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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.”

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Two Kinds of Fishing

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TWO KINDS OF FISHING

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

He called one “ego fishing.”

 

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

 

You make yourself feel pretty good about yourself.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I never forgot that and it has served me well.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I guarantee that you’ll also learn something yourself.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

It’s show-and-tell on a grand scale.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

______________

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

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

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

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

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

 

 

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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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DECISIONS DECISIONS

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DECISIONS DECISIONS

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 7, 2016 in Western Outdoor News

About this time of year, I get a lot of “Santa” questions.  It’s either from wives, girlfriends or kids asking what to buy for the guys.

Or, honestly, it’s a lot of guys thinking about buying stuff for themselves because of the sales.  Or for their “buddies.”

When I worked and managed a tackle store many many years ago, I enjoyed the many ruses that guys used to buy their toys.

Of course, the most common one was simply paying cash so the purchase wasn’t traceable to the home budget.   They would then boldy “hide” the new gear somewhere in the deepest recesses of the man-cave/garage so it wouldn’t be found.

More cleverly, two guys would conspire together.

Each guy purchased something the other wanted.  It was wrapped and they exchanged the  “gift.”  Come Christmas morning, each announced joyfully to his respectively family, “Oh my!  Look what my best fishing buddy bought me!”

Some guys would come to us at the tackle store with a “Santa’s list” of their own.

They knew full-well that their wives would come to the tackle store to make a purchase.  It was their sincere hope that our staff would steer the thoughtful wife in the proper direction.   “Oh honey!  How did you know that’s what I always wanted?  You’re the best!”

Well, the holiday season is upon us again.

Whether you’re purchasing for yourself or for someone else, there’s a few tips for hopefully scoring the right thing.

Of course, like everything else, a lot can be done online.

If you’re looking for stocking stuffers, it’s a great place and there’s all kinds of deals to be found.  If you have no inclination, time or ability to visit an actual tackle store then purchasing online is a no-brainer.

This is where you can find stuff like pliers, dikes, and lures.  Stuff for boats and the things that go along with fishing like camping and outdoor things work well.  What guy doesn’t like electronic fishing gadgets?

Books and videos are also great gifts.  If you know proper sizes,  it’s hard to go wrong.  If in doubt, look into a gift certificate.  This is especially true for clothing and footwear.

A number of charter operations also sell trips online that make a great gift.  Or, give some thought to an actual fishing vacation.  To someplace like Baja (hint-hint)!

You can also purchase fishing licenses online.   That includes Mexican fishing licenses as well.

But, there’s some things that you probably shouldn’t purchase online if at all possible.  Like a few other things in life.

For one, some items are just a bit too pricey to pick the “right one”  to someone in a backroom or warehouse no matter how good they might be.  Especially, if it’s a gift.

Or, if you’re not very knowledgeable about the item to begin with!  It helps to talk to a real salesperson.

For another, some things in life just need to be touched and held and examined before you lay down your cash.  Things like shoes or jewelry come to mind.

Additionally, no matter what you think, often no two items are the same!

That includes some fishing gear.  Unlike say, a TV set…or a set of pots and pans…or a box of chocolates, I bet most folks don’t realize that no two fishing reels are alike.  Guns can be like that.  Guitars are like that.  One item has “the feel.”  Others just don’t have it.

I’ve been in a store and asked them to take out a certain fishing reel.  I can try five of the exact same model, especially conventional reels.  And no two will be exactly alike.  The drags might feel different.  One free-spools like a dream.  The others might be a bit sticky.

Rods can be that way too.  Depending on what the rod is going to be used for, the grips might be different.  More important to me is the “taper” and the backbone of a rod.  Where does it shut off (bend)?   It’s something I like to check with my own hands.

Nothing against, Walmart, because there’s some good gear there and great folks, but if you can get to a tackle store that really knows their stuff you’ll be better off.  You might pay a little more, but maybe not.  However, you’ll get a better handle on making a good purchasing decision.

Even in some of the mega outdoor stores like Bass Pro or Cabelas find that “one guy” that knows his stuff.  If you live in some place like Denver or even northern California, the staff might be more on top of salmon or flyfishing.  But, I’ve found there’s usually that one guy who can steer you right.

If all else fails…gift certificates or gift cards.

Personally, I better get on my own horse.  I haven’t even started yet!

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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RUINING A GOOD THING

tuna-tom-mullican-tags-10-16

NICE HEAD SHOT WITH THE GAFF INSURES GREAT MEAT!

RUINING A GOOD THING

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 8, 2016 in Western Outdoor News

I see it time and again. Every afternoon for about 9 months-out-of-the-year, my crew and I personally trim and vacuum seal fish for our clients. We do anywhere from 50-400 bags per day. That’s A LOT of fish.

