done over a meal at an establishment, the invitee is expected to pick up the tab.  No friendly arguing at the end.  Not a bad idea to slip your credit card to the waiter at the beginning.

Even if your Mexican associate drinks several cocktails, and you’re sipping your Diet Coke, the tabs is on you.

Conversely, if you are being invited and you are offered a beer, cocktail…even coffee, it’s rude for you to turn it down. 

Or food. 

Accept and take a little or you’ll be seen as being “too good” to accept.

Along those lines, drinking in excess raises eyebrows.  Especially, if it’s done by a woman.

And it’s culturally acceptable if the person you invite to a meal, meeting or social event keeps canceling.  Sometimes at the last minute.  Or not show up at all.

Maddening!

But, you’re expected to keep inviting them or they will assume you were never serious in the first place!

Interestingly, if you do invite folks, usually, they will say “yes” because it’s culturally acceptable and proper.  And even if they say “yes” they might never intend to really show up.

As an American, that sure feels rude!  But, perfectly OK down here.

Here’s one I just learned…always keep your hands above the table. Pass dishes to the left. 

Don’t start eating until the host says “buen provecho.” And never ever cut your salad at the table.  Fold it!

One thing to keep in the forefront is that many Mexicans are very status conscious.  Despite what you may see and hear or seems obvious, Mexico has social classes.

There’s an upstairs and a downstairs.  Socially, there’s not much cross-over.  Sadly actually. 

Upper class stays upper class.  Middle and lower class stay in their lanes as well.

Status is very important.

Therefore, how you dress.  What you drive.  What hotel you are staying in.  Your make-up.  Your jewelry.  Your shoes. 

Impressions are important. Yes, you ARE being watched and subtle judgements are being made about you.

I never realized that until recently. Never dawned on me. 

I’ve been here 3 decades.  My wife and I run several businesses. 

However…I wear shorts every day.  And usually a Hawaiian shirt or printed t-shirt.

And I don’t even have a pair of shoes! 

Because of our work, I’m in flip-flops 24/7.  I wear an old dive watch with a rubber/ plastic wristband . We drive a beat up 1992 Honda Civic!

Sometimes, I even take the time to shave!

This is how I show up.  I am what I am.  Now I wonder how I’ve been perceived all of these years. 

Or not!

None of this is wrong, by any means.  It’s just a different and wonderful culture that you need to adapt to.  As in any country.  It’s how things are done.

However…

I’m definitely going to start showing up late.  And saying “yes” when I don’t intend to actually show up!  When in Rome…or Mexico…do what the locals do!

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942


Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

 

 

 

 

 

 



.

 

 



WARM BEER and NAVY SHOWERS

Originally Published the Week of July 18, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Understandably, we got a lot of folks from chilly and wet places like Alaska, Montana, Washington, etc. coming to Baja to fish.

Over the years, when I’m trying to entice folks to sign up with us to fish here in Baja with our fishing fleet in La Paz, I laughingly tease by saying,

“The only snow and ice you’ll see down here will be inside the rim of your margarita glass or in your cooler chilling down your beer!”

Well, I may just have to put the brakes on that for a bit.  Hopefully, it’s not an omen of the future, but I have to admit I’m nervous.

This past week, reports started coming in from various spots in Baja as well as the central Mexican mainland that there’s a water shortage and water restrictions.

Yes, it’s pretty common to hear in the U.S. about drought conditions that have been on-going for way-too-man-years.  The Colorado River and Lake Mead are drying up and at historic lows.  Lakes in California are turning to mudholes.

But, you don’t hear about it much in Mexico.  Or, at least you don’t think about it a whole lot.

But, beyond the golf courses and the sculpted swimming pools and the new construction condos and hotels…hey!  It’s a huge desert out there.

Yup.  A big old desert full of cactus and scrub and arid land devoid of water.

All this tourist construction is a fantasy that we’ve artificially managed to use beating back the fact that there are a zillion square miles of parched desert outside the nearby gates.

And the desert is just a dripping-faucet-turn-away from roaring back in a big way.

This past week, areas of Mexico started reporting not just a shortage of water, but actually running out’ve water.  Right. Nothing coming out’ve the pipes.

