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WHY MY MEXICAN FOOD TASTES BETTER THAN YOUR MEXICAN FOOD

WHY MY MEXICAN FOOD TASTES BETTER THAN YOUR MEXICAN FOOD

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 2, 2021 in Western Outdoor News

           As the owner of a restaurant here in Baja and having hosted thousands of visiting fishermen, tourists, foodies and locals, I have many interesting conversations with our patrons.  I think the “social aspect” of owning a restaurant is one of the great reasons many folks do something crazy… like opening a restaurant.

         Something I hear a lot is, “Man, the food just tastes so much better down here!”

         Yea, there’s something to that.  Maybe you’ve said it yourself on a journey south of the border.  Food just tastes better down here.

         It could be the shrimp or the steak or even something as simple as a taco, guacamole or salsa.  There’s just “something” about the food in Mexico that’s different. 

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I mean, it’s not like you’ve never had a taco or shrimp before.  It’s not like you’ve never dive-bombed the salsa or guacamole with a crispy tortilla chip.

         Heck, even the chips taste different!

         I have to agree. 

         Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love my Mexican food back in the U.S, but there’s something about the food down here that sets it apart.

         For one, it is indeed “local” in every sense of the word.

         Of course, speaking very generally and with exceptions to every rule,  you’re probably gonna find the good Italian food in a place named “Gino’s” and a bunch of Italian guys are working in the kitchen.  Or Gino’s mom is back there herself making the sauces or slinging pasta.

         Chinese food?  Personally, I’d probably duck into a place called “Chin Wah” than “Joe’s Chop Suey Express.” 

         In Sacramento on business once, I asked for the best Mexican food in the neighborhood and was directed to a local eatery that had 4 stars online.  OK.  Sounds good.  I was excited.

         As I entered the restaurant, we walked by the open kitchen so I stuck my head in and waved, “Hola! Que pasa?”  A whole bunch of Asian guys (I’m Asian) turned around and looked at me puzzled as if I was speaking Martian.

         Oh boy.  The food reflected it.  Barely so-so.

tacos in the dark

         My point being, that local ethnic food made by locals is probably going to be a notch above.  Most restaurants down here are mom-and-pop operations.  Dad, mom, the kids…all working.  Probably using the same family recipes used for generations.

         When we opened our restaurant, we asked our employees what was their family known for in the kitchen?  Salsa? Grilled fish? Rice? 

fish-taco

         We got their recipes and then took the best and adapted it to our restaurant and our menu.  We’ve kept our menu very local and held to those same recipes for over a decade.

         It sound cliché, but Mexican food made by Mexicans is a great start.

         Secondly, a big reason Mexican food tastes different than in the U.S. is that pretty much of  American-made Mexican food is pretty much the same.  You have the chain fast-food places.  Then, you have the chain restaurants.  Then, you have the local places.

         But, mostly all of them cater to American tastes.  Understandable.  Of course, I’m again speaking in broad generalities.

         However, here in Mexico, there are so many incredible culinary regions, that grilled fish in Cabo San Lucas will taste completely different  in Veracruz.  Ceviche in Puerta Vallarta might have completely different ingredients than in Cozumel.  Chorizo made in Puebla is different than chorizo in Toluca. 

         Mole…a big favorite salsa used on chicken, pork and beef has something like 28 different ingredients like chocolate, chile, peppers…it will taste different all over the country.  Even beef and pork will be different from region to region.

         Speaking of ingredients, that’s a big plus as well.

         Here in Mexico, storage is expensive.  Labor is cheap.

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Vegetables and fruits are actually allowed to ripen in the sunshine and in the soil.  They don’t ripen at the grocery store or some warehouse or shined-up to make them look juicier.

         Limes, avocados, onions, mangos, cucumbers are often in the store the same day they are picked.  When you bite into a red tomato, it actually tastes like a juicy fruit that it is.  The oranges are sweeter.  The aroma of cilantro can fill a room.

         It’s no wonder that your salsas taste so much better and your drinks (if made fresh) don’t taste like they are made from a mix.

         Beyond that, real Mexican food has all those “fun things” that taken in abundance would make a nutritionist or doctor cringe.

         Salt.  Check.

In fact, please pass the salt shaker. My chips could use a bit more!

         Sugar.  Check. 

Ice cold Mexican Coke is popular because it has real Mexican cane sugar in it!  Same with Mexican ice cream that’s growing in popularity north of the border.

         Fat.  Absolutely.

Why do you think the tortillas taste so good.  They use real lard to make them!  Fried things?  Sure…fry them in more real lard!  Makes all the difference.

         Salt…Sugar…Fat!  It’s the un- holy trinity of things you should eat in moderation.  It’s also why diabetes and heart disease are so rampant in Mexico.  But, if you’re on vacation, a little indulgence is part of the fun.

