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ZING-POWIE FISH!

ZING-POWIE FISH

Originally Published the Week of May 21, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

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DOG-TOOTH SNAPPER…THEY GET ALOT BIGGER!

There are some things  we tangle with in life that we sort of lump into one big group.  It’s just easier.

 

All facial tissue gets called “KLEENEX.”

 

All whirlpool tubs are called “JACUZZIS.”

 

On the freeway, everyone who tailgates you is a “JERK.”  Everyone who blows by you at ultra speeds is “MORON.”  (or worse!)

 

As fishermen, in many places, we call all bottom fish “ROCKFISH.”

 

Conversely, there are those things in life that defy description or categorization.  In fact, there’s a group of fish here in Baja, that fall into that amorphous category and I call them like I see them.

 

They are the species I call “ZING-POWIE” fish!

 

So many folks come to to fish looking for the glamour species like marlin, tuna, wahoo and dorado.  The ZING-POWIE  fish are often overlooked.

 

That’s because it’s not generally perceived as “big game” or “deep sea” (I hate that term…yes, the sea is deep!) fishing.

 

Because the ZING-POWIE fish don’t live out there in the blue water.  They’re not out on the high seas.

 

ZING-POWIE  fish could be right in front of your hotel.  They live right in the rocks there by the shore. They inhabit reefs and shallow high spots.

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Cabrilla! Note the proximity of the rocks and shallow water.

 

You don’t need a giant sportfisher to get them.  You don’t need complicated gear to get them either.  Sophisticated state-of-the-art electronics can be left at home too.  You don’t need 20 satellites to find the honey holes.

 

It’s pretty simple.  Locals catch them in a tin boat with fishing line and a spark-plug for a sinker.  In fact, the good ones make a living off catching ZING-POWIE fish.

 

I call them ZING-POWIE  fish because that’s the sound it makes when you hook up one of these fish. And then lose it in the blink of an eye!

 

I’m referring to a group of fish that encompasses cabrilla (Mexican seabass), grouper, amberjack, barred pargo, mullet snapper, dog-tooth snapper and to some degree yellowtail and several other species.

MOOGIE pargo

The infamous pargo liso…mullet snapper!

 

They inhabit rocks and reefs and other structure.

 

Some can be monsters in the 50-100 pound range or larger.  But even the “smaller ones” can frustrate and challenge even the best anglers.

 

They’ll hit live bait and lures and when they hit, it’s like a freight train.  The water can be relatively shallow.  Often you can see the fish under your boat.

 

Their method of feeding is to ambush their prey with powerful lightning strikes then retreat back to the structure.  Snatch and go!

 

So, for the angler, there’s no time to react!

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PULL HARD!

 

You don’t let them “nibble.”  You don’t let them “take a little line.”  There’s barely time to set the hook!

 

Imagine that you are fishing only 20 feet of water.  You get hammered by something big.  In nano-seconds, it takes line.  Your rod also bends a few feet. You slam the brakes!

 

It’s already in the rocks.  You lose!  ZING-POWIE!  Your line snaps and your rod flies back in your face like a spring!  BOING!

 

That fish with all it’s power, has sharp teeth…powerful jaws…sharp gillplates…sharp scales…and he lives in razor sharp rocks and reefs.

 

And they have the power of a  pitbull on steroids and the tenacity of a German Shepherd hanging onto a burglar’s pant leg!

 

Before you even realize what happens, your line goes…ZING-POWIE!

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ALL TEETH, MUSCLE, ARMOR and POWER!

 

And it snaps!  Even before your captain can fire up the motor and hopefully pull the fish out’ve the rocks!

 

It’s a game that tests even experienced anglers.  If you use heavier line, the ZING-POWIE fish have sharp eyes.  You won’t get bit.  Forget braided line.  It is way too visible.

 

Lighter line gets you bit more often, but  that can be like going after an elephant with an air-rifle.  Of course, it’s Murphy’s Law that when you have your lightest gear is when an 80-pound amberjack strikes or a 150-pound grouper decides to chomp your bait!  ZING-POWIE!

 

But, even the smallest fish have the odds in their favor given their physical attributes and treacherous environment.  When I guide, I’ve often told clients, this will be both fun and frustrating.

 

If we get 3 out of 10 fish to the boat, that will be a good day!

