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YOU’RE NOT HERE TO FISH?

Definitely this is NOT a taco.

YOU’RE NOT HERE TO FISH?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It has never stopped being a wonderland to so many. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But lately, I’ve noticed a big difference.

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

They’re here for the food.

A “Foodie” invasion.

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

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

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

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

But these are whole different class of visitors.

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

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

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

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

Yup!  As if I knew!

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

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

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

You’ve heard of a “pub crawl.” 

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

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

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

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

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Stuff like that.

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

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

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

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

To each their own.

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

Buen provecho! 

That’s my story!  

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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FIND YOUR BEACH

FIND YOUR BEACH

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 7, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

When I first found myself living down here in the Baja almost 30 years ago, I thought I was in heaven . I was “living the dream” as it were.

In my previous “life” I had gone from a litigation attorney with a pin-striped suit and briefcase running in-and-out of courthouses with a demanding schedule.

I now found myself 10 miles down a dirt road. 

I was working as the fishing guide, divemaster and chef for a little boutique hotel in a little bay.  No more than 10 or 15 persons there at a time.

I lived in a little backpacker tent I had erected on a wooden pallet on the beach.  I ran about a 100-yard extension cord from the main house so I could plug in a little 20-watt lamp.

Water was in a 5-gallon jug filled from a fresh-water well dug up in the arroyo.   I had two pairs of shorts (one for fishing and one for scuba) ; 3 t-shirts and 2 sets of flip-flops for clothes.

I did have an array of fishing gear and dive gear oh, and I adopted a little black dog I found living in the hotel trash dump.

No internet.  No phones.  These were the days before that technology.  Imagine that!

Getting supplies meant bouncing an hour down a dirt road to the nearest town. 

Days were spent fishing or diving in the prettiest bluest clearest waters I’ve ever seen in my life.  When I had no fishing clients, part of my job was to still catch fish for the hotel kitchen.

Crazy…I had a job where it was MY JOB to catch fish fresh fish!  In the freakin’ Sea of Cortez!

Nights were spent cooking in the kitchen mostly, but after that, simply sitting in a beach chair in front of my tent.  Or around the big blazing fire pit we would light for the clients and listening to the guests.

I remember skies with a zillion stars.  You could actually see galaxies.  And shooting stars Or moon-lit nights that were almost as bright as day.

And nothing but the sound of waves lapping the beach.

I touched no money.  I wore no shoes.  Never wrote a check.  Never had to “return a call.” Washed my clothes in a bucket.

It was hard work and often a long day with no days off, but what’s that saying?  “Find what you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Sometimes you just know.

It was a special happy time.  A good time.  I had found my beach.  Just like the popular commercial. 

Fast forward almost 3 decades.  Still in Baja. 

Still doing a lot of the same things.  But now on a much larger stage and scale.

Big city.  Two big fishing fleets.  A restaurant.  Transportation company.  Dozens of clients a day coming-and-going.  No days off.  A big payroll.  All the accoutrements of running two companies in two different countries.

There are meetings and reports.  Articles to write.  Up every morning at 4 a.m.  Inventories, lists, deadlines and so many moving parts every day.

We’ve been successful and blessed beyond deserving.  I have a lovely wife now and hopefully, lots of happy employees and there’s nothing more gratifying than all the smiles we see every day.

Life is good.  Life is grand.

I’ve got miles of beach right in front of me.  I’m looking out the window as I type this.

But, it’s not MY beach.  I’m happy, but it’s not my happy place.  There’s a big difference.

So, this past week, Jill and I drove down another dirt road.  Over an hour from La Paz where we live.  We weren’t supposed to take the rental car “off-road” but hey…don’t ask permission…ask forgiveness. 

We just hoped we didn’t get stuck somewhere.  It almost happened where part of the dirt road had been washed away in the last rains and we almost got stuck in the loose sand and mud of the arroyo.

Our own rattle-trap car would definitely not have made the journey.

But, at the end of this road is a little spot. 

With a few cabanas.  And a kitchen.  And a boat ramp.  And palm trees on a beach that were planted over 100 years ago.  And a little cemetery where the folks who planted those trees now rest tucked against a cliff that rises from the ocean.

There’s a little chapel on a hill. It was built by hand when everything was brought in by boat or hauled over the mountains.

The little pool is fresh sweet water that comes from a mountain spring.  Swimming in it reminds you of bygone summer days and lying on that warm cement as a kid.

Many a time over the years, we’re the only ones there.

No music is played.  No blenders are allowed.  One must dress for dinner.  Nothing elegant. Just basic simple tasty food made by ladies in the kitchen. Some have been there for decades.

The ladies who serve dinner dress in pinafores. It’s like they stepped out’ve a time capsule when life was simpler.

