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LA NINA – The little girl is back for 2021?

LA NINA – The Little Girl Is Back for 2021?

Originally published the Week of Jan. 16, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

As many anglers who missed the 2020 season gear up to or are considering a return to fish Baja waters in 2021, there might be some insight in what to expect. 

         Will the tuna bite?  Will it be a big year of big dorado?  Where should I go for wahoo?  Is this a good year to chase marlin or big snapper?

         As one angler told me recently, “I don’t care what’s biting.  I just need to get out.  I need to be on the water!”

         That probably reflects the sentiments of many anglers suffering months of “covid fatigue” who desperately need a change of scenery from four-walls and relative levels of isolation. 

         It’s certainly indicative of the number of Americans booking to Mexico these days where tourism is surging and airlines are trying to keep up with the demand.

         Even though you might not really care what you catch, it’s still not a bad idea to have some inkling of what might be in store. 

            Personally, it DOES make a difference!  I like knowing if I have to prepare yoke up for a battle with a gorilla tuna or will it be a light-tackle grinner with school-sized dorado. 

            There’s never any guarantees when it comes to fishing, but like they say, “knowledge is power.”  And I like having as much of an edge as possible.

           I think we might be in for a really nice year of fishing.  I say that with a whisper so as not to jinx the whole thing.  Lord knows we can all use some positivity these days.

         However, if the scientists are to be believed, it looks like we’re in a “La Nina” cycle that will probably be with us through the spring.  They seem to think that’s a harbinger of good things.

         We had an El Nino season several years ago that was a disappointment for all intents and purposes.  It stunk as it was marked either with the lack of fish or by smaller fish caused by excessive warm ocean currents.

         During an El Nino, waters stay relatively warm.  That initially sounds good.  However, in effect, the colder deep waters don’t rise.  That’s not so good.

         In a nutshell, cold deep waters bring nutrients to the surface. 

         Nutrients feed the baitfish.  Baitfish feed the big fish. 

         No cool deep waters ultimately means a slack season. 

         Arguably during last El Nino several years ago, there was a marked absence of  the precious baitfish.  Consequently, there was a direct effect on the quality and quantity of sportfish.    Indeed, many of the sportfish that were caught were severely undersized from lack of a food source.

         I remember here in La Paz.  We had all the dorado we wanted all season. That is, if you liked catching 12-inch dorado all year!  It was like fishing for trout.

         With La Nina, the reverse is hypothetically true.

         Cooler waters will prevail early this year.  In the meantime,  warmer currents will blow towards the western Pacific bringing a heavy rainy season to Asian side of the Pacific Ocean.  

       Regretfully, that will conversely mean that eastern Pacific will experience a dry season.  Bad news for western U.S. states already beset by drought conditions and too many years of devastating fires. 

         But, for fishing, it could be an exciting year. 

         Baitstocks already seem to be up.  Mexican sardinia, anchovetas, caballitos, mackerel and others are evident. 

         This early in the year, it’s difficult to tell if the current Baja catches are left-over from last season or a vanguard of what we can expect for the coming year.  But there’s reason to be optimistic. 

It’s winter and yet, marlin, dorado, tuna, and wahoo are showing up in the catches along with dorado.

         Either the food source is keeping them here or the food source is bringing the sportfish in early.  Personally, I think it’s the former.  However for us anglers, the end result gives us something to hopefully look forward to.  

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:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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REFRESHING AMBIVALENCE

REFRESHING AMBIVALENCE

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 4, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

After all the political, social, health and economic rancor and upheaval this past year in the U.S., I think I’ve reached that point of fatigue.

         Along with religion, those are generally just some topics I avoid talking about.  It seems especially true down here in Baja where most folks I come in contact with are here for vacations, not debate or argument.

         I would think most are trying to get AWAY from all of that back home.  The whole point of “vacation”, right?

         That being said, a good number of folks still seem anxious to engage in conversation.

         Usually, the red lights in my brain start flashing “DANGER! DANGER!”

         As quickly as I can, I try to turn the flow of words to something more palatable.

         But, some folks are so used to it coming from the U.S. that they still feel the need to bring it up.  It’s what everyone talks about “back home.”

Kinda like the A-type personality who runs a million-miles-an-hour at work.  Comes down here and it takes awhile for them to decompress and take it down a few notches.

         I get it. Unavoidable topics of conversation.  Hot topics of conversation. It’s what everyone is talking about.

         The problem is, it’s not conversation.  It’s not even debate.  It’s like that even among my only family members.

         If you agree with them, there’s not much else to say.  Or the other person will just talk and talk.  No real exchange of info.

         On the other hand, if you have a DIFFERENT opinion, you’re suddenly the “enemy” or an “idiot.” Conversation turns to argument with no one giving ground.

         No info is exchanged.  No one learns anything. 

No give-and-take.  Instead it becomes a mission to verbally batter and bludgeon the other person to back down and accept YOUR point-of-view.

         I usually do.  Back down, that is.

         I used to be a litigation attorney.  If I wanted to pull my verbal guns, yea…I guess I could.  But, what’s the point?  Restraint.

