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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.”

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WISH I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW

What a long-strange trip it’s been. Me selling fishing trips in the street circa 1995. Only thing I could think of doing.

WISH I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 24, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

          Looking back on almost 30 years here in Baja, I was thinking of what an incredible and improbably journey this has been.  It’s been the trip of a lifetime. 

         I’m grateful.  What was supposed to be a one-year exciting hiatus from practicing law turned into an unexpected and (initially) unwanted and scary realization that I couldn’t leave.  

         After almost a year, folks I had gone to work for fired me. A long story for another day. 

        However, when they chased me off, they  refused to return my passport and had never filed my work papers!  They also owed me several months of pay.  

        So, I’m illegal and broke! And I’m stuck.

        I had no visible or viable means of support, income, housing or food.  I’m in  a foreign country where my Spanish pretty much consisted of Spanish expletives and fishing terminology.

        “Vamos por cervezas” (Let’s get some beer!) wasn’t going to get me far.       

         But things turned out.  It’s that saying about God closing windows and opening other doors.  The good Lord busted my butt in so many ways, but he opened a huge door for me to step through. 

I was hungry and didn’t really have a choice. I had to figure a way to eat and I couldn’t sleep in my van forever!

         But looking back, I wish I knew then what I know now about so many things.  I made a list of some of them.

         For one.  I realize you can get by with very little if you need to.  It doesn’t take much.  It’s nice to have a full pantry.  It’s nice to have amenities. 

        But, it makes you grateful for many small things and also humbles you thinking about your Mexican friends and acquaintances. They can get by a lot better than most Americans I know.

        Almost everything is negotiable.  Except for grocery stores and gas stations, pretty much everything else from services to goods is negotiable. 

        The price is what whatever the seller is willing to accept and you’re willing to pay.  Trade has worked more often than I can remember.  Win-win for both sides.

        “Manana” does not always mean “tomorrow” when it comes to business or social commitments. Manana could mean “3 days from now.” 

        It could also mean “later.”  It could mean “whenever I get to it.” It could also be a polite way of being told, “It ain’t gonna happen so don’t count on me.”

        Speaking of “later,” most everyone is late.  I’ve come concluded that Mexican driver speed because they are late. 

        After running businesses for almost 3 decades, nothing I do can force my employees to be on time.  No amount of penalties, bonus pay, threats or jumping up-and-down will get them to be on time.  So, accept it and deal with it as best you can.

        “Guarantees,” “Warranties,” “Contracts” usually aren’t worth the paper they are written on.  New roof collapses.  Too bad. 

        Car stalls in the desert.  Hope you brought water and a cellphone.  They raised the cost of something before the contract expires?  What will do you…file a lawsuit?  You’re on your own. 

        Water is precious and not to be wasted.  Electricity is something not everyone has so don’t take it for granted. It makes EVERYTHING better.  Air-conditioning is the greatest invention since duct tape.

        If something breaks, we think we must find a specialty part or store.  Home Depot. West Marine. Walmart. 

        Mexican people are some of the most innovative and inventive I’ve ever seen.  If they can fix or jury rig something out’ve wire, rope or scrap, they will.  And it will work.  At least until it breaks again.

        Along those same thoughts, if something can break, it will.  If you lend it out, it will probably get broken.  Thing you never ever thought someone would break, will break. 

        How does one snap something so solid as a hammer or screwdriver in half?  How does a power drill suddenly not work after 10 years? How does a blender or microwave only last a month?  How does someone drive a truck into the ocean or a boat into the docks full speed?

        You will always get a shrug when you ask how that could have happened.  No se!  (I don’t know!)  “It must be defective!”

        Some things can’t be jury rigged.

        And some things never change.

        For instance, never turn down an offer of a home-cooked meal.  Especially by someone’s mama.  The world over, if someone’s mama offers to cook you dinner, you’re a fool to decline. Best food ever.

