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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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ENDEAVOR to PERSEVERE

ENDEAVOR to PERSEVERE

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 17, 2019 in Western Outdoor News Publications

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I know it’s the holiday season.

 

Christmas is still two weeks away and I don’t wanna sound like the Grinch. I love Christmas!

However,  a couple of nights ago, I was overdosing on Christmas movies.  One-after-the-other on TV non-stop.

 

Ever been there?  A little too much sugar and spice at one time?

 

All the Hallmark movies end the same.  Pretty girl falls in love with the good-looking guy in the cute Christmas village.

 

Clarence gets his wings with the help of Jimmy Stewart and a Wonderful Life.

 

Charlie Brown and his little tree give us the true meaning of Christmas.

 

Bing Crosby had his White Christmas after all.

 

Y’know, as much as I love Christmas movies, there’s only so much sweetness and goodness a guy can take in a row.   So, I did a 180 with the TV remote.

 

I popped on Clint Eastwood and “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”  Yea!

outlaw-josey-wales

 

Nothing like a squinty-eyed Clint with a big pistol in his hands to bring a guy’s testosterone levels back in line.

 

Hardly Christmas stuff, but what the heck…

 

There’s some gems in there.  You may remember, actor Chief Dan George as the old Indian Lone Watie.  He says to Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood)

 

“Endeavor to persevere.”

Josey wales

 

It’s a phrase that kinda stuck with me.  In fact, I was reminded of it just a few days ago.

 

Jerry and his buddy, Alex, have been fishing with our operation in La Paz for about 10 years.  Jerry wrote me an e-mail asking for suggestions on what kind of fishing gear to get for Alex for Christmas.

 

Not an unusual question on its face.  But, the e-mail had some “involved” questions about “dual drags” and “graphite rods vs. fiberglass.”  There were questions about “knife jigs” and “colors of trolling lures.”  Did I know anything about “retrieve ratios” for fishing reels?

 

Let me put this in context.

 

Ten years ago, Jerry and Alex when they first came to visit, they couldn’t catch a fish if fish jumped in the boat.   In fact, they had never fished in the ocean, let alone fishing in Mexico.

 

They weren’t terrible.

 

Let’s just say they were “inexperienced.”

 

They fumbled with rods and reels.  They tried to tie knots that came undone.  They busted rod tips and tangled lines.  Hooks ended up catching hats and clothes.  Open tackle boxes tipped over spilling all manners of “stuff” on the floor.

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We’ve all been there in some way, shape or form.  But these two brothers just couldn’t get the hang of it.

 

Fish were lost.  Bites were missed.  How can they be the ONLY boat in my fleet that comes back with zero fish during a wide-open bite?

 

Not just one day…almost every day.

fish-snaggers-4x32

 

I try to make a point every day of talking to each of my fishermen to check on them.  And every day, Jerry and Alex had the longest faces.

 

And a lot of questions They couldn’t understand why everyone else was catching fish except them.

 

Every day, I’d answer their questions.  We would try to figure out where their technique was off.  Try to rally and encourage them.

 

But, pretty much everything they tried just complicated it.  In my mind, they were simply thinking too much and trying to hard.  Concepts like how to pin a bait were concepts that just couldn’t grasp.

 

But, give ‘em credit, they hung in there.

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When I bid them “adios” and thanked them for visiting, I was sure they wouldn’t come back.

 

I shook their hands.  All I could say was, “Hope you had a good time and I’m sorry you didn’t catch more fish.”  What else could I say?

 

They shook my hand and thanked me and one of them smiled and said, “Endeavor to persevere” as he ducked into the shuttle van.

 

Endeavor to persevere?   OK.  Whatever.

 

At the time, I figured it meant, “O well, that’s fishing.”  See ya around.

 

Like I said, I thought I’d never see them again.

 

But, every year, they returned.

 

Every year they got a little better.  It took a bit, but the next year, they caught a few more fish although they still bumbled.  And they still had a mound of questions each day after fishing.

 

And, normally pretty shy guys, I saw them talking to other fishermen too.

 

And each year, they got a bit better.  So, did their gear.

 

That first year, it was like some kid at Walmart or Target sold ‘em a bill of goods and made a helluva commission.  They came with so much junk they were told they “must have” to fish in Mexico.  I felt sorry for them.

 

But the more they learned and watched, the better the gear got.  It was good to see.

 

Other guys were still catching more and bigger.  But Alex and Jerry were starting to have more fun.

 

Not one time in all those years did I hear them bitch about anything.  It was never “the captain’s fault” or “the weather and current” or “bad bait.”

 

They hung in there.  They persevered.  And they got better.

 

And it was more fun for me too.  Anyone in this business likes to have folks enjoying themselves.

 

I reminded the guys about that first year and them saying “ Endeavor to persevere”.  Apparently, they were fans of Josey Wales too.

 

Alex told me, “Clint never gives up. “

 

Simple as that.  No other explanation needed.  And then he asked me how to tie a San Diego knot.

 

I think I’m gonna get a t-shirt that says, “Endeavor to Persevere.”  Wise words to hold onto.  No matter what you’re doing.

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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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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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!

 

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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.

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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.”

 

 

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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 »

ZING-POWIE FISH!

ZING-POWIE FISH

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

Jamie hooked up 8-17 pancho.jpg

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!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

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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