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Archive for the ‘Baja fishing lures’ Category

KINGS of the WILD FRONTIER

BEAR

And you went paddleboarding this weekend? 

KINGS of the WILD FRONTIER

Originally Published the Week of January 17, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

“Freedom is being able to do what you want…

…Happiness is enjoying what you do!”

 

We’re in the vast cavernous bowels of the Denver Convention Center setting up our Tailhunter Sportfishing booth for what will be our 23rd year running trips in La Paz.  It’s my 20th continuous year on the show circuit.  Maybe my 40th year doing shows.  I can’t remember!

 

Three months we leave Baja and spend it in the U.S.

 

We do 12-14 shows that usually run 3-5 days each.  In the booth talking, shaking hands and socializing with friends, clients and the public.  “Meet-and Greet” time.

 

Each show has hundreds of other vendors from around the world exhibiting hunting, fishing, camping, boating and all manners of associated gear.  There’s barkers and hawkers and seminars and it’s basically our “outdoor version” of the circus-come-to-town.

 

This week Denver.  Then Sacramento.  Followed by Portland…Salt Lake City…Bakersfield and Boise…Long Beach and Phoenix…and…

 

Well, I get confused after that!  I have a small brain. I’ve been doing this a long time.

 

And we look forward to the carnival and being on the road and seeing all our old friends and clients.  It’s a good time to catch-up.  I good time to relive great adventures!

 

But, as we set up our booth for the first time this year, I look around at the other vendors setting up.  I especially look forward to seeing them.

 

It’s been a year since the last show season ended.

 

How’d YOUR season go? Did the salmon show up in numbers? Did those snowstorms hit you? Look at the rack on that elk!  Dang, that was a huge halibut! An avalanche trapped you in the pass for a week?  You broke your foot when a water buffalo charged you?  And the client trampled you? Congratulations on the new lodge you built!

 

After several decades, it’s good to know who’s still standing…who’s retired…who’s trying to retire…who’s got their kids now running the operation now…and who sadly “finally got pulled down by the wolves.”

 

Anyone worth their salt in the outdoor business will tell you it’s not easy being a survivor and thriver.

 

Your livelihood is dependent on the capriciousness of Mother Nature; the seeming illogic of politics, economy and regulations; the ever-changing tastes of the public;  the encroachment of “civilization.”

 

And just plain luck.

 

Yup, they put a dam on our river.

A hurricane hit us the busiest week of the year when we were sold out.

The snowpack never pushed the herds of game down the mountain.

The new regulations cut the limits in half and the season cut by a month.

Gas prices went up another 20 cents.

Those lands are now closed to public hunting.

They just jacked up the tourist tax by 10%.

Some rich guy bought up that whole side of the mountain…and fenced it off.

CNN just reported that 10 more people got sick at that resort.

Two of the three airlines that fly to us just up-and- quit flying to us.

There’s a new mega-resort being built on that pristine beach.

 

But, I look around.

 

And there’s Joe and Mary.  Forty years of trophy hunting.  They operate a pack train in Alberta, Canada.  Up a mountain.  They say it gets -30 in the winter and they don’t/ can’t leave their cabin.  Completely off the grid.  She can skin a deer.  He can still chop trees.  With an axe. He can spot game with his eyes that you can only see looking through your high-powered scope.

 

Ralph, Paul and Cole are up there somewhere near the Arctic Circle.  Built themselves a lodge with their own hands and native help.  Fly in.  Fly out.  No phones.  But 200 miles of empty river and shore to fish and hunt.  Need something?  Bring it in or do without.  Build it yourself or improvise.

 

Sammy is somewhere in the South American jungles.

 

Found an isolated village of natives along a river straight out’ve Jurassic Park. Built a rustic fishing resort for fishing peacock bass and 400-pound arapaima that lurk in those tea-colored waters.

 

In the meantime, Sam also built a school, medical facility and several industries so his locals would have regular jobs.  He’s working on a small lumber mill too.

 

And there’s Joey.  He’s like a modern-day Daniel Boone or Jeremiah Johnson.   If you saw, Leo de Caprio in the “Revanant,” that’s Joe.

 

He’s a bush pilot; airplane mechanic; tractor-operator; river guide; naturalist; eco-guide and during the season, big game hunter.  Specialty is giant Kodiak grizzly bears.  GIANT bears that can stand 10’ tall; weigh almost 1 ton with a 24-inch paw.

