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Archive for the ‘Tuna jackpot’ Category

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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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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YES THEY CAN!

 

YES, THEY CAN!

 

 

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 17, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

A week ago in Cabo San Lucas, I had the great pleasure of once again working at the 22nd Annual Cabo Tuna Jackpot Tournament produced by Western Outdoor News. 

         What an event it is. 

         This year, 150 national and international fishing teams gathered for two days of fishing.  Over one-million dollars of prize money in the pots!  About 700 folks from all over the world come to play.

         If you’ve never seen or participated in something like this, it’s a mind-boggling adrenaline rush to see all this energy, fishing talent, equipment and yes…money all charging out into the fishing grounds.

         There are jaw-dropping super yachts that should be seen on “Lives of the Rich & Famous.”  I believe the largest fishing vessel this year was 110’ mega cruiser that looked like a stream-lined cruise ship.

         We gawked and ooh’d and ahhh’d at the  gleaming 40, 50…70-foot battle-wagon sport-fishers.  Shining with teak decks and tinted glass windows sporting out-riggers and thousands of dollars of fishing rods-and-reels on deck and no doubt equally expensive electronics aboard as well.

sportfisher-1

         There were jet-boat sportfishers built for speed to the fishing grounds fast.  Imagine four or five 400-horsepower motors hanging off the transom.  They blew by like rocket ships.

         As one of my friends mentioned, “If you gotta ask how much it costs to gas-up one any of these hard-chargers, you simply can’t afford it.”

         As another 100-footer went by, another of our crew commented, “Sheesh…there are countries with navies that don’t have boats THAT big or THAT expensive!”

         Indeed, a lot of hardware out there!  Even if if you’re just “renting” the charter for a few days, it’s way above the my paygrade!

         But, in the middle of all the finery.  There they are. 

         And you can’t help but wanna shout or give a high-five to someone.  

         Yes, they are chugging along on 90-hp motors.  Bouncing around in the wakes of the big boy cruisers.

panga-santi

         It’s the local panga guys and the fishermen who swear by them. Simple rugged 24-foot ocean-going skiffs that are famous in Mexican waters.

         They cobbled together entry fees and gas money to play.  Often their client fishermen are roll-up-the-sleeves blue-collar guys. 

         Some beer in a tattered plastic ice chest.  Sack lunches and bait in the bait-well.  And they’re hot to go!

jr3pic18

         Do you remember Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea?  It’s the story of aging “Santiago” who’s best fishing days are behind him.  But he goes out every day to work the waters.  The young bucks don’t pay him much mind.

         But, all alone, he hooks and battles a legendary marlin in his little skiff.  

         If you have a line in the water, anything is possible.

         And when you see these guys in the pangas, you can’t help but root for them.  You gotta believe, they have a fighter’s chance.

Goliath beware!  David has that one stone in his sling.

         I wouldn’t hesitate to put a lot of panga skippers against anyone on a given day. 

sushi-time-cabo-panga-fishing2

Chances are they’ve worked these waters their whole lives. They have never fished anywhere else.  I once asked a panga captain if he had ever fished somewhere else beside his home territory.

He smiled.  Shook his head and said, “Why?”

 They know the waters, the currents, the little “nuances” that even high-technology cannot come close to finding.  Hometown advantage.  Nothing like local knowledge.

         Satellites are fine.  Technology has it’s place. 

But give me a guy who didn’t learn his trade by fishing for fun.  He learned his trade because he had to put food on the table for his family. 

Day in. Day out. 

         If he didn’t catch, the family didn’t eat.  Simple as that!

         In fact, he probably trained the young hot-shots that are now blazing by him in the big cruisers.  Chances are it’s one of his kids.  And he knowingly smiles.

         But, he’s probably forgotten more about fishing than the youngsters will ever know.  I’ve always been of the mind that if you don’t use it, you lose it.

         You might have mad sharp skills, but if you spend so much time relying on technology to do your thinking for you, the skills get dull.  It’s like forgetting how to multiply because now you have a calculator.

         They guy running the panga still relies on generations of knowledge.   I’ll ride with THAT guy!

         Frankly, I’d rather have a great captain on a so-so boat than a great boat with a so-so captain.  I don’t need 10 deckhands.  I don’t need an air-conditioned salon. 

         No doubt they are nice and good to have.  But, if I had to bare-bones fish, I’ll take old Santiago in his skiff.  His years of knowledge pitted against hi-tech fiberglass wonders is priceless.  

