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Archive for the ‘aquaculture’ Category

DINING IN THE DARK

tacos in the dark

DINING IN THE DARK

Originally Published the Week of July 18, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publiations

 

Many many decades ago on one of my first forays into Baja, my buddies and I found ourselves to be tragic victims of a common Baja disease of unsuspecting tourists.  It’s called “over-serving.”

 

Poor us.

 

It started with “just one” innocent drink.  The next thing you know those sneaky bartenders are “overserving” you and pouring you another round.  Then another.

 

Who ordered this round of slammers?  Well, I can’t let it go to waste, can I?

 

Followed by other rounds of something else with only slight intermissions of spastic dancing; howling; smack talking and lots of “bro-love.”

 

“Bro, I REALLY love you, man! No, I mean I REALLY love you!”

 

And so us “bros” found ourselves just a few hours short of dawn, cotton-mouthed and stumbling down the street looking for our hotel. We are hungry as heck and know we’d better eat something.

 

Who’s the idiot who booked us to fish in a few hours? I used to love you.  Now I hate you, Dude!

 

No Denny’s or Jack-in-the-Box here in Baja.  All the restaurants are closed.  That crushed granola bar back at the room is sounding pretty good right now.

 

“Forget ‘bro-love.’  I’m not sharing it with any of these drunken boobs…” says my buzzing brain.  Every drunk for himself!

 

It was then we ambled upon the dusty street corner.  Like an oasis of light, a string of overhanging light bulbs beckoned to a bustling cart surrounded by other like-minded booze-addled wanderers. The sound and smell of searing chunks of meat drew us in like a Star Wars tractor beam.

 

Plastic chairs and tables surrounded a portable table filled with colorful salsas while fresh tortillas were coming off a flaming grill; filled with sizzling meat; and handed over to hungry revelers as fast as they came off the glowing coals.

 

Paradise found. My first ever street taco stand!   Each of us devoured a half-dozen tacos like ravenous wolves and washed down with an icy Coke from an old-fashioned bottle.  We would surely pay for our indiscretions in the morning, but for now, happy tummies accompanied us back to our hotel rooms.

 

I can’t remember if we ever made it to fishing.

 

But, I do remember the beginning of my street-food love affair in Baja.

 

If you ever want to eat “real Mexican food” you’ll find it on the streets.  It’s estimated that 70% of locals eat more than 50% of their meals at street carts.  It’s fresh, fast, cheap and muy sabrosa!

 

If you’re ever stumbling around at night like we were, you probably won’t find a restaurant.  No Denny’s Grand Slam breakfast or short stack at the International House of Pancakes in Baja.   But you will find street carts everywhere and probably a line of hungry people around them.

 

Each of them can be very different because each of them is probably a family-run venture.  Each has it’s own specialty salsas (reds…greens…spicy…sweet…fresh…cooked).  Each has it’s specialty condiments (cabbage…marinated onions…picked vegetables…chiles…nuts…spreads…guacamole).

 

Each might have it’s own particular meats, cuts of meats or seafoods.  Usually at night, it will be mostly meats.

 

These are not the same as American tacos.

 

Real Mexican tacos are usually served in soft corn or flour tortillas so be prepared to tell them what kind  of tortilla you want.  American tacos (Taco Bell/ Del Taco) are in a strange pre-cooked hard “folder” of corn.

 

Americans are used to having their tacos with meat then buried under lettuce and tomatoes.  Your Mexican tacos are filled with meat then you get to have the fun of packing it yourself with all the different fillings.    It’s really what makes each taco stand different from it’s neighbor right next door!

 

Here’s a quick primer that touches just the tip of all the varieties:

 

Carne Asada – Grilled beef either on a flat grill or open flame then sliced or chopped and served in your tortilla.  Different cuts of beef make a difference in the flavor and texture from cart to cart.

 

Al Pastor – thin sliced pork marinated in spices and pressed into a rotisserie “log” much like gyro meat or shwarma with a fiery brazier cooking it from the side as it slowly turns.  Brought over from the middle east at the turn of the century pork is used instead of lamb. Often topped with pineapple, it’s sliced from the top down in thin strips right into a handheld tortilla.

 

Chorizo – Mexican pork sausage flavored with garlic, chile, vinegar and other spices chopped then grilled.  Some folks like it dry.  Others like the good greasy chorizo!

