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LA NINA – The little girl is back for 2021?

LA NINA – The Little Girl Is Back for 2021?

Originally published the Week of Jan. 16, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

As many anglers who missed the 2020 season gear up to or are considering a return to fish Baja waters in 2021, there might be some insight in what to expect. 

         Will the tuna bite?  Will it be a big year of big dorado?  Where should I go for wahoo?  Is this a good year to chase marlin or big snapper?

         As one angler told me recently, “I don’t care what’s biting.  I just need to get out.  I need to be on the water!”

         That probably reflects the sentiments of many anglers suffering months of “covid fatigue” who desperately need a change of scenery from four-walls and relative levels of isolation. 

         It’s certainly indicative of the number of Americans booking to Mexico these days where tourism is surging and airlines are trying to keep up with the demand.

         Even though you might not really care what you catch, it’s still not a bad idea to have some inkling of what might be in store. 

            Personally, it DOES make a difference!  I like knowing if I have to prepare yoke up for a battle with a gorilla tuna or will it be a light-tackle grinner with school-sized dorado. 

            There’s never any guarantees when it comes to fishing, but like they say, “knowledge is power.”  And I like having as much of an edge as possible.

           I think we might be in for a really nice year of fishing.  I say that with a whisper so as not to jinx the whole thing.  Lord knows we can all use some positivity these days.

         However, if the scientists are to be believed, it looks like we’re in a “La Nina” cycle that will probably be with us through the spring.  They seem to think that’s a harbinger of good things.

         We had an El Nino season several years ago that was a disappointment for all intents and purposes.  It stunk as it was marked either with the lack of fish or by smaller fish caused by excessive warm ocean currents.

         During an El Nino, waters stay relatively warm.  That initially sounds good.  However, in effect, the colder deep waters don’t rise.  That’s not so good.

         In a nutshell, cold deep waters bring nutrients to the surface. 

         Nutrients feed the baitfish.  Baitfish feed the big fish. 

         No cool deep waters ultimately means a slack season. 

         Arguably during last El Nino several years ago, there was a marked absence of  the precious baitfish.  Consequently, there was a direct effect on the quality and quantity of sportfish.    Indeed, many of the sportfish that were caught were severely undersized from lack of a food source.

         I remember here in La Paz.  We had all the dorado we wanted all season. That is, if you liked catching 12-inch dorado all year!  It was like fishing for trout.

         With La Nina, the reverse is hypothetically true.

         Cooler waters will prevail early this year.  In the meantime,  warmer currents will blow towards the western Pacific bringing a heavy rainy season to Asian side of the Pacific Ocean.  

       Regretfully, that will conversely mean that eastern Pacific will experience a dry season.  Bad news for western U.S. states already beset by drought conditions and too many years of devastating fires. 

         But, for fishing, it could be an exciting year. 

         Baitstocks already seem to be up.  Mexican sardinia, anchovetas, caballitos, mackerel and others are evident. 

         This early in the year, it’s difficult to tell if the current Baja catches are left-over from last season or a vanguard of what we can expect for the coming year.  But there’s reason to be optimistic. 

It’s winter and yet, marlin, dorado, tuna, and wahoo are showing up in the catches along with dorado.

         Either the food source is keeping them here or the food source is bringing the sportfish in early.  Personally, I think it’s the former.  However for us anglers, the end result gives us something to hopefully look forward to.  

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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FIND YOUR BEACH

FIND YOUR BEACH

 

Originally Published The Week of Nov. 25, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications. 

             I pretty much wrote this week’s column lying flat on my back looking up at the sky.  Pretty unusual position for “word-smithing.”

         Most of the time, I write at my desk. Sitting up. 

           It’s in the middle of the night at the end of a long workday that usually starts about 4 a.m.  Or, if I’m “lazy” and couldn’t think of anything the night before, I scramble to compose something before the sun comes up and the day goes full-turbo!

         But, lying flat on my back, I’m looking at clouds drifting by as languidly as I was feeling. 

         Lying on the sand.

         On the beach.

         In the Baja sun.

         Some Kenny Chesney “No Shoes No Shirt No Problem” playing on Spotify competing with the rise-and-fall crescendo of surf as a soundtrack.

         And this week’s column just sort of wrote it self. It auto-composed in my head in about 5 minutes.

         I was just lying there on that warm sand felling really tired.  Not just tired. 

         “Old man tired.”  Big difference.

         I had just come off the water.  Nope.   For once, not fishing.  Not diving either.

         Surfing.  Yup.  That kind of surfing.  Like on a board.