 

Spends weeks in the bush climbing mountains; crossing frozen streams and trekking over glaciers with a 150-pound pack and rifle with his clients.  He’s the guy standing BEHIND his client with an BIGGER rifle in case his client misses. He makes sure an even bigger bear doesn’t come up from behind!

 

Oh…then he carries the meat on his back DOWN the darned mountain for you too. And, our course, you want the hide and head for a trophy!

 

And, it’s good to see Louie over there setting up HIS booth. He’s 70 now, but has the swimmer’s physique of a 30-year-old.  He’s from South Africa.  He’ll take you to freedive with “Mr. Grinner” the great white shark.  No cage.  No tanks.  You hold your breath.  And your heart!

 

I’ve seen Louie hold his breath for almost 5 minutes underwater!

 

Just you, a mask a snorkel and a wetsuit that makes you look just like a tasty sealion.  Lovely.

 

South Africa is where “Shark Week” gets all it’s great footage to boost their ratings.  I once asked him what do you do when a great white swims overhead and you’re on the bottom?

 

“You keep very still and hold your breath as long as you can!” He laughed back.

 

But what if you can’t hold your breath that long?  “You’d be amazed how a 20’ great white can keep you from breathing!”

 

And on-and-on.  There’s several hundred of these incredible spirits exhibiting at these hunting and fishing shows.  But with each year, they dwindle.  Just like the outdoors they inhabit.

 

It does my heart good to know there’s folks like this still out there. And to call them my friends.

 

And there’s still places to go to find people like this.  And you and I can still go there.  Hope you come to visit!

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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I SWEAR IT WAS THIS BIG

exaggeration

I SWEAR IT WAS THIS BIG! 

Originally Published the Week of January 3, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

“All fishermen are born honest…but they eventually grow out’ve it.”…Anonymous sign posted on a fishing shack

 

“Jonathan, come down quick, I’ve got a huge fish.  It could be a record!”

 

Over the several decades in the fishing business down here in Baja, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that.

 

There was a day and time when I’d go rushing over with camera, scale, and tape measure.  Hey, it’s Baja!

 

More world records pop out’ve Baja waters than any other place on the planet.  Line class and weight class records are set every year.

 

I used to stumble over myself sprinting over to the massive fish and beaming fisherman.  Couldn’t get there fast enough.

 

If it wasn’t a call for a “world record” it was a call to check out some no less massive creature from the deep.

 

I admit I’ve gotten older and slower through the years, but I don’t quite sprint over like I used to.   At least not with the same urgency!

 

I have not curbed my enthusiasm by any means.  If an angler is excited and thinks it’s a big fish, then by gosh, I’m excited about that big fish too!

 

But logically, not every fish is going to be a “world record.”  Logically, not every dorado is a “fifty-pound beast.”  Not every roosterfish or wahoo weighs 80 pounds!

 

But, if someone is excited about it, then it’s very likely the largest fish that proud angler has caught…or the first…or prettiest…  It really doesn’t matter.

 

It’s an important fish and I’m excited about it too.

And, despite jokes to the contrary, “size matters.”

 

Actually, it’s all that matters.  But, like we all know, size is relative.

 

I’ve gotten pretty good after all those years after handling thousands of fish.  I can  eye-ball the size of a fish and can give a pretty good estimate on size.

 

So, like I said, I don’t quite hustle down the beach with all available speed any longer.

 

I don’t want to bust anyone’s bubble or temper their excitement so I’ll “conveniently” say, “Darnit,  I forgot my scale, but that’s a dandy fish!”

 

I’ll give a generous estimate and I make sure I take a photo if at all possible with lots of well-deserved genuine high-fives…low-fives…knuckle-bumps and back-slapping.

 

The best part is listening to the stories of the great catch.  Having clients who return year-after-year, gives me a great opportunity to hear the story over and over.

 

Having our own restaurant and bar is also an excellent venue to hear the stories, especially as the beer and margaritas flow.

 

And sometimes, oh my…how the story and size change!

 

There’s the quote that goes, “May I catch a fish so big that I don’t have to lie about the size when I tell the story later.”

 

Fishermen are among the best story-tellers on the planet.   Ever since the first cave-dwellers came back from the hunt to share exploits around the fires with the rest of the tribe, story-telling is part of the excitement and fun.