         Maybe a vanishing breed.  A vanishing style.

         The new age is upon us, but don’t throw out the old school just yet.

Like watching an old movie and seeing Cowboy Bob on his trusty horse getting the girl and catching the bad guy over the Fancy Dan in his horseless carriage.

         So, there they were amid all the big guns with names like “Liquid Gold” with owners from Wyoming. And the Florida team riding on “Tropical Chubasco” or the young turks from New York on “Bull Market.”

         We see “Pepe’s Panga” and there was “La Loca” and “Cazador” pulling right up along-side them.  Ready to charge.

         And sometimes win.  I’ve seen it.  The little pangas that could! .

         Hard not to root for them and cheer all the louder.

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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SAFE AS IT’s GONNA GET?

SAFE AS IT’S GONNA GET? 

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 3, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications.

The Cabo San Lucas Marina…pretty much business as usual with boat traffic although foot traffic was relatively light.

_________________________

    Since the Covid Pandemic hit us last March in Baja, I’ve been been watching things pretty carefully.  I have to.  Being in the travel-activity industry, it’s pretty mandatory.

 

     In that time, I’ve watched us down here go from pretty much completely “RED” (complete stringent shutdown…harsher than the U.S.)…

     ….To “ORANGE” (open but with  strong mandatory restrictions still in place)..

     …..To “YELLOW” (open with a huge easing of restrictions) since September.

 

     Being in the “yellow” has been a huge economic breath for so many of us.  Restaurants, hotels and other businesses were allowed up to 50% occupancy.  Beaches and recreational areas were opened.  Churches, gyms, theaters and other “non-essential” businesses could finally open their doors.

 

     It has not quite been “business as normal” but it’s as close-to-it- as we have seen most of the year.  I think most of us down here have gotten used to it and we’re learning to live with it. 

 

     So many businesses didn’t survive.  The rest of us are just trying to stay afloat as well as possible.

 

     We would surely like to have thing completely open and in the “GREEN” level, but few of us think that’s going to happen anytime soon. 

 

     As with most governments around the world, the folks who make the decisions walk the tightrope trying to balance public safety against economic stagnation.

 

     Will we get to normal by 2021?  Short of some miracle vaccine or it’s equal, I kinda doubt it.  But, bigger brains than mine struggle with those issues.

 

     I will share with you that based on talking to our American clients that have visited us this year, most were surprised about their vacations.

 

     “I think it was safer than being back home in the U.S.  It surely was not any more dangerous” seemed to be the general consensus.

 

     As one of my fishermen told me who visited us twice this year, “I think there are so many safety protocols in place from the time I hit the airport; to the time I reach my hotel . . .hen while I’m in Mexico . . .hat I feel perfectly safe.  The tourist areas seem especially antiseptic with everyone very conscious about sanitation.”

 

     He’s already booked for next year.

 

     In fact, judging from reservations for 2021, it looks like a good year.  Covid or no Covid.

 

     Airlines are flying again.  In fact, several airlines have added or are in the process of adding more flights to Baja. 

 

     I know that for us in La Paz, for the first time in almost a decade, there will be direct flights from the U.S. starting in December. 

 

     I am also reading that some of the airlines are putting back that middle seat or from several flights that I have taken this year, there’s no more social distancing on the flights. They’ve been packed. Sold out.

 

     So, the airlines must be banking on the uptake in tourism to Baja.

 

     I think as an alternative destination, travelers will find Mexico overall a lot more attractive than Europe, Asia or other places which are experiencing another surge in Covid.  And many aren’t too keen to welcome Americans right now anyway.

 

     Pragmatically speaking, if there is a shutdown again, it’s a lot easier to get home from Baja than it is fromEngland or Italy, right? 

 

     My wife and I were supposed to be on a 3-week lifetime trip to South Africa right now.  In hindsight, South Africa would not have been a good place to be stuck.

 

     Even if you’re not flying, it’s not so hard to drive either.

 

     OK, I know there’s this “travel ban” on the border that has been in place for most of the year.  The governments of both Mexico and the U.S. have given no indication when (or if) it’s going to be removed.

 

     But, there’s several things to keep in mind.

 

     First, it does NOT apply to entering Mexico by flying, rail or water.

 

     Secondly, for all practical purposes, it seems to be more of a “suggestion” than an actual mandate.  I know plenty of folks who have driven right through the border without issue.  Some have driven several times. Some do it on a regular basis.