        Gringos drink tequila.  I don’t know many Mexican friends that actually drink tequila as a first choice if something else is available.  They smilingly watch the gringos knock back tequila drinks.  The locals that come to our bar prefer beer, whiskey and pina coladas.

        Here’s a big one.  One persons idea of “corruption” is another person’s idea of “culture.”

        Earlier, I stated that everything is negotiable.  A good example is bribes.  Against the law.  Bad stuff.  Here in Mexico it’s more like “tipping.”

        I’m not talking about getting ticketed for no reason by bad cops.

        I’m talking about getting tickets for failing to stop; speeding; bad parking or going down a one-way street.  It happens. Not the end of the world.  You get a ticket.

        I hate to say it but “tipping” the cop to just give you a warning is right up there with tipping the waiter for an extra cup of ice or onions-on-the-side.  Or your boat captain for a good day.  Or the mechanic for a special job. 

        I’ve had many a gal tell me she doesn’t think twice about batting her eye lashes and flirting to get out’ve a ticket back in the U.S.  I don’t have eyelashes or anything that a cop would think attractive. 

        But, I do have some extra pesos I keep in my ashtray.  And it works. 

        I was in the wrong. I deserve a ticket.  The cop wants some beer after work.  Here’s some pesos.  He tells me be more careful next time.

        It’s win-win and we both smile.  Just the way things work.

        Lastly, no matter how hard you try, things do not and will not happen fast here.  You are way ahead if you get just one thing done per day.  You can’t make a “to do” list here in Mexico.

         Do some banking.  Pay a bill. Get to the grocery store.  Wash the car.  If you accomplishe one thing, don’t even try for the other things on your list. 

        Crack a beer.  Day is done.

        Just how things are down here.  I learn more every day.

That’s my story

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

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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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 »

CAN’T GET OUTTA YOUR OWN WAY!

CAN’T GET OUTTA OUR OWN WAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

maxresdefault (1)

They still don’t know the basics. 

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

Put down the catalogs.  Stop web-surfing Amazon.

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

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

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

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

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

Why do we use certain hooks?  

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

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

A13usaonutL._CLa_2140,2000_61vuuUuGo+L.png_0,0,2140,2000+0.0,0.0,2140.0,2000.0_AC_UX342_

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

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

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

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

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

Sheesh! Stop me!

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

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

SOMETHING IN THE WATER?

SOMETHING IN THE WATER?

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

 

          “I’ve never seen it like this before”

         “I think this is what it must have been like back in the day.”

         “This is almost eerie.  Been coming for years and there’s something has definitely changed.”

         “It’s like there’s something in the water.”

 

Quotes from a recent sci-fi thriller?

Nope.

Recent comments from Baja fishermen.

And they’re not talking about some toxic sludge, eco-disaster or some other ominous occurrence or disaster.

On the contrary.

They’re actually talking about what might be one of the more incredible fishing seasons in many years.

From all parts of Baja and the west coast of Mexico, reports have been trickling in about phenomenal catches.

Big fish.

Most fish.

A plethora of fish not experienced for far too many years.

Sure, every location is subject to the occasional fish that has a “wow-factor” to it because of its unusual size.  Or the occasional day when all the planets, the moon and stars line up for a haul of a lifetime.

It happens all the time.  Worth a thumb-up; a high-five and a photographic Kodak moment.  That’s why there are fishing magazines and online websites showing the latest and greatest.

However, almost half-way through the year, these “Kodak” moments are getting too frequent to ignore. 

Maybe I’m wrong, but stories are coming in of species that haven’t been seen in these numbers for awhile.  Stories of fish with incredible…and even world-record size.  Stories of fish that are attacking baits and lures with a rabid ferociousness.

Even divers and snorkelers, sailors and other water-enthusiasts report, more dolphin and porpoise; more whales; more sea-turtles; more manta rays.  Just an abundance of life unseen for a long long time.

What gives?

“I’m sure there were at least a dozen 80-pound roosterfish swimming under the boat!”