Candles only light the patios and tables.

There’s a formal “cocktail hour.”  As it were. Basically, it just means it’s dark now. Come have a drink before dinner gets served .

You can fish.  Or swim.  Eat or nap.  That’s what there is to do. Did I say nap?

Listen to the ocean or the wind that blows from the mountains.  Watch the sun navigate slowly across the sky and paint the landscape with changing colors.  Watch the moon and stars take it’s place illuminating the night in nocturnal silver.

I”d love to tell you the name of the place and where it is.

But as much as I blab on in my weekly writings, I think I will keep this one to myself.   It feels like MY beach again.  It feel like a place a came to long ago and had forgotten.

It’s good to touch that again. 

Yes, you can come to visit your Cabo and Puerta Vallartas and Cancuns…and do all the tourist things.  Nothing wrong with that.

But, I hope you can also find a little dirt road down to a beach that few people know.  It might not even be on a map.   I hope you find a little something different.  Maybe a little part of yourself too. 

And keep that spot all to yourself and how you got there.  Cheers to finding your beach!

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter Sportfishing

Website: 

www.tailhunter.com

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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EAVESDROPPING ON A ‘BRO’ SESSION

EAVESDROPPING ON A “BRO” SESSION

Originally Published the Week of Oct 18, 2022

Sometimes you can’t help but eavesdrop on a conversation.  I know it’s rude and we shouldn’t do it.   However, there are times when you can’t help but be drawn in.

Besides, if the folks are talking loud enough for everyone to hear…gosh…the conversation is out there!

So, I was sitting at one of the tables outside our restaurant here in La Paz.  Besides me was a group of 7 or 8 guys having a cold one after work before going home.

Just like guys everywhere stopping off to decompress a bit.  Dudes.  Bros. 

All local guys.  I knew some of them.  Others not.  But, all nice guys.  Working guys.  Mexican blue collar.

One worked in a hotel as a bellman.  One was a hotel assistant manager. 

From what I could tell, two of them were waiters from different restaurants. One was a shuttle driver.  I think one was a taxi driver and one was a charter captain.

And they were talking about tips and tipping. 

Always an interesting subject since we’re in the hospitality business ourselves with our fishing fleets, restaurant, shuttle company and association with many La Paz hotels.

They were telling stories about tips…mostly bad tips and laughing about it.

Now, I’m not agreeing or disagreeing, but just relating some of the conversation.  Not trying to create controversy about it. 

They were talking about the best and worst tippers.

All agreed that overall, gringos were the best tippers.  Overall.  Some better than others, but overall way above average.

From what I could tell, Californians and people from New York were the best.

Japanese from California were very good.  Chinese often wanted a discount, but in the end tipped well. 

The guy who seemed to work at the reception desk of some hotel said, that when he knows they are Chinese, he offers them a high rate, then discounts it to the rate he was going to give them anyway.

“They just want to know they were getting a deal and they are happy.  My boss is happy.  It’s win-win.”

He also said some folks from “eastern U.S.” were also like that.  They wanted to know they got a “deal.”

They guy who was a charter skipper said it was funny that some of the people who spend all day telling him about their big business or what they own are the worst tippers.

“I hear about all their big houses or all the places they travel to or their fancy cars. All nice and good.  Very interesting.

But at the end of the day we have lots of fish.  I do a good job.  I get a 5-dollar tip!”

“Once I had a guy who was related to the Farrari Family in Italy. Big money.  Fancy fishing clothes.  Nice fishing gear.  His wife was dressed like a fashion model to go fishing.”

“End of the day, he reaches into his pocket and gives me his pocket change.  Coins!  It added up to 40 pesos (2 dollars!).”

Of course, this lead to who are the worst tippers.

They all agreed that Canadians and Europeans are not big tippers.  But, the worst tippers were Mexicans from the United States and local Mexicans.

They actually all raised their glasses to that one .

“Many of the Mexicans from the states like to impress that they speak Spanish and many of them sure have a lot of money.  But they are cheap tippers mostly.  They leave very little or they give you a handful of coins or just a few dollars.”

The fishing captain said they sometime give him a bonito or two and think that’s “my tip” even though it’s junk fish.

The hotel guy said the ladies who clean the hotel rooms say that after several days, they’ll get two dollars left on the dresser.

The taxi and shuttle drivers said they almost never get tipped at all.  Definitely, locals never tip.

All of them agreed that the locals were the very worst.

The waiter said that many of his fellow waiters tried to avoid waiting on the locals. Everyone wants to wait on the gringo tables.

“Of course, we try to always give good service to everyone, but it’s difficult when you know that your service isn’t appreciated.”