 

Carnitas – Chopped and shredded pork shoulder usually or sometimes just cut-off chunks of whole suckling pig.  A big favorite.  Try it mixed or topped with chopped crunchy bits of deep fried or grilled pork skin (cueritos/ chicharrones).  Basically think deep fried pork belly chopped and fried! Who doesn’t like bacon?

 

Arrachera – Personal favorite.  Tender flank steak that has been marinated in citrus juice, garlic and other spices sizzled on the grill then slices into my tortilla!  Way better and more tender than plain carne asada.

 

If you’re at an authentic place, you’ll know if it they serve these.  Don’t turn your nose up at it.  Get past the names and it’s tasty stuff and often a line waiting to eat these tacos:

 

Lengua – Trimmed and cleaned beef tongue. Grilled and tender.  Has a chew texture and mild flavor.

 

Buche – Pork throat and stomach.  Actually very flavorful and delicious on a corn tortilla.

 

Cabeza – Steamed cow head / cachete cheeks – meat cut from the head and those tender cheeks.  Eat this and you’ll get high-fives from the locals eating next to you!

 

A word about taco cart etiquette.

 

There may be a line, but you have to sometimes step up and tell them what you want.  They’re jamming and busy.  Raise your hand if you have to.  On a Saturday night, it can be like a mini-version of the stock exchange.  Everyone is hungry!  It’s not impolite to yell out your order!

 

Reach into the ice chest for your sodas.  Keep count of your tacos.  It’s an “honor system” and often everyone there is a neighbor of the owners.

They trust you to keep count of how many sodas and tacos you scarfed down.

 

When your tummy is full, they’ll tally it up for you.  Don’t wait for a bill to show up.  There usually isn’t one!

 

Now go back to your hotel room and don’t forget to set the alarm to wake up for fishing! And drink lots of water.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

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-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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
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
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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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Your Negligence. My Emergency?

Ouch1

Your Negligence.  My Emergency?

Originally Published the Week of March 12, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

Over the last two months of being on the road and talking to hundreds of fishermen at these fishing and hunting shows,  there’s a lot of story-talking that goes on.  I mean, that’s part of the fun of fishing, hunting and the outdoors, right?  Talking smack.  Telling tales.  Mine-is-bigger-than-yours.  It’s a guy thing.

 

And it’s not all about fish, either.  Ever since we were kids, we showed off skinned knees and cut fingers; missing front teeth; and plaster-casted arms.  We wore them like badges of honor.

 

Mom might have hated it, but ripped blue-jeans weren’t a fashion statement.  It meant you played hardball with sticks and rocks not Barbie and Ken dolls.

 

Nothing against girls who played with dolls, but there was something about girls who could lace ‘em up and slide into homebase or didn’t mind a good game of football in the mud.

 

And so it is with fishermen.  You can’t take the kid out’ve the man.  Like Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw and Roy Scheider in the “Jaws” movie showing off their scars.

 

So typical.

 

“This scar is from when I tried to pull a hook barehanded out’ve a wahoo mouth!”

 

“Well see this scar?  It’s the operation from a tendon they had to repair when I was barefooted and tripped on an anchor chain reaching for a beer!”

 

“That is nothing.  Here is where a gaff went through my hand, when I tried to do a trick!”

 

There’s that joke about why women live longer than men.  Yes, we remain little boys deep inside.

 

Yea, “poop happens” as the saying goes.  And a lot of it is our own fault and could be avoided.

 

Usually, most of us are pretty careful.  But, fishing is a sport inherently rife with sharp things; slippery things; pointy things and simply an unforgiving Mother Nature.

 

There’s things I always carry with me on my Baja fishing trips.  There’s the obvious things geared towards prevention.  Like a good hat.  A windbreaker.  High-end sunscreen.  Sunglasses.  Or water (Duh!).

 

Prescription medications.

 

These are the things that even the most veteran anglers sometimes forget but missing any one of them can really crimp your day. Or a vacation.

 

But what about other things?

 

Use common sense.  For some individuals that’s asking a lot. You should know if you can fix it yourself or you need to run to the hospital.  Nothing I say here is a substitute for real medical opinions and knowledge, especially in a true emergency.

 

But…

 

I once had several very well-respected surgeons fishing with me as part of a group.  One of their buddies who was an attorney cut his finger on a lure.

