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Archive for the ‘charity’ Category

CAN’T GET OUTTA YOUR OWN WAY!

CAN’T GET OUTTA OUR OWN WAY

Originally Published the Week of June 1, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

If any of this applies to you, I am NOT throwing shade your way.  I am as guilty as the anyone of this.

It was dawn and we were loading up the clients in our van to get them from the hotel to the beach to board our boats to go fishing that day.

Everyone was loaded and anxious to get going.  Waiting for the last 2 guys.

And then down the lobby steps come Rob and Gerry.  This is their 4th trip with us and really really good guys.

But, they are struggling.  They are carrying more gear than the other 6 guys combined that are waiting in the van.  Everyone stares wide-eyed.

Rob and Gerry need a crew of Himilayan Sherpas.  It took 3 of us to heft stuff onto the roof rack of the van.

When they first started coming down, they were rookies.  Didn’t have much gear. 

However, with each consecutive year, the equipment gets more and more extensive.  They have the latest rods, reels, clothes, lures, gadgets and thing-a-ma-jiggers.

And, it’s not like I can say anything.  I mean, I don’t wanna be a buzz-kill or dampen their enthusiasm.  Like I said, there are really nice guys.

But, sometimes I think they stay up at night on the couch with the remote in their hands.  Or instead of football on weekends, they watch the fishing shows…marathon style!

Every gadget that comes out “made by fishermen for fishermen” or “guaranteed to catch fish faster and easier” or “as seen on TV” gets them twitching to grab their cellphone and credit cards.

They MUST have the “Ferris Wheel Lure” and the “See Underwater Seaview Glasses” and the battery-operated “Sonic Fish Caller.”

They can’t help themselves.  It’s like some gals I know at a Nordstrom Shoe Sale. 

They’re having fun and get so excited they can’t wait to show everyone what they bought and how it’s gonna work.  This will be the year that the fish will literally attack their lines!

Whether it’s the latest type of triple-speeded fishing reel or the hot-color 100 SPF camouflage fishing clothes, they have it! 

…and the always catch fish.  But EVERYONE catches fish. 

I’m not sure that all of that gear really made a difference.  The folks using our basic rental rods do just as well.  The guys who bring a minimum of gear do just as well.

But, here’s the issue I see with these guys getting caught up in the technology.

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They still don’t know the basics. 

I’m guilty of that myself.  I get into a new hobby or interest and then I need all the accessories. Then I  realize…whoa…slow down! 

Put down the catalogs.  Stop web-surfing Amazon.

I need to back up and get some foundation so I know how to use all this great stuff.

I know for a fact, these guys still don’t know how to tie basic fishing knots…because I’ve sat with them and showed them some knot tying. 

But, I know they don’t trust their own knots.  So they always let my captain tie up their rigs.  And bait their hooks for them.

I know as well that they don’t know how to cast or how to work a jig.

They really don’t understand why some people use braided lines.  They don’t know why they need to tie fluorocarbon to regular mono.  Aren’t both kinds of lines invisible?

Why do we use certain hooks?  

They don’t understand how to set the drags or why you can’t just “button down” the drag when a fish is running.   Why can’t you just “winch” the fish to the boat?

Well most of us know…it just doesn’t work like that!

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The thing is sometimes we can get so wrapped up in all the cool fun stuff that we forget the basics.  We trip all over ourselves because of the technology and the “latest and greatest” claims. 

Why take the time to learn when technology will help us fast-forward to our goal? 

Don’t learn to tie knots.  Buy a gadget instead. 

Don’t learn to read the water.  Buy the battery-operated underwater drone camera. 

Don’t learn how to make a jig swim.  Buy a rechargeable lure that swims all on it’s own!

Sheesh! Stop me!

We make it more complicated than it really is.  We can’t see the forest for the trees or the water through all the gear in front of our eyes.  

If fish could laugh, I’m sure they would. 

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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ON SECOND THOUGHT…

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

Originally Published the Week of April 4, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

Back in the day…state of the art. (Shudder)

          There was a time, many decades ago when I worked as a deckhand on sportfishing boats, when there would be an audible groan when someone walked on board with a spinning reel.

         If you don’t know, there’s basically two kinds of reels.  Everything else is a variation of those two reels.

         There’s a “conventional reel” that looks kind of like a barrel-shape on top of the rod. 

conventional reel

         Then, there’s the “spinning reel” that goes under the rod and looks like…well…a spinning reel.  It’s not easy to describe. 

         A lot of fishermen started out as kids with a spinning rod fishing in lakes and streams.  Great reels, no doubt. Easy to learn.  Easy to use.

         My own first was a black Mitchell Garcia (remember those?) with 4-pound-test line that my dad had attached to a K-Mart fishing rod.  (Remember when K-Mart ruled?).

         But, as far as many of us saltwater fishermen were concerned, spinning reels should stay in lakes and stream. 

         In fact, many of us called them “coffee grinders” outwardly or at least under-our-breaths.  This was due to the big handle you would “grind” when retrieving line or fighting a fish. 

         “Coffee grinder” was not a complimentary title.  Anglers who brought them out on boats weren’t held in high esteem either.

         Justly or unjustly,  it marked that person as someone to avoid.  You stayed away from them.  You fished as far away from them as possible.

         You’d just as soon fish next to a guy who picked his nose than a guy with a spinning reel.  It was that bad.