       My wife, Jill, and I had spent the better part of the afternoon surfing and using muscles that we had not used in…well…years!  I think the last time I “surfed” Baja, I had been driving my dad’s Pinto station wagon.

       Me, and a bunch of underage high-school buds on a flyer across the border below Rosarito Beach with $20 between the three of us; a bag of Doritos; and 3 days to waste on the waves.

       Yea, it had been a long time.

         Surfing muscles are not the same as fishing muscles.  Not the same as SCUBA muscles.  And no matter how much Jill and I had lied to ourselves, we were not “in shape” to be paddling out…fighting waves…fighting the board.

         I grew up in Hawaii, but my “old man” muscles were B–tching me out so very badly. 

       “What were you thinking?”

       “Who were you trying to kid?”

                     Harsh reality found on a beach in Baja.

                     But, I gotta tell you, it was a good soreness.  And Jill and I had the biggest smiles on our faces as we lay splayed-out on the beach.  

                    No one talking.  No one needed to.

                   The sun rays warmed me from above and the hot sand warmed me from below.

                  It was like being a kid again and coming out’ve the pool and lying face-down on that warm cement without a care-in-the-world.  You know that feeling. 

                 Summer vacation. No school.  No homework. You had no place else to be except right then and there. Contentment.

                 And that was me.  Except I was lying looking up.

                 And I realized I had nowhere to be except right then and there. On that beach at that moment studying some dumb clouds.  No shoes. No shirt.  No problems.

                It finally just got to us.  Yea, we live and work in Baja. 

                 “Living the dream.” Right?

                  But, like everyone, no matter where you are, it’s been a tough year.  And this year, it seemed like we worked even harder-than-ever just trying to tread water like everyone else.

                 Being in the travel industry with our fishing fleets and restaurant, it was especially brutal.

                Surely, fewer clients and less business, but like I said, we seemed to work twice-as-hard just trying to keep what we had.  Working double to keep from sliding backwards even more. 

              Almost like surfing.  Paddle paddle paddle to get out.  Wave knocks you back. 

             Paddle paddle paddle to go a little further.  Another wave knocks you back again. 

            Just trying to get out past the white water to where that tasty curl tantalizes you with a rewarding ride back to the beach.  Paddle paddle paddle.  Can’t stop. Gotta get past that white water.

           Catch one or two, but mostly paddling paddling and more tiring paddling.

          Like life right now. 

         No days off and …UP-TO-HERE…with it all. 

         Covid…quarantine…restrictions…economy…politics…elections…unrest.  The “whitewater” of life, right? The cacaphony that never stops assaulting you.

         So, we just sort of folded shop.

        We never ever take time off.  But,it was time. 

         We didn’t tell any of our staff where we were going.  Basically told them, don’t burn down the building.  Don’t let anyone steal anything.  We’ll be in touch.

         In fact, I didn’t even tell my wife where we were going.

         I pretty much told her to grab some clothes for a few days.  Threw her and our rescue cat, my guitar,  and some gear in our Honda.  It’s the one with the busted air-conditioner and that overheats if I drive faster than 50mph and left.

         We drove. And drove.

And made a left off the highway down a dusty washboard dirt road.

         And found a beach.

         And it had some worn bungalow cabanas for rent.

         Our “rustic” cabana had holes in the palapa roof.

         Some lights didn’t work.  Others had those god-awful curly “economy” bulbs that save you 5 bucks over 100 years.

         A threadbare hammock tied between two palm trees.  It might have been a fishing net at one time.

         No TV.

         No disco.

         No nightclub.       

         No real restaurants to speak of.

         Perfection.

         I don’t even want to tell you the name of the beach because the area is begging for a paved road and some high-rise hotels that will come soon enough, I imagine.

         But for now, just miles of Baja beach.

         And there were some waves that just begged to be ridden.

         And an ice chest full of cold ones that needed some attention too.

         And 3 days extended into 5 days of sun, sand, surf, card-playing and just the very best kind of “social distancing” that we probably could all use right now.

         Might still be there if we didn’t run outta cat food.

         And lying on my back like a very tired beached sealion soaking up the rays and watching clouds moving left-to-right.

Smiling.

         And while we were gone, the world did not blow up.  Our business did not burn down.  The problems of the world were still there when we got back. 

         We did not miss a thing.

         But finding that little stretch of Baja beach made all the difference.

         For now.

         We brought that beach home with us in a manner of speaking.  I brought this essay that wrote itself.

         Like that beer commercial says, I hope you find your beach. 

         Somewhere. 

        If not on a stretch of sand.  Then a backyard.  A park. Or some space where you can close the door.

