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WHAT DATE WILL THE DORADO SHOW UP?

 

Calendar

What Date Will the Dorado Show Up?

Originally Published the Week of April 25, 2017 in Western Outdoor News

So, can you tell me what date the dorado will show up?

I don’t know.

Fishing is not an exact science.

Dorado don’t participate on social media.  No Facebook.  No Instagram.  No cute dorado tweets.

They don’t answer my text messages either.  Party foul.  Just rude.

Come to think of it, the tuna, marlin, wahoo and yellowtail don’t respond to me either.  Yes, there are days when I take that personally, especially when I have fishing clients here ready to burst.

Or they’re trying to make travel reservations and want to know specifically when to book their airlines.

“C’mon, Man!  You’re supposed to know stuff like that, Jonathan! “

 Right. Right. Right.  I’m the “expert.”

Honestly, however, most times, it’s said with a smile.  I’m never afraid to say that I don’t know something.

And the questions are good honest intelligent questions from fishermen who are just enthusiastic and want to get as much of an edge as possible.  I get it.  I’m the same way.  Especially with fish.

But, there are some things that are just not controllable.  If I was as good as some guys think I am, then I’d be able to wave my rod over the water and the fish would just jump in the boat.

I don’t have those Biblical abilities yet.  That one is right up there with the miracle of loaves and fishes or parting the Red Sea. Nope.  That’s up a few levels…actually a lot of levels…above me!

So, let’s work with what we have.  If you’re simply going to use the calendar, let’s just say it’s a start.

There’s so much more that will allow you to fine tune things.

A calendar is just a bunch of numbers on a page.  The fish don’t get calendars. They don’t know that your yearly vacation starts June 1st.

They don’t care about Christmas, Memorial Weekend or that you always fish on your birthday in November. They could care less that you always caught yellowtail in March or that on your last three Baja trips the tuna were great in August.

So, don’t curse the fish or the fish gods if things don’t always go as planned.  If you fish by the calendar, you take your chances for better or worse.  Go fish.  Have a good time.  It’s still better than working!

What the calendar can tell you is about the seasons.  Don’t look at it as specific dates.  Look at the calendar to tell you if it’s winter, spring, summer or fall because “generally speaking” certain fish usually show up during certain seasons.

For example, sierra, yellowtail and pargo in the later winter winter and spring.  Dorado and billfish show up when waters are warmer.  And so on. Like I said, it’s a start.

What fish do care about is food.  Big fish.  Small fish.  All fish.  They gotta eat.  And they will go where the food is located and show up when and where the food can be found.

If you want to track food, track the water temperatures because even “food fish” have to eat as well.  So, don’t watch the calendar.  Track the water temperatures instead.

Even a few degrees can make all the difference.  Warmer water is bluer.  Colder water is darker, greener and cloudier.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  It depends on what species you’re hunting and several different water temperatures can be found in the same areas.  And that’s not unusual.

So, if you’re hunting yellowtail or amberjack, you’re looking for cooler waters.  Billfish or dorado?  The warmer waters are where you want to be fishing.  Tuna?  Well, that depends.  What kind of tuna?  Yellowfin tuna like warmer waters.  Bluefin and albacore like the cooler end of the blue water.

And that’s just the surface temperature!

Below the surface, there are thermoclines where water temperatures also vary.   The surface temperature can say 80 degrees, but 30 feet below that it’s only 70 degrees!

Confused?  Too much to wrap your brain around?

Might as well put technology to work.

That’s where I take my personal fishing to the next level beyond just looking at the calendar.  Veteran fishermen will back me up.

Websites and services such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has excellent satellite images of surface temperatures put out the by the U.S. government.

Here’s a sample:  www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/contour/gulfcalf.cf.gifgulfcalf-cfTerrafin has been online for years and is a awesome resource (www.terrafin.com) and specifically directed at fishermen up and down the Pacific Coast.

Another fine service is Fish Dope put out by Bloody Decks (www.fishdope.com) that not only has water temperatures specific to certain fishing areas, but also various other fish finding services.   It’s well worth it to check out before you go fishing or setting up a trip.

It’s all in the details and a degree or two in water temperatures can make all the difference in the world.

Still waiting for the fish to answer my text messages.   Until then, I guess I’m stuck with the technology at hand!

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!

_____________ 

 
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

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

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

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Oh Say Can You See?

Oh Say Can You See?