He said, “Locals will run up 100 dollars for a meal for a family.  And then they will leave 1 dollar in coins as the tip.” 

“It’s just the way locals are.” said another. “If you have not worked in the service industry, you don’t understand how we all depend on tips.”

“Again, often the wealthiest Mexicans who have the money to eat at restaurants or stay in good hotels are the worst tippers.”

Several of them agreed that they could almost tell where people were from by the way they tipped.  

Overall, most of them said that the bad tips evened-out with the good tips at the end of the day.  But, just disappointing how some people can be such poor tippers or not appreciate their hard work.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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FLIRTING WITH DISASATER

UH-OH!

FLIRTING WITH DISASTER

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

Being in the travel and hospitality business down here in Baja, it’s been interesting watching travel trends lately.  We’ve hosted thousands of fishermen, friends and clients over almost 30 years here in La Paz.

I would venture to say 99.9% of them fly from the U.S. on the various airlines that serve this area. 

We all know that 2020 was covid year.  Air travel, or any travel for that matter, was a disaster.

Last year, 2021 was a bit better.  Still lots of folks hesitant to travel.  Many of the travel protocols were still in place.

However, with each passing month, there’s no disputing that an increasing number of folks were starting to get out.  Travel, especially internationally, boomed in direct proportion to the reduction in covid protocols such as masks, testing, vax cards, distancing, etc. 

You remember all those, right?

This year, without a doubt, travel is in full-turbo.  Covid be damned.  Cabin fever and covid fatigue from being cooped up has travel busting at the seams.

Insofar as we own our own shuttle transportation company down here, we’ve got 7 vans running daily between cities and airports.  We’re pretty tuned into the comings-and-goings of airlines and airports.

In all our years doing this, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered so many cancelled flights; delayed flights and lost luggage.  In “normal” years, I would have to deal with an issue maybe only 1 or 2 times a month during out fishing season.

These days, it has become almost a daily occurrence. 

What’s happening?

Well, of course, there are the unavoidable things like bad weather.  It happens.

But, am I the only one or is it happening more often? 

A screen showing cancelled flights as more than 1,400 American airlines have been canceled due to staff shortages and unfavorable weather in Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Hurricanes, tropical storms, unusual snowstorms, tornado warnings…as I write this, I think there are two more storms already brewing in the Caribbean.

Global warming or whatever.  It jacks flights up and everyone understands that it’s something that happens. I doubt any of us wants to be in an airplane anyway in bad weather.

But, what about all the other reasons.

I spoke to a good friend who just retired as a career commercial pilot. 

He told me that during Covid so many airline employees were terminated as a business move.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

In hindsight, maybe not so much. 

Now, the airlines are like everyone else.  Can’t find enough workers and staff.  This includes flight attendants, mechanics, maintenance, pilots and more.

It’s not like you can just find trained pilots or mechanics like McDonald’s finds someone to cook French fries.   So, heavy bookings coupled with a lack of crews has had a huge impact.

As well, higher fuel prices have affected air travel just like they have affected our own highway driving.  It costs more to fill those tanks.  Issues with oil producers like Russia and the Middle East have not helped.

Another issue is simple airport logistics.  Too many flights.  Too many people travelling and not enough or out-date airports or airport space. 

My last half-dozen flights, we sat on the tarmac either waiting to take off; waiting for enough crew; or a mechanical issue.  Or, upon landing, no gates available to park the plane.

For us personally, running a tourism-based operation here in Baja, it has often been a nightmare for us let alone our haggard travelers.

Flights getting canceled.  Late planes.  Lost luggage.  Re-routing have become an almost daily occurrence.  It’s become as common as that salty bag of peanuts they now give you on flights.

We’ve pretty much come to almost expect it.  All day, I monitor my e-mails, texts and phone calls expecting to hear that someone missed their flight; or lost their luggage; or are now arriving at midnight.

A couple of tips, especially with holiday travel looming…

Minimize the number of connecting flights.  The fewer changes, the less likely you’ll have a delay or cancelation.  It’s like a chain only being as good as it’s weakest travel link.

If one connecting flight is late, it might mean you miss your next flight.

Minimize your luggage.  Seems obvious.  There’s less to lose.

And give yourself plenty of time.  Airport delays are common at check-in or just to find parking!  Don’t be that person doing the “O.J.” Simpson dash through the airport and being the last person to check in your luggage.

You might make the flight  Your luggage is going to Brazil.

For Pete’s sake, pack medications, and other essential health items in your carry-on.  Or at least enough to get by. 

Several years ago, one of our clients went 3 days before his luggage showed up.  He was not doing well and his skin was turning kinda yellow.  He finally admitted that his colostomy bag was in his lost luggage!