       Away from the madness.  Close your eyes. Shut off the sound. Take a breath. Find that beach and watch the clouds.

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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SIX MONTHS DIFFERENCE…It’s A START!

SIX MONTHS DIFFERENCE…IT’s A START!

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 10, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications.

 

          Last week was my first visit to a major Mexican tourist hub.

         Six months ago last June, I flew back into Baja after it had been locked down for Covid quarantine for 3 months.  It was eerie.

         When my plane landed at Los Cabos Airport, my plane was not just the only plane that landed.  It was the only plane in sight. 

Period.

         There was not a single plane on the runway which was completely empty.  There were no ground crews to be seen.  No little luggage carts being pulled by tractor vehicles.  There was not a single person to be seen.

         Anywhere.

         It was like the proverbial zombie apocalypse.     

         Inside the airport, it was likewise empty.  Just a handful of people waiting at immigration.  Only a handful in the line at customs. I passed through and out to the street in five minutes.

         Outside, the usual gamut of barkers offering rental cars, shuttle transportation and time-share condos were incredibly absent. 

         The normally crowded waiting area where shuttle drivers met arriving clients was virtually empty.  Come to think of it, so was the parking lot that is usually jammed with vans and busses.

         Once away from the airport, streets were largely deserted. 

         Businesses were mostly shuttered-closed or had very little traffic.

         The bustling area around the Cabo San Lucas Marina had almost no people.  No one wandering around.  No street vendor hawking jewelry, cigars or snorkel trips.

Restaurants and hotels were barely open.  Boat traffic was minimal if anything.  Maybe a panga here and there or water taxi.  No sportfishers or cruise ships in sight.

Away from the marina, it was so desolate you would swear you could hear the breeze whistle through the empty streets and you expected a tumbleweed to go blowing by. . .or a chicken.

Well, all of that surely seems to be over for the most part.

There are still restrictions in place and they are heavily enforced.  But, quarantine requirements have abated.  Somewhat.  

Everyone still wears masks.

Social distancing is very evident everywhere although difficult to enforce.

At the crowded tourist restaurants, your temperature is taken and you’ll probably get a squirt of sanitizing gel.

But, they do count heads.  If the restaurant is at capacity, you’ll have to wait.

Bars that do not serve food remain closed. Inspectors are closing other businesses that do not respect the safety protocols.

Other than that, Cabo almost seemed normal.  It was definitely different than 6 months ago.

Although it was not as crowded as normal, the airport sure seemed like it was back to capacity with numerous flights coming and going.  Planes were full from what I could see.

It took 2-hours to get our rental car even though we had reservations.

The hotels actually had people in them.  The Tourism Board says most places have about a 30% occupancy now.  Way down, but surely way up from 6 months ago. 

The hotel pools were jammed with people.  Difficult to social distance when everyone is doing shooters at the swim-up bar! 

The beaches were lively although there was no trouble finding a spot for your umbrella and towel.

Street traffic seemed as busy as normal. This was especially true in the non-tourist areas where people went about their daily business.

There were no cruise ships parked in the bay.  However, there was a constant stream of sporfishing vessels, tour boats, snorkel and scuba boats and booze cruises going in-and-out of the Cabo Marina. 

At night, town wrapped up by 8 or 9 p.m. or so.  Far different than normal and the streets got quiet. 

But earlier than that, most places for food and nightlife seemed operational if quite a bit under capacity.  Obviously, businesses were still working at reduced hours.  And reduced staff.

But, at least they were open.

It’s going to be a long slow road to recovery.  But, it was good to see lights on and life trying to get back to normal again.

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

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


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:
http://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 »

FAMILY PLANNING

kids-fishing-with-parents

Could be the start of a lifetime of memories

FAMILY PLANNING

Originally Published the Week of  Feb. 11, 2020 in Western Outdoors Publications

This is the time of year when lots of folks are planning their fishing vacations to Mexico for the coming year.  Conversely, this is the time of year when folks like us, who run fishing operations, answer a lot of questions.

 

With increasing frequency, we get numerous questions about bringing family members in general and kids, in particular.  More-and-more, it’s not Ralph and the buddies coming fishing anymore.  It’s Ralph and his family or Ralph and his son(s).

 

Indeed, with travel increasingly easier and, with many more family-friendly facilities, it’s a no-brainer to want to bring the family or introduce them to south-of-the-border fishing.

 

But, let’s focus on the kids for now.

 

Ultimately, you know your kids better than anyone.  I hope.

 

You would think.