         No one really wants to listen to me anyway.  If we have the same point of view, then why keep talking? 

         If we differ, then why piss each other off?  I’ll keep my opinions to myself. And keep my friends and family.

         This is Baja.  Folks are supposed to be on vacation.  If you want debate jump on Facebook and say something controversial and, like I said, half will agree with you and the other half will tell you you’re dumber-than-dirt.

         In no uncertain terms.

         That’s why it was so refreshing to have one of my Mexican friends ask me a few weeks ago, “Who do you think will be your next American President?  Biden or Trump?”

         Oh no.  Here we go again.

         I didn’t want to start down that path or open a can of worms with my friend so I asked, “Does it matter to you as a Mexican citizen?”

         Instead of the usual hackle going up, he smiled and said, “Nope.  I was just making conversation.  It seems all Americans have strong opinions about it. Don’t you?”

         I shrugged.  Again, trying to nip things in the bud.

         I asked him disarmingly again, “Do YOU have an opinion?”

         And then he said something that put the biggest grin on my face. 

         He laughingly replied, “I don’t care.”

         A pause.

         I had to think about that.

         Are we allowed to say that anymore?  Are we allowed to think that anymore?

         Three simple words. 

         “I don’t care.”

         Maybe it’s simply not caring at all.  Ambivalence.  Fatigue.  Resignation.  Indifference.

         Whatever the reason, you NEVER hear anyone say “I don’t care.”

 It’s uh…sacrilegious!  It’s uh…blasphemous.  It’s Un-American.  It’s un-civilized, by gosh!!!

         I’m sure everyone cares.  I actualy do care. 

         But there are times when I just don’t care.  Or, at that particular moment, I don’t have the energy to care.  But, I’m afraid…hesitant… to say that to anyone. 

         I can’t be the only person who feels like that.

         A fishing clients says to me, “What do you think about all that unrest in the police force?  Or “How about them closing California again cuz of Covid?”

         What would I sound like if I said, “I don’t care.”

         Probably like a jerk.

         My Mexican friend explained to me.

         “Look, it might be different in the big cities than here in Baja.  It might be different if I were a big business owner. “

         “But, I’m a regular guy like you.  Nothing special.  I drive a delivery truck.”

         “To me, the only reason I asked about your elections is that’s all Americans seem to talk about and that’s what we see on the news on our TV’s about the U.S. But, I don’t think it affects me that much.  We got enough problems with our own politicians here in Mexico without worrying about YOUR politicians,” he laughed.

         “Mire, hombre…Look, amigo,” he elaborated.  “ Us Mexicans, we’ve been ruled by the Spanish, the French, the Germans. We had wars with America.  We have endured revolutions and corrupt politicians at every level.”

         “We now have this pandemic thing.  It’s a big problem.  Or, that’s what they tell us it is. Maybe it is.  Maybe it isn’t”

         “We Mexicans will endure.  We keep going.  We hear promises, but nothing really ultimately changes.  We move ahead.  Everything will pass and we will still be here.”

         “Honestly, I am more concerned with my next delivery in my truck and feeding my kids than who will be the next senator for our state or if the government is telling the truth about covid.  I care enough to wear my mask.  No big deal.”

         No big deal.

I think there’s an honest dignity in that.  Keep on-keeping on.  Stay the course.

         Just kinda nice to hear that once-in-awhile.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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FIND YOUR BEACH

FIND YOUR BEACH

 

Originally Published The Week of Nov. 25, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications. 

             I pretty much wrote this week’s column lying flat on my back looking up at the sky.  Pretty unusual position for “word-smithing.”

         Most of the time, I write at my desk. Sitting up. 

           It’s in the middle of the night at the end of a long workday that usually starts about 4 a.m.  Or, if I’m “lazy” and couldn’t think of anything the night before, I scramble to compose something before the sun comes up and the day goes full-turbo!

         But, lying flat on my back, I’m looking at clouds drifting by as languidly as I was feeling. 

         Lying on the sand.

         On the beach.

         In the Baja sun.

         Some Kenny Chesney “No Shoes No Shirt No Problem” playing on Spotify competing with the rise-and-fall crescendo of surf as a soundtrack.

         And this week’s column just sort of wrote it self. It auto-composed in my head in about 5 minutes.

         I was just lying there on that warm sand felling really tired.  Not just tired. 

         “Old man tired.”  Big difference.

         I had just come off the water.  Nope.   For once, not fishing.  Not diving either.

         Surfing.  Yup.  That kind of surfing.  Like on a board.

       My wife, Jill, and I had spent the better part of the afternoon surfing and using muscles that we had not used in…well…years!  I think the last time I “surfed” Baja, I had been driving my dad’s Pinto station wagon.

       Me, and a bunch of underage high-school buds on a flyer across the border below Rosarito Beach with $20 between the three of us; a bag of Doritos; and 3 days to waste on the waves.

       Yea, it had been a long time.

         Surfing muscles are not the same as fishing muscles.  Not the same as SCUBA muscles.  And no matter how much Jill and I had lied to ourselves, we were not “in shape” to be paddling out…fighting waves…fighting the board.