Originally Published In Western Outdoor Publications the Week of April 12, 2017

I want to tell you a little story.

We just finished our 21st year on the road.  For 3 months of the year, we drive to a different fishing and hunting show around the country.

 

We sell the Baja.  Our Baja.  The sunshine.  The fishing.  The blue water.  Come put your toes in the sand and get away from it all.

 

Seattle…Denver…Portland…Boise…San Diego…Salt Lake City…it’s the life of a modern carnival worker.

 

We arrive in a city in our cargo van.   Set up our booth.  Talk to folks for 4 or 5 days. Break it all down.  Drive another 1000 miles or so to the next city.

 

Ready for the next show.  And on and on. See a lot of wonderful country.  Shake a lot of hands.  Talk to a lot of wonderful folks.

 

There’s a whole gaggle and rag-tag of other outfitters, guides, vendors, and show people who follow “the circuit.”

 

Several weeks ago at the show in Phoenix, my booth was surrounded by the usual outfitters.  One couple from Alaska.  Another from Colorado.  A guide from Canada.

 

But across the aisle from me, was a booth set up with chairs in a row.  The “kid” working the booth was selling electric back massagers.  Oh joy.

 

For two days, I watched the kid bust his butt working his booth and talking to people.  His booth was a favorite.

 

Everyone walking that show loved sitting in his chairs and getting a back massage.  Who wouldn’t?

 

But, I loved watching the kid work.

 

“C’mon in.  Put your feet up for a few minutes!” he would smile.

 

I say “kid” only because he was a lot younger than me. Medium height. Dark and swarthy with a neat mustache and beard. Good shape. Polo shirt Nike tennis shoes and hip black skinny jeans that I couldn’t wear even on my best days back then.

 

On the 3rd day of the show, a few minutes before they opened the doors to the public, he walked over to my booth and stuck out his hand with a big smile.

 

He introduced himself as Yama Nasrallah.

 

He said he had also been watching me working the past two days.  We struck up an easy conversation.

 

As vendors do, I told him I live in Mexico.

 

He told me he was from Afghanistan.

 

Over the next few minutes, he explained that he had come to the U.S. fifteen years ago.  He used to have businesses in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He moved with his mom, dad and brothers.

 

“When I came to America I could not speak or write any English.  I told myself the only way to get ahead is to learn English. So, I made myself study hard every night while I worked at whatever jobs I could get to support my family.”

 

“I still do not write English very well,” he grinned, “But I speak English pretty good and I still study every night…after work! I must be better!” he added enthusiastically in a slight accent.

 

Without prompting, he told me that hard work is the only way to get ahead and do good.  Too many people…even Americans (he laughed) expect things to be given to them.

 

But, he told me he works usually 7-days-a-week.  He does over 100 shows around the United States every year.

 

He now employed his two younger brothers and they were manning his other two booths at the same Phoenix show.  One sold soft bamboo sheets and pillows for camping.  The other sold a handy high-tech utility flashlight.

 

He had a warehouse in Salt Lake City.

 

I couldn’t help but grin and compliment him.

 

“Y’know, if you are lazy you won’t get anywhere.  I teach that to my young brothers.  They like to party too much,” he laughed.  “But hard work is how you earn respect.”

 

“Everyone thinks America is where life is good and things are free and you are entitled to anything you want.  That is not true.  America gives you opportunity and freedom to make choices.”

 

As the show would start in a few minutes and both of us had some things to get ready, he gave me a quick firm handshake, a smile and wished me a great day. He hustled back to his booth.

 

I walked back to my booth.

 

A few minutes later, just before the gates opened,  the show producers always play the Star Spangled Banner over the loudspeakers.

 

Most of the show people, vendors, outfitters and guides, stop what they are doing and face a nearby American flag.  Often several hundred vendors.

 

Hand over heart.  Hat over heart. Hands clasped behind back.  Old veterans often stand at attention and salute. No one takes a knee.  Some sing.

 

It’s a great way to start the day.  Like being in school again in some ways.

 

But, I’m always annoyed at someone who forgets.  Some folks don’t notice that everyone else is paying respect.  They keep writing.  Or talking.  Or chatting on their cell phones.

 

It makes me smirk. C’mon, put it on hold for a minute.

 

Toward the last part of the song, I glanced over at Yama, my new friend from Afghanistan.  Vendor of electric massagers, pillows and flashlights.