 

But, honestly, after 25 years, nothing surprises me.  There are some parents that seem to have no clue about their kids.  If the outdoors, or fishing, isn’t of any interest, you can’t drag them kicking and screaming onto the water.

 

No judgment.  But, it’s not for everyone.

 

I don’t like cherry tomatoes.  I don’t like wearing wet socks.  I don’t dislike baseball, but I’d rather watch a football game.  I get it.

 

Some little girls we see down here are way more into the outdoors than their brothers. They carry rods. Bait their own hooks.  Love getting dirty.

 

And that’s way cool too.  But, the brother might be a math whiz. Also, very cool.

 

But, if you are bringing them down and plan to go fishing, remember that it’s all about them…not YOU.

 

Some folks forget about that.  It’s not about you catching the most fish or the biggest fish.  It’s not about seeing how much beer you can drink on the boat and letting the captain or deckhand do all the work and babysits.

 

Remember that a lot of us got interested and love this sport because probably someone older and smarter and more experienced like our own dads, an uncle, an older friend or brother took the time with us.

 

Take the time with them and make it a positive experience.

 

First and foremost, see to their safety and comfort.

 

Make sure they understand about the ocean and water.  It’s a bonus if they can swim, but maybe this is their first saltwater experience.

 

Most operators in Mexico don’t have kid-sized flotation devices (life jackets).  It’s impossible. Kids come in all sizes.

 

If they do have kid-sized flotation devices, they are bulky and uncomfortable.  So go out and find a flotation device they can wear comfortably all day.

 

Also, you would think common sense would prevail, but you’d be surprised.

 

Don’t forget sun protection like SPF lotion (and it really helps if you put it on regularly).  Hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts keep them comfortable.  A painful sunburn later on isn’t going to help anyone’s vacation.

 

If the boat has shade, encourage them to stay in the shade as much as possible.

 

Further, gear the trip to what they can reasonably handle and have a good time.

 

It doesn’t do to take a first-timer out in rough weather and big-seas on a 30 mile boat-ride to the fishing grounds.  You prove nothing and you might end up with a sick kid who wants nothing more to do with your “idiotic sport.”

 

Nor does it help to put the youngster into a situation they’re not ready to handle or doesn’t lead to positive results.

 

For example, I know very few adults that can handle 100-pound tuna.  Let alone a first-timer.  Let alone a youngster who has never caught anything maybe larger than a bluegill or stocked trout.

 

Gear the trip to their experience and fun level.

 

Bring lots of good food and drinks too.  No one knows better than you how good food tastes when you’re outdoors.  Some of my best memories as a kid fishing wasn’t always the fishing. It was the great lunches my mom and dad always set up for the picnic or on the boat.

 

Do the same!  In between fishing, it’s a great time to share a bite.

Nolan and me 2 edit

Several years ago, we took our 2-year-old grandson out on a panga.  He was still in pampers.

 

But, we picked a calm day and took him close to shore.  Waters were shallow, clear blue and he could see the fish under the boat.

 

We held the rod and reel and he turned the handle, but he got the idea pretty quickly and really enjoyed catching fish (and playing with them in the bucket).

 

We also released fish too.  We pointed out birds and dolphin and other boats.

 

We didn’t stay out long, but then took him to the beach to swim and splash around.  All-in-all a good start and a positive day for all of us!

 

We taught him about” high-fiving” and saying things like “BOO-YAA!”

 

Encourage, praise and be excited.  You’re grooming a new fishing buddy!

 

And we took lots of photos.

 

By all means, take lots of photos.  You’re only passing through this way one time!  Make it special and hold onto those memories of a lifetime.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

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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THAT SURE DIDN’T LAST LONG

Palapa Beach 6

ADIOS SUMMER! YOU DIDN’T STAY LONG

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

 

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

 

It made for some crazy and unusual catches this season.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

And all was right again.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The change in fishing was gradual, but ultimately profound.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

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C.P.R. for FISH

C.P.R. for FISH

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 24, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

release-right-main

We had several pangas-slow trolling the shallow turquoise waters off Punta Arenas. White sands met the Sea of Cortez in colors worthy of any travel brochure.

 

We are in roosterfish land.

rooster Dave big one tags

 

The big kings of the beach in this area can range from 40-over-100-pounds.  We had already landed and released two 60-pound fish and were hoping for at least one more.

 

Two other guys in the panga 50 yards away suddenly started whooping.  They had a double strike and the boat was in pandemonium mode.

 

Both guys were on bent rods already moving and dancing around the stern of the panga trying to keep the lines tight and untangled.  The captain was alternately steering the boat; coaching the anglers; and trying to keep the deck cleared.

