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Archive for the ‘squid fishing’ Category

ADVENTURES IN DRIVING

man-in-car-accident

ADVENTURES IN DRIVING

Originally Published the Week of May 13, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

          We’re gonna do a little “word association” test.  Read the following words then close your eyes.

         “MEXICAN DRIVERS”

         I bet I can guess what went through your head after reading those words.  All those “stereotypes” come flooding into your thoughts?

         Just to be fair, stereotypes are stereotypes. 

         They’re a broad-brush painting that may-or-may-not have a lot of truth or fairness to it.  But, after living in Mexico for almost 3 decades, the thoughts that flew through your brain probably weren’t too far off.

         Listen, there’s bad drivers all over the world. 

         How many people did you call out under-your-breath on your last freeway commute home from work?  Everyone slower than you was a “jerk.”  Everyone faster than you was a “butthead.”  Right?

         I don’t want to say that Mexicans are bad drivers.  But, I will say they drive “differently” and it behooves you to be a “better” driver because of it.  In other words, CYA. . .”cover your backside” and drive defensively.

         Why is that?

         Well, a couple of things that happened recently might have coalesced my thoughts on the matter.

         For one, I just realized that of our employees that “know” how to drive,   most have no driver’s licenses.  Some have NEVER had a license or have expired licenses.  They just laugh. 

         When you need to get from Point A-to Point B for work, you do what you gotta do.  Don’t need no license and don’t have time or money to get one!

         As a foreigner, I never had to take a test to get a Mexican driver’s license.  I never had to even prove that I could drive.  I just had to fill out the paperwork. 
        

         I had to pay my money.  And, like DMV’s everywhere, I had to stand in several long lines. 

         However, unlike say the DMV in the states, I found out that I could pay a proxy to stand in line for me.  Yup.  Pay for someone to stand in line for me!

         I could go sit down; check my e-mails on my phone; buy a hot dog or a churro from one of the vendors inside the TRANSITO (DMV) office.  My proxy calls me when it’s my turn to run up to the line. 

         He follows me to the next line.  He tells me where I need to sign documents.  He basically leads me by hand from one teller window or clerical office to the next. Nothing is done in one line.

         It’s a good thing because the TRANSITO office is a small version of the floor of the NY stock exchange.  It’s chaos incarnate.

        Noisy.   Little offices everywhere.  Lines everywhere.  Lines to nowhere.  Confusing signs on the walls.

       People milling and yelling and papers being shuffled.  There’s no appointments.  There’s no obvious order.

         Paying a proxy a few bucks and a hot dog was well worth it.   Turns out my guy was a police officer making a little money on the side.  Tipping is appreciated.

         Circling back, however, the point of my story is that to get a license you do NOT have to prove you can operate a moving vehicle.

         Unlike, the U.S., however, you DO have to prove that you are “alive.”

         I say that tongue-in-cheek because to get a license, you must submit to a blood test.  Yes, a blood test.  I don’t know why.

         But, you go across the street to an approved “lab” and they take a blood test.  Cost is about 20 bucks.  You take your test results when you get your license.

         That’s it.  No driving test.  No written test.

         Painted outside the TRANSITO office there’s ariel-view street grid l painted on the asphalt/ concrete. .  Kinda like Lego-land.  

         The streets area about 12-inches side.  It has little streets and buildings painted there with parking spaces and stop signs and left-turn lanes and one-way streets.

         I’m told that an examiner will take you through a “test” and let you WALK through the faux-streets.  You get to show that you know when to stop and how to back up and how to make left turns.

         You are not in a car. 

        You are in an “air-car” like playing “air-guitar.” 

        You are not in a vehicle.  You turn our “air wheel” to make a turn.  You shift gears in the air like when you were a kid.  You step on the imaginary brakes.

         Maybe you even have to make “vroom vroom” sounds as you drive around.

         Like I said, I never had to take any kind of driving or written test to get my Mexican license.

         However, I’ve had local friends who were given written exams.  They were getting their driving licenses for the first time.

         The tests are not open book.  There is no book.   There’s no manual.