 

But, y’know, there really ARE some fish that need to be put on the scale and remove all doubt.

 

We finally got a very expensive IGFA scale that will weigh fish up to 2000 pounds and has to be certified ever year.  It’s come in handy a time or two.

 

Now, I don’t suggest you go out and do that.  For years, I got along very well and still carry some inexpensive hand-held devices in my tackle bag.

 

One is a little battery-operated hand-scale.  A number of companies make them and, although there are still numerical scales, the digital ones are handier and seem more accurate.

 

They have a big hook on them to hang the fish and, will give you a pretty accurate read-out of the weight of a fish.  They’re pretty handy to weigh your luggage as well.

 

They come in several sizes, but for Baja purposes, I have the ones that have 50-pound limits.  It seems to cover most Baja fish.

 

While normally not certifiably accurate, I’ve actually had several of my devices sent in to check their accuracy.  They were all within ¼ to ½ pound of our expensive certified rig.   Surely close enough!

 

Great for settling debates among friends. Great to decide who wins the jackpot over the largest fish and will be buying drinks at the cantina that night.

 

For larger fish up to 100 pounds, there’s the boga-type grips that look like a handled tube with a claw on the end.  They’re a little pricier and spring loaded.

 

They’re also a bit heavier, since they’re made of steel, but also fit easily in a tackle bag.

 

Using the trigger on the device, the hooks grab a fish by the lips.  When lifted, the springs inside the tube give a read-out of the weight.

 

Works great on larger fish although if it’s a long fish like a wahoo or dorado and you’re short like me, you might need to stand on something so the fish is off the ground.

 

But, it’s also handy if you plan to release the fish.  By “lipping” the fish, you minimize harming it.  You weigh it.  You take a photo and you release the fish to fight another day.

 

But, now you know the truth!  What you do with it and how you tell the story is still up to you.

Honest!

That’s my story (Really!  Believe me!!!)

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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A Better Fish Fillet

Pancho gaff

Taking care of your fish starts before you even get the fish in the boat!

Sasime tuna chunks

Unbruised firm chilled and ready!

A Better Fish Fillet

Originally Published the Week of Dec 4, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

In addition to having our fishing fleet here in La Paz, we also commercially pack fish as well.  During the season, I’m personally in our “fish cave” 2-5 hours a day handling the fish for our clients.

 

Needless to say, I see a heck-of-a-lot of fish.  We get fish that belongs to our clients as well as other anglers who fish elsewhere or have their own boats.

 

It’s very rewarding to send folks home with some really nicely done fish.  Whether they fish with us or not, isn’t important. I like seeing the smiles knowing they’re taking home the very best memories that go along with those packages of fillets.

 

Even better to get calls or e-mails from folks months later.  Or, even longer!

 

They tell me how surprised they are that the fish still tastes steller and just as good as the day they got it.  It’s gratifying.  YESSSS!!!

 

I love it when folks bring me their fish.  Most of the time, it’s at least already cleaned by the captain or deckhand and I’m just fine-trimming, weighing and portioning it so we can vacuum seal it.

 

However, there are times when I simply cringe seeing the fish that’s brought to me.  I literally hate to send it home with folks.

 

What’s that old adage? “Poop in…poop out?” (add in your own derogatory expletive).

 

It’s like anything else.  If you start with good stuff, you end up with good stuff.  If you give me great fish to work with, I’m gonna send you out with some good stuff too.

 

If only folks would think a little bit, and take better care of their fish, it would make a big difference.  That starts long before they bring me their fish.

 

For example, I know you don’t always have control over it, but whenever possible, go for…or ask for head gaffs on a fish. Not always possible.  And it takes a certain level of skill between the gaffer and the angler.

 

A lot of anglers don’t realize that it takes a bit of finesse to lay out a hot fish “just so” whereby the captain can gaff it in the head.  Sometimes, a captain is just anxious to get the fish in the boat so the client doesn’t lose the fish.  I get it.

 

But, sticking the fish in the head, avoids damaging the tasty valuable meat.  When a fish gets stuck in the body it continues to pump blood into the flesh.  It “bruises”, if you will. A big ugly bruise.  Especially, muscular fish like tuna.

