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COKE…The Real Thing?

COKE…The Real Thing?

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 4, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

If you’re old enough to remember commercial about Coke being the “real thing,”  you’re like me.  You have some history!

Ask most folks what the most popular drink in Mexico is and some will say it’s tequila . Others will claim it’s beer.

It may surprise you to learn that Coke is the #1 beverage in Mexico.  The statistics are astounding.

According to the stats, Mexicans drink more than 700 cups of Coca-Cola a year!   Let that sink in for a moment.  That is 43 gallons of Coke per year.

Chiapas is Mexico’s poorest and southernmost state.  The average person in Chiapas knocks back over a ½ gallon of the Coke each day!  It’s an area where Coke is cheaper and easier to get than water.

I’m not sure how much Coke YOU drink, but that’s a lot of Coke by anyone’s standards. 

In fact, Mexico is the largest consumer of soft-drinks in the world. Coke being about 70% of that consumption. 

That 700 cups in Mexico is still way ahead of the #2 country. It’s the  United States with a still-crazy 400 cups of Coke every year per person.

Needless to say, Coke is a big part of the fabric of Mexican life, tradition and culture. Some would argue it’s an addiction.

It’s not only a refreshment but is even used in religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes as well.  With some validity, it’s used to soothe or cure everything from headaches, indigestion and nerve disorders.

I mean, how many times have we all just “grabbed a Coke” and we seem to feel better?

But, it wasn’t always that way in Mexico, although it had been around for decades.

It really gained it’s popularity during the 60’s and 70’s.  Former Mexican Presidente Vincente Fox worked his way up the corporate ranks of Coke, but started as a delivery driver and salesman. He ended up as President of the company.

During his career, he shrewdly offered incentives to companies who sold Coke exclusively over Pepsi.

Then, during the 70’s, it really accelerated.  Those were the years that Mexico sponsored the Olympics in Mexico City as well as the World Cup.

Not surprisingly this co-incided with national ad campaigns that exposed the drink to so many Mexicans and brought it to prominence. 

Mexican President Luis Echeverria,  during those years, even tried to get the Coke recipe in order to nationalize the drink as the official drink of Mexico.  He was unsuccessful.  However, it underscored how integrated the drink had become to the nation.

When Vincente Fox left the presidency of Coca Cola and became President of Mexico in the early 2000’s, he sure wasn’t going to let the brand fall. 

It was his baby.  Lots of photos of him with an ice cold Coke in hand!

So, what’s the deal with Mexican Coke? 

Many folks swear by it over American Coke although many folks can’t tell the difference in flavor.

However, it’s growing popularity has many U.S. outlets and restaurants now offering Mexican Coke to their customers and patrons. 

While quite cheap to purchase in Mexico, it’s understandably more expensive in the U.S.  It has to be imported.  But that has not slowed the demand.

But, many Americans clamor for it. 

There is a difference.  

While American Coke is made with high-fructose corn syrup, Mexican Coke is made from cane sugar.  To many purists, they insist it has a cleaner and fresher flavor and zest. 

Some testify it that Mexican Coke doesn’t have the chemical taste of fructose Coke.  Supposedly it also has more snap and effervescence.

Others also insist that it makes a difference that Mexican coke comes in the traditional bottles.  And to many, glass containers make a critical difference.

However, other than taste, one wonders if Coke made with sugar is better for you than high-fructose Coke.  The medical field says it’s all the same.

Coke is Coke. 

Arguably, the same taste.  Same calories, sodium and other things probably not so good for us.

Alot of it could all be in your head and what advertising tells us.

Does an organic apple taste different than a regular apple?  To me, Chicago Pizza tastes as good as a New York pizza.  Expensive water bottled in the “mountains of Fiji” better than “smart water.” 

C’mon, Man!

It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes. 

We all think Mexican Coke is better because everyone says it’s better. So when we lift that ice cold bottle to our lips…ahhhhh…dang, that’s good stuff!

But, there’s some hard sad facts about drinking Coke.  Even one can. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my Coke.  I don’t drink a ton of it, but it’s my non-alcohol drink of choice on many occasions.  Living in Mexico, an icy can from the cooler on the beach rocks.  Or while fishing.

And, I’m personally not picky about Mexican or American Coke.  The red can is the red can.