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         Enjoy the culinary ride down here.  You can go back to eating at Whole Foods and granola with almond milk when you get home.  Or the fast-food taco chain drive through.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

CAUGHT BY MOTHER NATURE

CAUGHT BY MOTHER NATURE

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

         As I write this, I’m looking out the office window.   Hurricane Nora is bearing down on us in southern Baja.

         I don’t think it will be too bad.  I hope.

         I mean, compared to historic Hurricane Odile in 2014 that reached Category 4 status and pretty much scoured our area unlike any other storm in Mexican History, Nora maybe end up being nothing more than a mild inconvenience at Category One. 

         Only “mild” 90 mph winds.  Uh-huh.

         Either way, it’s being downgraded so it might not even be that bad.  This will be my 16th hurricane since living in Baja almost 3 decades ago.  I’ve seen worse.

         And right now, the seas are looking pretty angry. The palm trees are getting torqued, but it really doesn’t look that ominous or petulant. 

       There’s a grey sunshine trying to burn through the clouds.  Much like a beach day marine layer in Southern California.

         I can see people still bouncing around on the beach in the tidal surge and storm waves. There’s one kooky kayaker out there paddling against the wind. She probably wishes they hadn’t paddled so far out.  She looks a bit tired, but she’s inching closer to shore.

         Nora is slated to get stronger tonite, but thankfully may dissipate in a day or two without too much yelling and screaming or damage.  If that happens, I will consider that we have dodged a bullet.

         Storms during this time of the year down here in Baja are not uncommon.  I wouldn’t say they are a regular occurrence either.  A big one every few years.  Then years with nothing.  Some years, several small ones.

         But they CAN happen. 

         And they can happen without much notice.  If the atmospheric conditions are right…well…

         Mostly, it’s just some intermittent rain or a scattered thundershower or two.  You wait it out at your favorite dockside bar with a cold one and watch the downpour for a few minutes until the sun pops our again.

         Some, however, like Nora are a little more powerful although largely benign.

         Right now, it looks ominous enough that it looks like we’ll be cancelling fishing for a few days as port captains in Cabo, La Paz and the East Cape shut down all water traffic. 

Beaches are getting pounded with big surf and frankly, it’s pretty snotty on the ocean even if the sun does it’s best to poke out.

         So, what do you do if your vacation is suddenly in jeopardy?

         Well, if you haven’t left yet, obviously check our flights.  If you’re booked with an outfitter or an agency, contact them to get some guidance.

         If you’re already down here and it looks like something big might be coming up the pipeline, you’ll have to make decision.  Stay or go?

         Consider that if you plan to go, so are a lot of other folks trying to book flights to get out before the storm hits.  So, don’t dally on your decision.

 Flights are already full with regular departures let alone lots of new folks now wanting seats.  Seats will be scarce and probably pricey.  But, it’s a decision you have to make.

         Don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time before your flight.  Remember also, that if you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to allow for the extra time to get your covid test at the airport.

         If you decide to stay, I”ll be honest. It’s kinda cool to watch the power of nature do its thing.

         As long as you are safe!

         Stay inside.  There could be all kinds of things flying around.

If you drive, sudden flooding can become not only dangerous but fatal as roads and arroyos literally turn into raging rivers, even with a small amount of rain.

         Keep your electronics charged.  Don’t waste batteries watching tik tok videos or video chatting.  You may lose power and you don’t know when you’ll be able to recharge. 

         Plus, you may need your phone as a flashlight, although I never travel without a little tactical flashlight handy.

         Stock up on waters.  If you have time, get to the local market and grab some candles and masking tape as well for the windows. I always grab edibles that don’t need refrigeration as well. 

        Hate to admit it, but junk food works really well.  I seem to eat more potato chips and Pringles during storms than any other time.  But, not to be total knuckleheaded, we also have cold cuts, bread, energy bars and fruit.

         If you have an ice chest, fill it with water.  Use it as your back-up water to do things like flush toilets.  Oh yea…grab extra toilet paper as well.  Goes without saying.

         And ask housekeeping to bring you lots of extra towels to keep water from coming under the door or sopping up anything that leaks in.

         My wife and I always keep a deck or cards handy too.

         The above recommendations are mostly just for the most severe situations.

         The majority of time, it will never come to that.  You’re gonna get some wind and rain.  I cut out a big trash bag for my head and arms and use it as a rain pancho. 

         Everyone makes it through these things.  And they happen without warning sometimes.  And they happen during the best times to be down in Baja and Mexico in general.   It helps to know what to prepare.

         Also, I keep saying it, but purchase trip insurance ahead of time.  It’s economic and helps recover the costs of lost charters, hotel nights, activities, plane flights and others.

         I’m still here sitting looking out my office window and those clouds are getting darker and the winds are starting to rip a lot harder.  Nora is in the house.