 

So… I get these gorgeous chunks of valuable fish and so much of it is ruined by huge bloody “bruises” in the meat.   It has to be cut-out and discarded.  I’ve had to toss out 10-20% of otherwise perfectly good meat due to bleeding.

 

Along those lines even if you don’t get a head gaff…Once you do get your fish in the boat, give some thought to “bleeding” your fish.  Time constraints in the middle of a hot bite will sometimes prevent this, but if you can do this or ask for it, it makes a huge difference.

 

Simply, while the fish is still alive, cut it by the heart and bleed it. If you can, hold it in the water, the heart will pump out excess blood.

 

When any creature dies, it starts to deteriorate immediately. Logically, so does the blood.

 

When you let a fish pump out it’s blood, it greatly enhances the quality of the meat and taste.  You’ll notice a fresher less fishy flavor and the flesh will have a lighter color to it.

 

Of course, the worst kind of fish I receive is when the fish has not been kept cool after it dies.  Ice is critical.  If not ice, at least, don’t leave it out in the hot Baja sun as some folks do.  It’s literally cooking!

 

The fish comes to me and it almost “dissolves” in my hands.  It falls apart.  It’s mushy. It falls off the bone.  It’s grey and discolored.

 

Tasty tuna, wahoo, snapper…it doesn’t matter.  It might already be starting to stink.  I wouldn’t serve it to our cats.  Unsalvageable.

 

Often, so much if it, I can’t even pack.  In all fairness, I have to throw it away.

 

If it’s somewhat salvageable, I know it’s gonna be crap when the folks eat it and there’s no way to explain once they walk out the door and go home with their fish.  Just such a waste.

 

Another peeve is letting fish sit in water after it’s cleaned.  No plastic bag.  Just sitting and floating around.  Often it’s in the melted ice.  Maybe it’s cool.  Maybe the water is already tepid and warm.

 

Just floating and maybe getting warm.  A lovely “soup” in the making. But either way, two things are happening.

 

It’s breaking down into mush. Maybe not so fast just sitting out in the sun, but on it’s way to falling apart.

 

Second, the fresh water is getting infused into the flesh.  For one, it might not be the best water to begin with.  But, sitting in fresh water, the natural saltiness that makes ocean-fish so tasty is getting lost.  Want bland-tasting fish? Let it soak in fresh water.

 

A quick fresh water rinse is OK.  Letting it soak is tragic.

 

Lastly, you would think it’s common sense.  But avoid the urge to put your fish in the same ice chest as bottles of beer!  If you must join them, use canned beer.

 

You can imagine what happens when beer bottles break in an ice chest full of fish fillets.

 

I’m good, but not that good.  Impossible to pick little pieces of glass out’ve your fish fillets.  I have to tell you all your fish is headed into the trash unless you want to eat pieces of glass!

 

A little thought is well worth it.

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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Hear Me Now Believe Me Later

stormwarning

HERE ME NOW BELIEVE ME LATER

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 27, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

In my last column, I was tapping away on my laptop just about a week after Tropical Storm Lidia smacked Southern Baja right in the nose.   Three weeks later, a lot of us are still digging out to a greater or lesser degree, especially, Cabo San Lucas.

 

It never quite became a hurricane, but it didn’t have to.  It was just as deadly.  Just as damaging.

 

I have been writing this column over a decade.   I have often documented what it’s like going through one of these uber-storms.  By my last count, I think I’ve gone through 8 hurricanes now and numerous tropical storms and depressions.

 

Lately, Mother Nature sure seems to be tee-ing off on our part of the hemisphere with hurricanes, fires and earthquakes.  It’s awfully humbling.

 

So, here I sit again.

 

However, instead of writing post-storm, I’m writing waiting for the newest, latest weather aberration, “Norma” to come rumbling our way up the Baja peninsula.

 

It started as a blip of “intermittent showers” on the weather forecast.  Within 30 hours, it grew to a tropical storm.  Then, it grew to a hurricane.  And now, back to a tropical depression.  But, it’s still coming.

 

So say the forecasts.  In the crosshairs.

 

Given how Lidia treated us last month, Norma has every reason to cause bunched-up-underwear levels.  For those of us who live down here and deal with nature on a daily basis; and who work and run businesses here; it’s faced with no small measure of trepidation.