We started getting inklings of what was happening about a month ago.  We have a small convenience store here in La Paz attached to our restaurant.   We stock the usual, beers, water, sodas and other beverages for retail purchases .

Several popular beverages made on the mainland could no longer be obtained. Apparently, those areas had no water to produce the beverages!  

Because of water restrictions, the factory could not produce any of it’s bottled waters.

This past week, more bad news.

Emergency water had to be trucked into various areas of Mexico as reservoirs, wells and underground aquafers literally tapped out.

Here in La Paz where we live and several other areas of Baja, various neighborhoods were without water for several days.

Water is distributed a little differently down here. 

If you’ve ever been down to Baja, you’ll often notice big plastic cisterns on top of rooftops.  At our restaurant, we have three 1100 liters plastic cisterns on our roof.  

These cisterns look like giant black or tan-colored tubes.

Water only comes from the city, 3 or 4 times a week. 

The city turns on the water.  It’s come in from a little pipe smaller than the diameter of your typical garden hose.  Little more than a running drop.

Consequently, everyone has cisterns to collect as much water as possible for usage until the next time the city turns on the water.  That might be 2 or 3 days.

Well, this past week, the city didn’t have any water to turn on. 

Businesses like hotels and restaurants, need water for normal things like hotel showers, cooking and restrooms.  That’s a lot of water use.

Swimming pools could not be filled. Ice houses that produce bags of purified ice for fishing, retail stores, bars and others did not have any water to make ice.

There was a huge” run” on ice deliveries as businesses started to hoard ice not knowing when there would be ice available again. It reminded me of the toilet paper hoarding two years ago in the U.S. 

At our restaurant, we jammed several freezers full of ice bags.

When you have a tourist economy, having ice to chill beer and make margaritas is kinda important.  Maybe moreso in Mexico where cold beer and icy cocktails are part and parcel to the whole marketing scheme.

Tourists like to brush their teeth and take showers too.  A good thing to have.

“Navy showers” where you rinse…turn off the water…soap up…then rinse off aren’t exactly folks’ idea of a vacation shower.

There’s a lot of finger-pointing going on if you read the local newspapers. 

Current politicians and bureaucrats are blaming former politicians and bureaucrats for not seeing the warning signs.  Accusing each other of not improving the ancient water-producing infrastructure like pipes and wells that are now breaking down or weren’t adequate to begin with.

It’s kinda hard to “wash your hands” of the issue when nothing is literally coming out’ve the tap. 

Stay tuned!

That’s my story

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942


Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

PASSING THE BUCK

PASSING THE BUCK

Originally Published the Week of July 12, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

I recently got tuned into a little side-hustle that I didn’t realize has been taking place for quite sometime down here in Baja.  I imagine it’s pretty much the same all over Mexico.

It’s kinda funny.  But also quite serious on another level.  In fact,   it’s a crime.

Let me set the scene.

We’ve lived down here in Baja for almost 30 years.  We have several businesses including a restaurant, two fishing fleets and a shuttle company.

American money passes through our hands as transactions are carried out.  No problem. 

We love American dollars.  We accept it as a convenience to travelers and our guests.

In fact, EVERYONE loves American dollars.  Especially here in Mexico. 

It’s a fairly stable currency.  It holds it value.  It’s easy to use.  In fact, most folks I know hoard the dollars and use pesos for daily transactions.  Yes, it’s a mighty currency.

I’ve often joked with folks that everyone loves our green paper with the old Presidents on them.  Even in countries that don’t necessarily like the U.S., they have no problem with American bucks in their banks and pockets. 

It’s the universal currency.

The one type of dollar down here that no one wants is “bad money.”  That is, dollar bills that are torn, written on, defaced and abused.

You know the ones.  Someone wrote a phone number on it.  Or drew a mustache on Ben Franklin.   Or, it’s just plain old and torn and gone through a lot of hands.

It’s easy to see why. 

Banks won’t take them down here.  In fact, no one will take them. 

If the banks won’t accept them, neither will the grocery store.  Or the taco stand. Or the t-shirt shop or the taxi driver. 