         Gonna go pop a can of Pringles and a beer.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

                 

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THAT “A-HA” MOMENT

THAT “A-HA” MOMENT

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 22, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

       I’ve been watching fishermen (of both genders) for almost 50 years now. 

       Working as a guide; a deckhand; on TV shows; as a fishing instructor and as a fleet owner now in Baja for almost 30 of those years, I’ve seen a wonderful lot of folks with rods and reels in their hands.

         It’s great going out on the water with fishing veterans.  Anglers know their stuff.  It’s well-oiled fishing. 

        Lots of muscle memory.  Gear is locked in.  Technique is dialed-in.  No wasted motions.  Let’s just fish!

         But then there’s the really fun fishing for me.

         And that’s with first timers or folks who really don’t have that much experience.

         It’s often a day of tangled lines and too many thumbs.  Backlashes and upside-down reels.  Too much intensity and lack of intensity. 

        Lots of anxiety and, unfortunately, sometimes lost fish.  Too much expectation or not knowing at all what to expect.

         But, for me it’s fun!  It’s the best time.

         For these folks the bar isn’t set that high.

         It’s often their first time or a rare time and they just don’t have other experiences to compare this to. 

         I won’t hear about how the fish are bigger in Australia or about all the fish they caught off the Grand Banks.  They’re not going to compare fishing here to battling giant lake trout in Canada.

         Nah.

         By the same token, they’re not going to compare me to their fishing guide in Argentina or that grizzly old-timer on the flats of Key West.  I’ll have to be really bad to look like a doofus in their eyes.

         They just wanna have some fun in the sun. 

         Almost any fish will be their biggest or the most.  Or the funnest. Or even the funniest!

         When a fish is hooked it can be all “arms and elbows” and “get outta the way!” with lots of laughs and big eyes and straining arms.  Lines going every-which way and lots of “coaching!”

         “Follow your fish!”

        

         “Keep the line tight!”

         “Turn the handle!” (The OTHER way!)

         “Lift the rod!”

         Sometimes everyone is yelling at once and I often feel sorry for the poor angler be it a guy, a gal or a kid .  They’re  holding on for dear life and trying to process all the information.  All while trying NOT to make a mistake or lose the fish.

         It’s sometime just too much!

         I’ve noticed that kids are very coachable.  Wives and girlfriends are more coachable than their husbands or boyfriends.  They are even better when the husband or boyfriend is at the other end of the boat and not watching them so closely.

         Guys can be a little different.  Sometimes they go all “macho” and figure they can just overcome any fish with brute strength and muscle.  Guys can be less inclined to listen to any instructions.  They will “bend the fish to their will” and “beat the fish into submission!” 

         It’s a guy thing!  Just the way we are.

         Even some anglers that I see year-after-year can need a lot of coaching and instructions. 

         Things that veteran anglers take for granted often continue to be lessons in frustration year-after-year for some of the regular anglers we see. 

         Things like tying a hook correctly or using a bait.

         Things like properly winding the line on the reel or keeping lines directly in front of them.

         Or the proper rhythm of fighting a fish.  Lifting the rod then using the reel to wind down as the fish comes up.   Just using their gear and technology to their advantage.

         I give them all credit for trying and just being out there and still enjoying the heck out’ve themselves.  It makes it some of the most enjoyable of times for me to be on the water.

         But one of the best rushes is that “Ah-HAH” moment.

         It’s when it all comes together.  For some it happens pretty quickly.  For others it takes awhile.  Sometimes years after grinding. 

         The important thing is they kept at it.

         You remember. 

         It’s that feeling when your dad finally let go of you and you realized you were peddling your bike by yourself down the street. 

Or you realized you were driving on the street all by yourself and not thinking about it anymore.

         It happens when someone learns to play an instrument.

         Or your two left feet disappeared and you’re actually dancing.

         Or you watch your kid suddenly realize he or she is reading. 

         And they realize it too.

         Or your toddler is running and not all wobbly and clumsy across the living room floor.  So THAT’S what these legs are for!

         It suddenly just all comes together.  And it can happen at any moment.

         No more over-analyzing.  No more over-thinking.  Pure muscle memory and enjoyment.

         It’s when the “student” realizes, “Hey, I got this!”

         It’s like that with fishing and I see it all the time and it’s great. 

         Yea…you got this!

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

EPERANZA

DYANA and MOM

ESPERANZA

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 11, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

In Spanish, the word “Esperanza” generally means “hope.”

It can also connotate “promise,”

And “confidence.”

And “faith”

And “expectation.”

And “possibilities.”

Like a lot of kids in the U.S., Dayana just graduated from high school.  Like a lot of kids, the last year or so was especially tough. 