 

The big fish were tearing up the waters behind the boat.  We could hear the reels singing.

 

We needed to change our own baits so we stopped our panga and all of us watched the crazy activity in the other panga.  It made for some fun video. Time for a cold beer anyway.

 

In about 15 minutes both fish were simultaneously brought to the boat.  Everyone was high-fiving and whooping it up.  As they should!  Judging just by the dorsal fins of the submerged fish, they were legit 50-70 pound roosters.

 

This was confirmed as both fish were lifted into the panga.

One fish, was unceremoniously plopped on the deck. The other was dropped by the tired angler.  I could see the anglers and skipper jump as the fish thrashed.

 

Then, of course congratulatory photos.

 

This pose.  That pose.  Double pose.  Hold them this way.  Hold them that way.  Snap! Snap! Snap!  Your camera.  My camera.  Now with the captain.  You know how it goes.

 

Then, of course holding the fish up so we could see!  Of course, we gave them some sportsmanlike applause and thumbs-up.

 

Photos done, I could see everyone bending over and trying to unhook the fish.  It looked problematic, but ultimately, it was clear that hooks and lines were unhitched.

 

Then, both fish were lifted and heaved up and over the side in cannonball splats!  More high-fives, knuckle taps, and fist-bumping.

 

Good for them.

 

But, as we pulled away to start trolling again, I had to cringe about how the fish were handled.  No doubt, I’m glad the fish were released and the other anglers were well-intentioned.

 

I could only hope the fish survived.

 

There’s a right and a wrong way to C.P.R. a fish (Catch-Photo-Release).

wayne seibert rooster release 9-16

 

For one, time is of the essence. Actually, it’s the most important thing.

 

A fighting fish builds up lactic acid in their muscles just like any human who exercises strenuously.  The longer the fight, the more lactic acid builds up.  In fish, this can be lethal.

 

Once the fight is over, if you can do your photos and the release without taking the fish out’ve the water, all the better.  Once you pull the fish out’ve the water a bunch of things happen.

 

In the water, fish have neutral buoyancy.  When you take them out, gravity takes over and internal organs can be severely damages.

 

This is especially true if you hold the fish (as we have all done), with the head up and tail down.  It’s just not a natural position for the fish and all it’s innards.

 

Also, dropping the fish on the deck is a knucklehead move.

 

Fish need water to breathe.

 

So, for obvious reasons, once the fish is out’ve the water, it’s suffocating.  It’s just been fighting for it’s life and now it can’t breathe because you have a 10-minute photo session.

 

Imagine running several hundred-yard dashes as if an army of zombies was after you.  At the end of 10 minutes…15 minutes…an hour of running full-speed, someone pinches off your nose and mouth so you can’t breathe!

 

 

A couple of other pointers.

 

As mentioned, holding a fish vertically isn’t doing the fish much good.  How you hold it can further exacerbate the damage.

 

Holding it by the gill and probably damaging it’s breathing apparatus is a fail. So, is sticking your fingers in it’s eyeball sockets!  OUCH.

 

The fish also have a very important slime covering their bodies.

 

The more you touch it, the more that slime rubs off.  That coating is important in warding off infections.  Another reason why dropping it on the deck to wiggle and squirm is a bad move.

 

Removing the hooks properly is essential as well.

 

For your own protection, as well as the fish, use long nose plyers.  If all else fails, it might be better to just cut the line as close to the hook as you can rather than further injure the fish.

 

Better to get it back into the water faster.

 

Undoubtedly, there’s some controversy on this topic.

 

Some say that the hook will eventually cause an infection that kills the fish.  Others say that the hook will eventually rust out.  For that reason, some anglers use bronze hooks instead of stainless steel whenever they can.

 

People with bigger brains than mine might someday figure that one out.  Personally, I would just like to get the fish in the water and on-it’s-way ASAP.

 

Finally, for the actual release, be gentle.

 

Tossing it into the air like a pizza to come down in a big splat doesn’t cut it.

 

If you can,  gently get the fish moving back-and-forth in the water. This helps re-oxigenate it’s gills.  For a big fish slowly moving the boat forward while carefully holding the fish helps accelerate getting the fish back to normal and reviving it .

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

Read Full Post »

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

______________

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 »

I DON’T ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE WHERE I FISH… (…BUT WHEN I DO, IT’S A LIE!)

Favorite-Fishing-Spot-760x500

 

I DON’T ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE WHERE I FISH…

                     …BUT WHEN I DO, IT’S A LIE!

 

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 1, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

Fishermen are funny folks.

