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ZING-POWIE FISH!

ZING-POWIE FISH

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

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DOG-TOOTH SNAPPER…THEY GET ALOT BIGGER!

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

 

All facial tissue gets called “KLEENEX.”

 

All whirlpool tubs are called “JACUZZIS.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

MOOGIE pargo

The infamous pargo liso…mullet snapper!

 

They inhabit rocks and reefs and other structure.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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PULL HARD!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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ALL TEETH, MUSCLE, ARMOR and POWER!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fascinating to watch.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Then he laughed…

 

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

 

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

 

That’s my story!

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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They Don’t Bite All the Time!

FRANK ANNETTE BROOKE tags 9-18

THEY DON’T ALWAYS BITE!

Originally Published The Week of May 5, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

A couple of years ago,  I was out on the water in one of our pangas guiding.  I had a number of clients on pangas that day fishing.

 

I liked being out there and I would often go from one panga to another y’know…just to see how they were doing…get a laugh…take a photo…talk a little smack.

 

I came up on Jerry and Janice.  Two of the nicest sweetest folks ever. Had been retired a few years.   They often fished with my fleet.

 

Janice was especially sweet.  She’s like everyone’s fairy godmother who would bake cookies and adopt cats.

 

Today was not a cookie and kitty day.

 

Janice  was in the stern hard bendo on a big tuna.  It was the kind of tuna that humbles strong men.

 

The strain was evident on Janice as she sat on the bench seat.  I mean, she was putting everything into it and at any moment, it looked like the rod would snap!

 

Her concentration was so fierce, she didn’t see us approaching.

 

Her husband Jerry was up at the bow.  Kinda casually dangling a rod and seemingly not putting much effort into it.  Looking off into the distance.

 

Not even paying much attention to his embattled wife in the stern of the small panga.

 

I asked my captain who was on the boat with them.  He was standing amidship (amid panga?) looking a bit helpless.

 

And he was not helping either Jerry or, more importantly, Janice.

 

What gives? He looked at me with a smile and shrug that said, “Not much I can do.  She’s on a fish!”

 

So, I asked Jerry if he was OK.

 

“Sure.  I’m just staying outta HER way!” he said rolling his eyes back towards his wife grunting and grinding in the stern.

 

What?

 

“I want to help her.  So, did our captain. She just barked and growled at both of us and told us to stay the ‘EF’ outta her way and leave her alone! “

 

“So, that’s what we’re doing.   I’m staying waaaaay up her in the bow before she bites me! I’ve never seen her like this.”

 

 

I couldn’t help but laugh.  I understand the sentiment!

 

We backed our panga away as well to give Janice lots of space.  She cast a slightly evil eye my way too.

 

I heard Jerry grumble under his breath, as husbands have been known to do, but I still heard him say,  “It’s like she’s possessed!”

 

Indeed, who was that woman in the stern and what did they do with our sweet loveable, Janice?

 

She eventually got her fish…all by herself after almost  fighting for 2 hours.  A big tuna and no one  was prouder than her…or all of us!

 

More and more of the ladies are out there on the water and I like the changing landscape…er sea-scape, if you will.

 

And they’re not just going out to watch everyone else fish.  They’re rocking the fish and refusing to sit on the sidelines or be catered to.  It’s awesome.

 

Grit and determination!

 

I once had a mom and her football-sized adult son on a panga.  The young man expressed aloud his amazement  that mom never passed off the rod;  gave up; or asked him for help.

 

She laughed at him and said, “I birth’d you, kiddo!  There’s not much a fish can do to me after that experience or a fish that I can’t handle!”

 

Point taken and adroitly articulated.

 

Gotta love it.

 

It’s good to see and great to get the attitude too.

 

And I think the ladies make not only good fishing buddies but good anglers as well.  My own mom didn’t fish with dad and I until she was in her 60’s.  She’d let us fish or, if she went  fishing with us, she was very content to just read a book.