 

The frustration in this type of fishing isn’t just losing the fish after getting jerked out’ve your socks.  It’s that often you can see the fish right under the boat or behind the boat in your chum line.

 

Pargo, for instance, when they spawn in the shallow waters looks like a Japanese koi pond on steroids.  Basically, 20-60 pound “red carp” that looks like an undulating carpet of copper and red.

 

As you chum them to the boat, waters explode with huge backs and wide tails blowing up the water.  One client said, “They look big enough to put a saddle on them!”

 

Fascinating to watch.

 

And then they hit your bait while you’re entranced with all the action.  With no warning.  No nibble.  Just a sucker-punch-in-the-gut and your reel screams  and your rod bends…and ZING-POWIE!

 

You’ve already lost the fish!  Oh, the agony!

 

I have clients who come year-after-year to pit themselves against the ZING-POWIE fish!  A new rod…a different reel…a new type of hooks…some new tactic they read about in a magazine!

 

This is the year, they will NOT be mastered by some stupid fish!

 

As one of my clients said after a fun but unsuccessful day, “It’s like playing a slot machine in Vegas.  It’s so tantalizing close.  The next quarter will surely bring success.”

Then he laughed…

 

“And in the end, the house always wins.”

 

“But, I can’t wait to give it another try tomorrow!”

 

That’s my story!

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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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I’m Voting You Off the Island!

 

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I’m Voting You Off the Island!

Originally Published the Week of March 23, 2019 in Western Outdoors Publications

 

Is it just me?

 

We have now been on the road cross-crossing the country since just after Christmas.  All these fantastic fishing/hunting/ sportsmans shows from Denver to Seattle and Long Beach to Salt Lake City and many more.

 

Jill and I  haul our booth and a zillion pounds of brochures and flyers in our vehicle and promote our Tailhunter Sportfishing operation in La Paz but also just visiting Baja and Mexico.

 

It’s been a wonderful run.

 

For almost 25 years we hit the road  for almost 4 months.  Add in another 15 other years for other fishing businesses and that’s about 40 years of shaking hands; smiles and good will.

 

It’s been a privilege and an honor to see so much of our great country and visit so many wonderful folks.  Even moreso to host them, their friends and family with us in Baja.

 

Most of our clients become our friends.  And we’re now into 2 or 3 generations.  It has been one of my life’s great joys.

 

So, what’s changed?  And indeed is it just me? Or are all of us just a little more on edge?  More flinty.  More intolerant.  Less sensitive or overly sensitive at the same time.  Sometimes over the same thing and at the same time.

 

It started a few years ago during our shows.

 

People directly confronting us or out of the side of their mouths saying things like:

 

“Why’d they let people like YOU into this show?”

“All dirty Mexicans like you should be killed.”

“We can’t believe you’re up at this show trying to make people go to THAT country!”

 

I’m not proud to say that a few times I rose to the bait and we had some confrontations at the booth.  I hate when someone gets in my face and jabs a finger in my chest, especially when I’m trying to get everyone to stand down.

 

Some don’t dare say it to me, but I hear them say it to my wife.  And, that I won’t take.  Say it to my face if you have something to say.

 

And, no, it wasn’t isolated in just certain places.  It happened in almost every state and city we visited.  But only now and then.

 

I just chalked it up to ignorance.  Or too much alcohol walking around through the show.  Can’t fix stupid.

 

And believe me, it’s just one tiny-eenie-weenie part of the thousands of folks we chat with every year.

 

No, we’re not Mexican.  We’re very American and very proud of it.

 

But, I’m also proud of the work we do and all the happy times we’ve provided.  I’m proud to also represent Mexico and it’s people and hopefully open a few eyes to new experiences and a wonderful culture.

 

By the same token, I feel we represent Americans as well.  We strive to be good ambassadors in Mexico because well…we’re Americans and we will be judged by our actions.

 

So, what’s happening?

 

At the shows, the complexion of people seems to have changed.  So many folks still come to our booth to ask about fishing and vacations and laugh over fishing stories.

 

But, increasingly  people come up to the booth not to ask about vacations or if the hotel rooms have air-conditioning or how big are the fish in August.

 

They have opinions to share.  And we’re sitting ducks in our booth.

 

More belligerent.  More confrontational.  More argumentative.  More contradictory. More profane.

