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On Second Thought…

spring break

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

Originally Published the Week of March 12, 2019 in Western Outdoor News

Back in the day before I lived in Baja, I scheduled a spring-time trip.  Man, after a long winter, I so looked forward to getting into the sunshine and away from the crowds and hectic grind.

 

So, there I was.  At the airport with my luggage, ice chest, rod tube…and holy cow…!!!

 

Where did all these people come from?

 

I had forgotten, it was not only Easter week but also spring break when I scheduled my vacation.

 

Oh the agony!  It’s what I was trying to escape.

 

I ran smack into long lines at the airport.  Students and families all trying to get someplace.  Everyone looking to get away, but now swallowed up in the mass of humanity and everyone getting agro about it.

 

And this was in the pre-911 days before you had to take off your shoes and basically undress and unwrap everything at the TSA counters.

 

Plane was full and it was one of those flights where they asked folks to “volunteer” to give up their seats in exchange for a free voucher blah blah blah.

 

Not a chance. I didn’t exactly see anyone raise their hands abruptly.

 

And in the plane, it was also the flight where they tell you it’s full and there’s not enough room for all the carry-on luggage so please stash it under your seat; over your head; or give it up to the baggage handlers.

 

Oh, and the flight was full of excited kids and babies.  Not that there’s anything wrong…family time is important, but some poor baby was screaming in the back and one little devil thought it was fun to kick my seat from behind. And yell “BOO” through the crack in the seat!

 

Got to the Cabo Airport and again, it was jam-packed.  But, at least most folks were a bit more congenial now that they were on the ground in Baja.

 

Until they hit the immigration and customs inspection lines.  They wound round-and round-and round almost back to Los Angeles! That took almost an hour.  Like waiting in line to ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland.

 

The hotel shuttle from the airport was delayed as well because well…they wanted to fill in all the seats so we had to wait…and wait…until everyone from every flight got through the morass.  Didn’t want to leave anyone who had reservations.

 

I was pretty bedraggled by the time I got to the hotel; waded through a full lobby and reception and got to my room.

 

It was already late. Lots of people partying in the street and a crowd of tequila-fueled partiers was the last thing I wanted.  So, some forgettable room service tacos and I passed out dreaming of big fish in the sunshine and ocean the next day.

 

It wasn’t quite as I envisioned.

 

The marina was packed with boats headed out fishing.  It was a regular morning traffic-jam on the water; trying to buy bait; fueling up; just trying to get to the fishing grounds which was jammed with fishing boats, but add to that the site-seeing boats; the booze cruises; and other pleasure craft.

 

As might be expected the fishing was negligible at best.  Just too much traffic on the water and pressure on the fish.

 

It was like that all week.  But what’s that saying about a bad day fishing is better than a good day of work?  It was nice being in the sunshine, but it would have been nice to hook a few more fish and if it wasn’t so much like work.

 

Oh well.

 

Took a day off to head to the beach.  A little secluded cove that’s a nice getaway.  Not too many folks.  Got my beach chair; small ice chest of beer and my beach towel.  Ready to go!

 

Oh no.

 

To say the beach was crowded is an uber-understatement.  It was more like Woodstock.

 

There was hardly a square foot of sand that didn’t have a tent on it plus tables, chairs, beach toys, blaring boom-boxes playing banda/rancho music and cars parked willy-nilly everywhere also blaring music.  The whole city was out.

 

In Mexico, there’s no designated camp sites.  The beach belongs to the people so wherever you want to camp is legal.  There were tents within inches of each other.  There was no space.  No privacy.   It was almost impossible to walk to the water.

 

I jumped in my rental and drove to two other beaches to the same result!

 

I finally found a spot right next to a local family of 8.  They took pity on the bedraggled tourist and invited me to barbecued carne asada for lunch.  Very kind and nice folks.  I shared my beer.

 

Nothing to do but make the best of it.  It was an OK vacation, as vacations go, but not what I had planned or expected.

 

What I had failed to do and forgotten was Easter and Spring Break.

 

As I found out later, the weeks up to…including…and shortly after Easter are the busiest times of the year for travel and vacation in Mexico.  Not only are tourists, students, etc. travelling into Mexico for Easter and Spring Break,  but it is also the busiest time for locals to travel as well both internationally and domestically.

 

Many Mexicans travel into Mexico as well as travel outside Mexico to visit friends and family.  Domestic inter-city travel also fills planes, trains and automobiles…and busses!

 

It’s even busier than Christmas or Thanksgiving.  (In Mexico they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.)

Consequently, you’re not only dealing with crowds, but airlines rates and hotels prices are at a premium. If you can find a ticket or seat available.  Frankly, everything is more expensive.

 

It’s a nice time to visit, but be prepared and give it some extra thought if you’re looking for a bargain vacation or to get away from the crowds.