         I grew up in Hawaii, but my “old man” muscles were B–tching me out so very badly. 

       “What were you thinking?”

       “Who were you trying to kid?”

                     Harsh reality found on a beach in Baja.

                     But, I gotta tell you, it was a good soreness.  And Jill and I had the biggest smiles on our faces as we lay splayed-out on the beach.  

                    No one talking.  No one needed to.

                   The sun rays warmed me from above and the hot sand warmed me from below.

                  It was like being a kid again and coming out’ve the pool and lying face-down on that warm cement without a care-in-the-world.  You know that feeling. 

                 Summer vacation. No school.  No homework. You had no place else to be except right then and there. Contentment.

                 And that was me.  Except I was lying looking up.

                 And I realized I had nowhere to be except right then and there. On that beach at that moment studying some dumb clouds.  No shoes. No shirt.  No problems.

                It finally just got to us.  Yea, we live and work in Baja. 

                 “Living the dream.” Right?

                  But, like everyone, no matter where you are, it’s been a tough year.  And this year, it seemed like we worked even harder-than-ever just trying to tread water like everyone else.

                 Being in the travel industry with our fishing fleets and restaurant, it was especially brutal.

                Surely, fewer clients and less business, but like I said, we seemed to work twice-as-hard just trying to keep what we had.  Working double to keep from sliding backwards even more. 

              Almost like surfing.  Paddle paddle paddle to get out.  Wave knocks you back. 

             Paddle paddle paddle to go a little further.  Another wave knocks you back again. 

            Just trying to get out past the white water to where that tasty curl tantalizes you with a rewarding ride back to the beach.  Paddle paddle paddle.  Can’t stop. Gotta get past that white water.

           Catch one or two, but mostly paddling paddling and more tiring paddling.

          Like life right now. 

         No days off and …UP-TO-HERE…with it all. 

         Covid…quarantine…restrictions…economy…politics…elections…unrest.  The “whitewater” of life, right? The cacaphony that never stops assaulting you.

         So, we just sort of folded shop.

        We never ever take time off.  But,it was time. 

         We didn’t tell any of our staff where we were going.  Basically told them, don’t burn down the building.  Don’t let anyone steal anything.  We’ll be in touch.

         In fact, I didn’t even tell my wife where we were going.

         I pretty much told her to grab some clothes for a few days.  Threw her and our rescue cat, my guitar,  and some gear in our Honda.  It’s the one with the busted air-conditioner and that overheats if I drive faster than 50mph and left.

         We drove. And drove.

And made a left off the highway down a dusty washboard dirt road.

         And found a beach.

         And it had some worn bungalow cabanas for rent.

         Our “rustic” cabana had holes in the palapa roof.

         Some lights didn’t work.  Others had those god-awful curly “economy” bulbs that save you 5 bucks over 100 years.

         A threadbare hammock tied between two palm trees.  It might have been a fishing net at one time.

         No TV.

         No disco.

         No nightclub.       

         No real restaurants to speak of.

         Perfection.

         I don’t even want to tell you the name of the beach because the area is begging for a paved road and some high-rise hotels that will come soon enough, I imagine.

         But for now, just miles of Baja beach.

         And there were some waves that just begged to be ridden.

         And an ice chest full of cold ones that needed some attention too.

         And 3 days extended into 5 days of sun, sand, surf, card-playing and just the very best kind of “social distancing” that we probably could all use right now.

         Might still be there if we didn’t run outta cat food.

         And lying on my back like a very tired beached sealion soaking up the rays and watching clouds moving left-to-right.

Smiling.

         And while we were gone, the world did not blow up.  Our business did not burn down.  The problems of the world were still there when we got back. 

         We did not miss a thing.

         But finding that little stretch of Baja beach made all the difference.

         For now.

         We brought that beach home with us in a manner of speaking.  I brought this essay that wrote itself.

         Like that beer commercial says, I hope you find your beach. 

         Somewhere. 

        If not on a stretch of sand.  Then a backyard.  A park. Or some space where you can close the door.

       Away from the madness.  Close your eyes. Shut off the sound. Take a breath. Find that beach and watch the clouds.

That’s my story!

Jonathan


______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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THEY’RE MAKING IT TOO EASY!

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 16, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publicaitions

License plates say a lot about certain areas. 

Arizona’s plates proclaim the “Grand Canyon State.”Georgia’s plates tell you they have a lot peaches.

Minnesota wants you to know that they’ve got “10,000 lakes.” The “Corn State” is Iowa.  Easy one.

I’m not quite sure about South Carolina as “the iodine state?”  Hmmm…

Anyway, you get the gist.

Baja California’s license plate tells you it’s the “Frontera”. The Frontier.

Back in the day, almost 3 decades ago, when I first showed up down here in Baja, It surely was.  On my first trip diving down by myself, it was not without some trepidation.

Armed with Auto Club Maps, tour books, extra water, gasoline, engine hoses and belts, shovels and even extra toilet paper, I sallied forth across the border.  And there was no mistaking when you came across that threshold at Tijuana.