 

Most of them that I know will give you the shirts off their backs.  They’ll invite perfect strangers to sit down for dinner and a beer.

 

They’ll happily give you every fish recipe they know.  They’ll patiently show you how to tie every knot or explain their gear to you.

 

But, there’s a caveat and limit to generosity.  Fishermen have a reputation for tall tales and outright lies.  It’s in our nature.

 

Nowhere is that more evident than when you ask an angler where his secret fishing spots are located.

pinocchio-04-2

He or she will give up the combination to the family safe or tell you where the family jewels are stashed before revealing their honey hole fishing spots.

 

In my years down here, I have seen some crazy things.

 

With our fleets here in La Paz, let me preface by saying that most of the captains are related by blood or marriage.  Overall, no matter which fleets they work for, there’s a general spirit of cooperation.

 

Most times!

 

There’s mutual respect and at the end of the day, they all have to go home to the same families, neighborhoods and, in some cases, the same homes together.

 

But, like competing football teams, that doesn’t mean there’s any lack of competitiveness or shenanigans.

 

For example, there’s radio channels.

 

There are the general channels that everyone listens to or for emergencies.  But then each fleet also has it’s own channel that everyone in that particular fleet tunes to.  Everyone knows the other fleet’s frequencies.

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And there’s the “secret channel” where anyone can listen, but the fleet broadcasts it’s phoney-baloney info!  And the channels change all the time to keep the competition off-balance.

 

For instance, they’ll broadcast the wrong locations to catch bait or where the dorado or tuna are biting.  They’ll outright lie about what they’ve caught in their fish boxes or where they are located.

 

And all seems fair.

 

It’s part of the game and strategy because everyone is doing it.  The “hot” guy one day might be ice cold the next.  He might be giggling about his secret spot today, but tomorrow, he’s the goat and gets duped by false info.

 

The secret to playing the game is scanning through all the radio junk and know who’s broadcasting what info and recognizing voices.

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To us it sounds like one continuous Spanish word and a lot of squawking, but there’s a method to the madness.  I’ve even seen them disguise their voices.

 

Almost like the Navajo radiomen in WW 2.

 

So, if your captain seems like he’s spending a lot of time on the radio, he’s wading through all the chatter and keying on what’s happening on the  oceanic game-board.

 

This was all explained to me years ago by one of my captains after I asked him why he spent so much seemingly useless time on the radio.

 

He laughed and said, “I’m playing the game! My youngest brother and uncle work for the other fleet. My older brother and cousin work for you so we screw with each other all day.  So do all the other captains!”

 

Gamesmanship! Know when to hold ‘em.  Know when to fold ‘em.

 

He also said, “We know the gringo guys in the big yachts are trying to listen as well and we do not want them to know our spots and ruin the bite!”

 

Well, OK then…

119tuw

 

Another time, with one of our favorite skippers, he told us to bring colorful beach towels with us.  Sure.  No big deal.

 

Later in the day, he brought us to one of his “secret spots.” We were having a blast catching fish.

 

But, whenever another panga (from another “team”)  got close to us, he would quickly tell us to take down the rods and hide them.  He told us to grab the beach towels and pretend we had been swimming.

 

He told us to make  a lot of noise and pretend we were drying off and wave at the other boat as it went by.

 

As soon as they were gone, out came the rods again!  Sneaky.

 

There was another year when we had a huge dorado bite going off north of town.  The “fish magnet” turned out to be a huge Christmas tree that someone had set adrift.

 

Floating upside down, it attracted huge schools of sizeable dorado and other species.   Whoever was on the spot could easily load up on fish and/or catch- and-release as quickly as you could put a bait in the water.  It was epic.

 

 

One or two boats would fish the spot and load it up.  It would then call in other friendly pangas. They would get their limits.  They would leave and call in others.  And so-on-and-so-on in a great rotation!

 

All the while, phoney radio transmissions were getting sent out.  But…word eventually got out to the other fleets.

 

Every few nights, each fleet would “steal” the tree and tow it to another secret spot known only to it’s captains.

 

A few nights later having deciphered all the crazy radio broadcasts,  some other fleet would steal it back.  This went on for two weeks until the currents carried it away or the tree simply disintegrated.

 

 

Even on a daily basis, when our own captains return each day to give me their reports, I ask where they were fishing or where they found the bite.

 

“Where were you fishing today? “

 

I get winks and a smile, “In the Sea of Cortez, Senor Jonathan!”