She has not been in a classroom in 16 months as schools remained closed.   No proms.  No dances.  No sports.  No activities.

Like a lot of kids, she’s headed off to college next semester.

But, Dayana isn’t like a lot of kids in the U.S.  You see, she’s not in the U.S.  She’s in Mexico.  In fact, she’s in Baja.  La Frontera.  The Frontier.

You see, unlike kids in the U.S. education here in Mexico is only mandated or required until the 6th grade.  That’s it.  That’s as far as you go. 

If you even get that far.

And unlike U.S., the family must pay for the kids to go further.

And unlike the U.S., if a family can afford to send a child further, it’s usually the boy that gets the nod. Girls will go to work. 

Or stay home.

Make babies.  Marry.  Make more babies.   

That’s the thinking.  For girls, no education needed beyond rudimentary reading and writing.

So, education is wasted on the girls.  Or, even if not, it’s simply not affordable.

And that would easily have been Dayana’s “happily-ever-after-future” into the abyss of life.

But, she’s headed in a different direction.  She’s going down the “road less traveled” because some few with generous hearts took an interest. 

And made a difference.

Even in impoverished areas, we see American kids wearing $300 Nike Jordan basketball shoes.  Or carrying $500 smartphones.  A different outfit every day. Name brand clothes and backpacks.  School lunches.  Transportation.  Real books.

For the past 6 years, Dayana has moved forward.  Because for her, $300 per year wasn’t used to buy the latest shoes or a smartphone.

The “monumental” amount of $300 a year kept her in school.

For a lot of us, that’s a concert ticket.  It’s a steak dinner.  It’s 5 minutes in Vegas.  It’s a hotel night in Puerta Vallarta or a night of clubbing in Cabo San Lucas.

 And yes (cringe)… It’s the cost of YOUR kid’s shoes headed to school this fall.

A special program here in La Paz, where we live and run our fishing business, allowed many of our anglers to donate towards keeping a kid in school.

Five bucks…ten bucks…a hundred bucks.  Little-by-little.  Poco a poco.

Hit $300 and another kid stays in school.

Three hundred bucks goes a long way.

For Dayana, each year, it purchased her books.  It purchased her uniform. It got her transportation to school; as well as breakfast and lunch.

And this was no free ride for her either.

She had to maintain her grades.

Forget dances, sports, social events, day trips and extracurricular activities.  No time for that.

She was also required to do community work.  She was also required to mentor other students and pay-it forward.

And from year-to-year, there was no guarantee that her benefactors would sponsor another year.  Or that there would be enough money.

It could have ended at any time, but for the big hearts of certain individuals.

It could easily have been a trip back to that happy-ever-after dead-end future that befalls so many of her friends.

In the barrio. In an un-ending circle of. . .whatever.

So, she graduated.  High grades. She reads and writes fluently English and Spanish.  Most of us can’t even do that.

And she’s moving on.

And up.

A full scholarship to the military university in distant Mexico City for 4 years then onto officers-training school and hopefully an engineering degree.

Oh…and an anonymous benefactor also paid for her braces!

It calls to mind the story about the hiker walking along the seashore after a storm.  He sees many starfish washed up stranded on the beach.

The hiker starts throwing the stranded starfish back into the ocean.  Hoping to save a few.

A bystander says, “You’re wasting your time. You can’t save them all.  There are miles of beach.  You can’t make a difference.”

The hiker smiles.  He picks up another starfish and tosses it back into the ocean and says, “It makes a difference to THAT starfish!”

I’m writing this column because Dayana wrote a letter…in perfect English mind you…probably better than some of the writing I’ve seen from other high school students…just to say thank you. 

Thank you to sponsors and benefactors named and anonymous.

 “…and to all those people who make the dream of many young people possible, to improve ourselves, study, pursue a career and achieve our goals; blessings for all.”

Her words. Not mine.

Grateful for “Esperanza.”

Hope.

Promise.

Confidence.

Faith.

Expectation.

Possibilities!

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

AM I MISSING SOMETHING?

Originally Published the Week of July 18, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

AM I MISSING SOMETHING?

         I was sitting in our restaurant the other day here in La Paz.  It’s kind of a big multi-story eatery over-looking the waterfront.  Sometimes, it’s nice to bring my laptop upstairs to work.

         I get some fresh breezes and sunshine. I get to people-watch all the goings-on downstairs on the beach.  And I get to visit with folks a bit too.

         It’s also difficult avoiding a bit of eaves-dropping and observing.

         So, there’s one table over there with a family of five.  Mom and dad.  Three kids.  Two girls and one boy.  Maybe ranging from 12 (the girl) to 9 (the  youngest boy).

         No one is talking.  At least not what I would call talking.

         All of them, mom and dad included, are all on their cellphones.  Tapping.

         I think some of them are actually communicating with each other via text on their phones rather than just looking up and saying something to the other family member.