         There was a good chance that if that fisherman had a coffee-grinder reel, they weren’t very good fishermen.  Additionally, the reels themselves had a hard time controlling fish.

         The reels often weren’t very good.  Poor engineering .  Poor components. 

Ultimately, they were just overblown and oversized freshwater reels.  I’ve seen these reels seize up or break. I’ve seen big fish just blow these reels apart. 

         A novice fisherman with a reel and equipment that doesn’t do much to control a fish is a bad combination.

9ec1a38b7f73943ec0d57ef2e092888c copy

         Chances are they’re gonna tangle you which wastes a lot of time and gear.  It will always happen at the worst time.  And they won’t know how to untangle things.  It’s now YOUR problem. 

         Additionally, because of the gear and inexperience, they can’t control their fish during the fight .  That means, not only are they tangling you, but they have a good chance of cutting your line…especially if your line is taught as you also fight a fish!  Adios fish! Seee-yaaaa!!

         DANGER! DANGER!!!  STAY AWAY FROM ME!!! RUN AWAY!!! GO FISH ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BOAT!!!

         This was years ago.  And all things considered, I knew there had been many improvements.  However, old prejudices die hard and old dogs don’t learn new tricks very well.

         The only reason I mention it is because over the last few years, I’m seeing more and more of these spinning reels showing up on fishing boats in Baja.  With the exception of trolling or the biggest of big fish, they seem to be working well.

         The technology has improved. 

         They are lighter and stronger alloys. 

         They have better line capacity and are able to hold larger line classes.

         They cast as smoothe as silk and even a novice can learn to handle one very easily and quickly.  Certainly it’s a lot faster and initially more comfortable than a conventional reel set up.

         They also have reversible handles so both left-and-right handed anglers are comfortable and “bait runner” innovations that allow baits to free-swim more naturally than the predecessor reels and more like conventional reels.

         First and foremost, the drag systems are so much more improved.  They can really put the brakes on some of the biggest and most powerful fish most anglers will encounter.  That includes tuna, marlin, giant roosterfish and others.

          Frankly, they look like something a starship trooper would would use in a Star Wars movie.

saltwater-spinning

         I know a lot of these innovations have actually been around for a bit, but well…like I said…I’m old school.  And more spinning reels are catching my eye.

         And folks are doing well with them.  Even veteran fishermen are finding a spot for them in their arsenal.

Kristina Ainsworth yellowtail tags 3-21

         I’m not giving up my conventional gear, but I stopped making fun of anglers with coffee-grinders and looking sideways at them with a wink or raised eyebrow.

         Always room to learn at least one new trick, although sometimes I’m a slow learner.

 

That’s my story…

signature June '18 two 1

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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DUST and WAVES

DUST & WAVES

Originally Published the Week of March 11, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications! 

         I guess there’s two stories to pass onto you this week in a round-about-kinda-way. 

         One actually is possibly some useful info about fishing in Baja, which is what this column is normally supposed to be about.

         But, let me start with the first story!

         As a kid I really only cared about three publications in my life.

Sears

         One was the Sears Christmas catalog.  If you were a kid, my reasons need no explanation.  It was the most dazzling thing to have in your hands. I should have saved a copy or two to show to the grandkids.

         Another was MAD.  Don’t laugh.  If any of you are old enough to remember, MAD Magazine,  I think it’s how I learned how to read.  It’s where I got my weird bent sense of humor. 

         It’s where I learned goofy songs and rhymes and things I didn’t even understand in those pre-teen years.  And, of course, there was that backpage fold-out that was brilliant.

         My mother, a dedicated 2nd grade teacher for 30+ years would always try to steer me towards good literature…classics…authors…etc.  She was usually successful. 

        Except there was MAD Magazine.  I don’t know how she and dad let me get away with that or knowing my allowance money was not being used very wisely.

         But, there was one other magazine that I treasured and that DID receive a better nod of approval.

         It was Field & Stream.   

field-and-stream

         Now THAT was a magazine that I would definitely save my allowance to buy.   It was everything I ever wanted to know about hunting and fishing and all the places and adventures I would someday have.

         It was the Sears Catalog for the outdoors to me.

         It was geography and adventures, Daniel Boone and Tom Sawyer all rolled onto the printed pages.

         Cover-to-cover and back-and-forth.  I would cut out articles and save them in scrap books.  If I got caught under the bedsheets at night with a flashlight reading MAD Magazine or the Sears Catalog, they were confiscated.

         With Field & Stream, they let me slide.  Or dad would take it and read it himself. 

         Well…of all things…two weeks ago a writer for Field & Stream contacted me for an interview about fishing in Baja!  Me?  Are you kidding?

         That icon of outdoor magazines wanted to know what someone like me thought?   Wow!  Needless to say, I was thrilled.  I’m not sure how the interview went or how it will eventually look in print, but hey, I was happy to do it!

         Which leads to the 2nd story of this column.

         The reason they had asked me for the interview…

         Apparently, I was part of a series of outfitters being asked how the Covid pandemic had affected us.  As well, more importantly, they wanted to know what we thought of the coming year.

         The first part was easy.

         I think anyone who was in the travel industry or is still in the travel industry and didn’t get pulled down by the pandemic/ quarantine wolves will agree.  Last year was devastating.  It continues to be so in 2021.