 

You say that something like “Sir…In the past 10 years, the best time to catch tuna is the summer months!”

 

Here’s a response…

 

“Well, you’re full of crap.  I have a friend-who-has-a-friend and he fished twice there in Baja and he caught tuna in winter!”

 

And it’s said with emphasis on the C-word and inches from my face. A challenge.

 

“OK, Sir.  I don’t doubt your friend’s friend has caught tuna, but I’ve been in Mexico almost 30 years and…”

 

Before I can even finish…

 

“So, you’re calling me a liar?  I guess just like all Mexicans, you just wanna take people’s money and talk sh-t!”

 

Or this conversation:

 

“We never listen or care about limits.  Whenever we go to Mexico, screw the limits.  We kill whatever we want to kill and as much as we want.”

 

“Amigo..uh..That’s illegal!”

 

“So what?  Every Mexican captain or Mexican can be bought off if you give him enough money. (Ha!Ha!) That’s why we go to Mexico because rules don’t apply! We can do whatever we want.  Who cares what Mexico or Mexicans think?”

 

“Well, that’s not how it works for me.  Or my employees or my captains.  It’s not only illegal and unethical, but I don’t know any LEGITIMATE operator where we live that would tolerate that or would risk their business or reputation doing that!”

 

“Then you’re all idiots! (Guffaw guffaw!) “

 

And he makes a point to point that stupid finger at my face.  Cute.

 

He tries logic.

 

“Like when we catch marlin. Last time we went, I caught and boated a marlin.  There’s 3 other guys on the boat.  It’s not fair to them that they don’t get to kill a marlin too, is it?

 

“The limit is one per day, Pal..”

 

“Well, it’s a stupid rule and you’re stupid for not letting your clients catch what they want because if you don’t, there’s plenty of other Mexicans willing to play ball!”

 

My hackles are up…count…1, 2, 3, 4, 5…take a breath.

 

Look…I have a business to run and payroll to make and I surely love earning a buck.  But, for the first time in decades, I’m reserving the right to fire clients.  Sometimes even before they are clients…

 

I do the same to folks who stand at my booth and rail on all the things wrong with the U.S. and Americans and how it’s all gone to hell-in-a-hand-basket.  And on and on.

 

There’s a time and place.  The counter of my booth isn’t it.  It’s a fishing booth not your soapbox to tell me all the things you hate about our country or people.

 

“You just need to move on. I really don’t want you down to visit us. I do not want you or your money or your business.  You’re not worth the energy. “

 

And their eyes pop open!  And they go…

 

”Whaaaa…?  You don’t want me?”

 

As if they’ve paid their entry ticket to the event and it entitles them to spew vitriol at me and I’d better well stand and listen to it.  And how dare I refuse to listen and not want their business or listen to their opinions.

 

Well, yes I can.  You have a right to your opinon, but I have a right not to have to listen either.

 

Yessir. You, sir, are voted off the island!  Seeeee ya!

 

And these are no longer isolated incidents.  That’s the sad part.

 

A day doesn’t seem to go by at the shows these days when at least once or more when someone has something to get off their chest on us.  It’s either because we’re handy targets or directly fired at us because of what we do.

 

People are angrier.

 

They’re more emboldened to say their mind with no filters.  Maybe it’s social media.  Maybe it’s just the times we live in.  Maybe it’s just me lacking patience for haters.

 

In that respect, I’m angrier too.  And it takes a lot to get me angry.

 

Just be on notice.

 

If you’re gonna spew hate and nonsense about me, my work, my wife, employees or both my countries of Mexico AND America, I have no hesitation to telling you that I don’t need you. You’re already wrecking my day standing in front of me yapping your pie-hole.

 

Twenty years ago…heck even 5 years ago, I’d have sucked it up and smiled and accepted their money and booked them to come down and fish.  I’m learning to say “no” in my old age.  I can be a butt-head too.

 

 

I’m not going to let that ugliness ruin it for so many other incredible folks who just want to have a good time with friends and family.

 

Nor will I let you come down and show our Mexican friends another side of ugly Americans and let you taint all of us.  No, sir. Not everyone is like you.

Just my two cents.

 

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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When Fishing Is Not So A-Peeling!

bananas1

When Fishing Is Not So A-Peeling!