No doubt, it’s good business. Moreso, I think it’s a worthwhile investment for any angler wanting the best care for his or her fish.

Or not.

 “Nah, we’re gonna bag it ourselves.”

(Angler jams it all in a few bags. Gets home. Must now defrost a bowling ball-size baggie of freezer-burned fish. For only two people. Fish gets wasted. Tastes like…uh…freezer burn.)

 I’m gonna take it back home and then use my vacuum sealer on it”

(Takes home frozen fish. Must now defrost it again to use on home machine because it’s awful tough to vacuum-seal frozen fish. Fish has now been frozen and defrosted several times by the time you eat it. Plus probably rinsed or soaked in fresh water diminishing the taste.)

 “I don’t wanna waste the money. Why?  I’m just gonna eat it.”

(Well, of course you are! Glad you’re not a picky eater!)

And I love this one:

“We have a vacuum sealer back in the hotel room.”

(Spends all day on a boat. Comes back to room. Sets up vacuum sealer on hotel room bathroom sink. Scatters bloody, gooey, slimey fillets all over the counter, the shower, the sink. Maybe enlists someone to help. Spends next 4 hours sealing fish one…fillet…at…a…(yawn)…time.   Rest of buddies are hanging poolside drinking beers and eating nachos).

I understand the mindset. God bless ‘em. I’m not saying this to drum-up fish-packing business. We’re plenty busy!

But, you already pay all this money and spend all the time to come down to catch beautiful fish and then don’t take care of it is nuts!

From an economic perspective, if you have 50-pounds of dorado or tuna in your cooler and it retails at $20 or $30 per pound, do the math. That’s at least $1000 of retail fish you’re goofing with.

It’s like when I worked in a tackle store years ago. A guy would come in and buy $2000 worth of fishing gear for a trip, then ask for the cheapest “most economic” fishing hooks in the store.   It doesn’t make sense.

Listen, if you have the opportunity to seal your fish, by all means, do it. You’ll be grateful you invested in it when you’re eating that tasty fillet many months down the road.  If you’re giving it away, you’ll be a superstar.

But, many places in Baja still don’t have that availability.

Whether they do or not, there’s some things you can do to help insure your catch is in the best condition possible.

For one, if you can, ask your captain or deck hand to try to gaff the fish in the head.   Body gaffs are easy and sometimes you just don’t have a choice, but pushing that big steel hook through the meat obviousy damages the meat.

This is true especially in bloody fish like tuna. The blood floods into the damaged portions of meat ruining big chunks of it.

Once it’s in the boat, get it on ice. As soon as any living thing expires, it’s already deteriorating.

The best way to arrest the process is to ice it down. Especially in the Baja heat, just letting a fish sit on a hot deck, literally starts cooking the meat.

It’s not always possible. Sometimes, there’s just too much going on or you’re in a wide-open bite to stop and change gears. However, if you can get your crew to bleed the fish while it’s still alive and it’s heart is pumping, getting the blood-letting vastly improves the texture and flavor.   Again, this is especially true of bloody fish like tuna.

Once the fish is cleaned, again keep it as chilled as possible. Bring zip lock bags.   Here’s a big error I see all the time when people bring fish into our packing facility.

The cleaned fillets are kept cold, but without bags, they’re just thrown back into melting ice. The ice melts. It’s fresh water. The saltwater fish is now soaking up fresh water ruining the taste.   It’s floating in it!

Or, even worse, it’s NOT cold water because all the ice has melted. Now the fish is being slow-cooked in warm water. By the time I get it or see it, the fish is literally firm and bleached.

Dorado fillets are rubbery. Tuna should looks like red juicy steak. Instead, it looks like sinewy chicken.

One trick I learned years ago is called “Mexican Vacuum Sealing.”

It’s simple. Put your fillets in a zip lock. Don’t close it up. Immerse it slowly in a bucket of water allowing the water pressure to push the air out and compress the bag. When all the air is out, pull the bag closed.

Ta-DAH! Instant vacuum seal. Actually, leaving just a little bit of clean salt water in the bag is another bonus.

You’ve spent a lot to have that fish. So, take care of it!

That’s our 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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!    

______________

 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 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: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

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

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“We Have to Get Up at What Time?”

family-at-airport

WE HAVE TO GET UP AT WHAT TIME TO GO FISHING?

Originally Published the Week of October 12, 2016

It seemed a lot easier back in the day to go on vacation when we were kids. But, then again, that’s from kid’s perspective.

I’m sure mom and dad worked hard to make it all work out, but from the view at ground level, it didn’t seem too hard at all.

Dad piled us into the station wagon. How hard is that? Yup, the one with the seat facing backwards towards the tailgate.