Seems pretty harmless. 

However, a single can of Coke has about 10 teaspoons or sugar in it (or it’s equivalent in fructose corn syrup) which does the same thing to your body.  It still gets processed the same way.

The World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 teaspoons per day.  So, even one can or bottle puts you way above dosage.

Not to mention the sodium and caffeine that’s also being consumed.

By the way, original Coke actually did have cocaine in it!  But that’s for another story.

Sodium, sugar, caffeine…All of these are attributable to higher blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Or at least the lifestyle that goes along with it…

Those factors contributed a lot to fatalities during the pandemic.

Mexican Coke or American Coke.  It’s no wonder the two leading consumers of Coke in the world also have the highest obesity and diabetes issues.   

Buzz kill.  But, it is the “real thing.” 

I don’t have any beer in my frig.  But, I do have a 6-pack of Coke sitting in there.

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.”

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YOU’RE NOT HERE TO FISH?

Definitely this is NOT a taco.

YOU’RE NOT HERE TO FISH?

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 15, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Over the years, I’ve watched the complexion of the tourism industry and tourism in general evolve.  It has been an interesting observation.

Being in the tourist industry ourselves, we have a courtside seat to all the comings and goings.

Years ago, it was the fishermen.  No two ways about it. 

Fishing built the tourism industry.  It’s what initially opened up Baja and much of the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

It was the exotic frontier teeming with fish and popularized by those early adventurers and writers who elaborated about deserted hidden beaches; sunshine; waters teaming with boiling fish and a wonderful people.

At first, it wasn’t easy to get to.  But that only increased the allure.

But, as time went on, the tourism gates edged ajar enabling more visitors to make their way down the coast.  The gates have never closed.

It has never stopped being a wonderland to so many. 

At first, mostly the guys came down.  The journey could be long.  The visit often did not accommodate many conveniences like air-conditioning, ice, electricity, gasoline and soft beds or even running water. 

But, again with time, all of these came to pass along with swimming pools, spas, shopping centers, and all the modern accoutrements.

Not co-incidentally, tourism surged again.  Not surprisingly, the mix of families, wives, kids and others increased.  International tourism also burgeoned.

Today, Mexico is one of the hottest vacation destinations in the world.  Not just for Americans but for world-tourism as well.

But, no matter who was arriving off that cruise ship, plane or bus, there was always the underlying attraction of the ocean. 

Whether for fishing; diving; watersports like boating; beaches; real estate; photography…for the most part, the water was a common denominator for a vast majority.

Everyone was attracted by that big blue ocean out there in some way, shape or form. 

Whether to catch the fish of a lifetime; lie on a beach; to go on a booze cruise; to build a house; to watch whales; to get married or honeymoon; to retire;  to surf; build a house…the ocean was always the seductive siren.

 I mean, no advertises empty desert.  Right?  It’s always “ocean view.”

But lately, I’ve noticed a big difference.

People are arriving who have really no interest in the ocean or the proximity of the water.

They’re here for the food.

A “Foodie” invasion.

Not just folks who like to eat.  These are people who are hardcore into what’s on their plates.  They study.  They research.  They take notes and photos.

They post up photos of their meals on all the social media platforms.  “This is what I’m eating tonite!”

They’re not just here to eat a taco from a food cart or have nachos at happy hour.

I’ve often written about the food scene down here in Mexico.  It’s often about stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new things.

But these are whole different class of visitors.

I’ve found myself taking vacation reservations for folks who don’t ask what’s the best time to catch a marlin. 

They don’t really care if that hotel has a spa.  They don’t ask about the water temperature for scuba diving.

But, they do want my opinion about which restaurant has the best chicken mole dish. 

Or they want to know if I had tried the bearnaise sauce they’re making at some new chi-chi restaurant on the waterfront.  Is the restaurant really using an organic goat cream reduction?

Yup!  As if I knew!

gourmet-vs-gourmand-usage-6072-09ae1d24289a50ea6ce3c9e8005a7796@1x

I’ve been asked my opinion about sautee’d bluefin eyeballs or the French pastries some hot-shot chef is getting raves about at a new bakery.

These folks have researched online menus and have check-lists of eateries they intend to visit or certain dishes they specifically plan to try.  