Oh, one other thing.  Make a copy of your passport.  Keep the original with you, but pack a copy somewhere else.  You’ll thank me later.

Lastly, try not to book your flights during the busiest periods of the day.

We all like to depart at a reasonable hour.  We like to arrive at our destinations at a reasonable hour. 

Well, so does everyone else.  It’ll mean the airport is packed.  It will mean planes are packed.  If your plane is late or has an issue, it’s harder to find another flight

When you arrive, the airport will be stuffed as well.  You could be ages getting through customs, immigration and rental car agencies.  That’s another story.  There’s not enough rental cars for everyone that reserves one.

And they can’t give you one until other people return their cars!

It’s a vicious circle.

Minimize the risks so you can have a smooth, safe and easy travel day.

That’s my story

Jonathan

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

ANOTHER #@$% BONITO!

BONITO! FUN and EXCITING…UNTIL THEY AREN’T!

ANOTHER #@$% BONITO!

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 28, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publication

If you’ve never caught one, they can be a lot of fun.  These smaller members of the tuna family can pull you out’ve your socks or flip-flops.

Most are only 5-10 pounds, but pound-for-pound, I would argue that no fish pulls harder.  I’ve often told our astonished fishing clients that if they ever make a 25-pound bonito, it’ll destroy us.

Built like little missiles they are speedy and tenacious.  On light tackle or spinning gear, there are few fish in the sportfishing world that can compete.

. . .until you’ve had your fill.

The first few are fun.  Then, there’s a point of diminishing returns. 

Even on matched tackle, they sure can take a lot out’ve you!

After awhile, you realize, they’re not fun anymore.  They’re pests!

You’re getting tired.  These darned things are eating up all your live bait.  You’r really out on the water to be catching real tuna or dorado or something else besides bonito!

You want to get to the main event, not fooling around with these pesky %#$@ bonito!

Because there’s a big drawback about bonito!

With the exception of a few types of bonito, most don’t taste so great. So, we throw them back.  Or, in the old days, they get used for fertilizer in the garden.

But, aside from eating them, there’s some really handy uses for them that I never realized until I moved down here and learned from our fishing captains.

For one, they make excellent bait.

If you can keep them alive and are fortunate enough to be on a boat that has “tuna” tubes to keep fish like this alive, they make super bait for billfish.

Harnessed properly and hooked, they are great to troll.  Big marlin are especially attracted.  If the bonito are small enough they can be cast directly to a billfish.  It’s like tossing candy in front of a 5-year-old.

If still alive, I’ve found it very effective to take a smaller one and pin a big hook in it through the jaw or dorsal and send it back down on a heavy rig with some weight.

Then, I hold on!

Done over a reef or rocky area or high spot, I might cut one of it’s tail fins or put some shallow cuts in it’s flanks.  With the cut tailfin the bonito will swim erratically like the wounded fish that it is.

Darren bonito 6-21 tags

With the scores on it’s flanks, the bonito will bleed a bit and release it’s oily scent into the water.

Big dog-tooth snapper; giant pargo and grouper fall for this all the time.  It’s a deadly rig and you’d better hold on because they don’t “nibble.”

They’ll slam like a powerful freight train and head right back into the rocks. Anything that can eat a 5-pound bonito will surely have a big mouth and the muscle to back it up!

Speaking of bonito blood and oil, the meat is indeed very bloody and oily.  It’s a big muscle with fins.

If the fish is already dead, our captains will sometime cut strips from it and drag them behind our pangas to leave an oily trail in the water.  Sometimes, they’ll just run a rope or heavy cord through the mouth and gills and drag the whole bonito behind the boat.

Dorado especially find this irresistible. 

Keep an eye out because I’ve seen dorado swim right up in the propwash to the transom following that blood trail. Get ready to drop a hooked bait almost right on top of their heads.

Strips of bonito are, in fact, great to use with your lures.  A little strip on a casting lure or iron adds some organic attractant to your presentation.

Likewise, a larger strip hooked onto a feather or larger lure is also a bonus.  Not only will it add scent to the water, but if a big fish grabs it, it’s less likely to let go now that it has some real “meat” in it’s mouth instead of a chunk of plastic or resin!

There’s one other reason I like to keep bonito on board.

Every now and then, you get sealions that become a nuisance.  I’m sure you can relate.

These pests eat your baits. They eat your hooked fish then give you the “middle finger salude” as they throw it into the air right in front of you. Plus, their presence chases away the gamefish.

Back-in-the-day, there were things like seal bombs, wrist rockets and sometimes firearms to take care of the problem.

We can’t do that anymore and frankly, I don’t wanna hurt anything permanently that I’m not going to eat.