         If you know how to drive, it’s not because you took lessons. It’s because someone else, maybe with questionable skills shows YOU how to drive.  The circle continues.

         With the written tests,  no one is monitoring the test takers.   Apparently,  you’re welcome to discuss questions with your neighbor test-taker. 

        Answer by committee.  Everyone gets to agree on the right answer about when it’s OK to blow through a stop sign or not having to signal a left turn.

         When, my wife, Jill went to get her motorcycle license so she could ride her scooter it was a good example.  She panicked when she was given the written test in Spanish.  Multiple choice.

         To her great joy, about 5 other test-takers all gladly helped her.  They not only interpreted the questions, but also gave her the correct answers!

         She only missed 1 answer and later told me she didn’t understand half the questions.  But, she did got her scooter license.

         Two weeks later, she stopped riding the scooter because of all the “crazy drivers.”  I’m glad she did!

         Just saying…

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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TROUBLESHOOTING – DON’T LEAVE FISH TO FIND FISH

panga

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

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

 

How does that saying go?

         “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

         I would like to throw out a challenger:

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

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

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

         Except one boat.  And the one guy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         Did he have a tackle box full of bananas?

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

         The client wanted bigger fish. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        

        

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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DUST and WAVES

DUST & WAVES

Originally Published the Week of March 11, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications! 

         I guess there’s two stories to pass onto you this week in a round-about-kinda-way. 

         One actually is possibly some useful info about fishing in Baja, which is what this column is normally supposed to be about.

         But, let me start with the first story!

         As a kid I really only cared about three publications in my life.

Sears

         One was the Sears Christmas catalog.  If you were a kid, my reasons need no explanation.  It was the most dazzling thing to have in your hands. I should have saved a copy or two to show to the grandkids.

         Another was MAD.  Don’t laugh.  If any of you are old enough to remember, MAD Magazine,  I think it’s how I learned how to read.  It’s where I got my weird bent sense of humor. 

         It’s where I learned goofy songs and rhymes and things I didn’t even understand in those pre-teen years.  And, of course, there was that backpage fold-out that was brilliant.

         My mother, a dedicated 2nd grade teacher for 30+ years would always try to steer me towards good literature…classics…authors…etc.  She was usually successful. 

        Except there was MAD Magazine.  I don’t know how she and dad let me get away with that or knowing my allowance money was not being used very wisely.

         But, there was one other magazine that I treasured and that DID receive a better nod of approval.

         It was Field & Stream.   

field-and-stream

         Now THAT was a magazine that I would definitely save my allowance to buy.   It was everything I ever wanted to know about hunting and fishing and all the places and adventures I would someday have.

         It was the Sears Catalog for the outdoors to me.

         It was geography and adventures, Daniel Boone and Tom Sawyer all rolled onto the printed pages.

         Cover-to-cover and back-and-forth.  I would cut out articles and save them in scrap books.  If I got caught under the bedsheets at night with a flashlight reading MAD Magazine or the Sears Catalog, they were confiscated.

         With Field & Stream, they let me slide.  Or dad would take it and read it himself. 

         Well…of all things…two weeks ago a writer for Field & Stream contacted me for an interview about fishing in Baja!  Me?  Are you kidding?

         That icon of outdoor magazines wanted to know what someone like me thought?   Wow!  Needless to say, I was thrilled.  I’m not sure how the interview went or how it will eventually look in print, but hey, I was happy to do it!

         Which leads to the 2nd story of this column.

         The reason they had asked me for the interview…

         Apparently, I was part of a series of outfitters being asked how the Covid pandemic had affected us.  As well, more importantly, they wanted to know what we thought of the coming year.

         The first part was easy.

         I think anyone who was in the travel industry or is still in the travel industry and didn’t get pulled down by the pandemic/ quarantine wolves will agree.  Last year was devastating.  It continues to be so in 2021.

         It doesn’t matter if you were/are an outfitter, lodge, charter operation, guide, hotel, travel agent, airlines, cruise lines, taxi driver…If you dealt with any aspect of the travelling public, 2021 was unlike anything we had ever seen or could imagine.

