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Archive for the ‘pack for a purpose’ Category

CAN’T GET OUTTA YOUR OWN WAY!

CAN’T GET OUTTA OUR OWN WAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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They still don’t know the basics. 

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

Put down the catalogs.  Stop web-surfing Amazon.

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

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

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

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

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

Why do we use certain hooks?  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sheesh! Stop me!

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

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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FEELING A LITTLE MORE NORMAL AGAIN

SALUD!!!!

FEELING A LITTLE MORE NORMAL AGAIN

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

The vibe just kinda just hit me this week.

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

         I got stuck in traffic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         Mexico is close. A quick little plane ride.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         I don’t miss any of that.

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

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

         The ocean was empty and uncrowded. 

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

         I had the beaches to myself.  

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

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

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

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

         Things moved at a much more leisurely pace. 

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

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

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

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

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

______________

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

_____________

 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

 

Website:

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

 

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

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TROUBLESHOOTING – DON’T LEAVE FISH TO FIND FISH

panga

TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR FISHING – DON’T LEAVE FISH TO FIND FISH

Originally Published the Week of April 28, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

How does that saying go?

         “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

         I would like to throw out a challenger:

         “Nothing worse than a grumpy fisherman when everyone else is catching fish except him.”

         I know from experience.  I have been in the path of such a demon and it can be like watching one of those disaster movies where the huge apocalyptic tidal wave is coming.  There’s no escape.  Climbing the tallest tree or building isn’t gonna save you.

         Running a couple of fishing fleets here in Baja, I get the reports from my captains before they get back to the beach.  Everyone has caught lots of fish.  Everyone had a great time.

         Except one boat.  And the one guy.

         And it’s the guy who calls himself the “expert.”  He’s fished everywhere and caught everything and he’s done it all.

         And my captain gives me the code word on the radio “caliente” meaning, they’re coming in hot.  The client is NOT happy.

         Oh no.  Not like I can run away.  I know I’m gonna either get an earful of what went wrong ( it’s never the angler’s fault).  Or, I’ll get the silent Clint Eastwood squint of the pissed-off fisherman.

         Nothing like someone who’s upset and when you ask them what’s wrong, you get a brusque, “I’m fine!”

         Well…alrighty then…we’ll just walk to the other side of the room and give you some space!

         Before trying to figure out what went wrong I always chat with my captain.  I don’t like asking questions that I don’t already know the answer to. 

         Was the bait bad?  Was the guy simply unlucky?  Did he actually hook fish, but they broke off ?  That’s not bad fishing.  That’s simply bad catching. 

         Did he have a tackle box full of bananas?

         Often, one I hear is that the client just kept moving around too much and kept telling my captain he wanted to move.   Even when the fish were biting.

         The client wanted bigger fish. 

         Or he wanted a different species…then another type…then another type to cross of his bucket list.

         Or he simply had read too much and wanted to try all the “famous” spots he read about.

         For whatever reason, the client was like a waterbug scooting from spot-to-spot-to-spot.   Even when the fish were biting.  Even when other boats were catching fish. 

         That spot just wasn’t up to his expectations and in a version of “grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side” wanted to keep moving…and moving again.

         When I am finally able to confront the angler, it’s really hard to tell them to just stop racing all over the ocean.  Especially, if it’s an angler that attests to knowing more than my captain or me about fishing.

         However, I learned long ago when working as a deckhand and also as a fishing guide “Don’t leave fish to find fish.”

         There’s only a finite number of hours in a fishing day.

         If the fish are biting where you are, you probably shouldn’t pull up and go looking for a different spot.  At least give your current spot time to produce whatever it’s going to produce. 

         Sure, you might find a better spot.  But, there’s a good chance you might not.  And you’ll be wasting time and bait and gas chasing around.

         While everyone else is hooking fish and having a good time!