You were indeed, NOT in the U.S. any longer.

It looked different.  It felt different. Even the Mexican air felt different.

And when you finally broke out past the dusty concrete block buildings; tire shops; mom-and-pop taco stands and roadside vendors and into the open arid desert heading south, you were on an adventure. 

That desert went on for endless miles.  It still does.

Over the many years, it has continued to be an adventure.  And to live down here in those days, meant living on a much narrower margin of error than back in the U.S.

If you needed something, you didn’t just go down to the mall or Home Depot. If something broke, you fixed it or did without.

If you had to get from Point A to Point B, you had to ask yourself, how essential was it to get there?  Did you have enough gas?  Could you even buy gas? Did you even have transportation?  Many is the time I walked…and walked…and walked s’more!

Finding the simplest thing could take an entire day driving from place to place.

Everything had to be planned and calculated.

You actually had to plan meals way in advance. 

Running out’ve tomatoes or sugar wasn’t as simple as getting to the nearby grocery store.  Maybe you’re out’ve water.  Even more critical.

Even if you got there, there was no guarantee that they even had tomatoes or sugar…or water!

Things weren’t fixed by a simple phone call or checking the internet. There was no internet.  No cell phones.

You could wait days or weeks for the simplest of services.

Initially, this took some getting used to.  As Americans we’re used to having everything there at our fingertips. 

But, living in Mexico took some adjustment.  And for me, living out in the Mexican countryside made things double-hard…or at least incredibly inconvenient.  You just learned to get along without…or adapt. 

It could get frustrating.  At times, it could be precariously dangerous or urgent. It still is for a majority of folks down here.

We used to love it when a friend would travel back to the states. They carried lists of all the things that could be (dare-I-say) “smuggled back” down to Baja.

Please bring me music cassettes, a tool, a pair of shoes, some fishing line…Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue…American food!  Sausage…cheese…jerky…maple syrup…coffee!

Friends and clients used to actually bring famous In-N-Out hamburgers down to me from California.  They were cold and greasy, but what a treat!

I would hoard and eat by myself where no one could see me devilishly inhaling that cold burger like a little pack rat.  It was manna from heaven!

All of these things were the trade-off for being able to live by the ocean in a beautiful place.

That was living in the “frontera” of Baja.

Fast forward 2020.

Transportation?

A good number of my office staff arrive by Uber. Clients make their way around town or arrive at our restaurant by Uber.  Need to get somewhere?  It’s as easy as tapping out the app on your cellphone.

Three years ago, there were 8 Uber cars here in La Paz.  Now, it seems half the population is an Uber driver. 

You don’t have the ability to get bigger or smaller vehicles or share rides, but compared to transportation even 5 years ago, Uber is a no-brainer.  It’s just good solid transportation for a fraction of the cost.

 Locals don’t have to take crowded buses or walk.  Visitors don’t have to rent cars or take expensive taxis.

My own car is good for about 5 miles.  That’s it.  Then it overheats.  Uber has been the answer.

In fact, I don’t even need to spend/ waste a day hunting for many things anymore.

As I write this in my office, the delivery man just dropped off an Amazon box. 

Yes the magic “A” word! Danger! Danger!

Thank you.  Finally. Got that coffee bean grinder we “really” needed. 

Let me put it over there with the box that came yesterday with the special diet cat food for our rescue cat; wine bottle openers for our restaurant; and the new electric toothbrush.

All “essential” things!

The day before that, they even delivered on Sunday.  Got that cool set of patio lights; a new folding stepstool and even guitar strings!  Waited two-whole days for that delivery!

Yes, convenience has arrived.  And it’s been a game changer, even a life saver.

They’re making it too easy. And easy to get spoiled.

Progress and technology in Baja.  Living the dream!

Now, if only they could deliver one of those In-N-Out burgers hot!  Hopefully, another story for another time.

That’s my story!

Jonathan
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing
www.tailhunter.com

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter Sportfishing8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Phones: 
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

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THAT SURE DIDN’T LAST LONG

Palapa Beach 6

ADIOS SUMMER! YOU DIDN’T STAY LONG

I think many folks would agree that it’s been a strange year for weather.  In many parts of the U.S., winter lingered stubbornly well into June and even July.

 

Correspondingly, down here in Baja, we experienced much of the same.  Waters stayed cooler.  Air temperatures seemed below normal.  Cold-water species continued to bite well past their normal seasons.   Warm-water fish seemed to take their time showing up.

 

It made for some crazy and unusual catches this season.

 

And then, about the time you stopped trying to figure it all out, someone opened a window and summer showed up.  Late…but it showed up.

 

Here in La Paz where we live, that would be about the end of July or early August when things finally seemed to turn around .

 

Humidity rose.  Air temps rose.  Water cleared up and warmed up.   Water-water fish like dorado finally started to bite with some measure of enthusiasm.

 

And all was right again.

 

Until Hurricane Lorena about 2 weeks ago.  As far as tropical hurricanes in Mexico go, it wasn’t much.  We’ve seen much worse and suffered the harsh after-affects.