You have to wait until you get back to the states to use the bills.

Many of our friends here in Baja, like waiters or chambermaids or bellman get bills as tips.  If they are torn, they’ll come to us and we’ll give them usable U.S. dollars. 

We’ll take the torn ones back to the U.S. Or, we’ll change them with our guests headed back to the U.S. and ask us to give us “good money.”  They are usually pretty understanding.

New money and old money spend just fine back home.

Torn money is pretty much worthless down here.

In fact, in many cases, even torn pesos are not accepted.

So, here’s the deal called “musical bills.”

People surreptitiously and sneakily try to pass off their torn bills to someone else.  Like an unsuspecting waiter at a restaurant.  A taxi driver.  A busy taco stand at night. 

Basically, anyone not looking too carefully might get some bad money.

Later, that person realizes they got a bad bill.  They, in turn, will now try to pass it onto someone else.

It’s like that game “Old Maid” we played as kids.  You don’t want to to get stuck with the bad bill that no one can use!  So you keep playing “the game.”

There is a real sinister side to this, however.

There are reports of money changers giving away bad bills to tourists. These are the exchange houses where you change dollars to pesos and pesos to dollars or other currency.

You find them on streets in tourist towns; kiosks on street corners; and yes…in airports and bus stations.

Most are legit.  But you can see where this is going and how the “game” of passing on bad bills can have a serious impact.

The un-suspecting tourist arrives to exchange money.  They are “slipped” a few torn or defaced bills.  Be it pesos or dollars.

You walk away ready to do what tourists do.

However, you find out that no one will accept your money!  You’re now stuck on vacation with unusable currency. 

DING!DING! DING!  You got scammed and there’s no recourse.

So, just a heads-up.  Check our bills so you’re not stuck with worthless paper.

Or, you do what so many do.

You pass it to the water. The taxi driver.  Or the bellman at your hotel.

Who then gives it to me in exchange for good money.

And now. I’m the guy stuck with it!

That’s my story!

Jonathan


Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004. Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico http://www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront. If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi. It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

U.S. Mailing Address: Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA 91942

Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

HI!  I’M YOUR NEW NEIGHBOR!

Originally Published the Week of July 5, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

In addition to our sportfishing operation here in La Paz, we also have a restaurant right on the waterfront.  It’s been here close to 15 years now. 

       For so many years, it’s been kind of an information clearing house on so many levels.  Mostly, a lot of fishermen asking for information; telling stories over beer; tourists needing recommendations for things to do and places to see.

       In the last year or so, however, things are changing. 

       It seems that almost a day doesn’t not go by where someone says something like..

       “So, tell me about real estate here.”

       “Do you recommend any realtors?”

       “What’s it like to live here?”

       Or, the more direct…

       “I’m here to buy real estate.”

       “I just bought a new place.”

       “We’re having a place built.”

       “Hi.  We’re your new neighbors!”

That is usually accompanied by a hearty happy handshake and a proud-as-punch grin. 

I almost feel like I should bake ‘em some house-warming cookies or they’re going to ask to borrow a cup of sugar.

Personally, my wife and I live in a little tiny studio apartment near the waterfront that looks out over La Paz Bay.  At night, my wife is fond of saying that 30 years ago, you could see some twinkling lights of La Paz City in the distance in the evenings. 

The rest of the bay was India Ink darkness.

Now, she points out that there are lights completely around the bay and up and down the surrounding hillsides.  The city is growing. 

One of our local Mexican friends just happens to be a realtor.  Her office is next door to our restaurant.

I give her quite a few referrals.  She tells me her office is hopping.  She jokingly said to me a few days ago, “All the gringos are moving to Baja.  All the Mexicans are moving to California.”

More than a bit of truth in her humorous observation.

Post covid, statistics showed that Mexico became the #1 international travel destination for world travelers.

 It was “open” compared to many countries.  There was little fear of things getting shut down (again.) Economically, it’s a great value. 

For Americans and Canadians, add in the fact that it’s relatively close.  Easy in.  Easy out.

With internet access becoming stronger and more widespread, you could easily do work while sitting on the beach sipping a cold one.  It sure beat working from home during quarantine days!