 

It was bloody, but not serious.  It was funny listening to them “go into conference” about the best procedure to fix the finger. Blah blah blah blah blah.  Three surgeons, mind you.

 

It took so long the attorney fisherman looked at me and rolled his eyes then started making jokes about “malpractice lawsuits.”

 

I pulled the attorney away from the group.  Splashed water on the cut.  Told him to hold it high and apply some pressure.  Pulled a band aid outta my tackle box and slapped it on.  Back to fishing for me and the attorney.

 

Silence from the “over-thinking” surgeons.   The doctors mouths dropped then they started laughing.

 

But seriously, even small cuts or punctures can be critical. Not because of the wound itself, but because of infection.  Especially, in Mexico, that can be an issue.  You don’t want thing going septic on you.

 

So, clean the wound as well as you can.  Water, even clean saltwater is good.

 

I always bring some mouthwash with me. One of those little travel sizes works.  It has alcohol.  (It’s also good to chase away onion breath from the lunch burritos).

 

Splash some on.  Beer or other alcohol works in a pinch as well.

 

I always have some assorted band aids.  Keeping the wound clean and covered is essential.  Keeping it dry is important too.  So, I bring some first-aid tape to wrap around the bandage.  I usually have some kids balloons as well to roll over a finger.  We once used a condom (whatever works!) and then taped that on.

 

My tackle box also includes something antiseptic like Neosporin or similar that helps healing and fights infection.  I also carry super glue.  It stings a bit, but it can help seal a cut really nicely almost like brushing on some new skin.

 

If gets a puncture from a fin, tooth or spine, especially something toxic like a scorpion fish, have a bucket handy or plastic tupperware.  Clean the wound and as well as possible. Immerse the body part in the bucket.  Obviously, pull out the barb or fin.

 

An old trick we used when I worked on boats commercially is to add some bleach to the water, but also some meat tenderizer.  The bleach helps cleanse.

 

Meat tenderizer breaks down proteins and helps draw out the venom.  Works good on insect bites as well, if you make a paste out’ve it and apply to the skin.

 

Also from the galley…if someone gets a mild burn, honey on the affected area then covered up works like a charm!

 

For jellyfish stings, obviously get the jellyfish of you.  Scrape with an edge like a credit card or even the edge of a knife or shaving razor.

 

Rinse in salt, not fresh, water.  A paste of baking soda and SALT water works as does white wine vinegar that can be diluted with salt water.  Ice can help swelling.

 

Get back to fishing, but once back to shore, don’t ignore the wound. Clean and dress it again.  And keep it clean so it doesn’t get infected.  Get to a doctor if you need to.  Or it gets worse.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

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-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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 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

 Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://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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BAJA BITS PIECES and TACKLE BOX STICKY NOTES

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BAJA BITS PIECES and TACKLE BOX STICKY NOTES!

Originally Published Week of Feb. 28, 2017 in Western Outdoor News Publications

Insofar as lots of you are making or possibly thinking about making a Baja trip this year, and this is the time vacations are made,  there’s a few notes to pass along you might find interesting.

 

There’s good news as far as airline travel.  For one, Southwest has jumped into the already jammed list of carriers flying folks into Cabo San Lucas.  This has several great benefits.

 

I’m not a schill for Southwest.  But hey…in the age of getting nickel-and-dimed by the airlines these days who are trying their best to stay aloft and competitive, Southwest does allow those awesome two free bags!  For fishermen transporting rods, reels, ice chests, boat parts and frozen fish, this rocks.

 

Secondly, Southwest has made a name for itself by being relatively lower-priced than other airlines.  Sometimes a lot lower.   Super.

 

However, by jumping into the mix, their presence has forced other airlines to lower their fares in order to stay competitive.  Winner-winner chicken dinner for us Baja travelers!

 

Also, while on that same subject of airline fares, there’s more good news.  Even on those Mexico routes where Southwest has not started, overall, airfares seem to be substantially lower than last year.

 

I don’t know why, but I’m not arguing either.  I was told that it was because fuel prices have remained lower for several seasons.  Since airlines make their fuel purchase contracts in advance, they have cheap fuel inventory which then gets passed onto us consumers.

 

The downside is there are still some dates, you might want to re-think flying or, at least be prepared to pony up some extra dinero.  One of those is April.

This year, Easter falls smack in the middle of the month.  On either side of that you’ve got a big demand for airline tickets for the springbreak kids and families that flock to Mexico.  The airlines have no problem filling planes.  So, prices are jacked-up.