 

     In fact, that’s one of the complaints that has become devisive among the Mexican folks along the borders.

 

     Many decry the apparent “freeflow” of traffic from the U.S.  Keeping in mind the high Covid rates among Americans.

 

     But, there’s a huge contingency that wants and needs those tourism and business dollars that also flow into the country from Americans.

 

     So, it really just is-what-it-is.  That’s the bottom line.

 

     Mostly what I’m hearing from folks booking reservations next year is that Covid or no Covid, they’re coming.  Vaccine or no vaccine they’re coming. 

 

     For better or worse.  Most think it can’t be any worse than it is and frankly a lot of folks are just tired of having been kept home this last year.  Just my two centavos. 

 

     Vamos a ver…we’ll just have to see.

 

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 »

THINGS I WOULD HAVE TOLD MYSELF

On the beach in 1996. I had no idea this would turn into a new career.

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 27, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

          Almost 3 decades down here in Baja now.  I’m not sure I’m “older and wiser” now.  Definitely older. 

         But I was thinking of things I would have (should have?)  told my younger-self back then when I first moved down here that would have made things so much more enlightening and surely easier.

For one, coming from the life of a litigation attorney to a remote part of Baja, I would have told myself to SLOW-THE-HECK-DOWN!   It took a long time to get off the clock.

It took a long time to realize that just because I was running fast, no one was going to run faster to keep up with me and what I wanted or needed.  I would have to adjust and take it down a few notches.

Actually I had to take it way way way down!

Related to that first thing…not that I had a lot of money…but money doesn’t  necessarily make things go faster either.  Things will happen when they happen.

I definitely would have told myself not to be so gullible. 

“Si” (Yes) does not always mean “yes.”  “No” doesn’t always mean “no.” 

Folks aren’t necessarily lying to you.  It means what it means at the time it is said.  It is ALWAYS subject to “re-interpretation” later by the person who said that to me in the first place. 

So, flexibility, patience and adaptability are good to keep close-at-hand.

Again, not that I had a lot of money.  But, I would have told myself there is no such thing as a loan.

The person may ask for a “loan.”  But, honestly, they really probably needed the money more than I did.  They may call it a “loan.”  They may promise to pay it back.

But, in 25 years, I have only had one person ever pay me back.  And it was 4 years later!

A “loan” is really a “gift.”  Don’t loan money or anything else you can’t afford to lose.

I would tell myself never drive off without these things in the car:

  1. Jumper cables
  2. Duct tape and electrical tape
  3. 20 bucks in small bills or pesos hidden somewhere in the car for an emergency
  4. A spare tire
  5. Toilet paper and a shovel

I would have also told myself not to have been so terrified the first time I drove down the Baja Peninsula.  I had read too many stories.  Now that I’ve driven it dozens of times, it’s a wonderful drive that only gets better.

To, my list of things, I would have mentioned, that truly “less is more.”

I brought down way too much stuff that 3 decades later, I am still burdened with.   Did I really need over 100 rods and reels?  Did I really need 200 pounds of tackle?  Did I really need two trailers full of other odds-and-ends?

Along those same lines, I would have told myself that it’s possible to get by with very little and on very little.  I would learn to adapt. I sure learned now to stretch a peso!

 I would learn to fix things.  I would learn that it’s easier to fix something or make do than to run around all day trying to find a replacement.  Or maybe, I was just too lazy. 

I would have smacked myself and told my younger-self to not be so nervous about eating local food.  Oh sure, everyone loves tacos.  But, real Mexican food is NOT like in the U.S.  Eat what everyone eats.  Eat where everyone eats. 

I would have advised myself that getting excited about “living off the grid” is not “living off the grid” like the reality-show people on TV. Real reality is completely different.

I would wake up in the morning with food the first thing on my mind.  Not because I wanted to eat.  It was because I would have to figure out HOW to get food each day.  Catch it?  Trade for it? Find it? Pull it from the ground or ocean?

No grocery stores.  No restaurants where I lived.

Living off the grid required some serious thought. There’s no safety net. 

Digging a well just to have drinking water.   Hooking up marine batteries to make one light bulb work. 

Treating ice like gold because that was the only way to keep my food.  No frig.  Only an ice chest in 100-degree heat.

Hoping to catch a fish for dinner because that’s all there was.  Hoping some desert critter didn’t eat my tomato plant required critical thinking and planning.

I had never imagined those things when I moved down.