 

Lorena didn’t hurt anyone. It didn’t knock down houses or destroy marinas.  Except for some trees and power poles, it was one of the mildest hurricanes I can recall in my 25 years down here.

 

Although it did get pretty windy, I think most of us actually welcomed the much needed rain, although it did rain for about 12 hours!

 

What Lorena did, I think, is carried summer away with it.  Like Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of Oz…summer went careening up, out and away.

 

In the hurricane aftermath, it feels like summer suddenly ended.  Like a switch was thrown.

 

Air temperatures that had been in the high 90’s and low 100’s have been 10 degrees cooler overall.  It has averaged only about 88 or so since the hurricane.

 

Similarly, humidity has dissipated as well.  Before the hurricane we had steamy 80-85% humidity.  The hot sauna air was that thick.

 

As one of my employees told me, “I think we are breathing water.”

 

Since then, we’ve hovered around a comfortable 50-55%.

 

Water temperatures have also dropped.  In our area, it dipped 2-5 degrees in a week.

 

The change in fishing was gradual, but ultimately profound.

 

It took the fish awhile to figure out.  Just like us.

 

Normally, after a storm, it takes awhile any for water to calm and clear up.  And fishing seemed noticeably slower to get up to speed again.

 

Then, when it did start to break open, we still had the warm water species like dorado and marlin, but a whole host of entirely different an unusual species started bending rods.

 

Fish like pargo liso, sierra, amberjack, yellowtail, cabrilla and palometas showed up in the counts.  These are all cold-water fish virtually unheard of at this time of year.

 

These are sure signs that something has changed below the surface.

 

If this trend continues, I think anglers should be prepared for this variety of species.  Also, don’t be surprised if it’s cooler and windier with each progressive week and waters will be rougher.

 

I hear this week there’s blizzards and heavy snow in Montana, Utah and Idaho. It is supposed to snow this week in the Sierras.   Summer is gone. Shortest summer ever.

 

In the mornings, I’m already wearing a sweatshirt.  In Baja.  In September. I better find my long pants around here somewhere.

 

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

Read Full Post »

I DON’T ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE WHERE I FISH… (…BUT WHEN I DO, IT’S A LIE!)

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I DON’T ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE WHERE I FISH…

                     …BUT WHEN I DO, IT’S A LIE!

 

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

 

Fishermen are funny folks.

 

Most of them that I know will give you the shirts off their backs.  They’ll invite perfect strangers to sit down for dinner and a beer.

 

They’ll happily give you every fish recipe they know.  They’ll patiently show you how to tie every knot or explain their gear to you.

 

But, there’s a caveat and limit to generosity.  Fishermen have a reputation for tall tales and outright lies.  It’s in our nature.

 

Nowhere is that more evident than when you ask an angler where his secret fishing spots are located.

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He or she will give up the combination to the family safe or tell you where the family jewels are stashed before revealing their honey hole fishing spots.

 

In my years down here, I have seen some crazy things.

 

With our fleets here in La Paz, let me preface by saying that most of the captains are related by blood or marriage.  Overall, no matter which fleets they work for, there’s a general spirit of cooperation.

 

Most times!

 

There’s mutual respect and at the end of the day, they all have to go home to the same families, neighborhoods and, in some cases, the same homes together.

 

But, like competing football teams, that doesn’t mean there’s any lack of competitiveness or shenanigans.

 

For example, there’s radio channels.

 

There are the general channels that everyone listens to or for emergencies.  But then each fleet also has it’s own channel that everyone in that particular fleet tunes to.  Everyone knows the other fleet’s frequencies.

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And there’s the “secret channel” where anyone can listen, but the fleet broadcasts it’s phoney-baloney info!  And the channels change all the time to keep the competition off-balance.

 

For instance, they’ll broadcast the wrong locations to catch bait or where the dorado or tuna are biting.  They’ll outright lie about what they’ve caught in their fish boxes or where they are located.

 

And all seems fair.

 

It’s part of the game and strategy because everyone is doing it.  The “hot” guy one day might be ice cold the next.  He might be giggling about his secret spot today, but tomorrow, he’s the goat and gets duped by false info.

 

The secret to playing the game is scanning through all the radio junk and know who’s broadcasting what info and recognizing voices.

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To us it sounds like one continuous Spanish word and a lot of squawking, but there’s a method to the madness.  I’ve even seen them disguise their voices.

 

Almost like the Navajo radiomen in WW 2.

 

So, if your captain seems like he’s spending a lot of time on the radio, he’s wading through all the chatter and keying on what’s happening on the  oceanic game-board.

 

This was all explained to me years ago by one of my captains after I asked him why he spent so much seemingly useless time on the radio.

 

He laughed and said, “I’m playing the game! My youngest brother and uncle work for the other fleet. My older brother and cousin work for you so we screw with each other all day.  So do all the other captains!”

 

Gamesmanship! Know when to hold ‘em.  Know when to fold ‘em.

 

He also said, “We know the gringo guys in the big yachts are trying to listen as well and we do not want them to know our spots and ruin the bite!”