         The only conversation I hear is a comment about what they are reading, but loud enough for the rest of the table to hear…and comment.  If anyone else is interested.

         Random comments just thrown out there like playing cards on the table…

         “I simply CANNOT believe it, Shelly broke up with Lance over the phone.”

         “Did you see where Danny and Elaine are finally engaged?”

         “Wait, hold on, I’m streaming the NBA finals and the Bucks are down by two”

         Even when the food arrived or when one of my servers asked them something, there was merely a perfunctory one or two-word response before getting back to whatever was no that tiny screen.

         Tap…tap…tap…thumbs flying.  Somehow mastered the ability to eat and type at the same time.

         But who am I to judge, right?   There musta been some really important critical communication going on at that table.  (“Joes’ family gets to go to Hawaii next month!” “Our neighbors got a new dog!” )

         There was another family next to them.

         Family of four.  One girl.  One boy. 

        Ages 10-12…maybe. Honest.  Hard to tell. 

       She kinda dressed like a boy…torn jeans…cropped hair…baseball hat.  He was dressed in lanky stovepipe pants that were pastel-colored with and hot pink t-shirt.

       Mom and dad were very nice and conversant when I visited the table to make sure everything was OK.

         Kids…hmmmm…

         Never took their sunglasses off.  Oozing attitude.  Bored. Disaffected.

         “Why are we here when we could be somewhere else?” unsaid behind the smirks.

         One of the boys said, “Can you turn down the music?  It bothers me.”

       Said what he said and I was “dismissed” to go turn down the Jimmy Buffet music I had in the background. 

       No “please” or “thank you.”

        Yessireee…right on it, young master.

         Parents not affected by the attitude.

         They had a hard time finding something on the menu for the boys.

         “Are your chicken wings as good as Buffalo Wild Wings? That’s our favorite and that’s the only place we eat them. “

         “Do you have more things on the menu to choose from?  Mostly, you have Mexican food and I don’t like tortillas.  Or cheese.  Or beans.”

         They eventually ordered plain hot dogs on buns and had two orange soda floats each and pretty much ate in silence.  Like they couldn’t wait to get out and why’d mom and and dad drag us out here? 

Sunglasses never came off.  One kid never took his ear plugs outta his ears.

         Down the other end.  Dad and two boys.  Young teens.  I wasn’t quite sure if both were his sons, but it might have been a son with a chum along on the trip.

         I got the impression this was an absentee dad.  Maybe a divorce?  Out to take his son out on a trip.  Some bonding time.

         I heard him talking to them about maybe some beach time.  How about a snorkel trip to swim with the sealions?   Or maybe do some fishing or kayaking!

         Hot dang!  We’ll have a great time, boys!  What d’ya say?

         He was really excited and trying hard to sell the activities.

         The boys…pasty-white complexions that never go outside…and stylishly-gelled hair…

         Wanted to know where they could get massages and a manicure and pedicure.  And if the hotel had NETFLIX.

         Dad was a bit crestfallen.  Understandably.

         Am I missing something?   I had to ask myself.  What’s going on?

         This kinda stuff is not uncommon from what I see…almost daily.

         I don’t think I’m missing anything.

         I think THEY are missing something.  The kids AND the parents.  On so many levels.

         I wanted them to get excited about the view of the ocean or the sunset or even an “OOOooo”and “Ahhhh…” over a dumb plate of nachos.   Or the anticipation of jumping in the water or going fishing.

         But no.

         Yea…there’s a lot missing these days.

         Maybe it’s just me.  I’m old and old school.  Not hip enough.

         My wife Jill says I’m “outdated” because I still use e-mail and all our grown kids use Instagram and Tik Tok and Twitter and Whatsapp and…and…and..

         Can’t keep up with all those social platforms.  I miss plain conversation with my own family.  Obviously, these families don’t miss it at all.

         Yup!  Life has just passed me by. But, I haven’t missed much. Just eavesdropping and watching the tables.  

         And taking it all in.  And thinking with a smirk of my own.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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TRAVEL TO MEXICO SOARS…Planes not so much!

          Mexico has become the go-to place for Americans as things open up.   It’s an easy get-away.  It’s economical.  It’s easy to get home.

         More Americans are choosing Mexico over the rest of the Covid-recovering world.

         Travel to Mexico is booming in all the usual places.  Cancun, Puerta Vallarta. Cozumel.  Cabo San Lucas. 

         It might not be back to where it was pre-2020, but it’s surely trending that way.  There are reports that flight travel, in general, is just about where it used to be.

         Just one problem.

         The airlines weren’t quite ready for it to boom back this much or this fast.