 

Maybe, the anxiety is enhanced by the fact that we are in the hospitality business.  Other people’s well-being amplifies the ominousness.   That’s just the way it is when you live in a resort area.  Bottom line, we have other people to look after.

 

Ask those poor folks in the Caribbean who are digging out from Hurricane Irma whose livlihoods are based on tourism…hotels…fishing…restaurants…etc.  We have extra people we must answer to and be responsible for.

 

So, sitting here, I’ve often written about the destructive results of these meteorlogical calamities.  The torrential rain…the wind that sounds like a freight train…the utter darkness…falling trees…buildings blown to bits…flooding…mud and rockslides.  No water or electricity for days or weeks.  It’s impossible to understate the immensity.

 

But, sitting here, the STOOPID sun is out!  Yea, it looks like a postcard.

 

There’s barely a ripple on the water.  A gentle breeze strokes the edges of the overhanging palapa roof.  It’s 92 degrees outside and kids are playing with a rubber tube on the beach.  Dad’s got a beer in hand.  Mom’s reading a book.

 

What’s wrong with this picture?

 

According to the weather reports, all heck should be breaking loose real soon.  The heavens are gonna tear open a new one. Armageddon 2.0 is on the way.  Noah get the ark ready!

 

The port captain has closed the marinas down for two days now.  All boat traffic including fishing, diving, whalewatching and touring vessels are prohibited from leaving the harbor.

 

But…but…but…there’s not a cloud in the sky right now!  C’mon, man!  Are you serious?

 

We have clients boxed up in their rooms chomping at the bits to fish.  That’s why they’re here.  Or they’re tying on a serious buzz at the pool bar.

 

I’ve seen this before.  Too many days of this and it could get fugly.

 

It’s one thing to explain to folks that they can’t go out and play when it’s the deluge.   The sky is falling.  The drain is open.  Even the fish are hiding as are all creatures great and small.

 

It’s an entirely different issue trying to ask folks to keep their patience when the sun is out and it looks like a perfectly good day to be out on the water.  But, some picky-ninny bureaucrat has closed the port and ruined all the fun.

 

It’s like Disneyland.  It’s the “happiest place on earth” until you’ve waited in line and the ride breaks down!

 

It’s not supposed to happen on YOUR turn.  On YOUR vacation.

 

None of us want it to happen either.  Believe me, if we could control the weather, we would!  I’d grow back my hair and be taller too.  But, it’s not gonna happen.

 

I don’t like it when we get told we can’t play.  It’s like getting a time-out as a kid.  Yea, I’m gonna pout too!  It looks perfectly fine to go romp in the sand box and play in the water.

 

But, I get it too.

 

And I have to remind myself and try to communicate that to my clients that safety is the pre-eminent aspect in play.

 

The fisherman sitting in his room or hanging out at the pool often cannot see the forest for the trees.  It might look calm in the bay.  The sun could be out, but outside it could be howling wind and giant waves.

 

Unseen rollers and breakers could be out there already.

 

I’ve seen the deadly result when folks ignore the warnings not to take the boat out or not to go into the surf. Mother Nature is an unforgiving witch when she’s angry and you disregard the signs.

 

Here’s the biggest rub.

 

Remember, you’re in Mexico.  If you get in trouble “out there” especially when there’s warnings posted, chances are you’re on your own.  There’s no other boats that were foolish enough to go out.  The Coastguard isn’t going to look for you.  There’s no vessel assist program.

 

Often attempts at rescue, the rescuer is also lost.  A double tragedy.

 

So for now, we’re just gonna heed the warnings and sit here in the sunshine.  And wait for the storm to hit.  We watch and wait for the impending storm clouds.  We will endeavor to keep calm and chive on.

 

It’s times like this that I really pray for even a little rain to start.  Bring on some clouds and thunder to justify keeping everyone on the beach.  PLEASE!  It’s better than sunshine.

 

In the meantime… Keep everyone close and pass the suntan lotion.  Keep the blender going too.  Hopefully, they’ll forget there’s not a cloud in the sky.

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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JUST BITE ME

just bite me

JUST BITE ME!

Originally Published Week of Aug. 31, 2017 in Western Outdoor News Publications

It’s that time of the year in Baja.

 

In my opinion, nothing beats the late summer and fall for fishing.  The sunny days are long.  The waters are flat.  The non-fishing tourists and families have left to go back to school.  And the fishing just seems to ramp up.