         It doesn’t matter if you were/are an outfitter, lodge, charter operation, guide, hotel, travel agent, airlines, cruise lines, taxi driver…If you dealt with any aspect of the travelling public, 2021 was unlike anything we had ever seen or could imagine.

         Travel to Mexico?  Travel abroad?  Travel to another state?  Travel to visit your family, kids, parents on the other side of town?

         Are you kidding?  We couldn’t even leave our houses, either because we couldn’t (lockdown); or were simply afraid to (contagion); or didn’t have the ways or means (no money) to travel.

         No one could travel for essential things like work and school. So forget leisure travel like taking vacations or other discretionary trips.

         Yea, we got hammered.  Punched in the nose.  Kicked in the nether regions then dog-piled while we were already on the ground.  Many of our friends in the industry lost their jobs or had to find other or supplemental work.

         For those of us in the travel industry still treading water, it’s not over yet. 

         For us in Baja, things really started to take an upswing there at the end of 2020.  Americans were really scooting to Baja. 

         Mexico is close.  It was economical.  It was easy to there and get home.  

Canada was a no-go because of the border closures and quarantines in place.

Going to Europe or Asia take some planning.  Pack an overnight bag with shorts and t-shirts and you can fly off to Mexico. 

         Locally, more hotels and restaurants and other services were opening up.  Airlines were having to add more flights to keep up with the demand.  For us and other operators in Baja, things were looking up. 

         Bookings were picking up.  People just wanted to get out no matter if there was vaccine or no vaccine. Covid or no covid.

         Then, the new CDC rules were implemented in January of 2021.  It required that everyone travelling into the U.S., including returning vacationers, have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of flying back to the U.S.

         WHAM!  BAM!  Travel took another knee below-the-belt.

         Bookings took a dive.  Cancelations jumped up.  Airflights got canceled.  Folks not wanting to get stuck in Mexico made a mass exodus for home and left on-going vacations.

         But, now things are looking up again.  Whew!

         Vaccines are being implemented.  Moreso, Mexico got it’s game together and erected testing facilities at airport, hotels, timeshares and labs to make it cheap and convenient to get the tests.  Can’t lose the all-important tourism sector again.

         So, people are booking again.

         But, will it be a good season?

         I think so.  The fish were largely left alone last year.  Six to 8 months there was literally zero sportfishing traffic on the water.

         Even when things opened, it was only a fraction of the usual crowds.

The fish had time to grow.  The fish had time to spawn and mate without getting bonked by lures run scattered by boat motors.  More importantly, their food source…the critical baitfish weren’t depleted.

I thnk this year of 2020 will be an improvement over last year. But, it still won’t see the normal numbers and the experts are saying we’re really only going to see 30-50% of the normal visitors.

So, bigger fish. Hungrier fish. More fish.  More bait.

And maybe just you out there on the water!

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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THE GOOD OLD DAYS

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Originally Published the Week of March 1, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

About a month ago, I received a reservation request from one of our regulars who had fished with us many times over the years. He wanted to set up a whole week of fishing with our fleet in La Paz.

         He had not fished with us in a few years.  As he put it laughingly, “Life got in the way of my fishing.  Then this darned pandemic thing knocked last year’s fishing helter-skelter.”

         This year, he was coming with his wife and 2 grandkids.  Three days fishing…hotel…some snorkeling…one of our taco tours of the city.  The whole package.

         He’s always a pleasure.  Low maintenance.  Fun to be around him as well as whoever he brings along.

         But, something he said to me has stuck in my head like a song that keeps re-playing.  I wanted to share, but didn’t quite know how to write about it in my column.

         We were talking about all the cancelled vacations and fishing trips everyone endured last year. 

         He said, “I’m 86 years-old. I can still do a lot of things, but at some point very soon, I know that I won’t.  It’s just the way things are. “

         “I can still enjoy a beer. (laughs)  I like dancing with my dear wife who puts up with me.  I can still give the grandkid a piggy-back ride. I can work in the garden. “

         “And darnit, I can still fish!”  He added emphatically at the end of that.

         He went on…

         “Life is not forever.  I know people are scared to travel right now.  However, I could get sick tomorrow going shopping at Target as easily as I could get sick going on a fishing trip.”

         “It seems, in fact, more likely to get sick in a crowded store than in an open fishing boat!”

         “When you’re young, you think you’ve got all these fishing days to look forward to.  Good times on the water with the buddies or with family.  But now…well…I don’t have that many more days ahead of me…if you know what I mean.”

         “We always talk about the ‘good-old-days.”  Well, even with this Covid-thing…what if these ARE the ‘good old days’ we’ll talk about in 5 or 10 years?

         “To me, the ‘good-old day’s will be the days I could still do the things I want to do. “

“I’d rather spend my good-old-days on the beach or on a boat or hanging with my family than sitting in the Lazy-Boy with the remote.  At some point soon, I won’t be able to get up from that Lazy-Boy.”

         “So, Jonathan…book me a trip!”

         I was pretty much ready to give him the trip for free at that point.  Priceless thoughts. 

         When I was younger, it seemed I was always the one who talked. I had stuff to share and needed to be heard. Blah blah blah.  I must’ve been insufferable.

         As I get older…well…I need to listen more. 

         Life should have been reversed.

I should’ve listened more when I was younger so that now when I’m older, I could talk and say something that actually meant something.

I’m 20-years-younger than my fishing friend.