         Therefore, just as summer travel is hitting it’s stride, travelers are finding there’s some disconcerting hurdles to straddle

         Frankly, flights are getting delayed, changed and canceled with regularity.  Most recently American Airlines, Southwest and others have been cancelling over 100 flights per day. This does not begin to count the flights that are changed, delayed or re-routed.

         Insofar as my wife and I have dozens of clients per week flying here to La Paz to fish with our fleet, I would venture to say that at least 30% have had their flights changed…often several times from the original…and sometimes at the last minute.

         Maybe 40% have delayed flights where they either had unexpected waits at the airport or while sitting on the plane.

         Perhaps 10% have had their flights outright cancel.  Arriving a day or two later than planned, this has created issues with losing hotel nights as well as activities such as fishing. 

         If a replacement flight can even be found.  With many flights full, it’s not always a possibility.  Also, not all airlines fly every day.

         Going home to the U.S. has sometimes been an issue as well, although usually not as much.

         A big problem has been with connecting flights.  If one connecting flight is cancelled or extensively delayed, then there is no way for a passenger to make their next flight in a timely fashion.

         To some degree, the airlines point to the spat of bad weather that has hit the U.S. since the beginning of the year.

         However, not withstanding Mother Nature’s capricious whims, the bigger problem is a result of Covid.

         Many airlines layed-off thousands of employees last year.  Many employees were encouraged to accept retirement packages.

         Now with travel zooming back, like many industries, there’s a shortage of employees.

         Running an airlines is a little more complicated than teaching someone to flip burgers.

         One doesn’t suddenly find or train flight attendants in the classified section.  You can’t train a jet pilot overnight.  Aircraft mechanics and maintenance personnel don’t attend a 1 week night-class to get certified.  Ground crews can’t be found on Craig’s List.

         So, it’s just one more thing to keep an eye out for.

         There are several things you can do.

         For one, don’t assume the airline is going to tell you about changes.  Seems kinda logical and good business, but that’s not always the case.

I’ve had several clients who were never informed of changes until THE DAY of TRAVEL.

         I’ve had several others who never found out until they were AT THE AIRPORT.

         One was told, “Well…we’re sorry.  We tried to call you yesterday and also sent an e-mail, but no one answered.”  That’s right up there with “The check is in the mail.”

         Do yourself a favor and check…constantly!  Especially as the trip gets closer, don’t be the person who turns off their e-mails and instant messages the last day they leave the office.  Be pro-active and avoid surprises.

         Be prepared for the possibility of delay. 

         Bring a book.  Bring your medications.  Bring a jacket.  If there’s a bunch of delays and your flight isn’t until the next day, just assume that any nearby hotel will be full or just not worth the hassle. 

So, figure out what you’re gonna do for a few hours sitting in an airport chair or in the restaurant or bar.

         One of those goofy neck pillows isn’t a bad idea.  Even if you’re not having to spend time in the airport, if you’re stuck sitting on the tarmac in your plane for an extra hour or two, you’ll be grateful you had a neck pillow.

         The biggest thing to do is something I have advocated for years. 

         It’s trip insurance.  Google it up . There’s a zillion different companies and plans that will very economically insure pretty much anything on your vacation to missed flights; to missed kayak trips; to lost hotel nights or other plans .

         A week has not gone by lately where I was not assisting one of our clients help file a claim for compensation because of an airline SNAFU. 

         Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         He went on…

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

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

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

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

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

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

         “So, Jonathan…book me a trip!”

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

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

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

         Life should have been reversed.

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

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

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

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

Cancer…Hearts…Covid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

Read Full Post »

THEY’RE MAKING IT TOO EASY!

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 16, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publicaitions

License plates say a lot about certain areas. 

Arizona’s plates proclaim the “Grand Canyon State.”Georgia’s plates tell you they have a lot peaches.

Minnesota wants you to know that they’ve got “10,000 lakes.” The “Corn State” is Iowa.  Easy one.

I’m not quite sure about South Carolina as “the iodine state?”  Hmmm…

Anyway, you get the gist.

Baja California’s license plate tells you it’s the “Frontera”. The Frontier.

Back in the day, almost 3 decades ago, when I first showed up down here in Baja, It surely was.  On my first trip diving down by myself, it was not without some trepidation.

Armed with Auto Club Maps, tour books, extra water, gasoline, engine hoses and belts, shovels and even extra toilet paper, I sallied forth across the border.  And there was no mistaking when you came across that threshold at Tijuana.

You were indeed, NOT in the U.S. any longer.

It looked different.  It felt different. Even the Mexican air felt different.

And when you finally broke out past the dusty concrete block buildings; tire shops; mom-and-pop taco stands and roadside vendors and into the open arid desert heading south, you were on an adventure. 

That desert went on for endless miles.  It still does.

Over the many years, it has continued to be an adventure.  And to live down here in those days, meant living on a much narrower margin of error than back in the U.S.