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

“Life is full of banana skins. You slip, you carry on.”
—Daphne Guinness

It’s been about 15 years since I last wrote about a subject that seems to keep popping up. And lately, I’ve had several folks ask about it.

Most folks say they’re not superstitious.

But, they’ll still wear their raggedy “good luck” basketball socks. They refuse to throw away their best bowling shirt.

Do you still have a pair of “tidy-whitey” underwear in your drawer that’s you won’t throw away even if it has no more elastic and your wife nags you about it?

Do you refuse to open your eyes when your team’s kicker lines up for the game-winning field goal because it’s “bad luck?” Still have your bloody-splattered fishing t-shirt from when you were in college when you were 100 pounds lighter?

So, what’s the deal about bad luck bananas and fishing?

To some, it’s just something to goof with and talk smack about.

I’ve seen guys “plant” bananas in their buddy’s tackle box or fishing boots. I’ve seen guys tie a banana on hotel-room doors or toss a banana onto a buddy’s boat.

To other’s it’s deadly serious. It’s grounds for fighting words and coming to blows.

I’ve seen boats catch fire. Bananas were later found in the galley.

I’ve been on boats where everyone is catching fish except the boat with bananas but start catching fish when bananas were tossed overboard.

I was working as a deckhand where a guy broke his leg in a freak accident . Bananas were in an ice chest on deck. Another time a guy had to be air-lifted after having a heart attack on a boat that had bananas.

If bananas were found in the galley of any boat that I worked on or had chartered they were quickly discarded or discreetly “disappeared” at night when the boat was underway.

Rumor has it that Fruit of the Loom underwear used to have a banana on their label, but the banana was eliminated.

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So, what’s the source of the superstitious myth?

There’s a number of theories.

Bananas Stink

Back in the days of sailing ships, fresh fruit and vegetables were pretty important. Having bananas aboard, the bananas ripen pretty quickly and emit a gas and odor that can quickly ruin the food stores of a crew. Lacking fresh produce on those long voyages could lead to malnourishment at best. At worst, death.

No Slowing Down

The fact that bananas ripen quite quickly could also give credence to the lack of fish caught on board. Speed was essential to cargo ships carrying bananas.

Normal ships could travel at regular speeds. Often crews would fish to supplement their diets and the diets of passengers.

Banana boats did not have that luxury. They had to scoot. No slowing down to troll. It was essential to get from point A to point B.

Word got out that you didn’t want to crew or travel on a ship carrying bananas because those ships “never caught fish!” Seems logical.

Hidden Critters
Bunches of bananas could often hide snakes, spiders and other creepy-crawlers that could get loose aboard a ship. Many areas in Africa also were home to a voracious wood-eating termite that could get loose when bananas were brought about those old wooden sailing ships.

A Dark Chapter

If you remember your history, banana boats were often used as slave ships. If you suddenly woke up manacled, crowded and in a dark place smelling of bananas, life was about to take a turn for the worse.

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Davey’s Locker

Similarly, bananas float. When a ship would sink, among other things, floating bananas would often be indicative of the final resting place of a vessel.

Here’s another one…

Good to Be King

From my part of the world where my family originated, in Hawaii, only royalty were permitted to have bananas. A commoner found in possession of bananas could be grounds for execution…the ultimate bad luck!

So, what do you think?

I’m not superstitious, but you’d still better not bring bananas on any boat that I’m on! Why tempt luck?

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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GOOD ENUFF

nolan and me 2 edit

GOOD ENUFF

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 16, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

In addition to our fishing fleet, we have a little bar and restaurant in La Paz where lots of our fishermen trade stories; watch sports; and have a few cold ones.  Most will tell you it’s a fun little place.

 

We also have live music a few nights a week.  Our guys are pretty good.  But anyone is welcome to join in.

 

If you think you can strum a guitar; carry a tune or bang two tin cups together, step on up.  Put your beer down or bring it with you.

 

I guarantee, alone or with the band no matter.  We love it.  The band loves it.  The crowd loves it.  You’ll love it.

 

Enthusiasm counts for a lot more than talent, skill or ability.

 

I’ve played guitar for years.  I’ve played in bands.  I’ve been in front of crowds.  But, by my own standards, I’m a hack.  I get by if I have to.