 

Let the games continue…can’t trust a fisherman to give a straight answer.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter.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 »

OUTGUNNED BUT NOT OUTSMARTED

Dos pargos

OUTGUNNED BUT NOT OUTSMARTED

Originally Published the Week of June 3, 2019 in Western Outdoors Publications

I received quite a few e-mails about my last column that I entitled “ZING-POWIE FISH.”  It was about big monster fish that lurk in the rocks and reefs that basically eat your lunch, their lunch and break your heart…and sometimes your rod!

 

With the e-mails coming in, I got to thinking of some other species, like big tuna.

 

Here in La Paz, we’re getting 50-150 pound yellowfin tuna.  It’s one thing to hook a big beast like that sitting in a fighting chair in a big sportfisher with a 50W reel with a zillion yards of line.

 

It is quite another thing if you’re fishing, like we do here in La Paz, and many other places in Mexico…in a panga…with relatively light tackle.

 

Not only is your rod and reel lighter, but so is your line.  Additionally, the fish doesn’t have to contend with a 1-ton boat to pull around the ocean.  You just don’t have much leverage and it literally comes down to hand-to-hand combat in the sportfishing trenches.

There are some additional concerns with these ZING-POWIE fish or like the big tuna we have.  They are picky and they have great eyesight.

 

 

With big fish, your natural tendency is to use heavier line or stronger line like braid/ spectra.  Problem solved, right?

 

Well, spectra is very very visible.  Also, if you are fishing with live bait, spectra soaks up water and gets heavy.  So your bait does’t swim correctly so less chance of getting bit.

 

Heavy line is also visible.  Plus, again if you’re using small baits, the line is pretty heavy and your bait tires faster.

On top of that, these fish, especially the tuna, like smaller baits like sardines.  So, that means often using a hook the size of your fingernail… on fish the size of your living room coffee table.

Laura pargo big 9-18

So, small hook…small bait…light line…small boat…

 

Yikes!  It’s like going to war with a BB-gun.

 

So, back to my e-mails.  Folks want to catch these fish, but how do you tip the odds a bit more in your favor?

 

Well, I haven’t quite figured out all the angles yet, but I do have a few personal tips when you’re in situations like this and feel outgunned.

 

For one, fluorocarbon leaders.

 

Largely invisible underwater.  And, they are much more pliable than their were years ago.  Plus, even if your mainline might be light, you can put on a few feet of fluro that is heavier which will also help guard against sharp teeth.

Secondarily, I change my rod.

 

Because of the size of the baits or other conditions, I might be using very light line.  But this is one time, I don’t match my rod to the line class.

 

I might be fishing with 30-pound test, but I’m using a stout 80 to 100 pound stick.  If I get bit I want the fish to feel that heavy rod pulling right back!

 

A heavy rod makes the fish work that much harder and tire faster.  It also give me more leverage to put even more pressure on the fish.

 

To that end, my personal tuna rod and ZING-POWIE rod is about 5 feet long.  Basically, it’s a trolling rod although I only have a roller tip on it.

 

My foregrip extends 3/5 up the length of the rod.  This enables me to reach way high on the rod and really lean into a fish.

 

The last 2-3 feet of my rod has a fast taper and lots of backbone to really horse the fish and make it work or to help me pull it out’ve the rocks.  Also, a shorter rod is much easier on your back and arms than a long rod with a lot of spring in it.

 

Finally, my reel is also something I can do something about.

Pancho hooked up resize 4-19

I don’t need a huge reel with a mile of line on it.  If I’m fishing in the rocks, it’s not that deep and the big rock fish aren’t gonna go running off with 100 yards of line on burning runs. They take a little line and want to go back into their holes.

 

Big fish like the tuna will make blazing runs.  But, I find a reel with at least 300-350 yards of line is fine.  Being in a smaller boat…or even a big boat…you can always chase down the fish.  I have rarely ever seen anyone spooled.

 

So, a smaller reel is fine.  Or if I have braid/ spectra, I put that on the reel and top-shot it with at least 150 yards of mono.  The spectra enables me now to have all the line I could possibly want.

 

The most important aspect are the drags on the reel.  If you have a smaller reel, at least make sure the drags or in good working order and not sticky or worn.

 

Even better, many of the newly manufactured reels have huge drag systems or dual drag systems installed that have incredible stopping power. Those will help put the hurt on a fish!  Reels by Accurate, Avet, Shimano, Daiwa and Okuma come to mind.   Slightly more expensive, but well worth it.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

Read Full Post »

AND NOW WHAT?

luggage 2

AND NOW WHAT?

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 26, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

It’s an encounter I’ve run into so many times after so many decades in the fishing business.

 

The angler has caught fish…or the fish of a lifetime…or much more fish than they had anticipated.