You’ve heard of a “pub crawl.” 

I’ve had folks do things like “only taste test ceviche” at a number of restaurants.  And take notes!  Or only tacos made from triggerfish or baby octopus.

Or they are on a “food tour” to taste the difference in fish preparations between various regions such as eastern Mexico vs. Southern Mexico vs. Baja. 

There’s a big difference in preparations.  Spices and herbs.  Presentations. 

In the same way barbecued ribs might be different in Alabama compared to Minnesota in the U.S.  Or chowder on Boston’s waterfront versus San Francisco’s Fisherman’s wharf.

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Stuff like that.

Food popularity is big business.  Just check out the Food Channels on TV sometime.  There are dozens of cooking shows 24-7 and the hosts are international food rock stars.

Yes, many of our visitors are changing and seeking culinary pursuits these days.

Some are actually chefs themselves.  A few have been cookbook authors.  Some are just gourmet adventurers. 

Some just like to eat and get that same cosmic rush over a bowl of pasta as the folks who come to battle a big fish; or ride a wave; or touch a migrating whale.

To each their own.

With the growth of so many higher-level restaurants in Mexico and Baja, being a “foodie” is a sport.  It’s a hobby.  It’s an obsession. 

Buen provecho! 

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.”

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HOMETOWN DISADVANTAGE

Just doing their jobs!

HOMETOWN DISADVANTAGE

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 30, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

If you’re a sports fan, you know about the term “homefield advantage.” It’s a fairly common term.

It means the home team has an edge.  It means, they know the field of play or know the court better.  They know the crowd and vise versa. 

They know how the ball bounces and calls by referees and penalties seem to favor the locals.  The local team gets the better locker room, etc.

It’s like that in other sports as well.

In fishing, I’d rather fish with a guy who has lived all his life on a certain stretch of river or ocean than a guy who tells me he’s fished all over the world.  There is nothing like local knowledge.

When I was a trial attorney, we hated to do a trial in another city or especially a “hometown” city or small town where everyone knew each other.

We called that “getting homered.”   We knew the odds would already be stacked against us.  

A perfect example was a case my first had against the Disney company in Orlando, Florida.  

Impossible to get a completely impartial jury or judge when everyone in the city either worked for Disney; had family or friends who worked for Disney; or had stock or other business relations with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

It’s just the way it is and you play the cards you’re dealt.

It worked the same way if they came to our town.

That subject came to mind this past week on two separate occasions at our restaurant.  On both occasions, the tourists I was chatting with were complaining about Mexican laws.

One had been pulled over for speeding.

Another had been pulled over for going through a stop sign.

One said, he knew he was going faster than the posted speed limit, but he was “keeping up with the flow of traffic and there were still people speeding faster than me!”

The other admitted he only drove through the stop sign because he saw others driving through the stop sign.

Fortunately, neither of them got tickets which is pretty unusual as police officers tend to ticket tourists most times.  However, it’s still unnerving  anytime a cop stops you.  

It’s natural for anxiety levels to jump when flashing light bars come up behind you with that loud WAH-WAH siren blowing up in your ears. 

Even moreso in Mexico, I imagine.

Neither spoke Spanish, but could garner from the respective police officer that they had gotten stopped for their specific traffic infractions.  The officers did speak a little English and were professional and polite.

Both admitted that when the police officers approached, their brains went into overload wondering about jail, shakedowns, fines; etc.  All the terrible traffic cop stories they had heard.

Gratefully, the officers told them what they had done wrong and basically they received a stern lecture about being safe and a warning to be careful.   One even said, “Enjoy your vacation.”

Breathing collective sighs of relief, they drove on…ever more cautious, but understandably looking over their shoulders through their rear-view mirrors.

I did explain to them that laws are not applied equally.  Yes, there are home-town advantages and tourists (visiting team) should be aware of those inequities.

For one, tourists in rental cars stand out.  No two-ways about it.  You probably have a shiny late model car with no dings or bondo covering old accident damage.

Rental cars are clean. All the tires match.  The rental car has “car rental stickers” on the bumpers or rear hatch…a dead giveaway.

Plus there are the simple nuances of driving down here.

First and foremost follow the posted laws and use common sense about speed.  Use your turn signals.  Observe passing and turn rules, etc.  Basic stuff you learned in driver safety instruction.