        

        

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

PRESENTATION IS A GAME CHANGER

PRESENTATION IS A GAME CHANGER

Originally Published the Week of April 20, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

Presentation is a simple concept explain.  How something looks, feels or even acts has a lot to do with how that subject is perceived.

         Perfect examples.

         Two hamburgers.  Same meat.  Same cook.  They both taste the same.

 But, one is served on white table cloth with nice silver.  There’s a nice garnished sprig of parsley and the plate is shiny white ceramic. 

         The other burger comes in a greasy wrapper. 

         Most folks would be more inclined towards the nicely packaged burger, even though personally, I’d probably grab the one in the greasy wrapper that’s all messy.  But, that’s just me.  

         But, that wrapper registers an impression in my little brain that the one in the greasy wrapper is gonna taste better.

         Possibly a better example:

         The young man that comes to pick up my daughter for the evening at the movies.  For the first time. First date.

         Torn jeans…dirty fingernails…way too many piercings and a dragon tattoo up his arm.  And honks for her to come out.

         Danger! Danger!  Not with MY daughter!

         Or the young man shows up on time. Calls me “sir.” Holds the door open for my girl and he’s nicely dressed.

         In both scenarios, it’s the same kid.  If my daughter is going out with him, I’m sure he’s probably a sweet kid and nice guy despite first impressions.  Clothes aren’t everything. 

         I didn’t exactly look like a prize at that age either. 

         And the dad writing this article has a piercing and several tattoos! 

The nicely dressed kid does get bonus points for calling me “Sir.”

         But, first impressions are important.  There’s no getting around it. 

fish bait

         Fish are a lot like that too.  Presentation is everything.

         Some folks think if they have a lure in the water or if they have a bait on a hook in the water, the fish will jump all over it.  And they can’t figure out why they’re not getting bit.

         Or how come the guy next to them is getting hits left-and-right.

         There’s the old saying that, “20% of the fishermen catch 80% of the fish.”

         There’s a reason.  Much of that has to do with presentation and the impression it makes on the targeted fish.

         Imagine that “Mr. Fish” has a whole bunch of choices down there. 

Why should he bite you?  What makes your bait stand out and gets his brain neurons saying, “Eat! Eat! Eat!”

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         Let’s talk about live bait for the moment.

         How is it acting?  Lively? Lethargic? Plain dead?  

         Take dorado fore example.  Dorado, are like cats.  Fast moving lively things put them into attack mode.  The livelier the bait the better. 

         By contrast tuna can be notoriously lazy and love picking up dead bait or barely lively bait.  It’s like they don’t wanna chase anything. 

That’s why chunk bait is so effective.  Just a big mass of dead and dying bait dumped into the drift. One chunk has a hook in it.

         Speaking of hooks…How you rig (“pin”) your bait on a hook can have a massive effect. 

         For one, generally, match your hook to the size of the bait.  Don’t match your hook to the size of the fish you’re chasing. 

         For instance, if using a 6-inch sardine or anchovy, jabbing a 10/0 hook in it is going to kill the bait, even if you’re chasing 100-pound fish.  That’s not doing you any favors. 

Simple logic.

         Likewise, if your line is very heavy, your bait is gonna tire out faster and you’re not even going to know it.  Your line is way out there and you have no clue that your poor little bait is half-dead floating where you can’t see it.   

         And you wonder why your buddy keeps hooking fish!

         A lot of anglers also don’t know that you can actually control how your bait swims. 

         Pinch-off or cut off a bit of tailfin and your bait will swim erratically.  Often, this is a great attractant for gamefish who like to grab injured bait that can’t escape.

       Darwin’s theory.  Culling the herd. It sets your bait out from the rest of the bait in the water.

        Try these next time. 

       If you pin your bait on the bottom-side behind the dorsal fin, you bait will tend to swim directly away from the boat and down.

      If you hook your bait on the top-side behind the dorsal fin, your bait will tend to also swim straight out, but will stay on the surface.