 

Then, a trip to Alaska followed by a trip to the Sierras changed all that and she was literally hooked. She found what she’d been missing.  And then she was all-in!

 

I think the ladies are fast learners and much more patient than us guys.  They are very coachable in that respect.  And, they know fewer cuss-words when they’re frustrated…which is rarely.

 

Us guys think we can do it all.  We lack patience and basically think anything can be accomplished by brute force and strength and we will bend the world to our wills!

 

No smack talk against my own gender, but brute force doesn’t always work.

 

So, next time, your gal…wife, girlfriend, daughter or mom is on a fish, if she tells you she doesn’t need help, give her some space and smile.  And make sure to drop all the props on her when she lands the big one!

 

 

Even if it’s bigger than yours!   You’ll be glad you did.

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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So…What Do You Think About…?

1

My wife, Jilly, keeps telling me I’m an “acknowledged expert” on Baja fishing.

 

Frankly, I love the compliment, but it still makes me a tad uncomfortable.  I’m not an expert on anything!

 

I used to tell people that I’m only an “expert” for  about 5-minutes at a time at  a cocktail party.  That’s as good as I get.

 

Nuclear physics?  Sure!

Move to the next group.

 

World economics? Sure!

Excuse me, gotta get more of that yummy spinach dip.

 

Babylonian architecture?  Sure?

I’ll be right back!

 

Czechoslavakian cuisine? 

OK…but only for 3 minutes.

 

I move from cocktail group to cocktail group!

 

But for Baja fishing?  I’d say I’m “above average.”   Better than a lot.  Not as good as I’d like to be.  Not as good as a lot of others.

 

But, I do get a lot of fishing questions directed my way. We own a fishing operation.  I get it.  I do my best to answer and educate.  There’s no bad questions!

 

The hardest questions, however, are the ones about tackle and gear.

 

I get them especially about this time of year.  The fishing season is going to kick ramp-up as waters get warmer.  Anglers have been shopping or about to go out shopping.

Also, a lot of fishermen have been to the fishing and hunting shows buying the “latest and greatest.”  Tackle boxes are bulging!

 

There’s so much technology out there.  “Made by fishermen for fishermen!” Help me if I ever hear or see that again.

 

If God ever made a more ingenious and inventive group of guys always willing to build, invent or conjure the “better way to catch a fish”  it was fishermen.

 

Sometimes, I think that’s why Jesus grabbed a bunch of fishermen as his Apostles.  Never a dull moment figuring out ways to increase the catch whether He was speaking about fish or souls!

 

I have no doubt they had some “unofficial” time drinking wine or beer and telling a tall tale or two (although outright lying was a no-no given that Jesus could tell you were lying!)

 

I’ve been victim to it as well.  My garage workshop has, at times, been covered with my tinkerings to build a better lure; develop a new color;  a more comfortable tuna harness…etc. etc.

 

But, I get e-mails and phone calls asking me what I think about the newest so-and-so-lure.  Or some new-fangled reel or about whether some new scientific aerospace-atomic fishing line will work?

 

And I have to show my hand…”I just don’t know!”

 

The reality of it is, even if I fished 365-days-a-year,  I would still never have all the time to personally test out every new piece of equipment under optimal conditions.  Nor would I be able to test them out under same or similar conditions so that I could give an honest assessment between products.

 

There’s that old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

 

After almost 50 years in or around the fishing industry, I would have to speculate that most guys who make a living in the industry know what works because our livelihood depends on it.  We only grudgingly adopt new things.

 

We have to make livings.  We have to catch fish.

 

Change comes slowly.

 

If something works, we’re reluctant to just go out and gamble the money on something new that might be nothing more than a gimmick.  Nor would we take a chance on a day we earn our livings on something that’s not proven.

 

I know a lot of my friends in the tackle industry will hate this, but having worked in a tackle store, a lot of stuff out there is honestly meant to catch fishermen.  Not fish.