 

Well, OK then…

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Another time, with one of our favorite skippers, he told us to bring colorful beach towels with us.  Sure.  No big deal.

 

Later in the day, he brought us to one of his “secret spots.” We were having a blast catching fish.

 

But, whenever another panga (from another “team”)  got close to us, he would quickly tell us to take down the rods and hide them.  He told us to grab the beach towels and pretend we had been swimming.

 

He told us to make  a lot of noise and pretend we were drying off and wave at the other boat as it went by.

 

As soon as they were gone, out came the rods again!  Sneaky.

 

There was another year when we had a huge dorado bite going off north of town.  The “fish magnet” turned out to be a huge Christmas tree that someone had set adrift.

 

Floating upside down, it attracted huge schools of sizeable dorado and other species.   Whoever was on the spot could easily load up on fish and/or catch- and-release as quickly as you could put a bait in the water.  It was epic.

 

 

One or two boats would fish the spot and load it up.  It would then call in other friendly pangas. They would get their limits.  They would leave and call in others.  And so-on-and-so-on in a great rotation!

 

All the while, phoney radio transmissions were getting sent out.  But…word eventually got out to the other fleets.

 

Every few nights, each fleet would “steal” the tree and tow it to another secret spot known only to it’s captains.

 

A few nights later having deciphered all the crazy radio broadcasts,  some other fleet would steal it back.  This went on for two weeks until the currents carried it away or the tree simply disintegrated.

 

 

Even on a daily basis, when our own captains return each day to give me their reports, I ask where they were fishing or where they found the bite.

 

“Where were you fishing today? “

 

I get winks and a smile, “In the Sea of Cortez, Senor Jonathan!”

 

Let the games continue…can’t trust a fisherman to give a straight answer.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

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When Fishing Is Not So A-Peeling!

bananas1

When Fishing Is Not So A-Peeling!

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

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

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

Most folks say they’re not superstitious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s a number of theories.

Bananas Stink

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

No Slowing Down

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

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

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

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

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

A Dark Chapter

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

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Davey’s Locker

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

Here’s another one…

Good to Be King

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

So, what do you think?

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

That’s my story~!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

Read Full Post »

NO BAD QUESTIONS?

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No Bad Questions?

Originally Published the Week of March 27, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publicastions

As I’m writing this, we’re just about to do our last shows of the season.  Since December, Jill and I have been on the road appearing in our booth at some of the largest fishing/ hunting/ outdoor expositions in the Western U.S.  We’ve been out promoting our fishing operation in La Paz but generally just talking it up about visiting Baja.

 

It’s always fun.  After more than 30 years of standing in booths fielding questions and chatting with thousands of folks, I’d like to share with you some of questions you should ask a prospective outfitter or guide.

 

This applies to whether you meet face-to-face or, as happens in most cases these days, you make an inquiry online or over-the-phone.  At least, give it some thought.

 

Many times, their literature or social media already has it.  But…It’s YOUR vacation.

 

Better to have too much information and being prepared than getting surprised later on.  This is especially true when you might be coming to Mexico or a location in Mexico or Baja for the first time and even moreso, if you don’t speak the language.

 

This is no particular order, but should come up in the conversation somewhere.

 

CREDIBILITY – How long have they been in business?  What’s their background?  I know lots of guys that were truck drivers then one day just decided they were going to be “guides” or “outfitters” with no real background.   Everyone wants to “live the dream” but it’s an entirely different thing to actually turn a hobby into a paying profession.

 

It helps if they have a track record of advertisements or are recommended by someone you know or their social media presence.  It takes something to stay in business in this field.  It’s not everything, but it helps.

 

What do other say about them?  Check places like Trip Advisor and Google which is very regulatory when it comes to posting comments.

 

ACCOUNTABILITY – Is the person you’re talking to going to be there when you are there for your vacation?  Is the person you’re talking to just an agent that you’ll never see or hear from again once you’re booked?  Does the person even live there?

 

Who will actually be delivering the services?

 

Who’s going to be the captain, guide, driver, etc.?   The person you’re talking to might be totally reputable and we know many fine agents, but posing the question doesn’t hurt.  At least you’re expectations will not be misplaced.

 

KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING – You wouldn’t buy a car or a house without having things in writing.  Most outfitters we know that have had any longevity in the hospitality business know their stuff.

 

But, over the course of a conversation things get lost outright or lost in translation.  This is especially true  at shows where so much gets said or on social media where a zillion e-mails or texts might shoot back and forth.  It’s best to have some record of what you’re getting and not getting.

 

Nothing like showing up then finding out there were extra charges for bait, transportation, food, gear, etc.  Major buzz kill having to reach into your pocket unexpectedly.  Or that that hotel “close to the beach” was really 2 blocks away with a view only if you’re on your tippy-toes standing on the roof.

 

PRICE ISN’T EVERYTHING – Like most things in life, you really DO get what you pay for.  If you’re “budget shopping” chances are you’ll get a budget vacation too.