 

Simple supply-and-demand economics 101.   You’re lucky to even find tickets by this late date for many routes to the most popular places.

 

On top of that, Easter and Holy Week (Semana Santa) are the busiest times for Mexicans to fly.  It’s not Christmas.  It’s not Thanksgiving (an American holiday, not Mexican!).

 

Many local families fly domestically to visit other parts of Mexico and vice versa.  Likewise, many Mexican families fly out of the country and many from the U.S. also fly into Mexico for visits.  That just creates a glut of travelers all vying for limited seats and willing to paying premium prices.

 

So, if you’re wondering why you’re seeing such high prices or non-existent airline seats in April, that’s the reason.  Oh, and many hotels also charge more during the holidays, as they do in the U.S.

 

If you are planning to make a trip, don’t forget to purchase your fishing licenses online.  Many outlets no longer sell the paper fishing licenses.  We use such sites as www.bajasursportfishing.com to get those purchased.

 

It’s actually fast and easy and for once, the Mexican government has a functional well-organized site that doesn’t break down or eat your visa card numbers!   In the past, even Mexican officials would tell me with rolled-eyes that the old sites looked like they were built by high-school interns.

 

If you do get on the site, just don’t panic when you see the prices.  They are in pesos and are not a house or car payment.  Simply divide by about 20 and it’ll show you that the licenses are actually very affordable.  Also, revenue raised from the permits help fund conservation and anti-poaching in Baja and keeps the inspectors out there and vigilant.

 

Just remember, everyone MUST have a fishing license.  Even if they are not going to be fishing.  If they are on a vessel where others are fishing, even if it’s your 90-year-old grandma who wants to knit or your 2-year-old who sleeps through the whole thing, they must have a permiso.

 

If you’re thinking about driving or have not driven the Baja in a long time, prepared to be surprised.  This is NOT your daddy’s old Baja road.

 

Much of the Mexican Highway 1, is two or four lanes in each direction and about as modern as you might want to find.  This is especially true between towns and cities.  The towns and cities is where you will probably get bogged down with street lights, stop signs and construction.  But, it’s getting there!

 

However, the days of looking for a gas station or being relieved to find someone pumping green PEMEX gasoline from a 50-gallon drum and filtering it with a t-shirt into a milk carton are gone.  Gas stations with convenience stores are everywhere and emergency road-side service is not difficult to obtain.  Cell phone reception gets better each year although there’s some stretches that are still thankfully still quite desolate.

 

Lastly, a word on El Nino that played havoc on the weather; the fishing; and the bait for the last two season.  The experts say it’s over.

 

But, it’s been a tough winter in Baja.  If there’s storms in the U.S. they don’t stop just because there’s a border.  High winds, big seas, and even rain have pummeled the Baja just like in the U.S….only it’s warmer!

 

However, general temperatures look to have returned to normal and my observers are telling me they’re seeing more bait around than they’ve seen in the last two years!  Perhaps a harbinger of a great season to come!

 

This week is the big Fred Hall Fishing and Boating Show at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach.  It runs Wednesday to Sunday March 1-5 and it’s huge!  We’ll be in our regular booth as we have been for over 20 years in the fishing tackle area.  Everyone who is anyone in the fishing industry is there!  Bring the family and come say hi!

Dos centavos.  That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

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-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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

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

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://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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THE REWIND BUTTON

Too have been there in the 60’s when Cabo was just a beach…when people like Bing Crosby walked the halls of Hotel Las Cruces…when big fish were the norm in the Sea of Cortez and in the heyday of such great places like the Serenidad Hotel when the Johnsons hosted the Flying Samaritans and the aroma of barbecued pork could wafted down the coastline.

THE REWIND BUTTON

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 15, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

I was asked the other day how I might have done things differently now that I’ve marked more than 20 years working and living in Baja.  I had to think about that because I’ve never given it much thought.

 

I confess much of my time, especially the early years, was spent dealing with the immediate present.   I was more concerned with things like, “Where is my next meal coming from?”   Or, “Dangit, do I have enough gas in the boat to make it back to the beach?” And, “How far can I make 200 pesos stretch until I get paid?”

 

Whew.

 

I gratefully have not had thoughts like that in a long time.  Life doesn’t guarantee anything.  I don’t take things for granted.   However,  at least at this stage in my life, I’m usually laughing to myself if those questions inadvertently race through my brain’s neurons.