But, beyond that, in Mexico just assume everyone else has the right-of-way.  Not kidding. 

It’s the safest thing to do.  No matter who gets to the stop sign or corner first or who is making the left turn assume they will take the shot. 

It’s not rude.  It’s just the way it is. Drive defensively.

By the way, stop signs are “just a suggestion.”  It’s a common joke.  Never assume someone is going to actually stop at a stop sign.

Or a traffic light.  Or, when it turns green, people zoom off the mark.  Let them go!

Usually, whichever vehicle has the most “momentum” has the right of way.  Let them go ahead and don’t get mad.  It’s just the way it is.

All vehicles are supposed to drive on the right lane.  The left lane of a two-lane highway is technically ONLY for passing.  Everyone else stays to the right.

So, pass someone then get back on the right side.  You CAN get a ticket for driving in the left lane without passing.

Open containers…ah yes.  It’s Mexico so it must be OK, right?  Beer drinking is what everyone does. 

No.  No. No.

It’s what lots of locals do.  Openly driving with a beer can in hand or six packs between the legs is common.  Or tossing a can out the window and all the passengers clearly are also enjoying cold ones.  No big deal.

I see it daily as folks drive by our restaurant on the waterfront.  I wave.  They wave back with a big smile.

It does NOT apply to you.  Definitely a big no-no.  Guaranteed to get you pulled over. 

Seatbelts?  What seatbelts?  Missing taillights?  No problem.

Not allowing someone on a crosswalk the right-of-way?  You should have stopped.  Even if everyone else almost runs them over.

Hometown rules.  Just the way it is.

Be careful.  Use common sense and safety first. 

Oh, and if there’s an accident.  No matter what.  It’s always going to be YOUR fault.  So, don ‘t get in an accident.  Best way to buzz-kill your vacation.

In all fairness, the police are not specifically out to target tourists.  In 30 years down here, almost all my interactions with law enforcement have been professional and often cordial if not downright friendly. 

I have gotten the occasional ticket, but I deserved it (went the wrong way on a one-way street and another time drove through a stop sign).  Like law enforcement everywhere, they have a job to do and it’s not an easy one.  

They drive by our restaurant or when we pass on the street, we wave.  They wave.  Often get a smile.  I just never try to give them a reason not to smile back! 

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.”

.

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RUN or RIDE IT OUT?

RUN OR RIDE IT OUT?

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 2, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

It’s early morning here in La Paz and still dark outside even though it’s about 7:30 in the morning. Normally, the sun is well on it’s way to sunrise.

But, it’s dark outside because we’re waiting for Hurricane Kay to hit us.  Rain has already started falling although the winds haven’t arrived yet.

Other than streetlights reflecting off shiny wet roadways, the morning is punctuated by incredibly bright flashes of lightning.  It’s pretty ominous and we’re bracing.

It’s not like we haven’t been through these before.  In almost 30 years down here, I think this would be Hurricane 10 or 11.  Maybe more. 

Some years we get them.  Then we can go years without one. Some years, we get more than one.

It’s part of living here in the tropics.  Living the dream, right?

The biggest drawback for us are all our fishermen that are here. 

Originally, Kay was supposed to only be a “tropical storm”.  It has grown up. It has grown big.  Kay is now bordering on being a category 2 or category 3 hurricane.

We saw that there was going to be a storm.  Sometimes they arrive without much warning, but this one was building.  I sent out notices to all our folks flying down that it was coming. 

Check your flight.  Let me know if you want to cancel.  There’s a good chance you might lose a day or two or all your fishing trips to cancelation.

To their credits, I suppose, no one canceled.

“I’d rather be in Baja drinking a beer in the rain than stuck in my office or stuck on the freeway back home” was the general consensus.

But, this morning, I had to inform about 40 fishermen ready to go with gear-in-hand, that we were going to cancel. Overnight, the governor had closed the port.  No boat traffic in or out.

The beaches were already getting hit.  The little storm was turning into a big chugger. 

Buzz kill.  For all of them.  Us.  My captains.  My drivers.  My support staff.  This is what we do and we hate NOT doing it.

But, it is what it is and no one can control the weather.

So, now, the issues become a little more critical.

Will the airports close?