We sang along to an AM car radio. Or themes to TV shows. Dad and mom sang along with us. Corny? Not then!

On the car roof was one of those canvas rooftop carriers. It held the musty Sears Roebuck tent and those sleeping bags that had flannel insides printed with moose and jumping fish.

Mom always made magic happen.

To this day, I would swear she got the entire family’s clothes into one single giant suitcase. One coat. One pair of Redball Jet or P.F. Flyer high-top tennis shoes. Some jeans and your swim shorts. That’s all you needed.

Mom produced wonderful meals. Picnics emerged daily from a single dented and scratched green Coleman ice chest.

Could it have really been that simple?

Fast forward to family vacation 21st Century. You’ve gotta be kidding.

You’ve been planning for months. You’re finally eschewing the annual fishing “man-cation” with your posse of buddies and you’re gonna bite the bullet and take the family clan.

You knew in your heart it was time.

You couldn’t keep coming home and telling ‘em what a great place Baja is…then possibly hope to keep it to yourself. Every bastion…every frontier must eventually fall.

So, somewhat reluctantly you acquiesced to your wife’s suggestion, “Honey, I think you should take me and the kids with you to Baja this year! Maybe your mom and dad want to come too!”

Eventually, you got into it, but now as you’re about to embark, there’s some trepidation and, admit it, some of the excitement is tarnishing. It’s indeed NOT like heading south with the boys.

You survey the mound of matched designer luggage, backpacks, duffels, and cosmetic bags, that make your ice chest and fishing tube look like they don’t belong.

Matched outfits. Matched shoes. Several bathing suits. Technology and the attenuant cords, cables and chargers for iphones, ipads, notebooks, tablets, laptops, smart phones and cameras. Per person!

That doesn’t begin to include the toys…snorkel gear…golf bags…surfboards…tackle boxes and of course, that 8’ long rod tube. Holy cow, you need a parade of Napalese sherpas to schlepp it all.

And, assuming you’ve survived the journey and made it to Baja, you’re again reminded that it’s NOT gonna be your regular trip with the boys.

“Why do we have to get up that early to go fishing? Isn’t it OK if we go AFTER lunch?”

 “All the TV shows are in Spanish!”

 “I can’t believe the internet is soooo slow in Mexico! How can I skype my boyfriend or watch youtube?”

 We have to change hotels, a gecko lizard keeps running across the wall. It’s icky!”

 “You actually eat the fish the same day you catch it?” Can we just have McDonald’s like at home?”

 “No room service or hair dryers?”

 You can’t just throw up your hands and head to the bar. That’s not gonna earn you any family points at all.

Here’s what it all comes down to…EXPECTATIONS!

Yessiree, this is NOT like vacation with the guys so know everyone’s expectations about this trip. Then plan accordingly and alter YOUR expectations so everyone has a good time.

You may have to cut down on the fishing a bit if the whole family isn’t into it. Or, make them easy days of fishing if they’re new to it.

No need to be hardcore if it only makes everyone miserable. And, if you do go fishing, or any other activities, remember, it’s about THEM, not about you. If everyone has a good time, you’ll have a better time too.

So often, I’ve seen guys, or sometimes even both parents, get on a boat and literally expect the captain and deckhands be the babysitters or watch the kids while mom and dad do their thing. No bueno. Taking care of your kids is not their job.

If you’re gonna go someplace rustic, make sure the family knows you’re not staying at the Four Seasons or the Ritz. Or even the Best Western. There might not be shopping, or fancy restaurants or a gourmet menu, etc. Or a spa!

If it’s really a deal breaker, either make other arrangements or spend some time on a day trip or something similar so that you can take them shopping, dining or other activities everyone will enjoy.

And, that’s a key too. Do stuff everyone will enjoy. Do things and go places that are age and activity appropriate.

For example, hanging out all afternoon on certain parts of Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas with lots of drunk gringos at Spring Break, might not be the best idea if you’ve got young kids.

By, the same token, if the glass bottom boat tour or zip-lining aren’t your thing, but the family really wants to do it, suck it up. Put on a smile and set it up. You just might enjoy it.

This also goes if you’re bringing along say…mom and dad or older folks. Include them in the activities and family fun.

For Pete’s sake, don’t park them out in the hot sun at the pool then run off and leave them! Your dad might love sitting by the water watching string bikinis, but if he gets heat-stroked, it’s gonna ruin a lot of vacation.

And don’t forget to keep them hydrated, especially in Baja. Don’t laugh, I see this happen quite often! Older folks need special care…and their meds!

If all else fails, shrug your shoulders. Surrender. Smile. You’re not gonna win. Do what dads and husbands have done for centuries. Smile and say, “Yes, dear!”  You can give up. Give in or go on!

That’s our 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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 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: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“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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