I would tell myself that there is nothing you cannot trade for. When money is scarce, barter works just as well.  Trade tomatoes for meat.  Fish for writing paper.  Cigarettes for beer.  Old t-shirts for tortillas.

I would have told myself that I would meet some of the best friends in my life and come to appreciate and love a people and culture like no other.

I would never have figured that I’d also meet my awesome wife and two great kids.  That was not part of the plan.  (Not sure I would have told myself that…maybe romance is best left as a surprise!)

Mostly, I think I would have told myself that it was going to be the adventure of a lifetime. It was going to be an incredible experience.  It was going to be the best thing I had ever done and something most people would never experience.

I would have reminded myself that it’s better to try something than have regrets later on.

Lastly, I would have told myself there was no language barrier that a smile could not overcome. 

I would have told myself that everything was going to be just fine .

That’s my story!

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

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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SMALL CO-INCIDENCES…LITTLE BLESSINGS

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 20, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

_____________________

It’s been a helluva year, hasn’t it?

Definitely one for the books and a year none of us will ever forget.  It’s been unlike any year in history if you think about it.  Surely, in our lifetimes.

…and it’s not over yet.

…and it’s not going to change automatically just because the calendar flips to 2021 in two months.  Or because the crazy election is over in November. 

We simply don’t know.  Maybe it will get worse.  Quien sabe?  Who knows?

I was thinking about that the other day.  It could get worse?  Really?

For ourselves, how many more punches to the nose can we take and still remain standing?

And while I was sitting there sinking into “bluesville” and edging into feeling sorry for myself…

My wife, Jilly nudged me as she often does and interrupted my thoughts.  She’s always looking at her cellphone.

“Hey, look at this photo of the grandkids!  Pretty cute aren’t they?”

A cellphone with two grinning little ones was shoved into my face. 

…and I laughed.

Yea. They are pretty cute at that. 

“Remember that last time when we had them over for that barbecue? We had the huge blow-up pool from Walmart all set up and we all jumped in and splashed around with them?”

Actually, I do.  And it was a lot of fun.  Silly fun with silly grandkids and sillier adults.

And it made me smile.

Maybe it was more than just serendipitous co-incidence that she had nudged me.

Divine intervention? 

A poke from the galactic powers of the universe to sit up and take notice and stop whining?

There really were a lot of reasons to smile. 

In the middle of all the insanity, there were and are many blessings.

In fact, at the time this happened, my toes were buried in warm sand.

On a beach. At the ocean… in the sunshine… under a palapa with a plate of shrimp and a cold beer.

How terrible is that?

Only reason for that was business was slow. Like all businesses. Bummer.  Had a few hours to kill.

We live about 30 yards from the water’s edge.  Gosh…we run a fishing operation in Baja where I daily have to push boats into the water by hand up to my waist in the waves. 

Our restaurant is on the waterfront steps from the bay.

And I realized this was the first time in more than five years that I had actually taken time with my wife to sit on the beach. 

Because business was slow.

But, here I was.  Able to  sit and enjoy and put my toes in the sand and jump into the water…not for work.  Just for the heck of it.

We had snuck away from work for just a few precious hours. 

And then all the other stolen moments…that we never get to do normally.

Dinner out with clients.

Taking time to smoke a cigar and have a beer with friends.

Time with the kids and watching the grandkids grow up.

Watch a movie on TV from beginning-to-end without having to watch it in 30-minute increments over a week.

All the home dinners where Jill and I got to play in the kitchen and actually have real conversations.

Occasional naps.

I actually finished a book or two.

I had time to do some gardening and construction projects

Take a walk.

All the little unusual blessings in the maelstrom of a turbulent year.

I NEVER do these things.  I never have time to do these things running our businesses. 

Forced “time out.”

And, all those other things?

Ultimately, they were just “inconveniences.”  Most things we don’t like in life are just that…inconveniences.

There aren’t that many things in life that are “critical” if you have your health and family.

This just happened to be a year of more than incredible “inconveniences.”

We all had our health.

Wearing masks…inconvenience.

Social distancing…(sigh)…inconvenience.

No restaurants…movies…parks…sports…inconvenience.

No more than 2 persons in a car…inconvenience.

Re-runs on Netflix and Roku…inconvenience.

Getting completely sanitized before they let you into any building…inconvenience.

Standing in line at 4 a.m. for groceries and toilet paper…BIG STUPID INCONVENIENCE.

Waiting 40-deep at markets for beer here in Baja when they shut down the breweries (non-essential business)…MAYBE THE BIGGEST STUPIDEST INCONVENIENCE OF ALL!