But, these sealions are messing with our livelihood. 

One of my panga captains showed me that if you take a dead bonito, you put a bunch of hot sauce into it.  Then heave it like a football at the sealion.

The sealion grabs it and dives with it’s treasure!

…then pops up barking like crazy!  It goes jumping around and swimming away as fast as it can!  It goes and bothers someone else’s boat.

Problem solved. 

Your %$#@ bonito has become seal repellent!

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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YOU DO NOT GET A SPECIAL “AMERICAN” PASS

YOU DO NOT GET A SPECIAL “AMERICAN” PASS

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

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column about folks who come down to Baja, particularly here in La Paz, and ask me how to score drugs. 

The gist of my comments were generally:

  1. I’m the wrong person to ask
  2. You’re an idiot and
  3. You’re an idiot

A couple of things happened this past week that had me shaking my head and compelled me to write more about the subject of breaking the law down here. 

If you don’t want to read any further, my advice is “DON’T DO IT.”

Not only is ignorance of the law not a defense, but this is NOT the U.S.  You are GUILTY until you prove your innocence and you do NOT get some special “pass” because you assert that you’re an American. 

On the contrary.  The fact you’re a foreigner will probably make you an even bigger mark. 

Everyone else is speeding, but you blow by the police officer in a rental car.  Or everyone else goes through the stop sign except you.

Locals walk down the street with open beer cans.  So, that means you can do the same and be loud and obnoxious.

There’s some tolerance for it.  But don’t count on it.  You won’t necessarily get pegged, but why chance it?

To further illustrate, I had a young gal, maybe 20-years-old come down with a fishing group a few days ago. While the group was eating at our Tailhunter restaurant, she pulled me aside.

She was a bit tipsy.  Not a lot, but she had that “slightly buzzed” vibe to her. It might have had something to do with the margarita she had in her hand.

Or it might have had something to do with her question.

“Jonathan, do you know where I can score some weed?”

I took a moment before I answered as I looked at her slightly glazed eyes.  Somehow, I still can’t believe when folks ask me questions like this. 

Am I just too old?  Have I lost tolerance for questions like this? Do I look like the cool old guy that has the answer to finding drugs?

It was a sincere question from her.

I gave her my standard answer.  No.  I don’t know. 

And also she should be very careful about trying to score weed or drugs of any kind here in Mexico.

For one, it’s illegal.

Moreso, like any city, there are bad people that can get her in trouble.  Also, there are narcs just waiting for tourists to go around asking just those kinds of questions. 

I wasn’t dismissive.  I tried not to be the condescending old guy.  I was just giving her some advice.  I didn’t want her to get in trouble.

I also told her that if she had brought anything down to quickly get rid of it.

And that’s when I got the lecture.  From a 20-year-old.  (I’m 65 years young.)

She started on telling me it was her “right and privilege” to be able to smoke weed or whatever else she wanted to do. 

She informed me she came from a state (it wasn’t California) where it was very liberal and easy to obtain marijuana so, by her logic, that should extend to Mexico.

…just because.

And she also told me, she had paid good money (actually her parents paid) to have a great vacation in Mexico, so she figured that included the ability to “fire up a joint” if she wanted.

Besides, ”This is Mexico, where you can do whatever you want, right?” she added.

Not sure what travel brochure she had been reading, but before I could get a contrary word in, she started in about how alcohol is a worse and more dangerous drug than marijuana…as she held up the margarita in her hand to illustrate her point.

And she told me that cigarettes are more dangerous, but legal, as well. (Was this a prepared speech?) Blah blah blah. 

I have neither the time, energy or inclination to debate.  Especially with an entitled “20-something” girl clearly-armed with information and in a defensive posture.

It wasn’t the time and place. At my age, I pick my battles carefully and the hills I want to die on.  I had said my piece.

Anyway…

Before I could say anything more, she disgustedly walked away from me to rejoin her group at the restaurant table.  Where she sulked and gave me “stink eye” for the rest of the meal.

That was several days ago and the group is still fishing and having a great time.  Including her parents .

But she hasn’t said a word to me since then.  Not a smile. Not a hello.

I ruined her vacation.

I’ve become my parents.  I’m a buzz-killing old man.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________



Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

 

 

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SHUT MY MOUTH

SHUT MY MOUTH

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

They say if you own a restaurant, it’s inevitable that your employees will steal from you.  It’s a very accurate truism.

Having worked or managed 14 restaurants plus a catering business, there’s just no way to watch every single employee every single minute.

We’ve owned our own Tailhunter Restaurant here in La Paz now for 13 years on the waterfront.  Employee theft is rampant.  It’s blatant.  It’s uncontrollable.