 

Straight as an arrow.

 

“Oh say does that star spangled…”

 

Hand over heart.

 

“…Banner yet wave…”

 

Shoulders back

 

“O’er the land of the free…”

 

Head high towards the huge American flag on the wall.

 

“And the home of the brave!” 

 

And when it all ended and all the outfitters were clapping and cheering, Yama, who can speak English, but can’t write English so well. . .

 

put two fingers to his lips and let out the loudest whistles.

 

And started pumping his fist in the air…

 

“U.S.A!  U.S.A!  U.S.A!”

 

I don’t think anyone else saw or heard.  I don’t think Yama cared. He didn’t look around. He got ready to work.  To earn respect.  To get ahead.

 

You go, Yama.

 

And that’s my story.

Jonathan signature

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

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

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BAJA BITS PIECES and TACKLE BOX STICKY NOTES

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BAJA BITS PIECES and TACKLE BOX STICKY NOTES!

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Dos centavos.  That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

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

 

 

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THE REWIND BUTTON

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

THE REWIND BUTTON

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

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

 

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

 

Whew.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

That’s my story

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

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

Read Full Post »

Two Kinds of Fishing

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TWO KINDS OF FISHING

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

He called one “ego fishing.”

 

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

 

You make yourself feel pretty good about yourself.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I never forgot that and it has served me well.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I guarantee that you’ll also learn something yourself.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

It’s show-and-tell on a grand scale.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

______________

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

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

 

 

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DARK CANYONS OF CATAVINA

 

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DARK CANYONS OF CATAVINA

Originally Published in Western Outdoor News the Week of January 3, 2017

The rocky canyons near Catavina at night in central Baja are lonely and cold in late December. Mounds and hills of building-sized boulders dot an ethereal landscape eerily beautiful but desolately forbidding, especially in the dark.

 

We had pulled the Chevy truck off the road for the night up. We negotiated a sandy arroyo and found a sheltered lee against a wall of rocky overhang several hundred yards from the highway.  Clear, cold mountain air held nothing but a million stars overhead.

 

A quick fire of mesquite held back the chill and the worn green Coleman stove propped on the  tailgate soon had us warming tortillas, beans and sizzling chorizo (ground pork sausage) by flashlight.  The big camp pot sure smelled good.

 

“Shhhh…listen!” hushed my buddy Brian abruptly from the other side of the truck. “Did you hear that? I think I heard something out there.”  His head swiveled nervously into the darkness away from our little intrepid fire,  banked against the rock wall.

 

We all stopped talking.

 

“I don’t hear anything,” said Laura nervously, also swinging around from staring into the warming flames. She tried hard to pierce the shadows unsuccessfully with temporarily blinded campfire eyes.

 

Silence.

 

“Wait, I hear it.  Listen.” I told them while at the same time needlessly and unconsciously motioning them to be quiet.

 

The smoke from the crackling mesquite wasn’t helping my night vision.  But something…or someone was out there in the boulders and shrubs.  And it was moving very quietly.  Treading lightly.

 

I was keenly aware that our little campfire made us perfect silhouettes. Subconsciously, we had all huddled a little lower and blinked to focus into the cold Baja dark.

 

There.  We all saw.

 

Through the smoke. Just beyond the edge of light. Ghostly gray.   Dimly at first and moving cautiously.

 

Hatted heads. Dirty faces.

 

Two men.  Shoulder -slung assault rifles in hands.

 

I could see only their upper torsos above the shrubs and rocks.   One young. One a bit older.

 

 “Hola,”said the older one in a flat monotone. In the reflection of the fire his dark eyes took in everything.

 

Just three of us gringos.  An isolated campsite in a rocky arroyo under the stars on a cold December night.  Our truck and provisions.  Exposed. Vulnerable.  Crap…

 

I kept my own eyes on them not daring to see how Brian and Laura were doing, but their nervous vibe was easily perceived. Being the only Spanish speaker I cautiously said, “Hola Senor,” as casually as I could.

 

Danged cotton mouth.  Swallow hard.  I think I raised my hand in a meek greeting.  So much for bravado.  You think you know how you’ll act when someone has a gun.  You don’t.

 

Voice betraying nothing, “Who are you and what are you doing here?”  said the older figures in Spanish.

 

My normal wise-guy response would have been “Who wants to know?”