 

It surely doesn’t hurt to ask a prospective outfitter if there’s any discounts, but honestly, I wouldn’t push it.  Maybe if it’s a different time of year.  Maybe a saving if you bring more people.

 

Most outfitters working these days live on a tight budget themselves.  If they are at shows, they are probably already offering discounted trips.

 

But that “discounted trip” might mean you’re now going to be in the room with a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling and sharing a bathroom with two other rooms.

 

I do know some that will get offended if you push too hard.

 

As one outfitter told me, “I know what my services are worth. I work hard.   One guy pushed and pushed for discounts.  So, I asked him, ‘You work hard for your paycheck right? If your boss asked you to take a 20% paycut would you work as hard or as diligently for him?’ The guy shut up. “ Point taken.

 

Another example I have seen numerous times.  One charter operation is $100 less than another.  The less expensive guy might be a little more hesitant to burn extra gas to go where the fish are biting in order to save money. He has to make a living too.

 

Think about it.  Simple economics.  Get the best you can afford.  Not the most you can get away with.  Vacations are too special to cut corners if you don’t have to.

 

There’s also some questions you can ask that will get a raised eyebrow from some outfitters and guides.

 

I have heard people ask me or ask other outfitters:

 

Will you guarantee that I will catch fish? (I’ve never met an outfitter that will!)

 

If I pay more will I catch more fish? (You’re always welcome to pay us more!)

 

If I don’t have a good time, will you refund my money? (I can’t hear you)

 

How many fish will I catch in a day? (I don’t know.  Are you any good?)

 

Can you promise me the sun will be out when I fish? (Sure…let me wave my magic wand!)

 

Will it be too hot for me when I come on vacation? (What’s “too hot” mean?)

 

How can I make it so I only catch smaller fish?  Big fish are too strong for me. (You will love catching bait!)

 

How hard are the beds / pillows at the hotel we will stay at? (Compared to what?)

 

How deep is the ocean? (About that deep!)

 

What if I stop breathing when I SCUBA dive?  (Stay with the snorkel trip!)

 

I heard Baja is primitive. How much toilet paper should I bring? (So “primitive! You better fill a suitcase with it!)

 

We hear them all. And just when you think you’ve heard the all, you get another.

 

“If I have to go ‘number two’ in the middle of the ocean and can’t hold it, what will happen?”

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

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:

“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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Tell Them Bring the Salad Next Time!

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PEACE OFFERING or DID THE SPANISH GET PUNKED?

NEXT TIME TELL THEM TO BRING THE SALAD INSTEAD!

Originally Published the Week of March 14, 2018 in Western Outdoor News

I’m a fan of history and enjoy finding little obscure bits of historical trivia.  I recently came across a story about our own city of La Paz where we live.

 

If you ever have a chance to visit the city,  I hope you get  the opportunity to visit the city cathedral in the town square.  It’s not a big city.  The cathedral is not hard to find.

 

 

The first thing that will strike you is that it sure doesn’t look like your typical Spanish-style mission so common up-and-down the Baja and into California.

 

It is strikingly absent of the long sepia-colored arched breezeways and adobe walls usually associated with mission architecture.  On the contrary, the La Paz cathedral is kind of square and blocky-looking.

 

It has two atypical  massive bell towers that look more fortress-like than other mission churches.  Heavy stone blocks and concrete masonry have been described as “sober neo-classical” in design.  It doesn’t sound too exciting, but nonetheless, it’s a big church!

 

Indeed, it looks different because it is.

 

Most other missions were constructed by Spanish Jesuit missionaries and conquistadores in the 1600’s and 1700 hundreds.  La Paz didn’t complete it’s house of worship until the latter part of the 1800’s.

 

According to the history, when the Spanish first arrived, they didn’t come as benevolent emissaries of church and crown.  Actually, they showed up as violent buttheads and took a heavy brutal hand to the local indigenous population.  They had no problem applying armor, cannons and musket to get their point across.

 

The locals didn’t take kindly to it and battled back.  And won.  Booted the Spanish right out.

 

This happened again and again.  Something between 5 and 8 incursions by the Spanish were made in La Paz to set up a colony.  In each case, the locals either whupped up on the padres and their military escorts or simply made it difficult to for the Spanish colonists to sustain the outpost.

 

The natives would cut off water; damage crops; and made it impossible for supply trains and ships to replenish and re-inforce the beleaguered  colonists. Life in the New World was hard  and brutal enough let alone being harassed by belligerent tribes.

 

So, the Spanish would pack up and sail away.

 

At least until the next intrepid group of helmet-headed imperialists showed up.

 

According to the story, during one of these attempts, the Spanish thought they were making some headway with the locals.  Rather than attack, the tribesmen presented the Spanish with many loaves of native papaya bread.

 

A welcome gift and gesture indeed!  The Spanish were thrilled with this apparently peaceful overture.  So, thrilled that they decided to have a fiesta to celebrate the wondrous gift of the delicious bread. A bit like the colonists at the first Thankgiving.

 

It was during this fiesta that the Spanish found out that the natives had a special method to making their bread.