We’ve had workers who have been with us for years.  Servers, dishwashers, manager, and cooks that we consider family. We trust them.

We provide benefits, vacations, bonuses, health care, personal loans for school and home.  Many have never had these perks working for other employers.

 If you have a problem, come to Jonathan and Jilly.  Close the office door and we’ll figure something out!

Regretfully, some of our best people have been our saddest and biggest disappointments.  And our worst thieves.

Everything from stealing tips to even stealing knives and forks.

We’ve caught managers on our security cameras walking out with cases of ribs or boxes of shrimp.  We have caughtthem smiling into the camera. 

Two of our employees climbed the roof to our upper floors.  They stole cases of liquor.  That was too easy.

Two hours later they came back.  They stole several flat screen TV’s.  Just carried them over the rooftops and down a ladder.

One employee broke into our office and stole the entire safe with the payroll!  It was bolted to the floor!  He was caught smiling into the security camera as well.

On a smaller scale, waiters will jimmy the orders and not give the cashier the full amount.  They pocket the difference.

Packs of tortillas disappear or don’t match inventory. A case of beer disappears.  What the heck happened to the fish fillets that were delivered yesterday?  I know we didn’t sell them.

We recently caught one of our best employees.  He’s a young man I’ll call Omar.  

Omar came to us and we could see he had some potential.  Never worked in a restaurant, but willing to learn.  He started in the kitchen.  Then became a server.

When we were short-handed one night, he stepped in to help our bartender during an evening rush.  The kid liked it and he had talent.

Over the next few months, he developed into one of the best bartenders we had.  Everyone loved his concoctions.  He was great with the other employees.  Omar was a real gem.  A rare find. A favorite.

Then, we caught him red-handed on the security cam.  He was in the upstairs kitchen helping himself to a pot of rice.  Had a nice bowl of it.

Geeze…not him too!

We’ve tried all kinds of ways over the years to curb the theft.  Short of firing someone, most don’t work.  Stealing continues to a larger or lesser degree.

But darnit…employees are really hard to find these days.  Good employees are even harder to find.  Good employees that we really like are an even rarer commodity.  

So we brought the kid into the office.  Omar knew he was in trouble when we shut the door.  Or worse.

I’ve always thought of him as “kid.”  Anyone under 40 years-old working for us these days is a kid.

We wanted to hear his side of the story and why he was stealing rice.  It looked like it wasn’t his first time the way he was easily spooning-up the rice in the video footage. 

Why are you stealing food?

“I was really hungry…”

That hung in the air for a moment.  The way he said it.

It wasn’t like, you or me getting “hungry” and having the “munchies.” 

He started to tear-up.  Eyes were watering .

I always thought he was in his mid-to-late 20’s.  He was only 20 years old.  For the first time, I was seeing him as a real kid.

He really WAS hungry.  He had not eaten.

Turns out this was his first real job with us.  First time he had been trusted with a position and responsibility.

Talking…listening to this kid really for the first time…

He told us he had been abandoned at an orphanage with his sister when he was 8 years old.  Parents just left them.

He bounced around in and out. 

Never got any real schooling.

Never really had a stable home situation.  Lived with his sister for awhile. They would get kicked out or they had to move.  She had her own issues of drugs.

He was never sure where he would be sleeping the next week.  The next month.  The next day. 

But, he always made it to work.

And all his life, there had never been enough food.  Not in the orphanage.  Not living with others.  Not living on his own.

Never enough food.  At night, no food security.  Not knowing where the next meal is coming from.

He was honestly hungry. 

And for the first time, we’re seeing this kid differently. 

These days with the shortage of employees we tend to grab anyone who can walk, talk, breathe and show up.   We often don’t have time to really get to know many of them.

We can’t. I know we should and we do our best.

We are jamming full-speed.  Many of them don’t last anyway these days. 

They quit.  They disappear.  Bring in the next one.

Omar had been a welcome surprise. 

And now here was a kid who was simply hungry.  For a simple bowl of rice. 

We had been ready to possibly fire him.  We were raring to give him a stern lecture or rake him over the coals.  Make an example of him to the other employees.

Over a simple bowl of rice.

The fire was not there. How could we get angry?  He needed a hug and a meal.  Not our vitriol.

Just shut my mouth!

We so take things for granted.  We Americans hear about people who don’t have enough food all the time. 

But they are always “somewhere else.”  They are not the people you are in contact with day-to-day. 

All of us have full refrigerators and pantries.  At 3 p.m., we are “starving” for a bag of chips.  Or “starving” for a candy bar.  We are “famished” to have dinner.

Just shut my mouth.  

We’re going to make some changes.  No one doesn’t eat on our watch.