 

This was not that time.  I didn’t want to say too much, but explained in my limited Spanish that we were campers and worked for a magazine taking photos of the dessert and driving back to California from Loreto.

 

I had both of my hands up. I would guess Brian and Laura did too.

 

At first the older man said nothing.  Too long of a pause.  Uneasy silence. Not good. He looked and studied us with a blank expression.

 

Then, he and the younger man stepped from behind the rocks. Military camouflage uniforms. Boonie hats.  Mexican army. The rifles weren’t pointing at us, but they were still arms-ready. My hackles and senses were still lit up.

 

Two army guys? In the middle of the desert? At night? My body wasn’t moving, but my brain raced through scenarios…and horror stories.

 

“Gringos? From California?”

 

 “Si.Yes. Driving back to San Diego.” I pointed cautiously to the dirt and bug-caked California license plate on the Chevy truck.

 

In that flat Spanish he said, “I have an uncle and cousin in Chula Vista. I like the Padres ‘beisbol.’”

 

  He grinned tightly and he lowered his weapon. So, did the youngster.

 

A communal exhale.   As Laura told me later, she about peed herself. I never admitted I was pretty close as well.

 

“We have a small camp over the ridge.  I have 7 men and we work the checkpoint on the highway to the north.  We smelled coffee and cooking meat, then followed it to the glow of your fire and the sound of conversation.”

 

He explained that they had watched us for a bit.  Narcos? (drug traffic)  Coyotes? (human traffic)  Borrachos?  (drunks).  They had approached cautiously. If we were just innocent campers, they didn’t want to scare us.  (No kidding)

 

“My name is Sargeant Ramiro and this is Private Antonio.”

 

The sergeant, who was no more than maybe 25-years-old, revealed he was as scared as we were!

 

“Mucho gusto and I am sorry we made you nervous,” he said extending his hand which we all shook with relief.  Antonio,  smiled and shook hands warmly as well.  Looked like he should be on a skateboard. Really young.

 

They gratefully accepted an invitation to the fire and cups of hot instant coffee in styrofoam cups.   We huddled close as the fire lit our faces and learned that they were not allowed to have fires while on duty or training.

 

“Military rules…” he shrugged. He sipped. Steam from the coffee held in two hands rose around his face.

 

In that clear high desert air in December, the wind in the rocky canyons was bone chilling.

 

An invitation to spoon up some burritos was not turned down.  Romero and Antonio had only eaten cold military food in four days. The three of us also packed some ourselves and wolfed them down with our own coffee.  I think it was also the adrenaline coming down.

 

Not much conversation, but smiles are smiles in any language.  And everything tastes good in camp.

 

As we had that big pot of beans and chorizo and several packs of tortillas, we told the two men to make more burritos, wrap them in foil and take them back to their camp.  Their faces brightened.

 

Soon, we had a little assembly line. Several dozen burritos wrapped in foil    Everything into some plastic grocery bags.  As we expected to hit the border the next day, in went a bottle of salsa;  bags of chips;  jerky; some oranges and cans of Coke.

 

With appreciative handshakes and smiles they trudged back out into the dark bushes anxious to bring their haul back to their own camp.

 

We waved as the blackness quickly wrapped folded around them.  The chilly darkness did not hesitate.

 

Laura looked at Brian.  Brian looked at me. I looked at them.

 

Whew! The sounds of our hearts in our throats.  We all started laughing.

 

In the morning when we woke up, a handwritten dog-eared note left on our windshield from a stealthy visitor.

 

Millones de gracias, mis amigos.  Bien viaje y que Dios les bendiga. Viva los Padres beisbol.   Feliz Ano Nuevo.  A million thanks, my friends.  Travel well and God bless you. Go Padres.  Happy New Year.

 

Seven scribbled signatures in at the bottom. A salsa smear on one corner.

 

We all smiled. I had forgotten the new year was upon us.  A few days.

 

The  morning sun was already chasing the vapor from our cold breaths.  Time to break camp and head for the border.

 

The note went onto the dusty dashboard. Next to the gum wrappers and sunglasses and sunflower seeds.  To be read and laughed about.  For the trip.  For years…

 

Happy New Year

 

That’s my story

Jonathan signature

______________

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

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

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A MAR VISTA STORY

 

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A MAR VISTA STORY

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Like Juan Carlos.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

No glaring propane light tonite.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

That’s my story

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

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

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