     If you put the hook through the right collar, the bait will swim to the right.  Through the left collar and the fish will swim to the left. 

     Handy to know for those baits that continually want to swim under the boat or if you’re on a boat and you can’t get around someone or something.

     If how “food” looks and acts is important, consider how something “smells” also affects attractiveness just like smelling a steak on the grill.

     When I was first learning to fish as a kid, my old Japanese uncle taught me to keep the bait as fresh as possible.

     Don’t touch the bait with hands that touched food or something oily.  Or suntan lotion. 

     He was a smoker and never ever touched his bait with the hand holding his cigarette. 

     If you do have stuff on your hands, wash it off then put some fish slime or dead bait on your hands to cover up the fragrance of soap or other detergent.

     Presentation makes a difference.  First impressions are a game changer.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         He went on…

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

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

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

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

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

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

         “So, Jonathan…book me a trip!”

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

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

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

         Life should have been reversed.

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

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

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

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

Cancer…Hearts…Covid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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UPDATING COVID TESTING in MEXICO

AIRPORT TESTING SITE

UPDATING COVID TESTING IN MEXICO

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

Since the new CDC rules went into effect about a month ago last January, Mexico has been doing it’s best to help international travelers comply.

In case you hadn’t heard, the new CDC rules went into effect January 26th.  It requires all international travelers flying into or back to the United States to show a negative Covid test result that was administered less than 72 hours prior to travel.

This only applies to airline passengers. It does not apply to boats, cars or other means of travel coming into the U.S.

You are not required to quarantine upon returning to the U.S.

You do not have to show a negative Covid test before entering Mexico.  You are not required to quarantine once you get to Mexico.

Even if you have been vaccinated or have had Covid, you must still show a negative test or have a medical waiver.

If you fly both in and out of a Mexican Airport like Tijuana, the test is not required.  That is a domestic flight and only international flights have the mandate.

With tourism such an essential part of the Mexican and Baja economy, and vital to recovery after Covid lockdowns were eased, there has been a mad dash get-up-to-speed for travelers. 

Mexico can ill-afford to deter or impede further travel.  So, the aim has been to make it as convenient and economical as possible to obtain the test.

According to the respective tourism boards, all of the hotels and timeshares in Cabo San Lucas have erected facilities or provide testing as a service to their guests. Costs appear to be minimal and many hotels are offering it free so check with your hotel.

As well, there are numerous laboratories now offering the service as well as all local hospitals.

At this time, the following destination airports have facilities:

Aguascalientes

Acapulco

Chuahua

Culiacan

Durango

Guadaljara

Hermosillo

La Paz

Leon

Los Cabos (Cabo San Lucas)

Los Mochis

Mazatlan

Mexicali

Mexico City

Monterrey

Morelia

Puerta Vallarta

San Luis Potosi

Tijuana

Tampico

Torreon

Zacatecas

Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo

Los-Cabos-Airport-Departures-Board-Plane-11

The basic antigen test takes about 15 minutes.  Cost varies at the airports about $25-65 dollars and results are provided in about an hour.

Airports are recommending giving yourself extra time to allow for this.  It’s first-come-first-served.  The airports are also open to walk-in visits from the general public.

Several airlines are also in discussion about erecting their own facilities and also developing apps so test results can be uploaded quickly.

Having spoken to several folks who have returned from Mexico travel, I’m told it’s the test where your nasal passages are swabbed.  Intrusive and uncomfortable, but not painful and it’s over quickly.

The persons I spoke to paid $40-65 dollars for the test.  Several got the tests prior to leaving.  Several got the tests at the airport.  Not surprisingly, private labs are more expensive.

Two of the travelers that I spoke to inquired at their respective hotels and said the staff wasn’t sure about the tests.  So, they went to an outside lab located not far from the hotel.  In both cases, later they found out from management that testing was available. 

So, I guess it depends who you ask.