Will we be able to fly out?

What about flooding?

What happens if we lose electicity?

The hurricane has NOT hit us yet.  It’s several hundred miles away, but it’s always drizzling rain.  You can feel the vibe. 

However, I know there’s a mass of people at the Cabo Airport trying to grab any flight they can to get outta town.

I know the roads in some places are already flooded.  Internet and phone access is already getting spotty.

(I’m hoping to finish this column and have enough wifi bars to send it to my editor on time.)

So, here’s my thoughts.

Having been through many storms including historic Odile in 2014,  I’ll be honest. Most storms are just a big inconvenience to most tourists. 

Odile was a massive an catastrophic exception.

Unless you do something truly dumb-bass like crossing a flooded arroyo; jumping into the surf; headed out in a fishing boat in big seas, you’re gonna be fine.

No one gets hurt. 

You might miss your plane.  Or your booze cruise gets cancelled and you miss a day of fishing or something.

Wifi or phone signal goes out so you can’t facetime all your friends back home about what a terrible time you’re having or you can’t watch the latest episode of the “Bachelor”.

You’re ultimately going to be OK.

Believe me, the boss will understand if you’re back to work a day or two late.

It won’t be the vacation you envisioned and you might have the most terrible of times with everything ruined.  But, you’re gonna be OK.

If you are in a situation down here and there’s a storm approaching, you do have a choice of staying or getting outta Dodge.

Remember, if you decide to bail out, the last minute tickets and reservation changes are usually difficult and very expensive.

If you’re just going to run to the airport, remember that a lot of other people have the same idea.  As mentioned, we have Hurricane Kay on it’s way and at this moment, there are 3 hour lines at the Cabo Airport of folks trying to find seats.

If you stay, what will it be like?

What are the chances you’ll lose electricity?  To me, that’s a big one.

Most resort hotels have generators.  So, you’re not going to be losing lights or other services.   If it’s not a big storm, chances of losing power are not very big anyway.

But in smaller remote areas…at small hotels that are older or boutique hotels…if you lose electricity, it can be a totally different matter.

It’s one thing to have your fishing trip canceled and stuck in your room watching Mother Nature.  It’s way different if you have no power.

Forget TV.  Smallest of your problems.

No electrical  means no air-conditioning with 80% humidity.  Ever sat in a sauna?

Many hotels have electrical pumps to pump water into rooms from cisterns.  If you have no pumps, that could also mean no showers or bathrooms either.   No phone charging on top of that. 

That could be really miserable.  We all know people that losing the ability to use their cellphones is even more important than the ability to take a shower or use the bathroom.

Or, you need that phone to check airlines!

Maybe one day we’ll be able to predict these things, and as a vacationer, there’s no real way to prepare once you’re already down here.

But, it’s something to think about.

I gotta wrap this up.  Power is getting wonky and I’m starting to lose our wi-fi signal…again.  Here we go…

It’s like the click…click…click as you ride the rollercoaster and that first hill as you slowly go up before the big drop.

Click…click…click.

You know you’re gonna be fine at the end, but in between you better hold on!

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.”

Read Full Post »

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.”
 

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WARM BEER and NAVY SHOWERS

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.”

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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.”

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GROUND ZERO MEXICAN STREET CORN

HE’s DA MAN! Senor Elote…the Street Corn Guy!

GROUND ZERO MEXICAN STREET CORN

Originally Published the Week of April 15, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Food trends come and go.  The newest tastiest thing that seems to pervade every menu in some way, shape or form.  The come.  They go.  Some stick around.  Some don’t.

         Fried mozzarella cheese sticks

         Sushi and Hawaiian Poke

         Deep-fried ice cream

         Garlic truffle fries

         Dim sum

         Ramen

         Spam

         Fried Calamari

         Everyone has them in places you wouldn’t normally expect it.  French restaurants putting their own spin on raw fish.  Asian eateries with fried cheese sticks in spicy ponzu sauce and even Spam dishes.  Mexican cantinas with nacho fries.

         Many of these things aren’t “new” per se.  They were just “discovered” by the culinary world and blew up everywhere.

         For instance, I remember eating cold raw fish and marinated fish as a kid in Hawaii.  With cold rice too! 

It wasn’t “gourmet” back then.   It was cold because we didn’t have propane for cooking.  Couldn’t cook!