But, I’ve got a birthday this week.  His words that I’ve hung onto for a few weeks have a little more poignancy. 

In the past 2 months, I’ve had 7 close fishing buddies pass away…Dave and Jack…Roger…Kevin…Lloyd and John…Stan.

Cancer…Hearts…Covid

How the heck did that happen? In fact, except for one (Hi Leroy!), all of my fishing buds are gone now.  I just realized that.  It’s a long list growing longer.

These were guys who took me under their wings.  Showed me stuff.  Taught me.  Kicked my butt when I needed it.  I used to like to think they were proud that I had taken a hobby and a passion and made it into a career. 

They took a kid with a rusty spinning reel and old line on overnight trips and long-range trips.  On the boats, I was the kid tangling everyone or playing in the bait tank. On the lake or stream, I was the annoying bored kid who threw rocks in the lake when everyone was trying to fish and “shushed” by my elders.

I always looked up to them.  It’s like at Thanksgiving when you sit at the kid’s table and the grown-ups sit at the big person table.  It’s your mom’s and dads. Aunt’s and Uncles.

And then they are gone.  And you realize that now you’re the one at the big person table and there’s more and more empty seats.

I’m the only one still fishing.  Sort of.

I feel great.  A few extra pounds from too much good food from Jilly during Covid.  But otherwise, still good.

But yea…I’ve got more days behind me than ahead of me. 

And, I don’t want some pandemic to define my “good old days.”  Not while I can still do things.  Before I get too creaky.

I can’t wait to put my toes in the sand this year.  I’m gonna fish more too.  Still drink my vitamin shake, but an extra beer or two won’t hurt.  Say “yes” more often to doing things.  Gonna hug my wife and kids and grandkids more too.

These are the good-old-days.  Here and now.

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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FIRST TIMER FAQ

FIRST TIMER FAQ

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 5, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

Tourist with thumb up

Anyone who is in the travel industry has endured quite a year.  We have run our fishing operation in La Paz now for over 25 years. 

Being in Mexico, with it’s pre-existing stereotypes didn’t help much either.  Having Covid restrictions was just a dog-pile on top none of us needed.

Our operation is fairly large, but ultimately, we’re a mom-and-pop business.  It’s just me and my wife, Jilly.  We wear a lot of hats.  Some of them at the same time.

I will readily admit, Jilly is the brains of the operation.  After working with me all these years, she would probably laughingly concur with that assessment.

But, I do have my moments!  And I do bring some modicum or skill to the table.

I handle a lot of the bookings and scheduling.  That’s been my forte.  The seller.  The closer.  Whatever you want to call me. 

I don’t look at it like sales.  To me, it’s simply inviting people to come play in my sandbox and enjoy some smiles down in Mexico.

It involves a lot of e-mails, calls and other social media.  Lots of back-and-forth.

 But, it’s fun and a great opportunity to get to know folks.  And we become friends, long before they ever actually arrive to visit.

But, lately, the inquiries have been changing. 

Mexico is becoming a go-to spot for vacations during the pandemic.  Even with the borders technically closed to “non-essential” traffic, that’s quite ambiguous and loosely defined. 

Mexico needs U.S. tourism.  They CRAVE American tourism and I’ve never heard of anyone being turned away.

In that regard, Mexico tourism, has been surging.  Airlines are adding routes to keep up with the demand.  Planes are full.

And why not? 

Mexico is close.  It’s easy.  It’s economical.  There’s no testing.  No quarantine.  It’s easy to return back home.   

To some people, it’s not even like going to a foreign country.  They have visited so often.  It’s a no-brainer escape for Americans edging to get out.

And for 2021,  I’m getting a lot of first-timers.

Not just first-timers to Mexico.

First time out of the U.S.  First time fishing.  First time salt-water fishing.  I have even gotten inquiries from folks who have never even seen the ocean!

Some actually do their due diligence about where they are going. 

Others?

I think they just throw a dart at the map and see where it sticks.  Or they hit the internet and willy-nilly pick a spot that has nice pictures of beaches and palm trees.

They often seem to know very little about where they are actually going!

For instance, just a few days ago, I had a call from a husband.  He already had his plane tickets to La Paz.

During a casual conversation, he asked me, “When we are in La Paz, do you think we’ll be able to go to dinner in Cancun?”

I had to think about how to answer that one.

When I told him Cancun was about 4,000 miles on the other side of the Mexico, he incredulously didn’t believe me at first.  He and his wife were really set on taking some time to visit Cancun. 

Twice this past week, I’ve had folks wanting me to book fishing in the morning in Loreto. In the afternoon, they want to fish in La Paz.

I had to explain that La Paz is 5 hours away by car from Loreto.

One guy said, “Really, it’s only 2 inches away from each other on the map!”

Late last year, we were walking some clients out to the beach to board the pangas to go fishing that morning.  The sun was just starting to come up.

One of the clients had never ever seen the ocean!

Mesmerized, he said, “Wow, it’s REALLY big!”

Then, he did something crazy in front of all of us.  He suddenly knelt down. He cupped a handful of ocean and drank it!

“HOLY C#@P, that’s freakin’ salty! Oh my gawd!” he spit, choked and sputtered.

I grabbed a some bottled water and handed it to him.  And continued laughing along with my captains and the guy’s buddies.