Take note that smaller cities, such as La Paz which have a smaller tourist base and lower hotel occupancy than say, Puerto Vallarta or Cabo San Lucas, do not offer testing at hotels. 

As one official mentioned, certain cities just do not have the huge influx of  international travelers like other cities.  With hotel occupancy only at 10-30% in those smaller cities, it’s not economically feasible to have testing facilities at those hotels.

Nevertheless, it sounds like it’s coming together with little bumps here and there.

Easter Week and Spring Break are just a few months off.  These are the biggest travel period of the year in Mexico.  Contrary to popular thought, it’s not Thanksgiving or even Christmas.  

During Spring Break and Easter, Mexicans visiting relatives in the U.S. or vice versa as well as regular spring vacationers normally flood in and out of Mexico.

Not surprisingly, numbers will probably be somewhat subdued this year compared to other years, but nevertheless, Mexico will have to be ready for the influx.   Easter is the first week of April this year.

As we get closer, I have to think things will only get easier, more convenient and more economical. 

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:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

FIRST TIMER FAQ

FIRST TIMER FAQ

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 5, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

Tourist with thumb up

Anyone who is in the travel industry has endured quite a year.  We have run our fishing operation in La Paz now for over 25 years. 

Being in Mexico, with it’s pre-existing stereotypes didn’t help much either.  Having Covid restrictions was just a dog-pile on top none of us needed.

Our operation is fairly large, but ultimately, we’re a mom-and-pop business.  It’s just me and my wife, Jilly.  We wear a lot of hats.  Some of them at the same time.

I will readily admit, Jilly is the brains of the operation.  After working with me all these years, she would probably laughingly concur with that assessment.

But, I do have my moments!  And I do bring some modicum or skill to the table.

I handle a lot of the bookings and scheduling.  That’s been my forte.  The seller.  The closer.  Whatever you want to call me. 

I don’t look at it like sales.  To me, it’s simply inviting people to come play in my sandbox and enjoy some smiles down in Mexico.

It involves a lot of e-mails, calls and other social media.  Lots of back-and-forth.

 But, it’s fun and a great opportunity to get to know folks.  And we become friends, long before they ever actually arrive to visit.

But, lately, the inquiries have been changing. 

Mexico is becoming a go-to spot for vacations during the pandemic.  Even with the borders technically closed to “non-essential” traffic, that’s quite ambiguous and loosely defined. 

Mexico needs U.S. tourism.  They CRAVE American tourism and I’ve never heard of anyone being turned away.

In that regard, Mexico tourism, has been surging.  Airlines are adding routes to keep up with the demand.  Planes are full.

And why not? 

Mexico is close.  It’s easy.  It’s economical.  There’s no testing.  No quarantine.  It’s easy to return back home.   

To some people, it’s not even like going to a foreign country.  They have visited so often.  It’s a no-brainer escape for Americans edging to get out.

And for 2021,  I’m getting a lot of first-timers.

Not just first-timers to Mexico.

First time out of the U.S.  First time fishing.  First time salt-water fishing.  I have even gotten inquiries from folks who have never even seen the ocean!

Some actually do their due diligence about where they are going. 

Others?

I think they just throw a dart at the map and see where it sticks.  Or they hit the internet and willy-nilly pick a spot that has nice pictures of beaches and palm trees.

They often seem to know very little about where they are actually going!

For instance, just a few days ago, I had a call from a husband.  He already had his plane tickets to La Paz.

During a casual conversation, he asked me, “When we are in La Paz, do you think we’ll be able to go to dinner in Cancun?”

I had to think about how to answer that one.

When I told him Cancun was about 4,000 miles on the other side of the Mexico, he incredulously didn’t believe me at first.  He and his wife were really set on taking some time to visit Cancun. 

Twice this past week, I’ve had folks wanting me to book fishing in the morning in Loreto. In the afternoon, they want to fish in La Paz.