If you needed something, you didn’t just go down to the mall or Home Depot. If something broke, you fixed it or did without.

If you had to get from Point A to Point B, you had to ask yourself, how essential was it to get there?  Did you have enough gas?  Could you even buy gas? Did you even have transportation?  Many is the time I walked…and walked…and walked s’more!

Finding the simplest thing could take an entire day driving from place to place.

Everything had to be planned and calculated.

You actually had to plan meals way in advance. 

Running out’ve tomatoes or sugar wasn’t as simple as getting to the nearby grocery store.  Maybe you’re out’ve water.  Even more critical.

Even if you got there, there was no guarantee that they even had tomatoes or sugar…or water!

Things weren’t fixed by a simple phone call or checking the internet. There was no internet.  No cell phones.

You could wait days or weeks for the simplest of services.

Initially, this took some getting used to.  As Americans we’re used to having everything there at our fingertips. 

But, living in Mexico took some adjustment.  And for me, living out in the Mexican countryside made things double-hard…or at least incredibly inconvenient.  You just learned to get along without…or adapt. 

It could get frustrating.  At times, it could be precariously dangerous or urgent. It still is for a majority of folks down here.

We used to love it when a friend would travel back to the states. They carried lists of all the things that could be (dare-I-say) “smuggled back” down to Baja.

Please bring me music cassettes, a tool, a pair of shoes, some fishing line…Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue…American food!  Sausage…cheese…jerky…maple syrup…coffee!

Friends and clients used to actually bring famous In-N-Out hamburgers down to me from California.  They were cold and greasy, but what a treat!

I would hoard and eat by myself where no one could see me devilishly inhaling that cold burger like a little pack rat.  It was manna from heaven!

All of these things were the trade-off for being able to live by the ocean in a beautiful place.

That was living in the “frontera” of Baja.

Fast forward 2020.

Transportation?

A good number of my office staff arrive by Uber. Clients make their way around town or arrive at our restaurant by Uber.  Need to get somewhere?  It’s as easy as tapping out the app on your cellphone.

Three years ago, there were 8 Uber cars here in La Paz.  Now, it seems half the population is an Uber driver. 

You don’t have the ability to get bigger or smaller vehicles or share rides, but compared to transportation even 5 years ago, Uber is a no-brainer.  It’s just good solid transportation for a fraction of the cost.

 Locals don’t have to take crowded buses or walk.  Visitors don’t have to rent cars or take expensive taxis.

My own car is good for about 5 miles.  That’s it.  Then it overheats.  Uber has been the answer.

In fact, I don’t even need to spend/ waste a day hunting for many things anymore.

As I write this in my office, the delivery man just dropped off an Amazon box. 

Yes the magic “A” word! Danger! Danger!

Thank you.  Finally. Got that coffee bean grinder we “really” needed. 

Let me put it over there with the box that came yesterday with the special diet cat food for our rescue cat; wine bottle openers for our restaurant; and the new electric toothbrush.

All “essential” things!

The day before that, they even delivered on Sunday.  Got that cool set of patio lights; a new folding stepstool and even guitar strings!  Waited two-whole days for that delivery!

Yes, convenience has arrived.  And it’s been a game changer, even a life saver.

They’re making it too easy. And easy to get spoiled.

Progress and technology in Baja.  Living the dream!

Now, if only they could deliver one of those In-N-Out burgers hot!  Hopefully, another story for another time.

That’s my story!

Jonathan
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing
www.tailhunter.com

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter Sportfishing8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Phones: 
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

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BAJA GROUND ZERO VOICES

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BAJA GROUND ZERO VOICES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s my (their) story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

BEST of TIMES & WORST of TIMES

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(TURN UP YOUR VOLUME FOR THE FULL EFFECT!)

BEST of TIMES & WORST of TIMES

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 10, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

It’s 5:30 a.m. here in La Paz and it’s still dark outside.  We just put out our first group of fishermen for the day with our sportfishing fleet.

 

It looks like it’s gonna be a great day.  Seas are flat.  Winds are calm a a brilliant quarter moon is shimmering on the water.

 

At this time yesterday morning, it was Armageddon.

 

To use another Bible reference, I think it’s the Book of Kings (I’m sure many of you know better than me) that says something about “Chariots of fire in the sky and the air being “torn asunder.’”

 

Well, that’s what it was like.

 

Woke up to a few little drops of water.  No big.

 

Saw some lightning flashes over the hills.  Heat lighting in the dark.  No big.

 

That stuff happens all the time.

 

The weather forecast for the day has NOTHING on the radar.

 

I’ve got 40-something anxious fishermen on the beach… in the dark waiting to go fishing.

 

“GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE!”

 

…and just about then, as if in response, the heavens answered.