 

Some of my best gear is the most beat-up; scratched; and dilapidated shameful looking equipment you would ever want to see.  It’s almost embarrassing.

 

But it catches fish. It’s blue-collar gear that’s functional, not pretty.  Give me a lure with lots of teeth marks on it and a rod and reel that have dried blood and fish scales on it any day of the week!  I don’t need pretty.

 

Don’t get me wrong. There’s A LOT of incredible gear out there and I only wish I could keep up with the technology because it’s cutting edge.

 

But, as I write this, I look into one of my tackle closets. I have a ½ dozen rooms like this.   This one has about about 70 rods and maybe 100 reels in there.  Several hundred lures, gadgets, rigs and other accessories are cluttered in there.

 

The truth of it is, God gave me two hands.  I can only fish with one rod at a time.  And one reel.  I don’t really need 30 colors of each casting jig.  I don’t need 60 different kinds of trolling feathers or 20 different types of colored lines.  But, I have them!

 

And… I keep adding to the collection! Like many of you,  I’m not immune to bright and shiny new-and-improved things! My wife feels the same way about shoes or shopping at Target!

 

But, like I said before, I can’t try everything. I’ve only used about 10% of the gear I have.  If that.  And truthfully, I haven’t had time to try out lots of the new stuff.

 

My best answer to someone who asks about new stuff is “it looks good,” but you might want to let it “season” for a bit.  Let it get out in the industry and the public  and get battle-tested by others before you drop your coins on it.

 

Check out reviews.  I made it a habit of NEVER purchasing something the first year it’s out.  Especially if it’s mechanical.

 

Let them work the bugs out first.  Let other people spend THEIR money before you spend yours.

 

Get it into the hands of the public, not just the dealer selling it as the “next hottest thing.”  Maybe next time, I”ll be asking you “What do YOU think?”

 

I’m never above learning.  Bring it down and try it out and we’ll both count your fish at the end of the day!

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

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THIS IS THE YEAR!

THIS IS THE YEAR!

Originally Published the Week of April 9, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

We just wrapped up a 4-day stint at the Fred Hall Fishing & Boating Show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego.  As always, it’s incredible fun to see all the friends in the fishing industry as well as visit with so many of our clients and their families.

 

So, as I write this, we have just finished tearing down the booth for the last time in 2019 after almost 4 months on the road.  This marks almost 25 years doing the route of fishing, hunting and boating shows that sees us criss-crossing the western states from Denver to Seattle and so many great cities in between.

 

At each stop,  there are countless hours in the booth shaking hands and exchanging smiles and information about Baja and Mexico, La Paz where we live and of course, fishing.

 

Each show runs 4 to 5 days and up to 10 or 12 hours talking with hundreds of encounters at each event.  Each draws thousands of outdoor enthusiasts.

 

I think anyone who has done these shows will agree that there’s two things that test our patience, but for which we can only grin and smile.

 

One is the guy who has zero intention of purchasing or inquiring about what we might be offering or selling.  Whether it’s trips, vacations, fishing reels or sleeping bags.

 

He just wants to talk.  And tell a story.  And another story.  And another. It’s not a conversation. It’s a narrative.

 

And then out comes the cell phone to show you all his fishing photos.  Oh no.  And there goes that index finger sliding and tapping away trying to find the right photo among the thousands he has never ever deleted from the phone’s memory

 

“…and here’s the big dorado I caught in 1975…no…that was 1982…or maybe that was 1983. 

 

“But, here’s s’more photos of the time me and my best friend drove all the way to Loreto back in the day.   Let me show you some of the roosterfish we caught!”

 

And there goes that finger again…scan…scan…scan…tap…tap

 

“Oh now where is that photo?  That’s the wrong trip.  Hang on!

 

As if you’re waiting expectantly to see the photos.  Except you’re really not.

 

You want someone to just poke you in the back with a fork. After awhile, I’m not even listening.  The other person sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher when she talks to him.