 

But,  I was hesitant to play with our guys at first.   I don’t know why, but I didn’t think I was good enough.

 

It was the leader of our house band who finally said, “Are you good enough to have fun? If the answer is ‘yes’ then come on up to the stage.”

 

And that kinda did it.  I’m not as good as these guys, but I’m good enough to play WITH these guys and I have a world of fun.   And they have fun with me on stage and the crowd seems to enjoy it too.

 

For some reason, I got two e-mails this week from two different dads. In both cases, they wanted to come fish with us in La Paz.

 

One wanted to bring his young son.

 

Another was going to bring a son and an older daughter, but not his youngest daughter.

 

I also got a phone call from guy who had never fished in salt water, but was hesitant.

 

In all three situations, “not good enough” was mentioned.

 

I had to think about that for a moment before responding to each situation.

 

I rarely hear that someone “isn’t good enough.” Not about fishing.  How good do you have to be?

 

No matter how much someone tries to make of it, I’ll tell ya a secret.  In almost 5 decades of fishing, it’s NOT rocket science.  Fishing is not curing cancer.  Fishing is not winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

We often forget that.

 

And for some reason, I remembered about my guitar playing.  I only have to be good enough to have fun.  That’s all.  Have a good time.

 

I asked each father if their kids enjoyed the outdoors?  Did the kids like fishing at all? Do they have fun?  Did the fathers have fun with their kids?

 

Both answered in the affirmative.

 

I put the same question to the freshwater guy that was nervous about saltwater fishing.  He didn’t want to look foolish or under-gunned if he came to fish with us.

 

“Well, do you have fun fishing?”

 

“Yes, I love it!”

 

Well, what’s stopping you?  Step on up.  If it’s a kid, they’ll never get good at all if you don’t start ‘em somewhere.   Same with the freshwater guy.

 

If you’re good enough to have fun, you’re good enough.  That’s all you need to know.

 

You don’t need to be stronger or bigger.  You don’t need to have all the best equipment. You don’t need more experience. That will come.

 

I’m in my 60’s now.  I have a new first grandson myself.  He’s not even two-years-old yet but we’ve already taken him fishing.

 

Some would say he’s not old enough.

 

Heck, he’s not even potti-trained yet!  That will come, right?

 

But, he had fun so that means he’s already “good enough” and I can’t wait to take him again.  Or the younger sister that just got born two months ago.

 

We’ll have her on the water in good time and I have no doubts she’ll have fun.

 

I won’t be around to see either of them fishing when they’re  60.  But, I hope they remember their grandpa taking them out.

 

Time is precious.  Moments are precious.  Get those kids out.  Get yourself out.  Tomorrow is already here.

 

You’re good enough.  Jump up.  Jump in.  The water is fine!

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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REALITY CHECK

REALITY CHECK

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 13, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

If you spend anytime watching U.S. news or surfing the internet, listening to the radio, or social media, it doesn’t take much to figure the U.S. has a lot of problems.  Yikes.

 

If you even got a smidgen of the TV ads for the recent elections, it was an inundation of mind-boggling battering.  It was numbing.  I happened to be in the U.S. for just two days for a family emergency and it was inescapable.

 

Jill and I still vote (absentee ballot) of course from down here in Baja.  But it’s easy to say at times, “Dang, I’m glad I live in Mexico!”

 

And we do. And we’re blessed.

 

But it wasn’t to escape anything back home in the U.S.  Indeed, we miss the heck out’ve it.  But, through a weird and convoluted series of happenstance, this is where work took me and the business just grew.

 

In fact, I was on my way out of Baja, but it grabbed me by the ankles…pulled me back… and wouldn’t let go.

 

And before I knew it two decades had passed.  And we’re still here.  Funny how careers are made.

 

But, we’re not far removed from being reminded how especially fortunate we are.  Despite all of America’s plethora of problems and shares of idiots, there’s a reason folks are desperate to get in.

 

I mean, I don’t see caravans of people from Chicago trying to bust into Mexico or people from Seattle trying to smuggle themselves into China.

 

We love our many friends and employees here and I have watched their kids grow over the years.  And I wonder what opportunity awaits.

What opportunity lies ahead when 6th grade is the highest level of mandatory education here in Mexico?  Or, even a college degree down here means you’re now qualified to work at the reception desk in a hotel.   Is that really it?