“We were back at the docks by 10 a.m.  Limits like crazy in a single day and we threw back more fish than I’ve caught over several days!”

“My kid caught a huge dorado one day.  It  had everyone saying how they had not seen a fish that size in years.  The next day we got one even bigger.  The next day we caught one even bigger than that plus a lot of smaller ones!”

I was discussing it with some of our captains at our fleet here in La Paz.

I think one of them hit the nail on the head in one word, “Covid.”

We all laughed.  But, I think he had it correct.

Think about it.  Last year with pandemic rampaging around, fishing was brought to a standstill.  No boats.  No charters.  No fleets.  No traffic on the water.

Even the commercial boats were diminished.

For the first-time by social, government and health mandate, the fish were left alone.  The ocean was quarantined.  Maybe the first time ever. 

Mother nature was left alone.

Left alone to heal, if you will.  While the rest of us on land tried to find a way to heal as well.

Proving once again, what can happen if we just keep our doggone hands outta the pot.  For the better part of an entire year, we were forced to stay off the big pond. 

And she responded.  Fish had time to grow. Fish had time to re-produce and make more fish.  Waters and habitat got cleaner.  Less pollution. 

It’s a magnificent thing to see again.  I don’t want to be out’ve work like that again.  But, maybe we all needed a little rest and re-assessment.

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

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 »

FEELING A LITTLE MORE NORMAL AGAIN

SALUD!!!!

FEELING A LITTLE MORE NORMAL AGAIN

Originally Published the Week of May 17, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

The vibe just kinda just hit me this week.

         I had to go down to Cabo San Lucas which is about 100 miles south of us where we live in La Paz.  Had to take care of some business, but also check out the Cabo Airport.

         I got stuck in traffic.

         It’s been awhile since I’ve been stuck in traffic down here.  I mean, not just slo-mo movement.  I mean gridlock bumper-to-bumper stuff.  

         At the airport, to drop off folks, shuttle vans and taxis were triple-parked trying to let folks off at the curb.  Inside the terminal lines snaked back-and-forth and up-and down. 

        It was a morass of people struggling  to find their proper lines to check in for their flights as well as get their covid tests.

         Picking folks up, the same thing.  Chaos.  People ready and anticipating a cold margarita and sunny vacations now stuck in lines.  Buzz kill.

         Like being a kid getting taken finally to Disneyland then realizing it’s a 2 hour line to get on your favorite ride.

         From the time planes were landing, it was taking 1-2 hours for folks to get off the plane and get their luggage. Then, they had to navigate get through more snaking lines for immigration and finally customs and luggage x-rays.

         It was another hour wait to get a rental car…if you’re lucky.

         As my amigo and I sat in the car waiting for traffic, I looked at him and said, “I guess we’re back to normal.”  And went back to drumming my fingers on the steering wheel.

         And so it is.  I guess we’re somewhat back to normal.  At least it feels like it. The new normal?  Maybe so.

         There’s no doubt that Mexico, especially Baja, has become the #1 vacation target for Americans looking to get away…finally.  Covid or no covid.  Vaccine or no vaccine.

         Mexico is close. A quick little plane ride.

        There’s no quarantine.  It’s economical. It’s a long weekend.   

       To many the culture is not so unfamiliar.  It’s second nature to many Americans.    It’s not like going to France or Italy or somewhere in Asia.  And, getting back home is easy too.

         Although Baja still has restrictions, truthfully, they are almost un-noticeable.

         Sure, you still gotta wear a mask.  It’s a requirement, but it feels very relaxed.  No one is shaking a finger at you if you’re not wearing one. 

       And for sure, it’s rare that someone is going to remind the precious tourists with the American dollars to put on a mask.

           As you walk around, you’ll know if you need to pull up your mask. 

         You will still have folks taking your temperature at some places.  No big deal.

         Admittedly, restaurants and hotels are supposed to only be at 40-50% occupancy. 

         But, I see hotel parking lots are full.   Many restaurants are full and I sure don’t see many tables supposedly 6’ apart.  