         Travel to Mexico?  Travel abroad?  Travel to another state?  Travel to visit your family, kids, parents on the other side of town?

         Are you kidding?  We couldn’t even leave our houses, either because we couldn’t (lockdown); or were simply afraid to (contagion); or didn’t have the ways or means (no money) to travel.

         No one could travel for essential things like work and school. So forget leisure travel like taking vacations or other discretionary trips.

         Yea, we got hammered.  Punched in the nose.  Kicked in the nether regions then dog-piled while we were already on the ground.  Many of our friends in the industry lost their jobs or had to find other or supplemental work.

         For those of us in the travel industry still treading water, it’s not over yet. 

         For us in Baja, things really started to take an upswing there at the end of 2020.  Americans were really scooting to Baja. 

         Mexico is close.  It was economical.  It was easy to there and get home.  

Canada was a no-go because of the border closures and quarantines in place.

Going to Europe or Asia take some planning.  Pack an overnight bag with shorts and t-shirts and you can fly off to Mexico. 

         Locally, more hotels and restaurants and other services were opening up.  Airlines were having to add more flights to keep up with the demand.  For us and other operators in Baja, things were looking up. 

         Bookings were picking up.  People just wanted to get out no matter if there was vaccine or no vaccine. Covid or no covid.

         Then, the new CDC rules were implemented in January of 2021.  It required that everyone travelling into the U.S., including returning vacationers, have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of flying back to the U.S.

         WHAM!  BAM!  Travel took another knee below-the-belt.

         Bookings took a dive.  Cancelations jumped up.  Airflights got canceled.  Folks not wanting to get stuck in Mexico made a mass exodus for home and left on-going vacations.

         But, now things are looking up again.  Whew!

         Vaccines are being implemented.  Moreso, Mexico got it’s game together and erected testing facilities at airport, hotels, timeshares and labs to make it cheap and convenient to get the tests.  Can’t lose the all-important tourism sector again.

         So, people are booking again.

         But, will it be a good season?

         I think so.  The fish were largely left alone last year.  Six to 8 months there was literally zero sportfishing traffic on the water.

         Even when things opened, it was only a fraction of the usual crowds.

The fish had time to grow.  The fish had time to spawn and mate without getting bonked by lures run scattered by boat motors.  More importantly, their food source…the critical baitfish weren’t depleted.

I thnk this year of 2020 will be an improvement over last year. But, it still won’t see the normal numbers and the experts are saying we’re really only going to see 30-50% of the normal visitors.

So, bigger fish. Hungrier fish. More fish.  More bait.

And maybe just you out there on the water!

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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THE GOOD OLD DAYS

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         He went on…

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

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

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

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

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

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

         “So, Jonathan…book me a trip!”

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

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

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

         Life should have been reversed.

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

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

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

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

Cancer…Hearts…Covid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

Read Full Post »

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.”

Read Full Post »

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.”

Read Full Post »

FIND YOUR BEACH

FIND YOUR BEACH

 

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

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

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

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

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

         Lying on the sand.

         On the beach.

         In the Baja sun.

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

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

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

         “Old man tired.”  Big difference.

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

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

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

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

       Yea, it had been a long time.

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

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

       “What were you thinking?”

       “Who were you trying to kid?”

                     Harsh reality found on a beach in Baja.

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

                    No one talking.  No one needed to.

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

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

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

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

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

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

                 “Living the dream.” Right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Like life right now. 

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

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

         So, we just sort of folded shop.

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

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

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

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

         We drove. And drove.

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

         And found a beach.

         And it had some worn bungalow cabanas for rent.

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

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

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

         No TV.

         No disco.

         No nightclub.       

         No real restaurants to speak of.

         Perfection.

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

         But for now, just miles of Baja beach.

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

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

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

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

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

Smiling.

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

         We did not miss a thing.

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

         For now.

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

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

         Somewhere. 

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

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan


______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

Read Full Post »

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.”

 

 

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

Favorite-Fishing-Spot-760x500

 

I DON’T ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE WHERE I FISH…

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

 

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

 

Fishermen are funny folks.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

pinocchio-04-2

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!

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Jonathan

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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.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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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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