No one even needed to know.  As long as the boss got his reports, none-the-wiser!

Folks anxious to stretch their legs post-pandemic found Mexico to be a cakewalk for vacations. 

Magazines and newspapers touted the numerous attractions of Mexico and especially the Baja.  Our own little city of La Paz, once a sleepy little gem, ended up as one of the “Top 100 places in the world to visit.”  Our beaches consistently show up in every travel magazine or online blog or social media page.

So, the rush seems to be on.  For better or worse.

Some folks are setting up a vacation spot.  Others are chasing a retirement dream.  Others are just fed up with things back in the U.S.

Or their own countries. 

I’m running into folks from Australia…Italians…folks with Italian accents.  Canadians.  Folks from the U.K.  The exodus is on.

I’ve had folks come up to me and tell me they are visiting for the first time to see some land or a house they bought “online.”  Sight unseen.

Some folks have that kind of money to buy property the way I purchase a set of screwdrivers off Amazon. 

Others tell me they purchased land or a house in such-and-such an area.  They’re elated. 

Internally, I roll my eyes. 

No one told them that the property sits on a flood plane and it fills with mud when we get the heavy rains.  Or perhaps their “beach property” is only a block from the sewage outflow for the city. 

I don’t want to or simply can’t bust their balloons. I smile and shake their hands and wish them well and congratulations.

Two new real estate offices just opened up down the street.

Condos are being built on the hillside behind us.

The neighborhood is changing.

Rapidly. 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

OF COURSE! MUST HAVE ONE OF EVERY COLOR!

BOYS ‘N’ OUR TOYS

Originally Published the Week of July 1, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

         A couple of guys arrived the other day down here for a week-long vacation to fish with our fleet here in La Paz.   It was a first-time trip to Mexico for fishing.

       Needless to say, they have been jacked to be down here.  When they climbed off our shuttle van from the airport, their enthusiasm was completely in full turbo.

       Like kids at Christmas.  Couldn’t wait.  That big blue ocean in front of them was just calling their names and they’d been waiting for months.

       To that end, they wanted to show me all the new tackle they brought down.   They couldn’t wait until later at the hotel.  The wanted to show it to me right then and there. In my office.

        Straight out’ve the shuttle van came the tackle bags and boxes. Click…zip…unsnap…unfold… Velcro…untie…unbox.

       OH wow…Hmmmmmm….

       Weeks ago, I had given them a small tackle list of “suggested items.”  It came with the proviso that most folks don’t bring anything and just use our good gear.  However, they are welcome to bring their own stuff.

       Well, they took that list and went shopping. 

       Of course, when you’re in the tackle store, we’re all like little boys.  We get attracted by shiny things, colors and gadgets. 

       Two of these…

…Two more of THAT color…

Yea…I’ll take some of those too…

Wow, never seen those before.  Might as well buy some of those too!  These have a nifty “wobble” when you cast them! 

       Jonathan said to bring 2 of THOSE lures.  Well, what if I lose one or it’s the wrong color.  I better buy 6 of them!

       On and on.

       And then, they started talking to the clerk at the tackle store.  Of course, he’s an “expert.”  He’s fished in Mexico several times. 

       But, never here in La Paz.  Our area.

       So, he tells them they need some of these

…and some of those

…and more of these.

       So, they happily march out’ve the tackle store with all their new toys.  Bag and bags.  And bags FOR bags.

       …and then they go talk to some of their friends.  Who are (of course) also “experts.”

       What?  You didn’t by that new hot lure that’s on youtube?

       Dude…I wouldn’t go to Mexico without some blue and white wiggly plugs!

       Buddy, I saw this new gadget at the fishing show, you should think about bringing one to Mexico!

       So, back to the tackle store! (Happily of course as now there is an “emergency” excuse to buy more things!)

       And that brings us back to the present situation where all this wonderful colorful excess is now spread in front of me. The guys are ooh-ing and ahhh-ing like little kids.

       Man…I hate to be a buzz kill.  I don’t want to bust any balloons or curb their enthusiasm.