But we endured.  And we endure s’more.

Many many many folks here in Baja and everywhere in the world have it so much worse than us. It’s beyond critical. It’s tragic.

There’s a zillion conflicts and turmoils swirling everywhere. 

But right now.  Right then… Next to my wife on a sunny beach in Mexico is a blessing.

Will have to clean up and get back to work in an hour or so.

But, I gotta remember to savor these little moments. Little co-incidences.  Little blessings.  Little miracles.

Please pass me another beer.

And thank you, Lord.   Thank you galactic powers of the universe.

For small blessings and little miracles. And co-incidences.

And the occasional poke in the side.

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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END-OF-THE-YEAR BAJA

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 7, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

It’s been a heck-of-a-year, hasn’t it?

A lot of us just want to press “fast forward” and put 2020 behind us with hopes that 2021 will be different.  Or at least back to some semblance of normalcy.

If not 2021, then how about 2020 version (2.0)?  A lot of us would settle for that!

A few months ago, I was in that same tank.  Tired of quarantine . Tired of protocols. Tired of restrictions.

Tired or looking at empty beaches you couldn’t go on.  Tired of looking down empty streets and restaurant that remained closed.

As a fishing operation down here in Baja, it was disheartening to take another phone call or answer another e-mail with another client needing to cancel their fishing trips.  It was either because of nervousness, age, pre-existing medical conditions or plain old fear.

Some cancelations had nothing to do with the fishermen who were eager to come down.  However, they had to cancel through no fault of their own.   For example, their flight was canceled again…and again.  Or that the immigration office was not processing passports this year “until Covid was under conrol!” 

And so, the clients just gave up out of shear frustration and put postponed their trips.

I get it.  I got it.  Sure…WHAM…every day.  Every day another punch right in the kisser.

Just the way it is.  This year. Like you, we keep rolling on.

But, with each passing week, I gotta say, things are looking more optimistic.  Maybe, I’m just getting used to the new “normal” here.

I look around and I’m saying, “This is not a bad time at all to be down here.” 

Check it out. 

For better or worse, we’ve been blessed with cooler temperatures this year.  The sun is out and it’s warm, but we’ve been spared all the 100-degree temps we normally see in the season.

Because there’s been so little boat traffic, the waters are markedly cleaner and clearer.  Although fishing has been up-and-down, my divers and snorkelers are telling me that not only is the water clearer, but there’s a lot more sea-life happening as well.  They’re seeing a lot more down there than normal .

I look scan the city’s  the main streets.  I see palm trees in the breeze and very little traffic.  It’s like Baja 20 years ago.  The air is cleaner too!

I can actually get seated at a restaurant without reservations. And, my gosh…the service is so much faster and friendlier as well.  You’ve been missed!

The waterfront tourist areas are not should-to-shoulder tourists bumping into each other.   You can actually walk and stroll like in the old days.

The hotels have great deals and it’s nice to be in the pool without 50 drunk guys or kids doing cannonballs right on your head.  I can swim a lap and don’t have to dodge anyone. The swim-up bar always has a seat  waiting for me too. 

Wanna go somewhere?  Taxi drivers found their manners again. 

They’re willing to take you anywhere.  Willing to make a deal with you too!  You’re not taken for granted anymore.  They also know they’re competing with UBER and other services. 

Remember landing at the Cabo Airport then finding that standing in line for immigration and customs sometimes took longer than your flight?  Crowds are largely gone. 

You grab your luggage and you’re out the door.  You can start your vacation with a smile instead of being worn out from a travel day.

More airlines are coming back.  More airlines are adding routes to Baja as well.  Prices are back to being competitive.  You may not get a happy meal or a cocktail on the flight anymore, but the airlines want you back in the worst way.

You want to go snorkeling or diving?  You want a sunset cruise?  You want to rent a car or ATV?  Finally try paddleboarding? 

And fishing?  Sure, there’s boats available and they can’t wait for you to climb aboard.

Step up!  There’s no waiting. 

Yea, it’s not such a bad time to be here afterall!

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 »

A PARALLEL UNIVERSE

A PARALLEL UNIVERSE?

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 18, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

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Have you ever found yourself during the day going through your usual routine and everything is just dandy?   But somewhere, somehow you feel something is not quit right.

Hmmm….

Did you leave the iron on or tthe water running back home?  Nope.

Forget to feed the dogs and cats?  Nope

Got your wallet and keys?  Check.