 

Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa…Wa..wa…wa…

 

And all you can do is grin and grit your teeth and smile and try to be as courteous as possible.  Meanwhile in your peripheral vision you see so many other potential folks you COULD be talking to and trying to engage.

 

And others trying to talk to you see that you’re occupied or there’s no room at the counter so they move on!

 

Waa-waa—wa-wa—waaaa…

 

Ultimately, they are all good and just want to share great memories and stories.

 

The other test of patience is the guy who comes up to your booth year-after-year.  Asks the same questions.

 

He says, “THIS IS THE YEAR I’M COMING TO FISH WITH YOU!”

 

He said it the year before.  And the year before that.

 

A few years in a row is fine!  No worries, amigo.  I’m saving the fish for you! We all laugh and high-five.  It’s all good.  Life gets in the way.  Whether he ever comes, it’s OK.  It’s nice to get a laugh and smile.

 

But, I’ve had some guys who have come to the booth, 8, 9, 10 or more years in a row.  Each year, the same thing.

 

And they stuff about 4 bucks of my printed flyers and brochures into their goodie-bags.  And ask the same questions they asked the year before.

 

And walk away saying,
“If not this year…SOMEDAY!”

 

I guess it’s OK.  What are ya gonna do?

 

Sometimes, they eventually DO come!  But there’s so many that will never ever come and they’re just yanking your chain and taking your materials.

 

It’s like hearing white lies that are as transparent as air.

 

But a few months ago, one guy that I thought would never come came to the booth. He bee-lined right up to me with a big smile.  I recognized him right away and braced for the usual comments.

 

But this year, he was finally going to come and finally bring his adult son.  It was going to be the father-son trip they had talked about for years.

 

No more talking he happily told me.  He finally decided tomorrow couldn’t wait.  Everything had finally lined up and he was as happy and animated as you could imagine.  FINALLY coming to fish!

 

Hot dang!

 

I was excited too!  Not just for him but with him as well.  I was excited as well for his son who I had come to know over all the years of chatting.

 

We talked about passports and what kinds of fish they might catch and great places to eat.   We laughed over how big the fish might get and how they both better “yoke up!” and get ready to pull on these beastly fish!

 

We planned  the different spots they would fish.  We even planned a day of snorkeling.  We joked about taking selfies to send home to all the relatives showing the two of them posing with beers and fish on the beach!

 

So, we locked in dates and activities and over the next few weeks, three of us exchanged e-mails and phone calls fine tuning this trip-of-a-lifetime.

 

Their excitement was contagious and I was having fun as well.

 

They were so excited and enthusiastic and I couldn’t wait to have them visit us in La Paz.

 

And then, just a few days ago I got an e-mail from the son.

 

“I’m afraid we won’t make it, Jonathan. We have to cancel.   Dad passed away two days ago.  His heart.  I’m sorry.

 

“I’ve never seen him so happy as when he talked about finally coming down to fish with you in La Paz.  After all those years of wishing he was so looking forward to it.

 

“I was looking forward to spending time with my dad.  We never had a trip together like that.”

 

As I read, I could feel the emotion in the son’s words.

“We kept saying ‘someday.’”

“We waited too long.”

 

 

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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I’m Voting You Off the Island!

 

20190209_133520

I’m Voting You Off the Island!

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

 

Is it just me?

 

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

 

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

 

It’s been a wonderful run.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

It started a few years ago during our shows.

 

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

 

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

“All dirty Mexicans like you should be killed.”

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So, what’s happening?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Here’s a response…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Before I can even finish…

 

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

 

Or this conversation:

 

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

 

“Amigo..uh..That’s illegal!”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

He tries logic.

 

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

 

“The limit is one per day, Pal..”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

And their eyes pop open!  And they go…

 

”Whaaaa…?  You don’t want me?”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

People are angrier.

 

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

 

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

 

Just be on notice.

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

Just my two cents.

 

That’s my story…

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

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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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