 

Suddenly, a BRILLIANT jag in the dark as if someone had popped a zillion camera flashes and I was suddenly looking at the lit up big-eyed faces of all our clients …followed by…

 

BOOM!!!  BOOM!!!  BOOM!

 

foto-diariolapaz-1538346917-tormenta_truenos

As if we were suddenly in a giant kettle drum.

 

More lightning.  More deafening incoming kettle drums!  It was like Thor and the Angel Gabriel decided to have a drumming contest and lightning was so close overhead the hair on your arm prickled up with static electricity.

 

Some bolts hit the water in the distance! YEOW!

 

Then, the rain came.

 

And came.  We huddled under whatever cover we could.

 

I could see my captains offshore in the misty dark.  The pangas continually lit by the lighting now so bright I could have read a book.   I nervously radioed them to hold on.

 

Through the din of the rain and the artillery thunderclaps, my wife and I kept reassuring everyone that this will pass.

 

Man…we had our fingers crossed because most clients were in favor of heading straight back to their hotel rooms.  Sheets of rain now obscured everything.

 

Nothing worse than telling people on vacation that their day had been canceled.

 

This was not looking good.  Darnit…

 

And then…just like that.  It stopped.

 

Was it over?  We hesitantly emerged from hiding like nervous bunnies peeking from our holes.  All eyes skyward.  Some passing clouds clearing.  A few residual drops.

 

They all looked at us.  A pregnant moment of silence…

 

“We told you so (breathing a sigh of relief)!  LET’S GO FISHING!

 

Yay!

 

We called the boats in.  Everyone boarded.  We had one of the best fishing days of the season.

 

My wife and I exhaled as we left the beach.  Dodging a bullet will do that to you. Not getting caught in a big hopeful FIB will also do that to you.

 

When I assured folks it was just a passing storm, it was really just a hopeful guess!

 

But, as I sit here composing my column, I have the extended weather forecast out.  There’s a hurricane headed our way although it’s going to bank and head to the Pacific.  Maybe well get some larger waves and some gusts of wind.

 

Juliet, please head away from us!

 

However, I see in about 6 days, we’re in for some thundershowers.  Fortunately, it will be in the afternoon.  After everyone is back from fishing eating nachos, drinking beers and telling fishing stories.

 

So, I think it will be Ok.  I hope it will be OK.  I hate fibbing.

 

The big blow that passed over us was not on the radar.  It was not in the forecast.  It’s what the locals call a “TORITO.”  A “little bull” hurricane.  It comes…hits hard…and goes.

 

The big chubasco hurricane is the one we really worry about.  In my 25 years down here, I’ve been through 8 of them.  Most blow through and in a day or two,  we’re back on the water.

 

A few like Odile in 2014 cut a chunk of devastation with 200 mph winds.  We knew it was coming.

 

The ominous thing is that unlike other hurricanes that can be watched for days before striking, Odile gave us less than 24 hours notice.  A benign chubasco suddenly and unexpectedly turned and hurled itself into Baja.

 

But, this is that tropical time of year.  This stuff can and does happen.

 

It’s the BEST fishing in Baja.

 

Year-after-year, we are packed with fishermen because they know it’s a great time to fish!

 

This is when the fun species like tuna, wahoo and dorado dominate.  Giant roosterfish prowl the beaches.  Striped, blue, black marlin and sailfish arrive in schools.

 

There’s a reason that all the major tournaments…some of the largest in the world like the Bisbee’s Black & Blue and the Western Outdoor News Tuna Jackpot are held during this time.

 

From late summer through fall, it seems there are several major tournaments going on every single week.

 

They’re happening and folks come from all over the world because the fishing is so good.

 

But, you just never know about the weather.  It’s a capricious mistress.

 

I have spent many years flying around the country for business and pleasure. I always passed those little machines at the airports selling travel insurance.

 

What’s that all about?   Never mind…there’s a plane to catch.  Check it out later.

 

That was way way back in the day.

 

There is no way to control the weather.  But, you do have some control about how the weather or other unforeseen incidents impact your vacation.

 

Travel insurance is easy and economical.  It should be a part of your travel planning just like an extra set of underwear.  It doesn’t take much space.

 

Here in Mexico, it’s pretty hard to get a refund for anything.  Actually, it’s like that in most parts of the world.  Weather-related cancelations in the fishing industry?  Weather is a part of fishing.  Weather happens.

 

It’s like going on a hunting trip.  Because you don’t shoot an elk or it snows, you don’t ask for a refund,

 

Ever tried to get a refund from the airlines or a hotel? Short of an actual medical emergency or actual crisis, get ready for a lot of phone calls and documents you’ll have to submit.

 

A bit of cheap travel insurance kicks in and you’re golden again.  You won’t recover the lost day.  But, at least you’ll get some re-imbursement.

 

Like a 2nd set of underwear.  Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

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