A birthday or anniversary or other event missed?  Nope

Underwear on right side out?  All good.

Just can’t put your finger on it.  But, you know something just isn’t co-pacetic.  There’s a slight disturbance in the force.

 

We’ve been up and running our fishing operation and small café and mini-market mostly for 2 months now here in La Paz.  Like everyone else, just trying to pull-it-together and hold-it-together after 4 months of strict quarantine.

Moving forward as as best as we can.  No other choice.

We’re thankful to be on our feet.  Moving slowly, but gratefully.  There’s a lot of our friends and neighbors who are not so lucky.  No jobs.  No money. Closed businesses.  Layoffs continuing.

We are allowed only 30% occupancy at hotels and restaurants as well as other places of business.   But frankly,  there’s not enough people around to come close to that.  Maybe 10-20% on a good day.

I guess, however, we’re settling into our groove.  We have clients and friends coming and going like usual.   They’re catching fish and doing the things they always do.

But after two months something is sorely amiss or missed.

We’re missing something here.

It wasn’t until about a week ago, it hit me.  I was saying good bye to some folks that  were headed out to the airport.   And I reailzed…in SIX DAYS… I hadn’t even seen their faces!  I had no idea what they looked like.

Conversely, they hadn’t seen mine either.

I’m not sure how to describe this.

When they arrive from the airport, they have their masks and go straight to their rooms.   I see them for about 5 minutes in the morning when we put them on the boats.

On the boats,  everyone is masked up.  The captains are wearing them.  The clients are wearing them.  It doesn’t do much for social interaction.  No one likes talking through a mask.

When they come to our restaurant, again, mask are on.  They take them off when they are eating, but because of social distancing, it’s not like the old days when I’d pull up a chair; have a beer and socialize.

Or I stand 6’ away and try to have some kinds of conversation.   It’s not very conducive to chatting.

So, after a number of days here, clients come.  They go.  And I’ve spent maybe 15 minutes total time with them.  Hello.  Now good-bye!

Hate to admit it, but with the safety protocols, it’s lonely and boring!  I understand the need for all of these things to be in place.  But they have made fishing and dining so anti-septically clinical,  that it’s truly taken the fun out’ve it.

Fishing was always a social event.  You get together with the guys or the family and you come fish and have a good time.  We chat and laugh and I get to see real smiles.

We don’t even shake hands, hug or high-five anymore. When they’re trying to show off-photos of their catch, be careful not to get too close.

I can’t help carry their luggage.  No one touches anything or immediately, you pull your gel out.

Even moving around town is different.

Have you ever been to Universal Studios where you’re walking down one of those movie-set city blocks?”   Everything in those movie cities and neighborhoods is perfect.

The people are perfect. Cars are perfect.  Everything is clean and spotless.   Everyone looks straight ahead. Got their masks on.  No eye contact.  No “Buenos dias.”  No waving hello.  No talking.

If anyone were smiling, you would never know it.

It’s just like they are all movie “extras” following a script and you’re just in the middle wondering what’s going on.

People here move from Point A to Point B and then they get off the street.

There’s no kids out.  There’s no teenagers out.  No families.

No laughter.  No smiles.  No joy.  No fun.

That’s what’s missing.

…and that’s my story.

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

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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ENDEAVOR to PERSEVERE

ENDEAVOR to PERSEVERE

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 17, 2019 in Western Outdoor News Publications

maxresdefault

I know it’s the holiday season.

 

Christmas is still two weeks away and I don’t wanna sound like the Grinch. I love Christmas!

However,  a couple of nights ago, I was overdosing on Christmas movies.  One-after-the-other on TV non-stop.

 

Ever been there?  A little too much sugar and spice at one time?

 

All the Hallmark movies end the same.  Pretty girl falls in love with the good-looking guy in the cute Christmas village.

 

Clarence gets his wings with the help of Jimmy Stewart and a Wonderful Life.

 

Charlie Brown and his little tree give us the true meaning of Christmas.

 

Bing Crosby had his White Christmas after all.

 

Y’know, as much as I love Christmas movies, there’s only so much sweetness and goodness a guy can take in a row.   So, I did a 180 with the TV remote.

 

I popped on Clint Eastwood and “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”  Yea!

outlaw-josey-wales

 

Nothing like a squinty-eyed Clint with a big pistol in his hands to bring a guy’s testosterone levels back in line.