 

Oh…and airline tickets are cheaper too!

 

More importantly…

 

The “glamour” fish seem to know it’s “showtime.”  Billfish, wahoo, bigger dorado, larger roosterfish, tuna and others play to the crowds during prime time.  It’s big boy time on all levels.

 

But, there’s some small-time players who also come to the party and can ruin a night or ruin a vacation faster than a wahoo blasting after a trolled lure.  It’s often a reality that can’t be avoided.  Or can it?

 

I’m talking about bugs…yea…creepy stinging flying annoying biting critters that can put a buzz kill (no pun intended) on a fun time really fast.

 

Mostly I’m referring to mosquitos, flies and no-see-ums (invisible biting gnats).

 

At best, they’ll pester you into submission as you slap yourself silly while trying to down your margarita; or catch a siesta on the beach; or ruin your evening with that (we’ve all been there) annoying drone in your ear followed by the inevitable bites and scratches.

 

At worst, they can cover you in bites. However, in the ultimate scenario, they can send you to the hospital with a severe case of dengue fever or other sickness.  Nothing to laugh about.

 

Here in Mexico, we call dengue fever the “broken bone flu” because it’s very painful.

 

It starts with water.

 

The summer and fall is when we get our tropical storms and rainfalls.  Water puddles and collects. By the roadside.  Little containers.  Trash.

 

Bugs lay eggs where it’s warm and wet. The heat hatches them and then they go on the hunt.  In swarms.   They search for food and pro-create other nasty critters!

 

You, sir and madam, are the perfect host!

 

You have all that unprotected exposed skin.  And you smell!

 

Perspiration. Fruity fragrances like perfume and cologne; hair products like shampoo and mousse; your sunscreen; the “spring fresh” smell of detergent in your clothes…you’re just a walking neon sign that says “Bite Me!”

 

What’s that they say about an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of pain?”  (or itch?)

 

Let’s start with basics!

 

For Pete’s sake…keep your hotel doors and windows closed or at least keep the screens closed. Keep the bad critters outside.

 

A mosquito doesn’t care that you spent $1000 bucks-a-night for that ritzy hotel room with the 700-count-thread Egyptian cotton sheets. It’s gonna buzz your ear and you know it!

 

If you’re camping, that screen isn’t called “no-see-um” screen so people can’t see you change your clothes.  It’s because the mesh is so small that the almost invisible little gnats with the mean sting can’t get through.  So take advantage of it!

 

Once no-see-um get to you, they will attack in hordes and you’ll never know what hit you.

 

They’ll bite through your hair; inside your clothes; in the crack of your you-know-what; in your ears and under your armpits and you’ll never see a single one of them.

 

I was once working a photo shoot for a magazine with a bunch of models on a beach.  Within 10 minutes of setting up, the girls and photographer were screaming back to the van covered in dozens of red itching little welts.  The girls had been bitten even inside their bikinis and in their hair and weren’t able to work for over a week.

 

Which leads me to location.

 

Flying bugs have a hard time in the wind or breeze.  Don’t set up your beach chair near the bushes or your campsite in the trees.   For the photo-shoot I mentioned above, the photographer wanted to shoot the girls on the white sands next to a grove of mangrove trees.

 

If your boat is mooring up in a cove, get up-wind from brush as well.  These bugs will fly out to your boat and create havoc.  Near one remote island, we once had to sleep in our wetsuits on deck because of the bugs.  Imagine trying to sleep in a rubber suite in 95 degree night heat.

 

Obviously too, as alluded to above, fragrances are your enemy.  Avoid them.  Almost impossible with all the chemicals we use on ourselves these days, but at least be conscious of it.  If you spill food or sugary things, likewise, clean it up.  It’s common sense, but bag of your trash.

 

Fragrances can also be your friend.

 

There’s a lot of bug repellants out there.  Fragrance is their major component.

 

I’m not a big fan of putting more chemicals on myself, but there’s some newer and better natural and organic repellants that you can purchase that work well.  Spray your clothes especially the openings.  Lighting a citronella candle or two works great as well, especially at night.

 

In a pinch, acid things like a lime will work also!

 

Gringos like to stick a lime in their beer bottles.  Well, that wasn’t created by beer company advertising.  Squeezing lime on the rim kept flies away from crawling on the bottle or rim of your glass!