 

After all the high-fives…the proud photos…the clinking of beer bottles on the beach or docks, I ask:

 

“So what would you like to do with the fish?”

 

A somewhat blank look gets returned to me.   I can see the wheels processing.

 

“Uh, hmmmm…keep it I guess!  I hadn’t thought that far!”

 

It happens more often than you know.  To veteran Baja folk who fish often, that might sound strange.

 

To many first-time anglers, they were even surprised they were allowed to keep their fish insofar as many fishing destinations don’t allow keeping your catch.

 

Usually, the captain will at least clean and cut the fish.  That’s not the issue. But, then what?

 

First and foremost, I suggest taking some to eat.  There is nothing better than fish that was swimming around that morning.  As I often tell folks as I point to their catch, “His bad day is YOUR good dinner!”

 

I don’t know of too many restaurants that won’t be happy to cook up your catch in a variety of ways.  You’re in for a treat.  Our own Tailhunter Restaurant in La Paz has a whole separate menu of all the ways we can prepre your catch.

 

To that end, hopefully, you brought some ziplock style bags or someone has some.  We always carry some handy or  to hand out,

 

If you don’t plan to use it all, don’t hesitate to give some to your captain.  It’s a welcome and appreciated gift.  Not in lieu of a tip, by any means, but nothing you donate will be wasted.

 

If the captain and his family don’t use it, neighbors and friends will surely consume it.  Many folks in Mexico don’t get regular protein like fresh fish in their diet.

 

One caveat.  Captains and crew are prohibited from selling sport-caught fish so hopefully they’re not selling your catch. If you get any inking that’s the case, don’t give them your fish!

 

If not to the captain, your charter operators often have charities that gladly accept donated fish.  We often send our extra to a senior home and women’s shelter.

 

However, assuming you are planning to take fish home,  what now?

 

Hopefully, the hotel you picked has freezing facilities for fish.  It’s the reason we personally recommend some hotels, but not others.  It’s important.  Some will just stick it in with their kitchen freezers and do not have a dedicated area or freezer for your fish.

 

You might want to check on that.

 

Assuming they don’t have facilities, check with whomever booked your charter to see what they recommend.

 

For actually bringing it home, there’s several alternatives.  If you have an ice chest, that’s the best way.  Styrofoam won’t work.  They will get crushed in the jumble of bags or by baggage handlers so airlines won’t accept them.

 

Ice is not allowed in the ice chest because it will melt.  It will leak.  And no one likes goopy fish water dripping onto and into their luggage.

 

That’s why your fish MUST be frozen.   There’s no dry ice in Mexico that I have ever found so don’t count on that.

 

If it’s frozen, your fish will be fine if you don’t keep opening and closing it.  In most cases most anglers are really only a few hours from home.

 

Most airlines have a 50-pound limit on the size of luggage and that’s how your fish will be headed home with you.  You cannot mail your fish home.

 

So, basically, as many pieces of “luggage” as you want to pay for is how much fish you bring home.  Hopefully, you’re just bringing home what you can actually use and within daily limits.

 

Hard-sided ice chests have traditionally been the norm.  I’ve found that a 30-40 quart ice chest weighs just about 50 pounds when filled with fish.  But, more and more folks are bringing soft -sided coolers.

 

These are not the ones you bring ice-cream home from the market.  These are actual cooler bags meant to keep things frozen for an extended time.  They’re a little more expensive than the hard-sided plastic coolers, but they have some advantages.

 

First, a hard-sided cooler weighs about 8-12 pounds completely empty.  If it has wheels, add another 2-4 pounds.  If it’s one of those “ultra-cold” coolers with thick walls, it’s even heavier!

 

So, you’ll only get about 30-35 pound of fillets in the ice chest!

 

A soft-sided cold bag weighs about 3 or 4 pounds.  Often you can just the empty one in your luggage when you fly down.  Headed home, you can put 40-45 pounds of frozen fish in it.

 

Alternatively, there are some extremely good foldable boxes that are specifically made for flying from warm areas like the Baja.  These are NOT the kind you use in Alaska.  These are made to keep out the Baja heat and meant to keep your fish solid until you’re home.

 

One other item to keep in mind.

 

If you’re packing your fish in your own plastic bags or if you’re having someone else pack your fish or having it professionally vacuum sealed, don’t pack too much.  Pack what you can eat.

 

You have great quality fish so don’t stick 5-pounds of fish in a bag if it’s only you and your wife eating.   When it comes time to defrost, you’ll have a bowling-ball sized piece of ice to thaw out and you’ll be wasting some great fish!

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!

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Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.Tailhunter.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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