Just the way it was.  We used lots of soy sauce to flavor everything!

         Years ago, our restaurant in La Paz was the first and only place that served Hawaiian-style poke…fresh chunks of fish marinated and served cold with soy, ginger, sugar, sesame and minced onions. 

         Now, I’ve lost count of the restaurants that serve some variation of it in our city.  Oh well.  I guess imitation is the best form of flattery.

         And, now, the hot new things seems to be “Mexican Street Corn.”  I saw it everywhere the last 3 months travelling in the U.S.  From Texas to Washington State and Wyoming to California.  Menus in diners in roadside truck stops as well as  menus in fine eateries in big cities. 

         I can’t say I blame ‘em.  Not everyone might like fried cheese, or raw fish or garlic on anything. But, it’s a rare person that doesn’t like sweet hot corn.

         In La Paz, where we live, it’s a go-to snack late at night.  A big order can be a whole meal.  And it’s cheap.  If I were still a college kid, instead of all that ramen I ate, I could very well get by with a big cup hot of Mexican street corn.

         Most of the guys in our local neighborhood ride “bike carts” to sell their “Elote.” (corn).  The Elotero’s bike cart is usually a jimmied-together reverse tricycle with one big wheel in the back and two forward supporting a platform and often an awning.

         These eloteros usually come out as it gets dark and set up on a street corner somewhere.  Lines can form quickly. 

         For the more popular carts, it’s not unusual for lines to remain well into the night.  Just like as kids we would hit Jack-in-the-Box or Denny’s after a night partying, a big cup of steaming sweet corn is perfect before heading home.

         Step up and tell the elotero if you want a big cup or small cup. 

         He’ll grab a Styrofoam cup and ladle in some hot kernels from the big pot or basin on his bike.  He fills it about ½ up.

         Then, some thick white Mexican crema.  Mexico’s version of sour cream.

         Then a squirt of Valentina salsa similar to tangy Tobasco.

         Then more corn on top of that.

         Top it with more cream.  Another squirt of Valentina. 

Then a sprinkle of chili powder.  Then a spoonful of salty cotija cheese.  Very much like sprinkling parmesan on your pasta.

Esquites-1

Layer after layer of yumminess.

         He hands you a spoon and a napkin and off you go with your Mexican street corn goodness!  The newer places will also have a squirt of lime juice as well before you head off.

         Many times, you just stand on the street corner with everyone else or sit on the curb.  Or lean on a light pole and start spooning up the tasty concoction.   

         A big cup is maybe 2 bucks at the most.  Often cheaper.  That spare change in your pocket is enough to buy a filling meal of this good stuff.  It’s a deal.  Back in my early days, when all I had WAS pocket change, a cup-o-corn carried me through as my dinner!

         Next time you’re in Baja and wandering back to your hotel room and see the guy on the bike cart with a big vat and an “ELOTE DELICIOSO” sign lettered across it, step up for the original street treat.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

____________________

Jonathan has been writing the Baja Column for Western Outdoor News since 2004.  He lives in La Paz with his best fishing buddy and wife, Jilly, where they run their Tailhunter Sportfishing Fleet for almost 30 years as well as their Tailhunter Sea Level Restaurant on the La Paz waterfront Malecon.  If you’re in town, stop and say hi!)

____________________

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.”

 

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DESERT GHOSTS

Someone had a dream at one time…or at least a good idea!

DESERT GHOSTS

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

           I’ve always had this weird (not creepy) thing about looking at (and into) people’s houses. 

         At the time I’m writing this, we’re driving across country to the fishing and hunting shows in various cities around the western U.S.  We’ve exhibited at these shows from January to April for almost 30 years to talk to folks about fishing with our company in La Paz.

         We have our booth packed up and are on our way to the Wild Sheep Foundation Show in Reno, NV.  Over the past 3 days, we’ve driven across Texas, New Mexico and Nevada.

         My wife Jill is driving and I’m tapping out on my laptop.

         And looking at people’s houses. 

        I like to guess what they do.  I’m intrigued by their story.

Why they happened to plant themselves in this particular area near that particular town.

         Or in the middle of nowhere.