 

But, looking back, I guess I would have changed a few things.

 

For one, I would have come to Baja sooner.  I didn’t make it down to Baja until my early 30’s.  I would have loved to have seen the Baja 10 or 20 years earlier…like the during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.   I would have loved to have seen Cabo San Lucas “back in the day” when it was still a fishing town.

 

I would have loved to have seen the Baja of Gene Kira, Fred “Baja Ha-Ha” Hoctor, Neil Kelly and Ray Cannon and other great writers who saw Baja in the days when it was truly “la frontera” (the frontier).

 

If my time machine was powerful enough, what I wouldn’t give to have experienced the Baja of John Steinbeck on the Western Flyer with Ed Ricketts!

 

Looking back, I would  had taken the time to have seen some of the great legendary landmark resorts and hotels in their heyday like Punta Chivato; Punta Colorada, Rancho Leonero, Las Cruces,   Hotel Las Arenas or even The Old Mill in San Quintin and so many others.

 

Some are still going strong, but to have seen them “back in the day” would’ve been pretty special.   So many are gone now or are a shadow of their previous glory when they sat alone on pristine fishing waters.

 

Likewise, the “old Finnie” Finisterra Hotel, Hotel Cabo San Lucas and the Hacienda Hotel  hewn out’ve rocks and cliffs would have been something to have experienced in their days of elegance.  I was fortunate enough to spend some time during their waning years, but to have been there when mariachis roamed the halls and played for well-heeled celebrities and guests must have been something to see.

 

Looking back, I would have brought my parents to Baja sooner.  Lots of kids are brought down by their parents, but I was the first in the family to venture south.  It wasn’t until many years later that I got my father to travel with me.  Other family members followed over the years.

 

Those times remain some of the best memories with them.  That “window” closed too soon and before long they had either had passed away or were too old to travel any longer.  And all we have are the memories.

 

As another afterthought, why did I take so long to stick my head underwater? I was raised in the water.  I spent many of my younger years in Hawaii.   I was so intent on fishing from “above the surface” I never stuck my head “below the surface.”

 

Then, I got SCUBA certified.  It opened up an entire new spectacular world that so enthralled me, I kept going until I got my divemaster certification and became a working divemaster.  The waters surrounding the Baja are some of the most incredible in the world.  It also made me not only a better fisherman, but also gave me a greater appreciation for all for the ocean and especially Baja.

 

I surely would have spent more time in the bush.  When you’re living hand-to-mouth, you like to be somewhat close to things like water, gas, electricity and transportation. . .  No matter how primitive.   I would have spent more time as far away from those things as possible knowing that with each approaching year, it would be increasingly difficult because those places are disappearing.

 

In the same vein, I would have literally “taken the roads less traveled.”  More deserted roads should have been explored.  I should have followed more goat paths.

 

They should have been followed to find out what beach, canyon, vista or adventure lay at the end.  Nowadays, too many others have already been down those roads.

 

Finally, I would have learned Spanish earlier and worked at it harder.  It’s my greatest regret that I’m not more fluent. Language is the ultimate “code.”

 

I’ve gotten better, but I think of how so many previous experiences would have been enriched by knowing and understanding Spanish better.  I can only think of what I missed by not understanding a word here or a phrase there.  Likewise, if I had a better command of Spanish, I could have contributed more as well.

 

Yes, it would have been great to have done so many things earlier. Still,  I’ve got no regrets!  But, I guess it’s not too late.  And that’s the beauty of Baja.  There’s still so much waiting to be experienced and folks continue to discover what a special place it is!

That’s my story

Jonathan signature

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-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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

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

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://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.”

Read Full Post »

Asked and Answered!

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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 signature

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-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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

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

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://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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Two Kinds of Fishing

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TWO KINDS OF FISHING

Originally Published the Week of January 19, 2017 in Western Outdoor News

About the time I first moved to Baja many years ago, an old Baja fishermen who had already spent more than two decades wandering up-and-down the peninsula made an observation that I will never forget.

 

Back in those days, I tended to listen to anyone who seemed to have a handle on how to improve my fishing skills.

 

He told me that all fishing can be narrowed down to two types of fishing.

 

He called one “ego fishing.”