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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AND NOW WHAT?

luggage 2

AND NOW WHAT?

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

You might want to check on that.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

One other item to keep in mind.

 

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

 

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

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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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When Fishing Is Not So A-Peeling!

bananas1

When Fishing Is Not So A-Peeling!

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

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

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

Most folks say they’re not superstitious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s a number of theories.

Bananas Stink

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

No Slowing Down

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

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

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

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

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

A Dark Chapter

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

post-154343-13958883064994

Davey’s Locker

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

Here’s another one…

Good to Be King

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

So, what do you think?

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

That’s my story~!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

Read Full Post »

CAN’T HAVE TOO MUCH

images (1)

CAN’T HAVE TOO MUCH

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

In my last column, I had written about the fact that when fishing in Mexico, live bait sometimes just isn’t available.  This can be especially true during the winter months due to weather or other variables that can’t be controlled.

 

So, what do you do?  Cancel the trip and go back to your hotel room?  Throw or troll lures all day?

 

Over the years, I’ve often been asked about bringing down frozen bait like squid.  Frankly, I never say no.  Even if there’s plenty of live bait available, if someone wants to bring some down or buy some, that’s fine by me.

 

It’s one of those things like being rich…or being too skinny…you can’t be too rich or too skinny.  Relatively speaking.

 

And in my book, bait is one of those things that it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.  I’d rather have too much than not enough.

 

To me, the best universal bait in Baja is squid.  Pretty much everything eats squid.  There are even times when squid works better than live bait.  For example, I’ve hooked some of my largest tuna, on squid.

 

Trolled, chunked, cast, jigged…it all works.  And it’s better than nothing and sometimes it’s better than anything.

 

But, you don’t just want any kind of squid.

 

Leave that frozen stuff they sell at the bait shop home.  Fresh dead squid is the best.  Believe me, fish know the difference.

 

If it’s fresh caught and never been frozen, all the better.  That would be my first choice.

 

Rather than bring it down to your Baja destination, see if one of the local markets has some fresh squid or the fish sellers at the farmer’s market in town.  It’s not only fresh, but it’s as cheap as you’ll find it short of catching your own.

 

Absent that, if you’re bringing some from home, again hit up the fresh stuff from the seafood market or fish counter at the supermarkt.  If it has to be frozen stuff, make sure it’s table quality squid that’s for human consumption.

 

To bring it down, you’ll have to freeze it anyway.  If you have a vacuum sealer, great. If not, use small ziplock-style freezer bags and portion it out, so you use only what you need for the day.

 

There’s nothing worse than defrosting a 5-pound chunk of frozen squid on a boat in an ice chest, bait tank or…in the sun!!!

 

It’s not only going to make a stinky mess, but at the end of the day, you’ll have issues with the un-used squid and storing the goopy glop for the next day’s fishing.

 

Year’s ago, I had some fishing clients who forgot their defrosted squid in the trunk of their rental car.  By the time they remembered it, it was late and after a few dinner margaritas.

 

They figured it would be OK.  It was night.

 

Well, nights in Baja are still 85 degrees and the plastic bag leaked right into the trunk carpeting…right under the rear seats and into the floorboards.

 

Come morning, they couldn’t even get into the rental car without gagging.  Good thing they bought insurance!

 

Once you have the squid ready to use, there’s no end to the techniques.

 

Slow troll a whole squid behind the boat.

 

Pin a whole squid or strips of squid to a trolling lure for scent and action and drag it behind the boat.

 

Pin some on a lure and cast or jig with it.

 

Send some down on a hook with a weight, dropper loop style, and a half-dozen reef beasts will be all over it including, pargo, cabrilla, grouper, snapper and more.

 

Chunk with it.

 

Cut it into chunks and toss handfuls into a slow current as you drift.  In the middle of the sinking chunks bait up another chunk of whole squid on a hook.

 

With your line slack and in freespool, let your baited hook drift down with the rest of the chunks.  This is a dynamite way to get hooked up.

 

Keep your line slack and in freespool so it stays with the rest of the chunks.  If your line suddenly starts ripping up, remember “dead bait doesn’t swim.” Flip the brake and set the hook!

 

There’s some fish, like dorado, that specifically like live bait. Dead stuff doesn’t get them too interested unless they are already in a frenzy.

 

But, you can use the chunked squid as chum. It gets the dorado coming to the boat so you can toss a lure or a whole squid and them and “swim” it back to the boat.

 

You can also cut up and pulverize a bunch of squid and make a chum bucket using a small mesh bag hung over the side of the boat or weighted down and hung at depth to attract fish.

 

If you want to supercharge it, add in some commercially bought fish scent to the bag as well.  It’ll leave a nice slick of scent in the water and you never know what might show up!