That’s my story…

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

RUN or RIDE IT OUT?

RUN OR RIDE IT OUT?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To their credits, I suppose, no one canceled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will the airports close?

Will we be able to fly out?

What about flooding?

What happens if we lose electicity?

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

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

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

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

So, here’s my thoughts.

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

Odile was a massive an catastrophic exception.

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

No one gets hurt. 

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

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

You’re ultimately going to be OK.

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

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

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

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

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

If you stay, what will it be like?

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

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

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

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

Forget TV.  Smallest of your problems.

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

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

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

Or, you need that phone to check airlines!

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

But, it’s something to think about.

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

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

Click…click…click.

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

That’s my story…

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

MEXICO…STILL A BARGAIN UNLESS YOU HAVE TO LIVE HERE

STRETCHING A FEW PESOS

MEXICO…STILL A BARGAIN UNLESS YOU HAVE TO LIVE HERE

Originally Published the Week of Aug 22, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Folks come down to Mexico and no doubt, it’s a bargain.  Currently, in the post-pandemic,  it’s the number one tourist destination for Americans.

It’s close.  It’s easy to travel to.  Easy to come back. 

While the culture and language are different, it’s not exactly alien to Americans.  Spanish and Mexico are very much ingrained in the American psyche and every-day landscape (Tacos…Corona Beer…nachos…blah blah blah).

And, it’s a deal.

Compared to most places, you can still knock off a quick vacation for a ton cheaper than many places in the world. For a lot of us, it’s almost like going to visit your cousin’s house for a few days. 

It’s a no-brainer for many Americans who live in states like California, Texas and Arizona.  We go back-and-forth several times a year.

Your neighbor goes to Vegas or Tahoe.  You scoot across to Mexico.

It’s been a bargain for many years and there’s no changing that, but lately inflation has started gut-punching the Mexican economy.  

It takes awhile for things to trickle down to Mexico.  Things like the last recession or the last real estate crash hit the U.S.  It took longer to reach across the border to Mexico.

Likewise, it took awhile for Mexico to recover.

However, as inflation has swept and continues to sweep the U.S., Mexico is now taking it in the chin.

While the U.S. seems to have somewhat stemmed the rapidity of rising prices and historical inflation, Mexicans are feeling the crush.

They’re watching everything from corn, potatoes, meat, tortillas and housing start to rise these past few months.   

As gas prices skyrocketed in the U.S. the Mexican government pledged to hold down Mexican gas prices.  It did this by using subsidies to insulate the public from fuel increases.

Well, they couldn’t keep doing it forever and now gas prices are creeping up as well.  A fast creep.

According to experts, Mexico’s inflation rate is the highest in 21 years.  The economists put it at about an 8% rate and say it could hit a critical 10% by the end of this year.

At street level, this is especially tough for Chuy and his family.

Wage increases have not kept up with rising prices.  And there’s no unemployment, stimulus checks or food stamps down here.

In Mexico, the general minimum wage is about 10 dollars per day.  Not per hour.  Per day.

That’s if you’re paid legally above-board.  That’s before  pre-taxes, pre-social security and other deductions.

A huge majority of Mexicans live on a cash basis.  Hand-to-mouth.  They earn whatever they can. 

Even for many established businesses, it is not uncommon that the boss or owner pays everyone cash.  Not legal, but not exactly unusual either.

And everything is going up. 

mexico-gas-stations-ripoffs

A gallon of gas now takes half-a-day’s wages . One gallon.  Not a fill-up.  That’s often unheard of.  Imagine if filling your gas tank took more than you earn in a week.

I’ve seen folks pull up to the gas pump and literally buy 1 or 2 dollars of gas.  That’s all they can afford. 

Enough to get to work to earn another dollar-or -two that seems to go right back into the gas tank to earn another dollar-or-two.

For tourists, unless you’re a frequent visitor, the changes won’t be that noticeable.  Or you’ll never notice at all. 

Prices across the board will have risen and are rising.  It’s inevitable.  Restaurants, hotels and other business, are raising their rates to reflect increases in the cost of gasoline and staples needed to run the business.

Compared to the U.S. and the rest of the world, Mexico will still remain a bargain…for now.

Your lobster dinner is now 2 dollars more.  Your hotel room has been raised 5 dollars per night.  The fishing trip cost $25 more and the Tecate beer you bring along is a dollar more for the six-pack.

But at ground zero, behind the swim-up bars and margarita pouring, it’s getting tougher.  The struggle is real.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing

www.tailhunter.com

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter Sportfishing

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

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

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

Read Full Post »

DON’T TOUCH ME THERE!

A DEFINITE NO!

DON’T TOUCH ME THERE!