 

That’s where you go out and bang it up. You lock and load.   You catch a lot of fish.  You go all out.  You make yourself feel good catching the most fish…or the best fish…or a fish bigger than your buddy.  Every cast is a hit.  Every hit is a fight.  Every fight is a conquest Kodak moment.

 

You make yourself feel pretty good about yourself.

 

You’re the “hunter-gatherer” of all hunter-gatherers.  Inside, you’re thumping your chest and letting out your best Tarzan yell inside.  You’re high-fiving yourself all over the place.

 

Nothing wrong with that. Especially, if it’s done in fun and good sport.

 

He told me the “second kind of fishing” might not be as fun, but maybe more important. He called it “homework fishing.”

 

The old-timer explained to me that “homework fishing” is often what made ego fishing ultimately more fun.  Like the name, homework fishing meant doing the background work that helped you get ahead.  It meant leaving my comfort zone of what I knew and trying to do something different with the intent of improving skill set.

 

He told me that fishing in Baja was the best place to do it.  He explained that the rich Baja waters gave folks the opportunity to learn new things.  You could make mistakes and learn from them.  If something didn’t work, the ocean often gave you more chances to hone your skillset.

 

Basically, if you “farmed” (lost) a fish, you often had many more opportunities to give it another shot.  Therefore, you could see what worked and didn’t work.

 

So, he went on to tell me that it’s good to put the ego aside, even when everyone else is catching fish to try a new lure.  Try that new knot you had been working on.  Practice your casting.  Try different trolling patterns or colors.  Practice different ways to make a bait presentation or retrieving a lure.

 

You might catch fewer or less fish than the next person, but “one step back will often put you two steps forward in the long run.”

 

I never forgot that and it has served me well.

 

But, many years down the road, I think there’s a 3rd type of fishing.  I simply call it “Passing the Torch” fishing.  It’s where you pass on whatever you know and help someone else with their fishing.

 

You don’t need to be a pro.  It’s just involves imparting whatever you know to someone who doesn’t know.

 

It could be as simple as showing an 8-year-old how to pin a bait on a hook.  It could be showing another guy how to tie a knot he or she didn’t know.  Or as easy as sharing a story.

 

I guarantee that you’ll also learn something yourself.

 

As I write this, we’re here in Denver at the moment at the International Sportsman’s Expo.  We’ve had a booth here now for 16 years.  It’s the first of more than a dozen fishing/ hunting shows that we’ll do over the next three months.

 

This particular show has almost 600 outfitters and vendors from around the world.  Hunting lodges and guide services from South Africa to Argentina.  Fishing operations from the Bering Sea to the the Indian Ocean.  And, of course a few of us from Baja, Mexico as well.  There’s gear and guns, equipment and tackle, boats and RV’s.  It’s quite a show.

 

One of the most gratifying things is to see so many parents bringing their kids to these shows.  Or guys who bring their buddies.  I love seeing their eyes go wide as they walk the aisles and talk to real-life geography lessons.

 

It’s show-and-tell on a grand scale.

 

I had one gentleman this evening come to our booth. He wasn’t particularly looking to book a fishing trip.  But… He had never seen the ocean…except in photos.  It’s hard to wrap my brain around that one.  He had NEVER seen the ocean!

 

He had never caught a fish larger than a bluegill. We got him excited about white sand and big fish.  We talked about tacos, sunrises and fishing in flip-flops and shorts.  We told him about turquoise waters that were warm as bathwater.     We convinced him to give Baja a try.

 

He just sent me an e-mail telling me he was so excited he couldn’t sleep and how much he had enjoyed the chat.  He had  already spent several hours looking at fishing websites and youtube videos about fishing in Mexico.

 

Little bits of knowledge.  From one to another.  And that’s how the word spreads!

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

______________

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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

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

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://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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A MAR VISTA STORY

 

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A MAR VISTA STORY

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 19, 2016 in Western Outdoor News

Juan Carlos’ old pickup had seen better days. Gears strained up the low incline to his home.  It was hard to tell what color it used to be.  What wasn’t covered in dents, scratches and dings,  the rust and corrosion had claimed.  The dust of Baja owned the rest.

 

He always said, his truck looked exactly like him. . . a truck owned by a hardworking hand-to-mouth handyman.

 

He said a silent prayerful “Gracias a Dios” (Thanks, Lord) to himself as it bounced and rattled along up the hill.  At least he had a truck.  A true luxury where most people still walked, biked or took a bus.