 

If you have limited live bait, there’s one really nifty trick I learned years ago from one of my captains.  You can put a live bait into the body cavity of a squid.  It will swim!  Just put a hook into it and let it do it’s stuff.

 

And, as a fallback…if all else fails!

 

Fresh squid great deep fried or made into calamari salad!

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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 »

NOT A SURE THING

Big yellowtail roger 6-13 tags

Bait…it is what it is and you make the best of it!

NOT A SURE THING

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 4, 2018, in Western Outdoor Publications

With the cooler months descending rapidly over the Baja, a fisherman recently asked me, “Where’s all the live bait that was around all summer?”

 

Good question.  In many areas, live bait gets harder to acquire during the winter months and for good reason.

 

Many “warm month” fishermen who visit Baja assume that bait is ALWAYS around and ALWAYS available to either catch or purchase. They come down in the other times of the year and it’s a different ballgame.

 

For many reasons.

 

First, it’s the weather and conditions.  During the cooler months in the Baja, winds are stronger.  There’s a lot more wave action and rougher water.

 

As many of you regulars know, there are some days when it’s impossible to launch a panga.  Even in a big cruiser, you can go out and just get beat up getting tossed and bounced on an angry ocean.

 

Maybe in my younger days, I’d be out there.  I’m older and smarter now.  Fishing is supposed to be fun…especially in Baja.

 

It’s not an exercise in endurance.  So much nicer to hang out at the pool with a cold one and work on that tan!

 

But those same waves and winds batter the bait areas.  Bait tends to stick together, especially if you’re talking sardines or mackerel.  It’s all about survival.

 

To that end, they like shallow sheltered areas or areas where there’s structure be it rocks, reefs, docks, floating objects and similar. Or at least shallow areas along a beach or bay where they can feed, breed and not be subjected to as many predators.

 

If waves are crashing on those beaches or smashing into rocks and docks or currents are impeding their abilities to stay together, they’ll find somewhere else.

 

Or, alternatively, they’re so scattered so they’re difficult to locate and catch.

 

I often get fishing clients who say, “Two years ago, we caught tons of bait over by the wreck,” or “The south end of the island had tons of bait according to the reports.”

 

“How come we don’t go there to get bait?”

 

Or. . .

“Why is it taking so long to catch bait now?  It was easy last July!”

 

Yes, bait moves, amigos!

 

If there was someplace easier to find or easier to catch, don’t you think we’d be doing it? Duh.

 

Some folks think it’s like a big bait receiver out there in the ocean and you just take a big dip net; throw net; or Lucky Joe rig and get all you want.

 

Like going through the drive-through at McDonald’s.  You order.  You drive up.  No big deal.  It’s not like that.

 

There’s another aspect of the bait dilemma as well.  It’s the human element.

 

If the bait sellers are having a hard time finding bait, it’s gonna take awhile for them to get enough to sell.

 

Or, maybe that’s ALL they might have to sell for the day.  And their prices will be…well…whatever their prices will be.

 

It’s a seller’s market.

 

Better to “light one candle than curse the darkness” is the old saying.  You take what you can get and make the best of it.

 

If you have to wait, you wait.  If you can only get a handful of bait, you go with it. You pay the going-rate.

 

You’re not going to pay a couple thousand on a fishing trip then argue because bait costs $30 instead of $20.  If the bait guy doesn’t sell it to you, the next guy will surely take it.

 

What are you going to do, go fishing with no bait?  Troll all day?

 

You can’t get mad at the poor bait guy who’s been working all morning or night doing his best to have enough to sell. He needs to make a living too.

 

Sure, it’s frustrating.  However, believe me, getting angry with the bait guy, your captain or your outfitter won’t make bait magically appear.

 

 

The other aspect to remember is that if the bait is hard to get, the bait guys may feel it’s not even worth going out.  Why waste the energy?  No one likes to work for small returns on effort.

 

Conversely, during the winter, there’s a lot fewer fishermen on the water.

 

The bait guys might not go out at all if there’s no one to buy their bait in the morning.  You might just have shown up on one of those days. It’s like getting rained on the day YOU decide to go fishing.  No one to blame.

 

 

So, just either be patient or go with whatever is happening.  You might find yourself catching your own bait or using something unusual like chunks of bonito or squid.  Or trolling.

 

It is what it is. You’re still in Baja.  You’re not at work.  You’re not at your desk or whatever you do.  There’s worse places to be.

 

 

In the next column, I’ll chat about some ways to fish dead bait like squid.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

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WHEN BIGGER ISN’T BETTER

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WHEN BIGGER ISN’T BETTER

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Hooked?  Yes.  Caught?  Not so much!

 

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

 

They are a special sportfish.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Or do something different.

 

Tuna are a per-snickity fish.