       However, deep inside, I know that most of these things will NEVER see the water.  Most will never get out’ve their wrappers or little boxes. 

       In an 8 or 10 hour fishing day, maybe only 50-60% of the time is actually fishing.  The rest of the time is spent travelling; trolling; looking for fish; getting bait, cracking open a beer, etc.

       You really just don’t have time to use all 6 colors of lures or 10 different styles of feathers or hooks or leaders… or anything else.

       You have two arms and two hands.  You can only use one rod and reel at a time.

       And, if something suddenly works, you stay with it. 

       You don’t suddenly change baits or lures or colors just for the sake of change.  Not when something is working like dynamite right then and there.

              If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!

            And, the captains and crews know what works.  They’re professionals.  

          They live and work on the water. Putting food on the table and clothes in the house is dependent on them knowing their craft. 

        They will probably not be too keen to try some new fangled gadget or rig that may or may not work.

       So, fight the urge to buy the whole tackle store or bring your whole garage of gear with you. 

       I worked in tackle stores for many years.  Good stores with good personnel will give you the straight scoop as much as possible.  

      But remember, it’s also a business.

       Just like a grocery store…the shiny colored things are at eye-level. 

      The more expensive things are in easy reach. 

     The big-name manufacturers get more shelf space.  The cooler sexier looking gear is in a display case or lit by lighting “just so.” 

       Especially these days when the cost of extra luggage and gear on an airplane is escalating, be judicious and selective with what you purchase or bring down.   Communicate with the outfit you’re fishing with.

       Ask them what to bring.

       Common sense. 

       Don’t bring a weeks’ worth of gear for 2 days fishing.  Don’t buy tuna feathers if the season is only producing inshore species.  

       If the baits will only be little sardines, you don’t need giant hooks.

       I didn’t have the heart to tell these new guys that they brought way too much stuff.  I was like that way back in the day. As well. They’ll learn.

       In the meantime, there’s no denying.  It IS fun to go shopping for gear. 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Website:

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

THE WORST DAY

EVERYDAY STARTS AS A 10

THE WORST DAY

Originally Published the Week of June 9, 2022

 

What’s that saying?

A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work?

I don’t know who came up with that, but that’s a load.  Being in the fishing industry now for many many decades, a bad day fishing is just a bad day. 

Maybe not in the grand scheme of things, it’s not as terrible as say, losing your wallet or forgetting your anniversary, but you gotta admit, it’s a major disappointment.

From the standpoint of someone who runs a fishing operation, a client who comes back from fishing with zero fish may seem ambivalent.  But, you know they are disappointed.  I take it personally.  I feel like it’s MY fault.

My old Catholic School upbringing drops a load of guilt on me, as if I was to blame that the weather didn’t cooperate.  Or it’s my fault the bait was bad or the clients used the wrong lures. 

It is what it is.

Fortunately, down here in Baja, tomorrow can turn into a banner day which somewhat helps to alleviate the current angst.  There is always hope.

There was a time in my life, however, when a bad day for me on the water was the end of civilization as we know it.  If I came off the water after a bad day watch out!

It could be a day when I didn’t catch fish.  Or someone caught more or bigger fish than me.   My competitive streak was all puckered.

Grumpy is an understatement.  I would be fist-shaking-mad at the cosmos for daring to hand me such fate as a bad day of fishing.  Personally insulted and inconsolable.

Fortune-cookie sayings like “A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work” or “It’s fishing not catching” be damned.  A bad day is a bad day.  I should have gone to work.

That is, until I got on the water again and the fish started biting.  And just like that the world would right itself on an even keel.  

Funny how fishermen can be like that.  Guilty as charged.

 

But, I don’t think I’m that guy anymore.

I have good days.  And I have not-so-good-days.  But, I haven’t had a bad day in years.

Everyday is an 11.  Or a 10 at worst.

Even when I don’t catch fish.  Or someone catches more and bigger fish.

I’ve become quite content to let my wife catch more and bigger fish.  Or the kids.  Or whomever is on the boat with me.

Every day is a blessing and I appreciate just being out on the water. 

It’s so much more fun to watch everyone else have fun. It’s like going to Disneyland of the beach too often.  It can get old.

