Asked and Answered
Originally Published the Week of Feb. 3, 2017 in Western Outdoor News
As I write this, I’m sitting in my hotel room near Seattle, instead of our place in La Paz. This is the time of year when we’re on the road like so many outfitters, charter operations, guides and travel services.
We’re on the “circuit” travelling each week from one hunting and fishing expo show to another trying to drum up business. These are huge multi-day shows in major cities that attract thousands of fishermen, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.
In the last 3 weeks, we were in Denver for their big 4-day show. Then a quick crazy drive through the snow to rainy Sacramento for a 4-day show. And here we are just outside Seattle for a 5-day show. By the time you’re reading this, we’ll probably be at the Portland show. And on-and-on for the next 2 ½ months.
During these shows, I speak to dozens of Baja fishermen every day. It’s a great opportunity to chat; answer questions; get feedback; share stories and hopefully promote and encourage folks to come fishing with us in Baja!
In speaking with so many great folks, I get a lot of the same repeated questions. I’d like to share some of the most common with you and my general responses. Now understand, this is just my own personal little two-cent opinion. I don’t speak for anyone else. Don’t be sending me hater e-mails if you don’t agree.
Here we go:
What’s a good time to go to Mexico?
Actually right now! With the exchange rate at something like 22 pesos to the dollar, the dollar is incredibly strong. It makes Mexico a super value and your tourist dollar goes really as far as what it was a year or two ago.
Airline rates are also dropping as the routes are getting more competitive, especially with the advent of new airlines arriving plus well-known budget carriers like Southwest expanding into more cities. Mexico is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations to be found with great bargains to be had.
When is the worst time to travel to Mexico?
Well, I wouldn’t call it the “worst time,” but I’d personally avoid the week before and the week after Easter. Airline rates are especially high and hotel rooms can be at a premium as well and hard to come by.
This is many folks fly in for “spring break,” but also because for Mexico, more folks fly internationally and domestically than Thanksgiving (Mexico doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving…except for tourists) and even more than Christmas.
Holy Week (Semana Santa) is much celebrated in Mexico and many Mexicans visit family and relatives. So, flights are booked and expensive.
How come the fishing has been so bad the last few years?
It hasn’t been bad. It’s just been…different.
The “El Nino” weather pattern has a lot to do with it and it’s been like an elephant in the room for the last two seasons. It’s nature doing what nature does every decade or so.
With El Nino, the cooler waters that bring upwellings of nutrients never showed up. The waters remain unseasonably warm.
No nutrients meant not baitfish. Without the food supply, the bigger sportfishing never really showed up.
Or, if they did, it was all helter-skelter with unusual fish showing up at different times or certain species not showing up at all. On the other hand, areas like Southern California have experienced giant tuna just offshore; wahoo and marlin within sight of the Orange County freeways; plus delivered much needed rain and moisture for the entire western U.S.
The scientists have declared El Nino over and a gradual return to normalcy is expected.
Is there a lot of anti-American sentiment about President Trump?
On the street level, I’m not seeing much of it. There was a lot of rhetoric and worry during the election that got heated, much like in the U.S. It still continues with a wait-and-see attitude. But, nothing directed at tourists!
In my opinion, Mexicans, are a lot like Americans. They are either very passionate about politics or they aren’t. Most folks at ground zero, seem understandably more ticked at the Mexican government for recently raising gasoline prices by a whopping 20%!
For folks who literally can only afford to put in a dollar of gas at a time; or have to ride public transportation, it’s a huge increase. It has resulted in protests and some degree of civil unrest. Again, wait-and-see. Economists say prices will adjust.
And, I guess we’ll see what happens with “the wall” that the President promises. But, I don’t and have not seen any particular anti-gringo sentiment. Anti-politician sentiment…yes! Just like most countries. But nothing directed at individuals. Mexico loves tourism.
What about the new tourist tax that’s coming in Baja?
It’s a non-issue for the most part. With the current dollar-to-peso exchange rate it’s a “massive” 17 dollars and mostly will be part of the airline ticket. It’s like buying gasoline in the states, a huge amount of the price are “taxes and fees.”
Tourists don’t even realize it.
For years, many of us visiting Baja paid an “exit tax” to leave the country and had to dig into our pockets at the airport when departing after our vacations. A lot of us had empty pockets by that time!
So, they just added it to the cost of the airline ticket.
Do you need a passport to visit Mexico?
You bet. Easily obtained online. Don’t wait until the last minute to get your passport or try to get it expedited in time for summer vacation at the same time when half the U.S. is trying to get a passport.
Tourism cards won’t work. The days of simply having a birth certificate are long gone.
Do my kids need fishing licenses even if they are not fishing?
You’re not letting your kids fish? C’mon, man!
But yes, anyone on a craft where fishing is taking place must have a license.
That’s my story!
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-international.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: email@example.com
Or drop by the restaurant to say hi. It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO
U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA 91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
Tailhunter YouTube Videos: 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.”