I had to explain that La Paz is 5 hours away by car from Loreto.

One guy said, “Really, it’s only 2 inches away from each other on the map!”

Late last year, we were walking some clients out to the beach to board the pangas to go fishing that morning.  The sun was just starting to come up.

One of the clients had never ever seen the ocean!

Mesmerized, he said, “Wow, it’s REALLY big!”

Then, he did something crazy in front of all of us.  He suddenly knelt down. He cupped a handful of ocean and drank it!

“HOLY C#@P, that’s freakin’ salty! Oh my gawd!” he spit, choked and sputtered.

I grabbed a some bottled water and handed it to him.  And continued laughing along with my captains and the guy’s buddies.

And then there is the mom who asks if there is a market near the hotel where they are staying.  She wants to buy bread.

Why?

She heard from friends that people get sick eating Mexican food and drinking the water.  So for her family, she was packing lunch meats and condiments to make sandwiches and lots of bottled water in their ice chests.

They planned to eat all their meals in their hotel room with their 2 kids.

I had a hard time proving the negative.  Mexico has great food and restaurants.

They come to visit in June.  Hopefully, I’ll have convinced her by then it’s OK to grab some tacos.

That’s my story!

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

ANOTHER COVID CASUALTY

ANOTHER COVID CASUALTY

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 22, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

Well, with the new year upon us, we can only hope for better things. 

         It feels especially strange for us because normally at this time, my wife and I are running around with our hair on fire.  Well…that is if I still had hair.  But metaphorically speaking, it’s pretty hectic.

         We’re usually packing our vehicle for 3 months on the road.  From January to March, we hit pretty much a sportsmans show every week.  These 3-5 days are huge events filled with thousands of sportsmen each day plus hundreds of vendors like us who own sportfishing fleets; or lodges; or guiding outfitters and so much more.

         The normal course of driving takes us through about 12-15 states each season and through some states several times. It’s like being carnival workers, which essentially that’s what we are.

We criss-cross the western U.S. often through snow, rain, fog and ice. Forests…mountains…endless miles of desert.

20200114_101739_HDR

 Lots of motels.  Countless truck-stops and Denny’s.  Late night pizza we shouldn’t be eating.  McDonald’s super-size box on the dashboard.  Starbucks stuck in the cup-holders.  Microwave burrito wrapper crumpled on the floorboard.

         But, we look forward to being “road warriors” and have been doing it almost three decades. 

         So, about this time, we’re packing up the booth; bags of winter clothes; thousands of brochures; t-shirts; hats; safety gear…all for being on the road basically through April.  If we forget something, it’s not like we can drive back to get it.

         But, this year, it’s not happening. 

         Like most events that draw thousands of people in close-proximity, Covid changed all that.

         Therefore, the shows that we do in Denver, Sacramento, Seattle, Boise, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Portland, Long Beach, San Diego and in other cities we visit…either have canceled or are in the process of being canceled.

         Sadly after 75 years,  that includes the big Fred Hall Shows in Southern California.

         There’s a few that are trying their best to hang in there.

         In addition to everyone being masked-up; I’ve heard talk of moving the vendor booths 6-feet apart.  I’ve heard suggestions that prospective customers can’t approach closer than 3-feet to a vendor.

         Some shows, like the giant Dallas Safari Club are making a go via “virtual reality” or “zoom” events and putting everything online. 

         I think that’s already called the “internet.” Novel for the events, but not exactly new.

         I have no doubt the producers of these shows are doing or did their darndest to have these events and bent over-backwards trying.  Trying to save their livlihoods like everyone else.

       On the other side, there’s many exhibitors who do nothing else except these shows.  All year long. Think of the folks who sell knife sharpeners; equipment; gadgets; clothing, jerky and toffee nuts. There’s the concession guys that sell beer and hot dogs and funnel  No shows.  No business.

       But, there’s a two-headed obstacle for the show producers to overcome.