And then there is the mom who asks if there is a market near the hotel where they are staying.  She wants to buy bread.

Why?

She heard from friends that people get sick eating Mexican food and drinking the water.  So for her family, she was packing lunch meats and condiments to make sandwiches and lots of bottled water in their ice chests.

They planned to eat all their meals in their hotel room with their 2 kids.

I had a hard time proving the negative.  Mexico has great food and restaurants.

They come to visit in June.  Hopefully, I’ll have convinced her by then it’s OK to grab some tacos.

That’s my story!

______________

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

BAJA GROUND ZERO VOICES

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BAJA GROUND ZERO VOICES

Originally Published the Week of May 7, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

I thought this week rather than headline news, you might be interested in comments from locals and gringos living in Baja regarding what it’s like south of the border right now.

It’s not too different from the U.S. But, just to give you some context:

Currently, as of this writing Mexico has more than 2000 fatalities and 23,000 reported cases.

The states of Baja Norte and Baja Sur have about 2000 cases with about 40 deaths.

The statewide quarantine is in effect until May 30th.  For almost 2 months, all beaches, schools, public areas, restaurants, stores and other non-essential businesses have been closed.   There is an 8 p.m. curfew in place. 

Many tourism businesses are making plans to re-open after the first of June. A number of airlines plan to start flying during that time as well.

Here’s just a small slice of what folks are thinking and, in many ways, it’s not too far from what many of us are experiencing.

HORACIO (49-year-old-taxi-driver) – It is very difficult. We do not have too many cases in La Paz, but we watch the U.S. news and it is crazy. I need to work. There are no riders for my taxi and no gas for the car. There is no other money.

ANGELINA (Single Mother of 2) – In our town the government announced a food truck would arrive with lots of food. We waited 4 hours with several hundred other families. No truck ever showed up. Several weeks earlier, they did the same thing, but the first people got all the bags they could carry. There was nothing left for anyone else. Then, the workers were told they were only supposed to give 2 bags to each family.

 
NINITA (Retired teacher 60 years old) – I am OK because I have a retirement check. But, my grown children all lost their jobs so they have moved back with me. Even my daughter that teaches in the United States returned because her school closed. They eat A LOT! It is nice to be together again, but I am worried for them.

JEFFREY (Retired gringo living just outside Tijuana) – At first we didn’t take it seriously. Then people blamed the U.S. for infecting us so they wanted to block the border. Kind of ironic really. All the Americans were crossing the border to buy toilet paper and there were lines at all the big box stores like COSTCO.

LORENZO – (panga captain) – There is not much to do. No business. Normally, we are very busy. We live 40 miles from the city and our pueblo has no internet. School is closed. We have no TV. We cannot go to the city because the roads are blocked. There is no medical care here and no money for gasoline for the panga or the car.

CHALO – (cook 52-years -old) – The restaurant I work at closed. So, I stay at home. But, there is not even beer to drink. All the breweries got closed by the government. So, shelves are empty or the prices are triple normal. Some people are selling blackmarket illegally from their homes or trunks. The police will arrest us if we are out past 8 p.m. But, I know people that still have parties.  I have no car so I can’t go anywhere.

NORMAN – (70 year old retired American) – Many gringo neighbors had to decide to stay in Mexico or leave. I understand many of my friends are older and high-risk so they didn’t want to take a chance with Mexican medical care. There’s no shortage in the markets and this is my home so I plan to stay. But, I have many things like TV and a computer and internet that locals unfortunately do not have.
ROSALIA – (43 years old office assistant and mother) – I have a reduced salary and work hours, but my husband cannot work. He got sick during the quarantine and has been in the hospital several times for emergencies to his kidneys. I cannot visit him in the hospital and be with him because of the virus. But, they send him home very quickly after treatments because of the virus in the hospitals. Then, his illness comes back.

JACOBO – (Musician and graphic artist) With all the restaurants and bars closed I have no place to play but I can make a little money online doing graphic design. I am from mainland Mexico and moved to Baja. I was going to move back home with my parents when the virus first hit Baja. My parents are both doctors and told me to stay in Baja where it is safer. Everyone is angry at the politicians. They did not act quickly enough.

Many people ignore the quarantines and defy authorities. They have parties. They go to the beach. They do not respect social distancing. They do not believe this is a big problem.

 
ZACHARY – When the quarantine hit, I had just pulled the sailboat I live on out’ve the water. I didn’t think this would be two months. I am on a boat sitting on blocks on DRY LAND in a dusty boat yard ! Not my favorite idea of social distancing. Cabin fever crazy right now!

SERGIO – (Transportation Driver) – My wife keeps making me clean the house. We have the cleanest house in the neighborhood. I need to get out before my wife makes me clean the house again. But there is nowhere to go!

That’s my (their) story!

signature June '18 two 1

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 »

THAT SURE DIDN’T LAST LONG

Palapa Beach 6

ADIOS SUMMER! YOU DIDN’T STAY LONG

I think many folks would agree that it’s been a strange year for weather.  In many parts of the U.S., winter lingered stubbornly well into June and even July.

 

Correspondingly, down here in Baja, we experienced much of the same.  Waters stayed cooler.  Air temperatures seemed below normal.  Cold-water species continued to bite well past their normal seasons.   Warm-water fish seemed to take their time showing up.

 

It made for some crazy and unusual catches this season.