 

I know kids that honestly “aspire” to flip burgers at Burger King.   The bar is not very high.

 

Can you imagine, “When I grow up, I hope to learn to work at McDonalds.”

 

American tourists toss 20-dollar bills around while on vacation.

 

I doubt many of them realize that twenty bucks is 3-days wages for many Mexicans.  Most earn less than 10-dollars-a-day and probably paid 4 dollars to ride the bus to get to work and back home.  And probably having to feed a family.

 

Your own kid working that summer job at Dairy Queen is probably making 100 bucks a day for “spending money.” Not to buy food or pay the family rent.

 

Just the other day, I heard a gringo complain that he had been “ripped off” by a street vendor who didn’t have 75 cents change in American.  C’mon, Man.

 

We know a friend who just found out she has breast cancer.  Serious.  It took a MONTH between the biopsy and diagnosis and the cancer had grown tremendously.

 

But there’s no openings for surgery for THREE months. And even then, the date might come up and there might not be a surgeon available.

 

A death sentence. But, there are no other options.

 

And she’s “lucky.”

 

She has government-provided socialized “medical insurance.”

 

It means everyone has the right to medical care in Mexico.  It just doesn’t necessarily mean you get it “right now” when you need it or the right kind of treatment.

 

If you live in the outlying areas as many folks do, medical treatment means you also have to  travel to a doctor.  I asked one of our captains many years ago what do you do if you can’t get to a doctor?

 

He said sadly, “We just die.”

 

As many of you know, we drive a beat- up Honda down here.  I’m not proud. It’s a junker. But it goes forward and reverse. And the air-conditioning works…sometimes.  At a whisper and often blows dust in our faces.

 

Recently the door handle just fell off.  So, we duct taped it back in place,  You get the idea.

 

Although not stylish, we have the means to get from Point A to Point B.

 

As long as it’s not far.  Or involve hills.  We cannot make the 100-mile drive from La Paz to Cabo San Lucas without overheating.

 

Everyone has a car back home in the U.S.  Or even more than one car.  Last time in Los Angeles, I was  stuck 2 ½ hours driving 20 miles.

 

But, a car here is a luxury.  And we know it.  There are times when we have not had a car and it restricted every aspect of our life.

 

There were several of those early years here in Baja that I did not have a car.  I relied on two legs, my thumb or a generous friend.

 

People make fun of Mexican cars, mine included.  But, it sure beats not having one at all.

 

Back-in-the-day in the U.S., it was a right-of-passage at 16 to get that driver’s license and get a car, no matter how hard you had to work for it.

 

Most adults I know down here do not have a driver’s license. Or know how to drive.

 

What for?  They will never own or have a car in their lifetimes.

 

If you do own one..insurance? Maintenance? They can barely afford gas.  So, make all the fun you want.

 

I was bitching a few days ago because our apartment (once again) did not have hot water.  About 20% of the time, we don’t have hot water.

 

I guess you get used to it, but after a long day, you look forward to that shower and instead, there’s only cold water…it gets old.

 

I was going on-and-on to a friend.  He just smiled then said, “Our house never has hot water.”

 

“Never? “

 

“Not ever. “

 

“How do you shower?  Cook?  Wash clothes?”

 

“Nunca. Never, Jonathan. And sometime no electricity either.”  He shrugged and smiled.

 

“You get used to it.”

 

End of conversation. I shut up.  You take something for granted and you just assume that everyone has it.

 

Reality check and you say a little prayer of gratitude.

 

Oh…by the way, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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WHEN BIGGER ISN’T BETTER

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WHEN BIGGER ISN’T BETTER

Originally Published the Week of Oct 22, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

It’s always open for discussion, but personally, I don’t think any fish down here pulls harder than a tuna.  It’s basically an explosive muscle with some fins on it.

 

Built for speed and shaped like a bullet, they have no swim bladders and can dive fast, swim fast, and empty a spool faster than any fish I’ve ever experienced.

 

Sure, wahoo have that flat-out greyhound speed of 60-70 mph bursts. But once that short burst is over, it’s not gonna rip off several hundred yards of line yards of line.

 

A yellowtail, amberjack, huge grouper or snapper might bullrush back to its structure or layer,  But, once you work the fish away from the protection, the big part of the battle is won.