 

And moreso, it ran.  Gratefully, on half-bald mismatched tires and no shocks, it ran.  Just like him.  Slow and steady.  Not built for speed.

 

From here to there.  And back again.  Without it, there was no work.

 

The tires scratched to find purchase on the loose gravel and powdery dust leading to his home in Mar Vista.  It was December and it was already getting dark.

 

In the cracked rearview mirror, pinpoint lights of La Paz were already blinking.  The black glass of the bay still mirrored what was left of a pink Baja sunset.

 

The ricos (rich people) would pay much for a view like his, he smiled to himself.

 

But, he wasn’t one of the ricos.  In fact, despite the name of Mar Vista, it was just a notch or two above a shanty town.  Above the city.  Outside the city.  On a set of bare low scrubby hills.

 

No streetlights or curbs.  No running water. Dirt or concrete floors and propane lights.  Just houses cobbled together with whatever was available. By people doing the best they could.  With whatever they could.

 

Like Juan Carlos.

 

He had spent an exhausting day hauling some big appliance boxes and other cartons from a warehouse, but quit early.  The boss said it was OK and paid him cash.  He would take the last of the boxes to the dump in the morning.

 

Tonite was Noche Buena.  Christmas Eve.  And he was going home to his wife, Celine and his little boy, Armando.

 

And with his money, he had bought some fresh hot pork tamales and steaming pot of pozole soup.  Their savory aroma nearly made his stomach rumble as loud as the truck’s ancient transmission.

 

A small bottle of wine for his Celine and a can of Coke for his Armando lay on the seat next to him. Cradled in a depression on the seat where the springs had given out and the cloth was wearing thin.

 

No matter.  Tonite, life was good.  The best that he could do.  With whatever he could.

 

Sadly, he lamented no presents.  But as his good Celine often reminded them, God had already given them the best gift of each other. God had surely given him a wonderful wise woman!

 

Reaching home, he parked;  dusted himself off and gingerly reached back in for the food with both hands.   He bumped the metal door closed with his back hip and it slammed on its squeaky hinges.

 

Armando dashed out of the home and wrapped his arms around Juan Carlos faded jeans almost tripping him.  “Papi!  Papi! I can smell tamales!”

 

“Espere!  Espere! Cuidate, mijo!  Wait.  Be careful, my son!” said Celine laughingly at the door as she greeted her husband still dragging the happy little boy into the warm room.

 

No glaring propane light tonite.

 

With no electricity, candles lit the room.  No scrimping for Christmas.  Celine had every candle warming their little home seemingly…just for them, thought Juan Carlos.

 

They all laughed when he told them that people spend lots of money in fancy restaurants to eat by candlelight.

 

“We have no money, but we have many candles!”

 

And what a feast, they had.  Celine had found some desert flowers in a water glass for the table.  On plastic chairs and plastic table cloth and plastic dishes, they ate slowly. Savoring every bite.

 

Celine told him the masa for the tamales was especially good.  The wine was even better.  Little Armando burped a big “Coke burp” that made them all laugh.

 

Enjoying the moment as families do.  They held hands at the end with a small prayer to the Baby Jesus.   Then to bed with happy tummies.

 

Mattresses on wooden pallets. One room.  Blankets pulled tight against the breezy Baja night.  But first a Christmas kiss to everyone and candles blown out to the silent darkness of the night.  Somewhere a dog barked.  Somewhere the wind carried the faint music of a radio up the hill.

 

It was Christmas.  Juan Carlos and Celine would sleep a little later. Celine touched Juan’s cheek tenderly as she snuggled next to him.

 

As he started to doze he had a thought.  Gracias a Dios.

 

He would wake up a little early and slip back to his truck.  With the big boxes, he would make Armando a…he would make Armando…uh…

 

A submarine…  No, a time machine…  Maybe a fort!  Maybe all three. Yes, that’s it.

 

Vamos a ver.  We’ll see in the morning. He smiled. He could hear Celine’s breathing as she slept.  Armando turned under his covers.

 

Juan Carlos’ own eyes got heavy as his full tummy.  Gracias a Dios. Contentos. Content.   Doing the best they could with whatever they could.

 

That’s my story. Feliz Navidad, a todos.  Que Dios les bendiga. Merry Christmas everyone.  May God bless you.

That’s my story

Jonathan signature

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-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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

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

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://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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