 

And then, about the time you stopped trying to figure it all out, someone opened a window and summer showed up.  Late…but it showed up.

 

Here in La Paz where we live, that would be about the end of July or early August when things finally seemed to turn around .

 

Humidity rose.  Air temps rose.  Water cleared up and warmed up.   Water-water fish like dorado finally started to bite with some measure of enthusiasm.

 

And all was right again.

 

Until Hurricane Lorena about 2 weeks ago.  As far as tropical hurricanes in Mexico go, it wasn’t much.  We’ve seen much worse and suffered the harsh after-affects.

 

Lorena didn’t hurt anyone. It didn’t knock down houses or destroy marinas.  Except for some trees and power poles, it was one of the mildest hurricanes I can recall in my 25 years down here.

 

Although it did get pretty windy, I think most of us actually welcomed the much needed rain, although it did rain for about 12 hours!

 

What Lorena did, I think, is carried summer away with it.  Like Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of Oz…summer went careening up, out and away.

 

In the hurricane aftermath, it feels like summer suddenly ended.  Like a switch was thrown.

 

Air temperatures that had been in the high 90’s and low 100’s have been 10 degrees cooler overall.  It has averaged only about 88 or so since the hurricane.

 

Similarly, humidity has dissipated as well.  Before the hurricane we had steamy 80-85% humidity.  The hot sauna air was that thick.

 

As one of my employees told me, “I think we are breathing water.”

 

Since then, we’ve hovered around a comfortable 50-55%.

 

Water temperatures have also dropped.  In our area, it dipped 2-5 degrees in a week.

 

The change in fishing was gradual, but ultimately profound.

 

It took the fish awhile to figure out.  Just like us.

 

Normally, after a storm, it takes awhile any for water to calm and clear up.  And fishing seemed noticeably slower to get up to speed again.

 

Then, when it did start to break open, we still had the warm water species like dorado and marlin, but a whole host of entirely different an unusual species started bending rods.

 

Fish like pargo liso, sierra, amberjack, yellowtail, cabrilla and palometas showed up in the counts.  These are all cold-water fish virtually unheard of at this time of year.

 

These are sure signs that something has changed below the surface.

 

If this trend continues, I think anglers should be prepared for this variety of species.  Also, don’t be surprised if it’s cooler and windier with each progressive week and waters will be rougher.

 

I hear this week there’s blizzards and heavy snow in Montana, Utah and Idaho. It is supposed to snow this week in the Sierras.   Summer is gone. Shortest summer ever.

 

In the mornings, I’m already wearing a sweatshirt.  In Baja.  In September. I better find my long pants around here somewhere.

 

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

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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A QUIET CONVERSATION

senior

A QUIET CONVERSATION

Originally Published the Week of July 1, 2019 in Western Outdoors Publications

You know you’ve been in business awhile when you start seeing 2nd and 3rd generations of clients come to visit.

 

Fathers bring kids.  Kids bring fathers.  Grandfather brings sons and grandsons.

 

It’s a special privilege and honor that folks think enough of spending time with us and sharing their families with us.  We do our best to make sure they are memorable for them.  I think anyone in this type of outdoor hospitality work does the same.

 

As I also grow older and realize I’m now eligible for senior discounts at Denny’s and AARP magazines, I take a special joy in the grandfathers and grandmothers.

 

It’s that generation just slightly ahead of me.  They lived through the cold war and Korea.  Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson,  Martin Luther King, Nixon and Vietnam.  Veterans and ex-hippies. They remember Elvis and Nat King Cole.

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Dads who watched Johnny Carson and the Ed Sullivan Show and moms who drove real station wagons full of kids (without seatbelts) to drop them off at the park pool. They made boloney sandwiches on white Wonderbread and gave the kids a dime to chase the ice cream truck.

 

They served sugar-laden Cokes as treats and squirted you with the garden hose in the summer.

 

And they were allowed to spank you too!

 

They may be a step-or-two slower.  Hair might be a few shades grayer or it might be gone the same place as the trim waist line, but the memories are mostly sharp.

 

A big part of me mostly just keeps a special eye on them.

 

Sometimes, the younger ones are having too much fun and not watching  dad or gramps or granny who doesn’t climb steps as fast.  Or they might not be drinking enough water in the hot sun.  Or forgetting the sunscreen. Stuff like that.

 

But, I keep a personal eye on them for another reason.  Purely selfish.  Eyesight might not be as great, but that doesn’t mean they can’t see.  And I love watching them watch their kids or grandkids.

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There’s a special twinkle there.  A satisfied grin.  The special way they might sit with arms folded across chests and tummies just taking it all in.   Like they were sitting on the porch back home.

 

Catching fish isn’t quite as important as watching everyone else catch fish and hearing the laughter.  Nothing to prove, and really wanting nothing more than to share more Kodak moments.

 

They might not know a thing about their cellphones, Instagram or
Facebook.  But I can tell they’re storing every single moment in their minds and memories.

 

Whenever I can slow down for a moment, I treasure the conversations and the time to just sit for a few minutes. For as much as they want to ask and talk to me about our lives here in Mexico, I love hearing their stories.

 

I like knowing where everyone is from and how close or far they are now living. How many grandkids there are or even great grandkids.

 

Conversations flow easily.

 

So often times with us “younger folks”, we consciously or unconsciously “one-up” each other.