 And then one day, you bring the grandkids for the first time.  The magic comes back.  It’s brand new again.

Or it’s you and a buddy NOT catching any fish, but still kicking back with a cold one and just laughing and talking.  Some of the BEST talks!

And then there are the days when I’m alone on the water.  Just me.  No clients.  No kids.  No fishing buddy. 

No hooks to tie.  No one needs their backlashes untangled or hooks baited.  No one forgot their sunscreen.

Just me and the captain.

And the fish just aren’t having any of it.

Simple conversation.

The sunrise. 

The sound of the water under the bow.

The sun on my face and the taste of salt spray on my lips. 

My hand trailing in the water.

The homemade burritos just taste so much better and the beer in the ice chest just burns the back of my throat from that first icy chug.

Maybe a quick doze to the rhythm of the motor as we troll.

A cellphone that has zero bars of signal.

Bare feet and happy toes on the warm deck.

My worst day just ain’t that bad anymore.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942


Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

STOCK PRICES ON Q-TIPS DROP

Originally Published the Week of June 12, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

I’m joking, but would not be surprised.

No more covid tests to return to the U.S.  No more of those intrusive “nose probes” with the Q-tips to the back of your brain.

As of midnight Sunday June 12, one of the last vestiges and barriers to travel finally fell.  It’s long overdue, but it’s about time.

For last two years, travelers heading back on international flights to the U.S. have been required to obtain a negative covid test in order to enter the country.

Initially, it required one to go find a testing facility. And this had to be done within 72 hours of the flight back into the U.S. 

As onerous and burdensome as that may have been, the U.S. raised the barrier even higher last November.  Although covid rates had been dropping along with all the protocols, the CDC feared the ominous head of the Omicron virus.

 

So, they removed the 72-hour testing requirement and made it even more difficult.  Folks had to get a test within 24 hours of their international flights back to the U.S.

 

Insofar as tourist destinations in Mexico were already reeling from Covid in 2020 when everything was shut down, it was just starting to get back on it’s feet when the testing was initially implemented.

 

It sent the tourism section of Mexico into a mad scramble to set up testing facilities or find ways to get tests for guests.  It further  had to  assure prospective visitors that it would be easy to obtain.

 

Test facilities were set up at major airports.  Labs popped up everywhere including mobile labs willing to visit hotels to accommodate the demands.

 

Mexico desperately needed to keep the tourists coming back.  It was just getting back a head of steam when the initial testing requirements were implemented.

 

I remember many people suddenly curtailing their vacations and hastily exiting the country when testing started.  

 

And what if you tested positive?   New protocols had to be implemented as well.

 

Ultimately, what a fiasco.  Even moreso when the requirements were increased from 72 to 24 hours before the flight.

 

Of the zillions of folks that came through Cabo Airport alone, barely a handful tested positive and, according to statistics, most were false positives.

 

There was a lot of money to be made by sticking that q-tip up people’s noses.  The tests ranged from 20 dollars to over 100 dollars in costs.

 

Once you took the test, you either had to get a printed copy of the results. Or, one had to get their results on their cellphone.

 

These results had to be taken to the airport.  Every time I went to the airport, my personal observation was that the airlines or health inspectors just gave it a cursory look and directed you to the boarding gate.  No big deal.

 

Believe me, Mexico didn’t want you hanging around with covid either false positive or not.  In fact, you were able to obtain a new test within 24 hours. 

 

As soon as you were negative…off you go!  Adios and please come back again soon.  Sorry for the inconvenience, but it’s YOUR country doing this not Mexico.

 

Also, there were ways around the requirements.

 

I know of some labs that would “guarantee” whatever result you wanted. 

 

Definitely need to get home and work?  No problem, we’ll guarantee a negative test result.

 

Want to stay a few days with a good excuse?  No problem, we’ll guarantee a positive result.

 

Also, this only applied to international flights.

 

Many travelers to Baja, for example, cross the border and fly from Tijuana to their Mexican destinations.  Those are DOMESTIC flights. 

 

Therefore, on the return, they fly BACK to Tijuana and walk, drive back across the border.  No testing required.  No international flight was involved.