         I look at what’s in the yard.  Kid’s toys?  A rusty swing? A bunch of old cars?  An RV?  Five later model cars and a mini-van?  Or 5 cars on concrete blocks?

         Is the yard done?  Is there even a yard or just tumbleweeds and a cotton field in the back. 

         There’s a washing machine on the front porch of a single-wide modular.  Or is there a swimming pool out back?

         You can tell a lot.

         Driving up and down Baja, I have that same fascination.

         But, it’s not the occupied homes that I focus on. 

         It’s the empty houses.

        Empty buildings have a story as well.  And sometimes they talk.

        These are the abandoned homes and  buildings standing ( or leaning) in the middle of the Baja landscape.  You find them built on the side of a hillside.  Or they are tucked onto the bank of an arroyo or still standing observant by the side of the highway.

Baja - Mision San Fernando Velicata - Ruin - Shack

         Dilapidated.  Wind, sun-baked and weather torn.  Collapsing roofs and leaning walls.  Warped and sandblasted wood.  Maybe some leftover traces of color or paint.

         The Baja is not kind to old buildings left unattended.

         Fascinating head-scratchers.  I wonder about those stories.

         Why here?  It’s the only house for miles.  What were they thinking?

        No obvious source of water.  No towns or communities nearby to drive to…or if the house is that old… nothing nearby to walk to…or ride a cart or burro to.

Is this as far as the got?  Is this where the donkey cart finally busted an axle?

         Maybe the few small tree trunks stuck in the ground at crazy angles are evidence of an old corral.

         Stone, bricks and adobe are handy. 

         How did the even get the wood to build?  It’s not like Baja has a lot of treeworthy lumber around.  Did the haul it here?  From where?   

          Baja isn’t exactly known for its forests.

         Occasionally, you find a small cluster of buildings.  Or what’s left of them.

         Perhaps an extended family.  Again, why here? And what happened to them.

         Maybe as often happens, parents settle.  Raise kids in the hardscrabble environment.  Kids move on as they grow up.  Parents pass. 

         Or the parents pass and the dream of living in the middle of nowhere is not the dream of their progeny.  They move on.

         Buildings are abandoned.

         I’ve never trespassed, but if it looks like it doesn’t matter, I like to stop.  Normally, it’s not like anyone cares.  There’s no one around for miles and I doubt the tumbleweeds or jackrabbits care.

         But, poking around old buildings…they sometimes talk to you if you look.

         A blackened brick outdoor firepit.  A sign that there was probably no electricity when these folks lived there.  They cooked outside.

         No signs of plumbing of any kind.

         Rough carpentry.  Uneven door and window frames.  No signs that glass ever filled those windows.  

         Old uneven hammered rusty nails protrude from splintering dried wood.  These didn’t come from Home Depot.  They look like tiny sharpened spikes…handmade.  Probably pretty precious back in the days.

         In fact, there are signs that furniture and parts of the buildings may have been bound together with what remains of rope or old leather strips.

         I find an old bent spoon in what would have been a dirt floor.

         I have found an old coin or almost rubbed smooth and largely unidentifiable.

         There are dark patches along walls where perhaps candles or old fuel lanterns once burned. 

 I found lots bleached fish bones around the back of one building.  They ate fish?  We were 10 miles from any body of water.

         I once found two old crosses and a weathered upright stone marker side-by-side. They were in the shade of an old scrub tree back behind what may have been an old shed or barn.

 Nearby the remains of a cracked clay vase that long ago may have held desert flowers.  A family cemetery?

         Whoever lived in these places are long gone and forgotten.  But, there was a story here at one time.

         I think in some sense, moving through these old living spaces makes them somewhat more real.  A reminder that real people and families once lived here.  Had dreams here. 

         And moved on.  While the desert moves back to reclaim everything.

images

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.”

 

Read Full Post »

PRESENTATION IS A GAME CHANGER

PRESENTATION IS A GAME CHANGER

Originally Published the Week of April 20, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

Presentation is a simple concept explain.  How something looks, feels or even acts has a lot to do with how that subject is perceived.

         Perfect examples.

         Two hamburgers.  Same meat.  Same cook.  They both taste the same.

 But, one is served on white table cloth with nice silver.  There’s a nice garnished sprig of parsley and the plate is shiny white ceramic. 

         The other burger comes in a greasy wrapper. 