 

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

 

Go lighter.  Go smaller. Be stealthy.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Choices…choices.

 

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

 

Or lighter gear and having some fun?

 

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

That’s my story…

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

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Everything But the Kitchen Sink

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Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Originally Published the Week of June 28, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

In my last column I chatted about some “hacks” to get your best airline flights if you’re coming down here. Given that summer vacations and fishing trips are now upon us, here’s some suggestions about actually packing for the adventure.

There used to be the times when I would personally bring down two rod tubes and 8-14 rods and reel set ups. I remember the days of 70-100 quart ice chests too. What was I thinking?

Those days are long past. My old back can’t haul those anymore. My tolerance of running through crowded airports or standing in line has diminished as well.

Besides that, airlines charge a mortgage; a small farm animal; and first-born child for being over-weight…over-sized…over-long…Holy Moly!

Fortunately, over that years, I’ve discovered that I can get by with carrying a lot less.

Sure, there’s the inclination to bring all your toys. The latest reels, rods, lures and gadgets. But chat with whomever you are booking with.

What do you REALLY need? And perhaps more importantly, what will you actually use?

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A perfect example is lead.

I’ve had guys bring down a couple of pounds of lead. In a whole year here in La Paz, I MIGHT use 6 total oz. of lead. That’s it! If they had asked me ahead of time, I would have told them.

If fishing with a partner, do each of you honestly need 8 trolling feathers per person? Or a giant 3-pound filler spool of 60-pound test line? Or 10 casting irons each?

 

I don’t know about you, but that’s too much to carry and my buddies and I can share without taking up all that space and dead weight.

Same with coolers. Figure out how much you really want to take home or need to take home. An empty 40-quart ice chest, with nothing in it but air, weighs 8-10 pounds.

If it has wheels, it weighs 12-18 pounds. If it’s one of those 5-day coolers, it weighs even more. If your airline weight limit is 50 pounds, that doesn’t leave much room for frozen fish.

For most of you, you’ll be home in a few hours the same day you leave Mexico so your fish only has to stay solid for that long.

Seriously, consider the lighter more efficient soft-sided coolers. Or one cooler for two of you.

I’m not talking about the flimsy ones you bring ice-cream home from the market. Yeti and other companies make some nice soft ones, but they’re really pricey. I’ve found that American Outdoors, Nor Chill and others make some awesome soft-coolers for a fraction of the price. They don’t weigh much and I’ve had stuff stay frozen for as long as 3 days in ours.

And just a word of common sense. While TSA and other security measures are not as relatively drastic as post 911, there are certain things you still should not try to carry-on into the plane.

I’ve had folks incredulous that they were separated from machetes, Leathermen multi-tools, fillet knives, bait harness needles, lures and hooks. Look, if it’s sharp pack it in your suitcase. Don’t bring it aboard. On year, I had a guy try to bring his own portable anchor. FAIL.

Also, Mexico inspectors are a lot less forgiving than TSA. Whether I agree with them or not, I’ve been or seen folks relieved of tactical flashlights, masking tape, fingernail clips and dikes. Be forewarned.

For actually packing, there’s a few tricks to lighten the load.

Try rolling your clothes instead of folding them. You’ll fit more and your clothes will have less tendency to wrinkle. Although I really don’t care if my fishing shorts and shirts are wrinkled! Inside a roll is a nice place to keep fragile things too.

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I’ve had a lot of guys and gals over the years, buy cheap t-shirts at the swap meet or outlets. Two bucks apiece or something.

They wear them once and then leave them in their rooms upon departure. Grateful cleaning staff loves finding barely used items. And for you…That much less to bring home.

By the way, if you are bringing stinky clothes and shoes home, toss a dryer sheet into them and it’ll help relieve the smell.  Also, a cheap shower cap works great for smelly shoes and flip-flops.

Also, do you really need the family-sized shampoo or toothpaste? Hand lotion or sunscreen? If you’re only here a few days, do the math.

Bring the travel size or, buy it here when you hit the markets. You have to stock up on beer anyway, right?

There was a time when you really needed to bring whatever you’d need. There was no guarantee that you’d find whatever you’d forgotten in the local stores.

But, for the most part now, everything from toothbrushes and shaving razors to your favorite flower-fragrance shampoo is available here in Baja. The markets contain things you would never have thought of even 10 years ago like craft beers, Japanese wasabi; gourmet cheese and Angus beef; imported wines and fancy mineral waters.

COSTCO, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Home Depot plus good Mexican chain stores are everywhere. You can even get a hot dog while you shop.

I don’t know what happened to the “frontera” (frontier), but this isn’t your daddy’s Baja no more! You can get almost anything. Beyond that, you probably didn’t need anyway.

So pack light and save the extra room for bringing back fish fillets!

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-international.com.  They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

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