 

I had also heard stories of folks who tested positive (with no symptoms) deciding they were NOT going to return to their hotel rooms.  They had to get home.

 

Simple solution.  They flew to Tijuana and easily crossed the border and found a U.S flight home.

 

So…bottom line.  Just like masks.

 

No more testing required.  For now.

 

The CDC says it reserves the right to monitor things and see is some new and crazier viral strain returns.  We’ll see.

 

For now, no tests to come down here.  No testing to leave!

 

That’s my story

Jonathan

______________

 

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

 

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

 

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

 

_____________

 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

 

Website:

 

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

 

 

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
 
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

 

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

 

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

 

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

WHERE’S THE BEEF?

MEXICAN BEEF SURPRISES MANY

A couple of years ago, I had some fishing clients come down to fish with us here in La Paz with our fleet.  It was their first trip.

Now, let me post a little background. 

It wasn’t just their first trip to Mexico.  This was their first trip out of the U.S.

After meeting them, I can only imagine the trepidation they experienced deciding to try Mexico.

You and I have travelled all over.  No biggie.  Many folks have not.  I often forget that!

It was obvious from the first evening they arrived off the plane and we greeted them.  They were smiley and friendly, but you could tell there was a level of anxiety and nervousness.

Maybe in the way they would smile, but their eyes darted around.  Or the way they were checking things out.  And the questions they asked.

It was almost like they couldn’t believe they were here.  Or that it was a modern as it was.  Or that we had all the amenities like electricity and had discovered the use of the wheel.  And fire.

Not sure where they had gotten their info or what they must have been reading or envisioned, but I think they half expected open desert and donkey carts when they got here. 

After getting them to their hotel, the first thing they wanted was for me to direct them to a local supermarket.  Understandably, they wanted to do some shopping for their stay with us.  

Not unusual. So, I had one of our drivers take them over to the little neighborhood grocery store a few blocks away.

I figured, that like many of our visitors, they wanted to pick up ice, munchies, beers, etc. for their room and for on the boat while fishing.

I was surprised with what they brought back. 

In addition to the bags of chips and junk food, they came back with bread, cold cuts, condiments, lettuce, tomatoes, peanut butter and jelly.   Lots of it.  And cases of water.

Here’s where I heard the kicker…

They were apparently planning to eat in their hotel room each day. 

Despite the fact that we provided breakfast and lunches on their fishing days…Despite all the restaurants they had passed by on the way to the airport…Despite a perfectly good restaurant in the the hotel…

They planned to eat in their room each day.

From the horror stories they had apparently been reading, they didn’t trust the food or water in Mexico. 

They were gonna wash their faces and brush their teeth with bottled water. Even in their modern hotel, they weren’t taking chances on faucet water. 

(Were they also planning to shower in bottled water? I never asked.  But it begged the question!)

On the way from the airport, they didn’t see the nice restaurants.  They saw ramshackle (in their minds) taco stands on the side of the road with scruffy plastic tables and chairs. 

They saw food vendors on street corners selling hot dogs, tacos, corn and other things from carts and make-shift bicycles.

mx-drought (1)

And, they saw the cattle roaming the side of the highway.  The cows were emaciated and skeletal.

Thank you and muchas gracias, but they were having none of that.  They were gonna fish and eat sandwiches in their room and go home without any intestinal troubles!

After a sigh and trying to hide my rolling of the eyes, I had to do some explaining.

I told them I could understand buying lots of water.  You want to stay hydrated.  But the hotel water was fine to wash and brush with. 

It was even safe to drink.  However, like most city waters, it just didn’t taste real great.  So, all of us drink bottled water just like up in the U.S.

As far as food and meat, local food was great.  It’s part of the fun of travelling.

If they had doubts, just eat where they saw other people eating.  Or, if they were really nervous, eat where they saw other gringos eating.   That’s the best test of any eatery including street vendors and side-of-the-road stands.

The rule works all over the world.

I explained to them that vegetables and meat, gets inspected like everywhere else.  And I had to tell them, the cattle they see next to the highway is NOT the meat that gets into tacos and dinner plates.