          If the restrictions are being observed, it’s pretty loose.  Or maybe no one is really checking that hard.  Getting people working is too important. 

         Everyone is trying to make up for a devastating 2020, no doubt. 

         Those are just my own personal observations.   A generality, if you will. 

         But, honestly, it’s exciting to feel the nice buzz in the air.  A nice energy.  Visitors are excited to be here.

         Folks are excited to be working again. Locals are excited to have you.  Businesses have open arms waiting for you.

         Baja had it especially tough last year.  I remember everything being closed.  I remember night time curfews. 

         I remember only being allowed to have 2 persons in a car and everyone better have a mask on.  I remember having to sanitize your shoes and feet before entering a business.

       For Pete’sake, I remember when they cut off beer sales because brewing beer was a “non-essential activity.”  Long lines and small riots ensued at convenience stores. 

         Toilet paper no problem, but cutting off beer in Mexico?  That’s a real crisis.

         I don’t miss any of that.

        In an ironic bitter-sweet way, I will miss some things however.  Not that I ever want to go back to 2020.

        In a weird Twilight Zone kind of way, it was a peek at Mexico the way it was 30 or 40 years ago.    

         The ocean was empty and uncrowded. 

         The fish were ready and eager.  There had been so little traffic on the water. 

         I had the beaches to myself.  

         At restaurants the service was crazy good.  Waiters were falling all over themselves to wait on me.  Few tables were occupied.

         Hotels were almost giving away rooms to have you be there.  You got the pool all to yourself.  The jacuzzi didn’t have 20 kids diving in it.

         The swim up bar was just you and the bartender.   And he was anxious to have some company.

         And traffic?  What traffic?  Roads were empty.  The airport was empty. 

         Things moved at a much more leisurely pace. 

         I couldn’t wait for it all to end and it’s good to get back to some normalcy.  Good to see people back working and visitors flocking back.

         But, for awhile I got to see a different older Mexico.  Just for awhile. 

         It’s like those movies where someone invents a time machine and goes back in time.  Nice to visit, but you don’t wanna stay there too long!

         It’s good to be back to business.  Even if I’m stuck in traffic now and then.

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

______________

 

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 think of all the things you never had the courage to try.” 

Read Full Post »

IT MIGHT TICKLE…OR NOT!

illuminacovidtestingservice

YOU MIGHT FEEL A TICKLE…OR NOT!

Originally Published the Week of May 4, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

“OUCH!”

“HEY!”

I admit hearing my lovely wife squirming behind the closed door had me squirming and wincing myself. First, because no one likes to hear a loved one in distress or pain.

Secondly, it was because when she came out from behind that door, it was my turn to go back there.

We were there for our required Covid tests in order to fly back to the U.S. for a quick turn-around trip.

Since January 26th, the CDC and Biden Administration are requiring that everyone FLYING back into the U.S. from an international destination needed to have a Covid test.  Further, it can’t be any older than 72 hours before the date of travel back into the U.S.

You need to have the test even if you have been vaccinated.

Many hotels in tourist-saturated areas like Cabo San Lucas have facilities to obtain the tests.  Plus labs have sprouted up all over.  Additionally, all the international Mexican Airports have testing labs to facilitate the tests.

Where we live in La Paz, the hotels do not have enough international tourism to warrant erecting labs or creating testing facilities or services.  Therefore, my wife and I opted to go to one of the local labs.

So, there we were.

Nice clean little place that offered all kinds of lab services; blood tests; or pretty much anything diagnostic to poke and prod one’s body.  As mentioned, lots of labs have popped up everywhere to administer the covid testing.

I didn’t have any trepidation.   Figured it would be in-and-out-and done.  I heard it was a 15-minute issue. Results in an hour.   How bad could it be?

We had to show our i.d. and the expression-less lady behind the acrylic glass reception office with the mask took our info.  Tap…tap…tap…typing stoically on the keyboard.