       First, the state or local restrictions preventing or severely restricting gatherings.

      Second, for vendors like us,  it’s only economical to drive from one show to another. One every week or so.

     It makes no sense for us, and many of our fellow exhibitors, to fly or drive to one show.  Then, go all the way back home.  Wait a few weeks.  Then, load up and travel again to another show with all the gear, booths and equipment needed to display.

20190106_113204

         Additionally, even if the shows could be held, it’s not just the possibility someone working a booth might catch Covid.  For exhibitors, there’s huge insurance exposure. 

         For instance, a big manufacturer of say…firearms or fishing reels will pay staff members to man the booth at the show.  One of them comes back and tests positive or their relative or family member tests positive.  It gets traced back to the show, the liability exposure to the employer company could be huge.

         Further, folks really like coming to the shows.  It’s a party.  It’s a carnival. It’s the social aspect and the fun factor.

LB Rod Reel

         Personally, if I’m trusting my hunting vacation to a hunting guide in South Africa or Canada, I’d like to see the guy; chat them up; shake hands before I hand them thousands of dollars.

         I want to take a fishing trip in the deep dark jungles of the Amazon River or a the hinterlands on a hunting expedition in Russia…yea…I want to talk to a live person.

         Same with Mexico or South America or other places where English is not spoken.  I want be personally assured before I book. 

I want to know if the guy in the booth is the “real-deal” or even the real guy that I will see when I arrive.  Or is the guy just a rep or salesman that I will never see again?

         That’s also double-hard if we all have to wear masks or have to practice social distancing while trying to interact.  I understand the necessity.  It’s the new normal. 

         Anyway, the point being, if you’re waiting for the sportsmen’s shows, it’s gonna be a long wait.

         For those of you readers on the west coast, it’s a huge hit to have big shows in Portland, Sacramento and the gigantic Fred Hall Shows in Long Beach and San Diego not take place.

         Many of you book your vacations, charters, fishing and hunting trips at these shows.

         Don’t wait.  The shows aren’t happening.

         From what I’m seeing, bookings are already heavy for 2021 among many of the outfitters I’m talking with recently.  People are just anxious to get out.

         Many folks canceled their 2020 trips and are rapidly re-booking for the upcoming year.

Just over Christmas week alone, airlines set records for pandemic travel when over 1 million people per day flew.  Overall, records show a regular increase in jet passengers as people lose their hesitancy to climb aboard a plane. 

Airlines are adding more flights now to popular destinations to fill the need.

         If there’s any way sportsman and vacationers can get away, they will.  Vaccine or no vaccine.  As long as they can get away from home and get back home with minimal exposure, it appears folks are making the decision to bust it loose in 2021.

 

That’s our 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: 

http://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 »

YOU’RE GOING TO…MEXICO?

YOU’RE GOING TO…MEXICO?

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 15, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

         Covid rates are surging on both sides of the border and hitting records. There is huge trepidation about the consequences of the holiday gatherings still to come.

         Subsequently, it’s no surprise that Mexico and the U.S. appear to be extending the travel ban along the border through January.  The ban has prohibited all non-essential travel since March. 

         Both governments, as well as health organizations (too many alphabetic acronyms to remember), are warning people in no uncertain terms about taking a trip south of the border, especially during the holidays.

         Northern Baja is still rated as “red” on high alert.  Southern Baja is in danger of going from “yellow” back to “orange.”

         But wait…what gives?

#5 CAbo airport waiting area

         The Cabo Airport is full of arriving visitors.

         Airlines are adding more flights to keep up with the demand.  Forget leaving that middle seat empty.  Flights are full and people are paying premium prices.

         The booze cruise is full.

         Tourism rates show 70-90% are Americans.  Last month, some figures showed an increase in tourism of almost 200% over the same time last month.