 

And think about this.  Folks catch 100, 200, 300 pound marlin quite frequently.  You don’t hear of many tuna of that size being caught.

 

Hooked?  Yes.  Caught?  Not so much!

 

Most anglers I know could bring a 150-pound billfish to the boat in 15 or 20 minutes. Even a rookie.   A tuna of equal size could take an hour or two on the same tackle.

 

They are a special sportfish.

 

But, they are picky sportfish too.   And when the big boys start boiling, your first inclination is to grab your big guns too!  Big fish…big baits…big line…big rods.

 

And that all works fine when the fish go “ on the chew” with abandon.  When all hell is breaking loose and they’re hammering everything tossed in the water and fighting each other to grab lines, then by all means reach into your heavy arsenal.

 

But, often the frustration with tuna is they boil…but will have nothing to do with your offerings.  Or they stay just outside of casting distance and get nervous whenever something approaches like a boat, a jig or a tossed sardine.

 

That’s when you have to make a choice.  Stay with the heavy gear and be ready for the big hit…that may never come.

 

Or do something different.

 

Tuna are a per-snickity fish.

 

Think about this.  They never stop swimming.  The must eat.  That’s all they do is eat to keep up that pulsing swimming physiology and high metabolism.  But, how do you get them to eat YOUR stuff?

 

Go lighter.  Go smaller. Be stealthy.

 

Discard the heavy gear and the prospects of having limp line all day and go to your “small game.”

 

I’ve seen tuna go off when all the angler did was change from 50 to 40-pound test. Or drop from 40 to 30 pound test.  Same fish. Same area.  That’s the only difference.

 

That puts more of the odds in the fish’s favor, but at least you stand a better chance of getting bent.  At least you have that opportunity.

 

The other thing is to go for smaller baits.  Dorado don’t care about your bait size.  Wahoo and yellowtail could care less.

 

For some reason, tuna like the smaller baits.  Live bait is great.  Often, dead works just-as-well.

 

But that also involves other factors.  Smaller baits mean using smaller hooks!  Again, advantage to the fish.

 

Match your hook to the size of your bait.  Don’t match your hook to the size of the fish you want to catch!

 

If your hook is too big, it kills your bait.  If you hook is too big your bait won’t swim correctly.

 

And by the same token, if your line is too heavy, your bait won’t swim correctly either. Just another reason to go to lighter line.  But again, you’re stacking the odds in favor of the fish.

 

One other big advantage involves the eyesight of the tuna. They can see lines. They can see the reflection of light on that mono as it lies in the water and that can make the fish wary.

 

We found down here in La Paz, that fluorocarbon leaders can make all the difference in the world in getting bit. Virtually invisible, the line invites more strikes.  But even a few feet of fluro leader gives you a better shot.

 

But again, fluro is more brittle than mono.  Older fluro tends to also be more rigid and hinders the “swimability” of your bait.  And it can break!  There goes your gorilla tuna.

 

Choices…choices.

 

Heavy gear for that big fish, but maybe never get bit?

 

Or lighter gear and having some fun?

 

If your rod is never bent, then you’ll never have a chance at all.  I’d rather get bit.  It’s a lot less boring!

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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Mexico-family-of-5-outside-home

One Shot

Originally Published the Week of July 18, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

So…in the 12 years writing this column, there’s two topics I generally avoid.  Religion and politics.  Even in my own personal conversations.  Off-limits.

 

Want to see my eyes glaze over?  Want to see me mentally check out?  La la la la la…I can’t hear you.

 

I do love “discussion.”  That’s fun.  And enlightening.

 

But, even moreso these days, either topic is so volatile.  And it’s not a discussion.

 

It’s an argument.  Arguments by definition are a battle.  There’s an insistence on winning or, at least, winning over the other person.  And when does that ever happen?

 

Nah.

 

I spent too many years as a litigation attorney in a past life in a courtroom and had a lifetime of argument.  And my current life path doesn’t need that kind of agitation anymore!

 

It’s just easier to walk away.  Easier to just say “We’ll agree to disagree” than gird up for battle.  Life’s too freakin’ short.

 

And believe me, I know how to win a verbal argument. I was a professional.  And I don’t like to lose…especially if I think I’m right. And, of course I’m right!  Hahahaha…

 

But, I don’t need more scar tissue.  And I don’t need to lose more friends.