 

When I have nothing else, I’ll rub some lime or lemon juice on my skin.  It’s better than nothing especially against flies!

 

Also, if you can, cover up.  Long loose sleeves help protect against sunburn as well as bugs.

 

Critters like paradise too.  And there’s more of them than 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
 

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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SO CLOSE BUT SO FAR

SO CLOSE SO FAR

This might be your first visit or your 20th visit. You really think you know more about fishing these water than these guys who have fished in one spot their whole lives?

SO CLOSE SO FAR

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 13, 2017 in Western Outdoor News

There’s an old saying that goes something like:

“If you believe something will work, chances are it will.  If you don’t believe in it, it probably won’t work.”

I have often believed that when it comes to “local knowledge,” there’s nothing like it.

It’s home court advantage.

It’s the dealer’s table.

Home team’s locker room

It’s the golf pro’s home course

It’s being on a first-name basis with the owner of the butcher shop

It’s the difference in having “an edge” whether real or imagined.  Sometimes “imagined” is all it takes.

Like having your favorite baseball hat or the pink striped neck-tie.

Or tying your shoes a certain way before the bowling league

Or that raggedy-A fishing t-shirt your family wants you to destroy.

You know it works and you could care less whether anyone believes you.

It’s like that down here where we live in La Paz.

We own and run two fleets of pangas.  Technically, they fish the same waters…the Sea of Cortez.  In fact their areas of operation often overlap.  One works more north of the city.  The other works more south of the city.

There’s a ven-diagram patch-of-water, however, that is common to both.

Use the same boats.  Fish for the same fish.  Dorado, tuna, billfish, wahoo, etc.  Your typical Baja sportfishing fare.

Heck, many of my captains in one fleet are related by blood or marriage to the captains in the other fleet.

However, I have always found it amusing that each fleet, claims the other fleet “doesn’t know how to fish!”  Or how their uncle, cousin, brother-in-law in the other fleet “fishes like an idiot.”

It’s always said with a roll-of-the-eyes or a grin, but the words carry sincerity.  Strangely, they do fish differently.

Same waters.  Same fish.

One believes in only using feathers to troll.  The other fleet would rather drag Rapalas behind the boat.

One believes in heavily chumming the waters.  The other thinks, that’s overdoing it.  The fish will get full.  They will lose interest. Only one or two pieces of chum in the water at a time please.

One fleet readily uses circle hooks.  The other thinks clients lose too many fish with circle hooks.

One likes to troll with the lure way way way back in the wake at high speed.  The other insists lures should only be fished slowly close to the boat.

One fleet considers fluorocarbon to be golden.  To the other fleet…meh…pretty much indifferent.  Flurocarbon is expensive in Mexico and a waste of money.

One fleet catches bait one piece at a time with a single hook.  The other prefers Lucky Joe’s and Sabiki rigs to catch several at once.

You get the idea.

And my comment about “homecourt advantage” and “feeling lucky?”

Many of my captains have worked for us almost 2 decades so I’ve fished with all of them.  They will certainly suggest you fish their way, but if you want to try something different, go ahead.  They’ll grudgingly tell you it’s OK.

Afterall, you’re the boss.  The client is always right.

You want to use some of those techniques that the other fleet uses?  Go ahead.  Oh, you fished a lot in Loreto or the East Cape and want to fish the way they fish?  Sure.

Oh, wait, you’re an “expert” fisherman and you’ve fished all over the world and read all the books about Baja and you want to throw lures all day?  Be my guest.

The captains are very accommodating.  They know who butters their bread.

But, at the end of the day, nine out’ve ten times, the clients who fished the way the captains suggested do better.  The ones who realized during the day that other boats are catching fish and make the switch to let the captain do his thing, do better.

If you want to fish, there’s lots of different ways to fish. If you want to catch fish, there’s nothing like local knowledge.

It might not make sense at first why one method works better than another.  The captains in a certain area have probably fished that area all their lives and for generations.  They have fished no other areas.  Send them 100 miles away to Cabo San Lucas, and a lot of them might be lost.  I’ve seen Cabo captains come up here and fall on their faces as well.

A certain technique works because the locals believe it works.  Whether it’s logical or not.  I put my fishing day in the hands of the local.  I listen to what he says.  And I will NOT throw away my lucky t-shirt either!

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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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.”

Read Full Post »

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