         Mexico reports that in the last two months almost 2 million visitors arrived in Cabo alone.  Other Mexican tourist destinations are seeing similar up-ticks.

         Charter boats are selling out.

         Restaurants and hotels are hiring back staff furloughed during the early days of quarantine.  Reservations are being recommended again.

         Our own Western Outdoor News Cabo Tuna Jackpot held last month, literally at a moment’s notice, drew 149 teams and over 600 anglers and almost 1000 participants in 2 months.  This, even with the fact that covid protocols prevented any banquets, cocktail parties, live music or huge award dinners!

         It would seem there’s a huge contradiction going on here.

         For one, let’s talk about that “border closure.”   The term “non-essential travel” does not apply to taking a plane, a boat or train to get across the border. 

         Fishing (lucky us!) has been deemed to be an essential activity. 

         So has visiting friends and family…shopping…checking on some property. 

         Wink! Wink!  There’s a lot of loopholes here. 

Frankly, the “mandate” to stay away is really more like a “strong suggestion.”  I don’t know of anyone that has been turned away from travel.

         If you’re travelling commercially, there’s a good chance your temperature will be taken.  You’ll have to probably fill out a form asking the usual questions about your health and proximity to anyone with the virus.  Or if you’ve had it.

         If I suddenly showed a temperature, I’d think twice about getting on a plane so it’s not a big deal.  I’ve flown three times in and out’ve Mexico in 2020.  I have yet to have anyone actually collect the form I was asked to fill out. 

         I did have someone at the airport verbally ask me how I felt.  I said “fine.”  He said, “Bienvenidos a Mexico!”

         I think people have just made a personal choice to travel.  Bottom line.

         They are either sick of being cooped-up (“quarantine fatigue”).  Or they know the risks and decide to travel anyway.  Or, going to Mexico is no more dangerous than eating at McDonalds back home or shopping at Target.

         For one thing, it’s surely easy to get to Mexico. 

         You don’t have to be tested to visit.  No papers to show.  You don’t have to quarantine to visit. 

         To many people, going to Mexico is no big deal on many levels.

         “I’ve been to Mexico so many times, it’s no different than my flying to Las Vegas from my home in Denver,” said Jerry who was waiting in line for his rental car.

         “It’s easy.  It’s familiar.  As long as I have internet, I can work.  Believe me it’s a lot easier working on my computer looking at the beach than from my office in Colorado.”

         I talked to Maribel in a restaurant in Todos Santos.   

         “I was thinking of Europe for the holidays and an extended vacation,” she chatted, “But what if there’s another lockdown in Italy or England or somewhere else.  I’m stuck a long way from home.  Mexico won’t keep me,” she went on.  “Easier to get home!” she laughed.

       Her friend, Monique added, “I was thinking of Alaska or Canada to visit friends and family, but I would have to show that I had been tested or visitors had to be quarantined for awhile.  Same with Hawaii.  Mexico was uber-convenient. Less fuss.”

      Daniele is a nurse in Florida.  Her husband Travis is a doctor.  Both work in a hospital with Covid patients.  They were down for the 2nd time this year to use their timeshare.

       I just had to ask them…”So, does the mask make a difference?”

     “Absolutely, yes it does!” responded Travis with no hesitation.  “But, I think if you just take normal common sense pre-cautions like you would for a cold or flu, you’re covering yourself.”

     “Frankly, we feel almost safer here in Mexico than walking around back home,” added his wife, Daniele.

     “Crowds have been down.  Hotels, beaches, restaurants and other tourist spots have a lot fewer people than normal.  I mean, hotels are only allowed 30 or 40% occupancy.  Everyone takes your temperature before you enter any building or activity and everyone gives you a squirt of anti-bacterial gel too. Mask wearing is just a given down here. I think the tourism sector is going out of their way to make sure tourists feel safe.”

         Feeling safe.  Just a matter of personal choice.  A lot of Americans seemingly have no problem with it.

That’s my story

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

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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