 

Hardly Christmas stuff, but what the heck…

 

There’s some gems in there.  You may remember, actor Chief Dan George as the old Indian Lone Watie.  He says to Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood)

 

“Endeavor to persevere.”

Josey wales

 

It’s a phrase that kinda stuck with me.  In fact, I was reminded of it just a few days ago.

 

Jerry and his buddy, Alex, have been fishing with our operation in La Paz for about 10 years.  Jerry wrote me an e-mail asking for suggestions on what kind of fishing gear to get for Alex for Christmas.

 

Not an unusual question on its face.  But, the e-mail had some “involved” questions about “dual drags” and “graphite rods vs. fiberglass.”  There were questions about “knife jigs” and “colors of trolling lures.”  Did I know anything about “retrieve ratios” for fishing reels?

 

Let me put this in context.

 

Ten years ago, Jerry and Alex when they first came to visit, they couldn’t catch a fish if fish jumped in the boat.   In fact, they had never fished in the ocean, let alone fishing in Mexico.

 

They weren’t terrible.

 

Let’s just say they were “inexperienced.”

 

They fumbled with rods and reels.  They tried to tie knots that came undone.  They busted rod tips and tangled lines.  Hooks ended up catching hats and clothes.  Open tackle boxes tipped over spilling all manners of “stuff” on the floor.

fishing-bad-fail-768x413

 

We’ve all been there in some way, shape or form.  But these two brothers just couldn’t get the hang of it.

 

Fish were lost.  Bites were missed.  How can they be the ONLY boat in my fleet that comes back with zero fish during a wide-open bite?

 

Not just one day…almost every day.

fish-snaggers-4x32

 

I try to make a point every day of talking to each of my fishermen to check on them.  And every day, Jerry and Alex had the longest faces.

 

And a lot of questions They couldn’t understand why everyone else was catching fish except them.

 

Every day, I’d answer their questions.  We would try to figure out where their technique was off.  Try to rally and encourage them.

 

But, pretty much everything they tried just complicated it.  In my mind, they were simply thinking too much and trying to hard.  Concepts like how to pin a bait were concepts that just couldn’t grasp.

 

But, give ‘em credit, they hung in there.

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When I bid them “adios” and thanked them for visiting, I was sure they wouldn’t come back.

 

I shook their hands.  All I could say was, “Hope you had a good time and I’m sorry you didn’t catch more fish.”  What else could I say?

 

They shook my hand and thanked me and one of them smiled and said, “Endeavor to persevere” as he ducked into the shuttle van.

 

Endeavor to persevere?   OK.  Whatever.

 

At the time, I figured it meant, “O well, that’s fishing.”  See ya around.

 

Like I said, I thought I’d never see them again.

 

But, every year, they returned.

 

Every year they got a little better.  It took a bit, but the next year, they caught a few more fish although they still bumbled.  And they still had a mound of questions each day after fishing.

 

And, normally pretty shy guys, I saw them talking to other fishermen too.

 

And each year, they got a bit better.  So, did their gear.

 

That first year, it was like some kid at Walmart or Target sold ‘em a bill of goods and made a helluva commission.  They came with so much junk they were told they “must have” to fish in Mexico.  I felt sorry for them.

 

But the more they learned and watched, the better the gear got.  It was good to see.

 

Other guys were still catching more and bigger.  But Alex and Jerry were starting to have more fun.

 

Not one time in all those years did I hear them bitch about anything.  It was never “the captain’s fault” or “the weather and current” or “bad bait.”

 

They hung in there.  They persevered.  And they got better.

 

And it was more fun for me too.  Anyone in this business likes to have folks enjoying themselves.

 

I reminded the guys about that first year and them saying “ Endeavor to persevere”.  Apparently, they were fans of Josey Wales too.

 

Alex told me, “Clint never gives up. “

 

Simple as that.  No other explanation needed.  And then he asked me how to tie a San Diego knot.

 

I think I’m gonna get a t-shirt that says, “Endeavor to Persevere.”  Wise words to hold onto.  No matter what you’re doing.

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 »

C.P.R. for FISH

C.P.R. for FISH

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 24, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

release-right-main

We had several pangas-slow trolling the shallow turquoise waters off Punta Arenas. White sands met the Sea of Cortez in colors worthy of any travel brochure.

 

We are in roosterfish land.

rooster Dave big one tags

 

The big kings of the beach in this area can range from 40-over-100-pounds.  We had already landed and released two 60-pound fish and were hoping for at least one more.

 

Two other guys in the panga 50 yards away suddenly started whooping.  They had a double strike and the boat was in pandemonium mode.