 

So, my column this week isn’t a political statement. It’s merely an observation.

 

Mexico just had its presidential election.  Six years in office.  President Enrique Nieto out.  New Presidente Andres Obrador is on deck.

 

You only get one six-year term.

 

And, maybe it was just me, but President Nieto seemed awfully quiet his last 3 years in office.  He just fell out’ve the headlines.  Didn’t want to make waves.  No reason to make more promises.

 

Why?  You don’t have to campaign again.  What d’ya care?  Live large. Wave and smile. Cruise control. Auto pilot.   Just ride it out. Disappear into the sunset. You had your one shot.

 

And now it’s President Obrador’s turn.  And I genuinely wish him Godspeed and good luck.  One shot to make a difference.

 

One shot.

 

That got me thinking about all the folks we know here at ground-zero.  Our friends.  Working class blue collar.  Ecking out livings.  Family people.

 

I don’t know a lot of Mexico politicians or bureaucrats.

 

I try to keep my distance from both,  although former Baja governor Marcos Covarubias used to come into our Tailhunter Restaurant here in La Paz.  His wife liked to watch boxing and he liked our Hawaiian ribs and cold beer.  We didn’t talk politics either.

 

But the folks we mostly hang with are regular folks like you and me.  We’ve grown to love and respect so many of them and call them our friends.  Hopefully, it’s mutual.

 

But, there’s one big difference.  It was explained to me by one of our long-time employees recently.

 

He’s almost 60-years-old. He’s been a cook or dishwasher for almost his whole life.  And he wanted to thank me for his job which he thought was the most wonderful job he ever had.

 

And he said he hoped he could work for us forever!

 

I think we try to make a good work environment for all our employees.  But work for me “forever?”  Like… as in… “the rest of your life?”

 

You see, here in Mexico, you have…one shot.

 

You start out as a cook…a dishwasher…a taxi driver…a laborer…and chances are, that’s what you’ll be doing the next 40 years.

 

That’s it.

 

You start your kid down that road and he or she will probably be doing the same thing for their whole lives as well.  And their kids.  No other hope.

 

In many cases, we see folks so used to that path, that they have no other ambition either.

 

They  HOPE to get that job as a janitor.  They  HOPE their kid gets that job cooking taco meat.  They  HOPE to always be a security guard.  That’s their dream.

 

That’s the extent of life…and career…and ambition.

 

That’s it. One shot.

 

The education level doesn’t help.

 

Mandatory free public education…for what it’s worth…is only good until 6th grade.  After that, the family has to pay.  If they can afford it, they usually pay for the boys.

 

The girls are expected to…???  Fill in your own blank.

 

Even kids that make it to college level.  We know a zillion kids who get degrees here in La Paz in “tourism.”

 

What that generally means is that they have some English skills and are now qualified to work behind the reception counter in a hotel. Or handing out towels behind the pool.  The rest of their lives.

 

In many of the hotels and restaurants, the real work force is governed by powerful unions.  Yes, there’s some benefits to having the union.  Or not.

 

To get that job as the maintenance guy or cashier at the hotel you MUST be part of the union.

 

If you want to better yourself and become, for example, a cook, you lose whatever accrued benefits you had as a dishwasher.  So…Welcome to 40 years of cleaning plates with mandatory retirement at age 60.  No motivation to change.

 

Choose your station in life wisely, amigo.  The glass ceiling is made out’ve concrete.

 

You might go to another restaurant or hotel along the way…but always as a dishwasher.  Oh, and minimum wage is like 8 bucks…A DAY! Six days a week.

 

So, I look at our good friends and employees and know how I’d feel knowing that what I’m doing AT THIS MOMENT is what I’ll be doing the rest of my life.

 

Is this as good as it gets?  As good as it is ever going to be?

 

At more than 60-years-old now, I’m still looking to move up.  Looking for the next opportunity.  Trying to make tomorrow a bit better.  There’s hope.

 

For so many of our local friends…

 

One shot.

 

I’m sure everyone is hopeful that the new presidential administration will be an upgrade.   Will be different.  Will make a difference.

 

But as they head to work for another day, most just shrug and push on.  Another day.  Just like yesterday.  And it’ll be the same tomorrow.

 

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-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: 

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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