 

“Hey, last year, my brother and I went to this awesome mountain lake…”

 

We’ll dude, I gotta tell you about this even better place I took the girlfriend.”

 

“And this restaurant we ate at had the absolute BEST Italian food I have ever eaten and we went their 3 times in a row and my favorite was…

 

“Man, we found this other place that you should have gone to instead. They know us by name and know exactly what my favorite drink is!”

 

Everyone making it about “Me” and “I” and this and that.

 

Everyone yakking and no one listening or having real conversation.  We never even let the other person finish their sentence.  Always turning the conversation back to themselves.  I hear it in our restaurant all the time.

 

No one ever follows up a statement by asking the other person, “Wow, tell me more about that.”

 

The older generation has nothing to prove.  Not much I can say would compete with someone telling me they were in Vietnam. Or stood barefoot in the rain at Woodstock.

booty

 

I want to know more.

 

Not much I can say could add to mom and dad packing all their household belongings and kids in a station wagon with stuff tied to the roof.  They then drove completely cross country on a whim of hope to find a better job at the end of the road.  No solid prospects.  Just fingers crossed and some trust in a dream.

 

I never knew what it was like to pay 19 cents for a gallon of gas.  And you say the gas station attendants use to come out and wash your windshield and check your oil for free every time you came in? What?  Really?

 

I didn’t get to see the Beatles at Shea Stadium in ’64 or hang out with the Grateful Dead and “pass around a doobie” with 10 other people in a Volkswagen van in Golden Gate Park.

 

I didn’t get raised on a farm in Ohio and have to milk the cows and shovel pig poo in the morning.  That was BEFORE actually walking  two miles through the snow to school.  Yes, some folks really did have to do that.

older-man

I never had “Sunday Best” clothes for church or have to dress up to go on a trip.  I never had “just one pair of shoes.”

 

And I don’t remember the days before TV.  And I don’t ever remember looking forward to a dinner of Spam and canned peas. And excited to get a 2nd helping.

 

They actually had to “cook” oatmeal and it was OK to eat all the Sugar Frosted Flakes you wanted for breakfast. What’s a microwave?

 

I wasn’t the first in my family to get a high school diploma while working in a factory to help support mom and dad and three other brothers and sisters. Nor did I have ever go hunting or fishing when it meant the difference between having something to eat for dinner or another can of beans.

 

I never worked on a tramp steamer to South America nor did my family just escape Germany in 1939 and our last name was Goldstein.  I was never shipped to an internment camp in the desert and losing our farm because we were of Japanese Ancestry.  Or doubt that Douglas McArthur would ever come back.

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I would have liked to have seen Wilt Chamberlin score 99 points for Philadelphia or take my date to dance with the Lawrence Welk band or jitterbug to Benny Goodman.

 

What could I possibly add to any of that?

 

I can’t.  So, I just listen and absorb and enjoy.  Please tell me more.

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That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

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.”

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Tell Them Bring the Salad Next Time!

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PEACE OFFERING or DID THE SPANISH GET PUNKED?

NEXT TIME TELL THEM TO BRING THE SALAD INSTEAD!

Originally Published the Week of March 14, 2018 in Western Outdoor News

I’m a fan of history and enjoy finding little obscure bits of historical trivia.  I recently came across a story about our own city of La Paz where we live.

 

If you ever have a chance to visit the city,  I hope you get  the opportunity to visit the city cathedral in the town square.  It’s not a big city.  The cathedral is not hard to find.

 

 

The first thing that will strike you is that it sure doesn’t look like your typical Spanish-style mission so common up-and-down the Baja and into California.

 

It is strikingly absent of the long sepia-colored arched breezeways and adobe walls usually associated with mission architecture.  On the contrary, the La Paz cathedral is kind of square and blocky-looking.

 

It has two atypical  massive bell towers that look more fortress-like than other mission churches.  Heavy stone blocks and concrete masonry have been described as “sober neo-classical” in design.  It doesn’t sound too exciting, but nonetheless, it’s a big church!

 

Indeed, it looks different because it is.

 

Most other missions were constructed by Spanish Jesuit missionaries and conquistadores in the 1600’s and 1700 hundreds.  La Paz didn’t complete it’s house of worship until the latter part of the 1800’s.

 

According to the history, when the Spanish first arrived, they didn’t come as benevolent emissaries of church and crown.  Actually, they showed up as violent buttheads and took a heavy brutal hand to the local indigenous population.  They had no problem applying armor, cannons and musket to get their point across.

 

The locals didn’t take kindly to it and battled back.  And won.  Booted the Spanish right out.

 

This happened again and again.  Something between 5 and 8 incursions by the Spanish were made in La Paz to set up a colony.  In each case, the locals either whupped up on the padres and their military escorts or simply made it difficult to for the Spanish colonists to sustain the outpost.

 

The natives would cut off water; damage crops; and made it impossible for supply trains and ships to replenish and re-inforce the beleaguered  colonists. Life in the New World was hard  and brutal enough let alone being harassed by belligerent tribes.

 

So, the Spanish would pack up and sail away.

 

At least until the next intrepid group of helmet-headed imperialists showed up.

 

According to the story, during one of these attempts, the Spanish thought they were making some headway with the locals.  Rather than attack, the tribesmen presented the Spanish with many loaves of native papaya bread.