 

The natives loved papaya and would consume the entire fruit wasting nothing.  This included the skin, meat and seeds.  It was their traditional way.

 

So far so good.  The key words are “wasting nothing.”

 

The most interesting part was that the tribespeople would then gather up the “previously digested seeds.”  Use your imagination.

 

The seeds ground into the flour used to make this special “Baja Bread” …wasting nothing!

 

Upon hearing this, the Spanish pretty much choked and gagged in” mid-chew” thinking about the origins of their yummy bread.

 

They were mad. Fighting mad at what they perceived was a cruel and sinister joke.  No one was laughing.  The Spaniards thought they got punked big time.  Talk about a “party fail!”

 

And once again, hostilities broke out.  The Spanish had no sense of humor and much blood was spilled over breaking bread.

 

A peace offering misunderstood and gone awry?  Or a dastardly prank pulled on the Spanish masters and padres?

 

We will never know.

 

But the natives again rose up and pummeled the Spanish back to the mother country.

 

I love history.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

______________

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:

“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 »

WHERE THE WILD THING ARE…er…WERE

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Where the Wild Things Are…er…Were

Originally published the Week of July 4, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

As a little kid, there was a beach I would sneak off to back home in Hawaii.

 

I’m dating myself.  I could ride my sting-ray bike there.

 

Down from the main road to where it sloped to gravel.  Down through the thick over-hanging jungle canopy. The air was thick and moist and the gravel gave way to a path of rich soft wet damp earth that never seemed to dry out and carpeted with soggy decaying leaves.

 

It would suddenly break into a clearing that I simply called “my beach.”  A sunny little white sand cove protected by a small shallow coral reef.  Dark lava rocks at the two small headlands and waves broke gently over into a blue pool about as wide as I could throw a rock.

 

A small stream that started somewhere in the rain forest up in the mountains dropped from a small waterfall.  It emerged from the thick vegetation and tumbled over smooth dark boulders through a gritty arroyo where it’s darker reddish waters joined the blue ocean.

 

It was a good little place to fish.  Or swim.  Or hang out with neighborhood pals under the coco palms.  For a bunch of black-haired, barefooted, hell-bent tribal children with unlimited energy and imagination , it was the best playground.

 

Where the wild things are.

 

Build forts out’ve driftwood. Chase each other with rounds of “Marco Polo,” our version of “tag.”

 

Play “chicken” in the waters while perched on each other’s shoulders and exhausted ourselves with laughter attacking the “king of the hill” on the small sand dunes.   Then later a retreat under the palms to eat sandwiches or maybe sticky-finger spam and rice rolls made by our moms.

 

Looking back we referred to it as “little kid time.”

 

It was “my beach.”  And I was convinced no one knew about it.  We never saw anyone else there.

 

On the island we just figured there were lots of little hidden beaches and coves.  This was “ours.”  Other people must have “their own beach.”  Right?   Little boys have their own brand of logic.

 

But, as with all “little kid time,”  little kids grow up.  Life and other things came along.  The islands were left behind, but always carried with me.

 

Years later, I came back.  To where the road ended.  To where the gravel started.  To where the dirt path emerged from the dampness to the light.  And I stopped.

 

Or to be more precise.  I was halted.

 

By a barbed wire gate.  It had a sign.

 

“No Trespassing.  Private Beach.  Exclusively for Owners.  No locals.”

 

Some “non-local” kids were gunning wave runners through the shallows where we used to play chicken.  Some new “kings of the hill” had built expensive houses on our sand.  An expensive European SUV was parked in front of one of them.

 

I stared at the barbed wire. . . and the sign.

 

Fast forward.

 

Two days ago. Mid-day Baja heat.

 

I drove out to one of the beaches north of La Paz where we live.  Just needed to get out’ve the office and not to be found for an hour or so.

 

No more beeping text messages or phone calls. Maybe just close my eyes for a few minutes to the sound of…nothing.

 

Just to take a breath.  Get some air.  Look at some blue water.  Get lucky and watch some dolphin make me envious.

 

I drove to one of the remote beaches.  This one famous on postcards for sugar sand and water the color of sapphire turquoise. It often shows up on travel shows and brochures as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

 

And there, plain as day, the beach had been lined with umbrellas and plastic tables and chairs.  And you needed to pay for a permit.

 

It was like being told you can’t look at Yosemite or the Grand Canyon without renting special glasses.

 

Oh, and no photos allowed either.  Or what?  Are you kidding me?

 

On the license plates here in Baja it says, “La Frontera.” The frontier. Yea, I get it.  Wide open spaces. Deserted beaches. Solitary beaches.  OK. It’s not Mexico City. It’s definitely not the mainland.

 

But, it had this reputation of being someplace you could still find the wild places to go.

 

And maybe re-aquaint yourself with some of your own internal wildness or hidden “little kid time”  that seems to get buried in traffic jams, office politics, corporate jumble and suburbia strip-mall-life-back home.

 

I guess, it’s still here.  You just have to look a little hard and go a little further.  And further still.  Everywhere.  Somewhere.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

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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!

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