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 16, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Jimmy and his dad came down here to La Paz to fish with our fishing fleet.  They had forgotten to bring sunscreen.

As one of them told me, “We’re two Casper-white guys from Washington and we never see the sun where we live!”

So, I sent them down a few blocks to the local grocery store that night.  They went out fishing the next day.

When they came back, I saw two of the reddest men I have ever seen.  Both Jimmy and his dad had also (unwisely) taken their shirts off while they fished. 

About the only part that wasn’t crimson were the “raccoon eyes” from their sunglasses.  And obviously under their shorts and I didn’t need to check that out!

They weren’t in pain yet, but I knew it was coming.  They were grinning after a good day of fishing and I don’t think they realized how burned they had gotten.

I asked them to show me the bottle of sunscreen they had purchased.

When I read it, I realized it was some kind of Mexican tan accelerator.  Much like baby oil!  OMG.

I told them they had purchased the wrong thing. 

They told me they couldn’t read Spanish and didn’t know how to ask for it at the store.  So, they bought the bottle because it had a “sun” on it and looked like it was the right stuff.

I just shook my head. 

I was worried that at some point, I might have to send these guys to the local urgent care.  Or, I’d be getting a call from their hotel room in the middle of the night asking for some aloe gel pain relief.

As it turned out, they were fortunately the type of guys that “fry” with very little pain.  But they were fishing for an entire week and even before they left, they were peeling like crazy.

They were fortunate.  I’ve seen some bad sunburns in my 30 years down here running our fishing operation.

Even using sunscreen, I see some ugly burns on ears, tops of thighs, the tops of feet (those spaces in between flip-flops and sandals) as well as the regular places.

So, I figured I’d do some research on sunscreen and there were some interesting facts.

Listen, there’s no disputing that too much sun and those dastardly UV rays can dry and damage your skin.  Sometimes very painfully.  Plus the long-term effects of cancer can’t be ignored.

Facts are facts, but I found there’s a lot of myths about sunscreen as well.

For instance, 30 SPF blocks 97% of the UV rays.  Going higher than that is just marketing.  It’s not only more expensive, but you’re only blocking another 1 or 2 percent at most.

Go for a label that says “broad spectrum” that covers a range of say, “15-50 SPF” for the best protection.

Another one has to do with skin color.  Early on, being dark-skinned myself,  I thought I didn’t need sunscreen. 

It’s a common misconception about dark or olive-skinned folk.  Yes, you do need sunscreen and can still suffer skin damage.

And yes, you can burn just as easily on a cloudy day or windy day.  And yes, you can get burned in the wintertime. Even when it’s cold.

By the way, there’s no such thing as “waterproof” sunscreen and manufacturers are now prohibited from using that label.  It can be “water-resistant” but only between 40-80 minutes.

Either way, you should probably re-apply every 2 hours or after you go in and out of the water or are doing a high-sweat activity.

I also never knew that sunscreen expires.  Between my wife and I, we have about 20 bottles of various sunscreens that people have left behind.

The FDA requires that sunscreen retain it’s advertised strength for 3 years.  Many suncreens will have an expiration date on the label . Some do not so you’ll just have to try to remember when you bought it.

Sunscreen also loses it’s effectiveness if the bottle has been exposed to heat or sunshine. That makes sense. 

By the way, hitting the tanning salon before you go on vacation, gives you a head-start on your tan.   It does very little as far as protecting you from skin damage.  So, you still need sunscreen.

I do see a lot of our anglers using sunscreen sprays.

There’s some trepidation among the experts and from me personally .

Sure, it’s convenient.  However…

There’s no way to know if you’re covering yourself evenly when you spray.  Most folks don’t use enough sunscreen to begin with.

It is recommended that you use a teaspoonful just to do your face and neck.  Spray barely covers that!

The medical community also says that inhaling the chemicals from sunscreen can be harmful.  If you’re spraying in a breeze…well, you know…you’ve seen the spray flying all over the place.

Your clothes…your buddy…the boat seat…your fishing gear all get a little dose of spray. 

It’s one of my little peeves to see sunscreen getting on fishing gear.  I think fish can smell oils and chemicals. 

In fact, we know it’s true.  We buy “scents” to go fishing to put on our lures and bait like shrimp, anchovy and squid aromas.

So, I make a point to always wash my hands no matter what I touch.  Sunscreen…my burrito…a cigarette (I don’t smoke, but lots of fishermen do) it doesn’t matter.  I wash my hands before I touch my baits, lures or reels.

That being said, I still make sure the rest of me is covered with sunscreen, hat, long sleeve shirts and sunglasses.   You’d be wise to do the same.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing

www.tailhunter.com

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter Sportfishing

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

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

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

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