The cattle is free-range cattle that land owners must have on vacant property.  Those animals pretty much forage around and that’s why they look so bedraggled and poor.

Mexican meat, especially beef is often some of the best meat around.  I’ve had some that rivals the beef we get in Texas where we have our U.S. home.  In fact, Mexico is the 7th largest meat producer in the world and the U.S. imports a surprising amount of Mexican beef.  

Often it’s grass-fed cattle from the Mexican state of Sonora which is famous for their beef in the same way salmon from Alaska or the Pacific Northwest or lobster from Maine has an international reputation.

Despite my explanations.  They remained skeptical.

Indeed, they did make sandwiches, but by the end of the week, they came out’ve their culinary shells a bit. At least were eating at the hotel restaurant, although I did see them fishing the ice cubes out’ve their drinks.

(Obviously, the ice cubes “might” be made with unfiltered water. Melted ice was OK, however.)

And presumably, they were brushing their teeth and taking showers!

Can’t convince them all!

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942


Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”
Many variations, but something like this. Sometimes also called a “stinger rig.”

Originally Published the Week of May 17, 2022 in Western Outdoor News

Remember when you were in grade school and the teacher would ask you to use a certain word in a sentence?  Well, I’ve always wanted to use the word “eponymous” like that.  So, I sure hope I used it correctly. 

         Anyway,  we’re in the middle of roosterfish season.  They’re big and they’re wiley.  Big bruiser 50 to 100 pound fish are cruising the shallow beaches this time of year.

         And, a lot of fish are getting lost.

         Some of it is just the brutishness of these fish.  Sometimes, it’s just bad luck.  A line breaks.  Or a hook pulls.  Or the angler inadvertently does something wrong.

         That’s just fishing.  It happens.

         They are big fish.  They are smart fish.  You’re not the first angler that’s been out-smarted or out-fought or under-gunned or been under-prepared.

         But, there are ways to increase the odds against these fish and against many species.  How often have I been working on boats or been guiding and hear, “Dangit, I got short-bit again.”

         “Short-bit” refers to using a baited hook. Usually with a whole fish.

  However, instead of gulping down the whole bait and ergo the hook, the target species is only biting off the tail.  It’s eating the part that has no hook in it.

         An exercise in futility when it keeps happening. 

         It’s especially frustrating when you’re using the bigger live or dead baits.  This includes mackerel, caballitos, ladyfish and others. 

Bigger baits attract bigger fish.  But, it’s not much good if you reel in your bait and the back-half of your bait is always missing.

         And if live bait is precious, what a waste!

         I’ve had this happen while fishing for roosterfish, yellowtail, grouper, wahoo and even halibut.  You feel that tug or that momentary “zip” of some line off your reel.

         You’re ready to set the hook and lean back.

         Then…nothing.

         You crank it in and find out that a creature with a brain the size of a marble just poached you!

         The remedy is something I’ve often employed.  It’s called a “trap hook.”

         I’ve seen it used several different ways, but essentially, it’s fishing with a secondary hook.

         Using a short bit of line, a 2nd hooks is tied on.  The tag end of that line is tired either to the eye of the first hook; or the shaft of that hook.  Or to the curve of the first hook.

         The first hook is used to secure the bait like normal.  Through the lip, the jaw, the outter gill, etc. 

         The 2nd hook is embedded somewhere back toward the tail.  Obviously don’t stab any important organs. 

But, pierce the bait somewhere under the skin or behind the dorsal fin.  Nothing to hurt the bait and you don’t want to impede it’s ability to swim or be trolled correctly. 

As a variation, some guys like to let the trap hook actually swing free.  I’m not sure how the physics of that works,  but it is surprisingly also effective. 

This one uses a treble hook as the second hook, but you get the idea.

I see fish hooked on that secondary hook all the time.

Some guys swear by letting the hook swing free.  Others scratch their heads (like me) and continue to put the secondary hook somewhere in the body of the bait.

If you’re getting short-bit, give it a try sometime.  Tons of info on the internet and diagrams to check out.  It’s very easy and a nice upgrade trick to get a fish to stick!

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter Sportfishing

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”