         Most folks would be more inclined towards the nicely packaged burger, even though personally, I’d probably grab the one in the greasy wrapper that’s all messy.  But, that’s just me.  

         But, that wrapper registers an impression in my little brain that the one in the greasy wrapper is gonna taste better.

         Possibly a better example:

         The young man that comes to pick up my daughter for the evening at the movies.  For the first time. First date.

         Torn jeans…dirty fingernails…way too many piercings and a dragon tattoo up his arm.  And honks for her to come out.

         Danger! Danger!  Not with MY daughter!

         Or the young man shows up on time. Calls me “sir.” Holds the door open for my girl and he’s nicely dressed.

         In both scenarios, it’s the same kid.  If my daughter is going out with him, I’m sure he’s probably a sweet kid and nice guy despite first impressions.  Clothes aren’t everything. 

         I didn’t exactly look like a prize at that age either. 

         And the dad writing this article has a piercing and several tattoos! 

The nicely dressed kid does get bonus points for calling me “Sir.”

         But, first impressions are important.  There’s no getting around it. 

fish bait

         Fish are a lot like that too.  Presentation is everything.

         Some folks think if they have a lure in the water or if they have a bait on a hook in the water, the fish will jump all over it.  And they can’t figure out why they’re not getting bit.

         Or how come the guy next to them is getting hits left-and-right.

         There’s the old saying that, “20% of the fishermen catch 80% of the fish.”

         There’s a reason.  Much of that has to do with presentation and the impression it makes on the targeted fish.

         Imagine that “Mr. Fish” has a whole bunch of choices down there. 

Why should he bite you?  What makes your bait stand out and gets his brain neurons saying, “Eat! Eat! Eat!”

unnamed

         Let’s talk about live bait for the moment.

         How is it acting?  Lively? Lethargic? Plain dead?  

         Take dorado fore example.  Dorado, are like cats.  Fast moving lively things put them into attack mode.  The livelier the bait the better. 

         By contrast tuna can be notoriously lazy and love picking up dead bait or barely lively bait.  It’s like they don’t wanna chase anything. 

That’s why chunk bait is so effective.  Just a big mass of dead and dying bait dumped into the drift. One chunk has a hook in it.

         Speaking of hooks…How you rig (“pin”) your bait on a hook can have a massive effect. 

         For one, generally, match your hook to the size of the bait.  Don’t match your hook to the size of the fish you’re chasing. 

         For instance, if using a 6-inch sardine or anchovy, jabbing a 10/0 hook in it is going to kill the bait, even if you’re chasing 100-pound fish.  That’s not doing you any favors. 

Simple logic.

         Likewise, if your line is very heavy, your bait is gonna tire out faster and you’re not even going to know it.  Your line is way out there and you have no clue that your poor little bait is half-dead floating where you can’t see it.   

         And you wonder why your buddy keeps hooking fish!

         A lot of anglers also don’t know that you can actually control how your bait swims. 

         Pinch-off or cut off a bit of tailfin and your bait will swim erratically.  Often, this is a great attractant for gamefish who like to grab injured bait that can’t escape.

       Darwin’s theory.  Culling the herd. It sets your bait out from the rest of the bait in the water.

        Try these next time. 

       If you pin your bait on the bottom-side behind the dorsal fin, you bait will tend to swim directly away from the boat and down.

      If you hook your bait on the top-side behind the dorsal fin, your bait will tend to also swim straight out, but will stay on the surface.

     If you put the hook through the right collar, the bait will swim to the right.  Through the left collar and the fish will swim to the left. 

     Handy to know for those baits that continually want to swim under the boat or if you’re on a boat and you can’t get around someone or something.

     If how “food” looks and acts is important, consider how something “smells” also affects attractiveness just like smelling a steak on the grill.

     When I was first learning to fish as a kid, my old Japanese uncle taught me to keep the bait as fresh as possible.

     Don’t touch the bait with hands that touched food or something oily.  Or suntan lotion. 

     He was a smoker and never ever touched his bait with the hand holding his cigarette. 

     If you do have stuff on your hands, wash it off then put some fish slime or dead bait on your hands to cover up the fragrance of soap or other detergent.

     Presentation makes a difference.  First impressions are a game changer.

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.”

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