 

A welcome gift and gesture indeed!  The Spanish were thrilled with this apparently peaceful overture.  So, thrilled that they decided to have a fiesta to celebrate the wondrous gift of the delicious bread. A bit like the colonists at the first Thankgiving.

 

It was during this fiesta that the Spanish found out that the natives had a special method to making their bread.

 

The natives loved papaya and would consume the entire fruit wasting nothing.  This included the skin, meat and seeds.  It was their traditional way.

 

So far so good.  The key words are “wasting nothing.”

 

The most interesting part was that the tribespeople would then gather up the “previously digested seeds.”  Use your imagination.

 

The seeds ground into the flour used to make this special “Baja Bread” …wasting nothing!

 

Upon hearing this, the Spanish pretty much choked and gagged in” mid-chew” thinking about the origins of their yummy bread.

 

They were mad. Fighting mad at what they perceived was a cruel and sinister joke.  No one was laughing.  The Spaniards thought they got punked big time.  Talk about a “party fail!”

 

And once again, hostilities broke out.  The Spanish had no sense of humor and much blood was spilled over breaking bread.

 

A peace offering misunderstood and gone awry?  Or a dastardly prank pulled on the Spanish masters and padres?

 

We will never know.

 

But the natives again rose up and pummeled the Spanish back to the mother country.

 

I love history.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-international.com.  They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


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:

“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 »

WHERE THE WILD THING ARE…er…WERE

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Where the Wild Things Are…er…Were

Originally published the Week of July 4, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

As a little kid, there was a beach I would sneak off to back home in Hawaii.

 

I’m dating myself.  I could ride my sting-ray bike there.

 

Down from the main road to where it sloped to gravel.  Down through the thick over-hanging jungle canopy. The air was thick and moist and the gravel gave way to a path of rich soft wet damp earth that never seemed to dry out and carpeted with soggy decaying leaves.

 

It would suddenly break into a clearing that I simply called “my beach.”  A sunny little white sand cove protected by a small shallow coral reef.  Dark lava rocks at the two small headlands and waves broke gently over into a blue pool about as wide as I could throw a rock.

 

A small stream that started somewhere in the rain forest up in the mountains dropped from a small waterfall.  It emerged from the thick vegetation and tumbled over smooth dark boulders through a gritty arroyo where it’s darker reddish waters joined the blue ocean.

 

It was a good little place to fish.  Or swim.  Or hang out with neighborhood pals under the coco palms.  For a bunch of black-haired, barefooted, hell-bent tribal children with unlimited energy and imagination , it was the best playground.

 

Where the wild things are.

 

Build forts out’ve driftwood. Chase each other with rounds of “Marco Polo,” our version of “tag.”

 

Play “chicken” in the waters while perched on each other’s shoulders and exhausted ourselves with laughter attacking the “king of the hill” on the small sand dunes.   Then later a retreat under the palms to eat sandwiches or maybe sticky-finger spam and rice rolls made by our moms.

 

Looking back we referred to it as “little kid time.”

 

It was “my beach.”  And I was convinced no one knew about it.  We never saw anyone else there.

 

On the island we just figured there were lots of little hidden beaches and coves.  This was “ours.”  Other people must have “their own beach.”  Right?   Little boys have their own brand of logic.

 

But, as with all “little kid time,”  little kids grow up.  Life and other things came along.  The islands were left behind, but always carried with me.

 

Years later, I came back.  To where the road ended.  To where the gravel started.  To where the dirt path emerged from the dampness to the light.  And I stopped.

 

Or to be more precise.  I was halted.

 

By a barbed wire gate.  It had a sign.

 

“No Trespassing.  Private Beach.  Exclusively for Owners.  No locals.”

 

Some “non-local” kids were gunning wave runners through the shallows where we used to play chicken.  Some new “kings of the hill” had built expensive houses on our sand.  An expensive European SUV was parked in front of one of them.

 

I stared at the barbed wire. . . and the sign.

 

Fast forward.

 

Two days ago. Mid-day Baja heat.

 

I drove out to one of the beaches north of La Paz where we live.  Just needed to get out’ve the office and not to be found for an hour or so.

 

No more beeping text messages or phone calls. Maybe just close my eyes for a few minutes to the sound of…nothing.

 

Just to take a breath.  Get some air.  Look at some blue water.  Get lucky and watch some dolphin make me envious.

 

I drove to one of the remote beaches.  This one famous on postcards for sugar sand and water the color of sapphire turquoise. It often shows up on travel shows and brochures as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

 

And there, plain as day, the beach had been lined with umbrellas and plastic tables and chairs.  And you needed to pay for a permit.

 

It was like being told you can’t look at Yosemite or the Grand Canyon without renting special glasses.

 

Oh, and no photos allowed either.  Or what?  Are you kidding me?

 

On the license plates here in Baja it says, “La Frontera.” The frontier. Yea, I get it.  Wide open spaces. Deserted beaches. Solitary beaches.  OK. It’s not Mexico City. It’s definitely not the mainland.

 

But, it had this reputation of being someplace you could still find the wild places to go.

 

And maybe re-aquaint yourself with some of your own internal wildness or hidden “little kid time”  that seems to get buried in traffic jams, office politics, corporate jumble and suburbia strip-mall-life-back home.

 

I guess, it’s still here.  You just have to look a little hard and go a little further.  And further still.  Everywhere.  Somewhere.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

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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!

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Jonathan Roldan’s
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U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
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“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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