No expression.  Reminded me of the one of the old nuns when I was in grade school.  All business. 

Of course…just before…I got whacked on the head with a ruler.

They told us that the test would take 15 minutes, but like most things, the paperwork part took “at least” 15 minutes by the indifferent receptionist.

A lady in a white lab coat came out.  I was directed to take a seat.  Jill was told to follow the lady in the lab coat behind a closed door.

At first I heard my wife giggling. 

I grabbed a magazine and opened a page.

Then, I heard the giggles turn to groans…and a bit of agonized yelps.

That didn’t sound so good.  My anxiety level took a couple of up-ticks.

More bad sounds and squirming.

Then Jill came out.  She did not look happy.  And I know she has a pretty high pain tolerance. 

Before I could say anything to her, the lab-coat lady beckoned me into the room. 

My turn.

I sat in the chair with a nervous laugh as she took out the long nasal swab. I tried to smile and I know my hands gripped the arm-rests of the chair.  Based on what my wife went through, I prepared for the worst.

 Here she goes…up my nose!

…and then she was done. 

Just like that. Maybe 2 total seconds where she was actually WAAAY back there that were uncomfortable, but otherwise easy-shmeazy.  I felt a little tickle. 

We were done.

Got results in 30 minutes on our cellphone.  Both negative.

As I found out later, just like anything else, folk re-act differently to the actual testing.  I guess it also depends on who’s sticking that swab up your nasal passage too.  But, I did feel really bad for Jill.  Hours later, she said she could still feel it.   I’ve heard that from others as well.  It can hurt!  Or not.

COVID-19-Test_Topper

One friend has had the test 6 times for work related requirements.  He works in a testing lab. 

He told me 3 times it hurt enough to bring tears to his eyes.  Three times, he felt almost nothing.  All done by the same lab tech at his work.  

He told me it had alot to do with the condition of nasal passages.  Allergies, dry weather or a recent cold can inflame the nasal cavity.  Previous nasal injuries can also produce scar tissue.  Using a saline rinse before and after the test helps.  So does putting some non-fragrance vaseline in your nose. 

Anyway…for Jill and I…

Cost was 1000 pesos…$50 each. 

Had we gone to the Cabo Airport, it’s a little different.

For one, give yourself an extra hour so you have enough time for the test.  Keep in mind that there could be a line. 

Covid test site at Cabo Airport copy

(The testing tent outside Cabo Airport)

However, according to one of our friends who took the airport test, “…the test was pretty easy. You walk in (take your luggage with you);  scan your QR code with your phone to fill out the questionnaire; and you pay. “

 

“You are then led into a corridor to sit down, wait until someone sticks that swab down your nose, leave, and 30 minutes later, get an email on your results!”

 

         Cost was about $40 and he said they accept credit cards and pesos, but no American dollars.

 

         It’s also important to have functional cell service while at the testing site (airport WIFI doesn’t work) because when scanning the QR code, you go to a site that you need to fill out which includes an email address. 

 

That’s where your results will be sent.  There’s someone there to help with English or Spanish.  

 

Bring your luggage back with you to the counter and show your results to get your boarding pass.   You’ll also need to show your cellphone questionnaire before they let you up to the gates.

customs-line-at-san-jose

As this is a new thing, the airport can be a morass of frantic travelers wrestling with cellphone reception; figuring out where to go; filling out the forms, etc.  However, there are numerous friendly and patience airport assistants all over the place being very helpful.

         Off you go.  No quarantine when you get back to the U.S.  Hopefully, as things get better, they’ll eventually do away with the test requirments. 

         Until then, best to know what to expect.

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

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 »

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

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

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

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

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

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

conventional reel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9ec1a38b7f73943ec0d57ef2e092888c copy

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

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

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

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

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

         The technology has improved. 

         They are lighter and stronger alloys. 

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

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

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

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

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

saltwater-spinning

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

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

Kristina Ainsworth yellowtail tags 3-21

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

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

 

That’s my story…

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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!

 

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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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