 

Both guys were on bent rods already moving and dancing around the stern of the panga trying to keep the lines tight and untangled.  The captain was alternately steering the boat; coaching the anglers; and trying to keep the deck cleared.

 

The big fish were tearing up the waters behind the boat.  We could hear the reels singing.

 

We needed to change our own baits so we stopped our panga and all of us watched the crazy activity in the other panga.  It made for some fun video. Time for a cold beer anyway.

 

In about 15 minutes both fish were simultaneously brought to the boat.  Everyone was high-fiving and whooping it up.  As they should!  Judging just by the dorsal fins of the submerged fish, they were legit 50-70 pound roosters.

 

This was confirmed as both fish were lifted into the panga.

One fish, was unceremoniously plopped on the deck. The other was dropped by the tired angler.  I could see the anglers and skipper jump as the fish thrashed.

 

Then, of course congratulatory photos.

 

This pose.  That pose.  Double pose.  Hold them this way.  Hold them that way.  Snap! Snap! Snap!  Your camera.  My camera.  Now with the captain.  You know how it goes.

 

Then, of course holding the fish up so we could see!  Of course, we gave them some sportsmanlike applause and thumbs-up.

 

Photos done, I could see everyone bending over and trying to unhook the fish.  It looked problematic, but ultimately, it was clear that hooks and lines were unhitched.

 

Then, both fish were lifted and heaved up and over the side in cannonball splats!  More high-fives, knuckle taps, and fist-bumping.

 

Good for them.

 

But, as we pulled away to start trolling again, I had to cringe about how the fish were handled.  No doubt, I’m glad the fish were released and the other anglers were well-intentioned.

 

I could only hope the fish survived.

 

There’s a right and a wrong way to C.P.R. a fish (Catch-Photo-Release).

wayne seibert rooster release 9-16

 

For one, time is of the essence. Actually, it’s the most important thing.

 

A fighting fish builds up lactic acid in their muscles just like any human who exercises strenuously.  The longer the fight, the more lactic acid builds up.  In fish, this can be lethal.

 

Once the fight is over, if you can do your photos and the release without taking the fish out’ve the water, all the better.  Once you pull the fish out’ve the water a bunch of things happen.

 

In the water, fish have neutral buoyancy.  When you take them out, gravity takes over and internal organs can be severely damages.

 

This is especially true if you hold the fish (as we have all done), with the head up and tail down.  It’s just not a natural position for the fish and all it’s innards.

 

Also, dropping the fish on the deck is a knucklehead move.

 

Fish need water to breathe.

 

So, for obvious reasons, once the fish is out’ve the water, it’s suffocating.  It’s just been fighting for it’s life and now it can’t breathe because you have a 10-minute photo session.

 

Imagine running several hundred-yard dashes as if an army of zombies was after you.  At the end of 10 minutes…15 minutes…an hour of running full-speed, someone pinches off your nose and mouth so you can’t breathe!

 

 

A couple of other pointers.

 

As mentioned, holding a fish vertically isn’t doing the fish much good.  How you hold it can further exacerbate the damage.

 

Holding it by the gill and probably damaging it’s breathing apparatus is a fail. So, is sticking your fingers in it’s eyeball sockets!  OUCH.

 

The fish also have a very important slime covering their bodies.

 

The more you touch it, the more that slime rubs off.  That coating is important in warding off infections.  Another reason why dropping it on the deck to wiggle and squirm is a bad move.

 

Removing the hooks properly is essential as well.

 

For your own protection, as well as the fish, use long nose plyers.  If all else fails, it might be better to just cut the line as close to the hook as you can rather than further injure the fish.

 

Better to get it back into the water faster.

 

Undoubtedly, there’s some controversy on this topic.

 

Some say that the hook will eventually cause an infection that kills the fish.  Others say that the hook will eventually rust out.  For that reason, some anglers use bronze hooks instead of stainless steel whenever they can.

 

People with bigger brains than mine might someday figure that one out.  Personally, I would just like to get the fish in the water and on-it’s-way ASAP.

 

Finally, for the actual release, be gentle.

 

Tossing it into the air like a pizza to come down in a big splat doesn’t cut it.

 

If you can,  gently get the fish moving back-and-forth in the water. This helps re-oxigenate it’s gills.  For a big fish slowly moving the boat forward while carefully holding the fish helps accelerate getting the fish back to normal and reviving it .

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

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!

_____________

 


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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