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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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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.”

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THEY’RE MAKING IT TOO EASY!

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

License plates say a lot about certain areas. 

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

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

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

Anyway, you get the gist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything had to be planned and calculated.

You actually had to plan meals way in advance. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was living in the “frontera” of Baja.

Fast forward 2020.

Transportation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All “essential” things!

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

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

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

Progress and technology in Baja.  Living the dream!

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

That’s my story!

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

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

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

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

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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.”

Read Full Post »

BAJA GROUND ZERO VOICES

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BAJA GROUND ZERO VOICES

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

I thought this week rather than headline news, you might be interested in comments from locals and gringos living in Baja regarding what it’s like south of the border right now.

It’s not too different from the U.S. But, just to give you some context:

Currently, as of this writing Mexico has more than 2000 fatalities and 23,000 reported cases.

The states of Baja Norte and Baja Sur have about 2000 cases with about 40 deaths.

The statewide quarantine is in effect until May 30th.  For almost 2 months, all beaches, schools, public areas, restaurants, stores and other non-essential businesses have been closed.   There is an 8 p.m. curfew in place. 

Many tourism businesses are making plans to re-open after the first of June. A number of airlines plan to start flying during that time as well.

Here’s just a small slice of what folks are thinking and, in many ways, it’s not too far from what many of us are experiencing.

HORACIO (49-year-old-taxi-driver) – It is very difficult. We do not have too many cases in La Paz, but we watch the U.S. news and it is crazy. I need to work. There are no riders for my taxi and no gas for the car. There is no other money.

ANGELINA (Single Mother of 2) – In our town the government announced a food truck would arrive with lots of food. We waited 4 hours with several hundred other families. No truck ever showed up. Several weeks earlier, they did the same thing, but the first people got all the bags they could carry. There was nothing left for anyone else. Then, the workers were told they were only supposed to give 2 bags to each family.

 
NINITA (Retired teacher 60 years old) – I am OK because I have a retirement check. But, my grown children all lost their jobs so they have moved back with me. Even my daughter that teaches in the United States returned because her school closed. They eat A LOT! It is nice to be together again, but I am worried for them.

JEFFREY (Retired gringo living just outside Tijuana) – At first we didn’t take it seriously. Then people blamed the U.S. for infecting us so they wanted to block the border. Kind of ironic really. All the Americans were crossing the border to buy toilet paper and there were lines at all the big box stores like COSTCO.

LORENZO – (panga captain) – There is not much to do. No business. Normally, we are very busy. We live 40 miles from the city and our pueblo has no internet. School is closed. We have no TV. We cannot go to the city because the roads are blocked. There is no medical care here and no money for gasoline for the panga or the car.

CHALO – (cook 52-years -old) – The restaurant I work at closed. So, I stay at home. But, there is not even beer to drink. All the breweries got closed by the government. So, shelves are empty or the prices are triple normal. Some people are selling blackmarket illegally from their homes or trunks. The police will arrest us if we are out past 8 p.m. But, I know people that still have parties.  I have no car so I can’t go anywhere.

NORMAN – (70 year old retired American) – Many gringo neighbors had to decide to stay in Mexico or leave. I understand many of my friends are older and high-risk so they didn’t want to take a chance with Mexican medical care. There’s no shortage in the markets and this is my home so I plan to stay. But, I have many things like TV and a computer and internet that locals unfortunately do not have.
ROSALIA – (43 years old office assistant and mother) – I have a reduced salary and work hours, but my husband cannot work. He got sick during the quarantine and has been in the hospital several times for emergencies to his kidneys. I cannot visit him in the hospital and be with him because of the virus. But, they send him home very quickly after treatments because of the virus in the hospitals. Then, his illness comes back.

JACOBO – (Musician and graphic artist) With all the restaurants and bars closed I have no place to play but I can make a little money online doing graphic design. I am from mainland Mexico and moved to Baja. I was going to move back home with my parents when the virus first hit Baja. My parents are both doctors and told me to stay in Baja where it is safer. Everyone is angry at the politicians. They did not act quickly enough.

Many people ignore the quarantines and defy authorities. They have parties. They go to the beach. They do not respect social distancing. They do not believe this is a big problem.

 
ZACHARY – When the quarantine hit, I had just pulled the sailboat I live on out’ve the water. I didn’t think this would be two months. I am on a boat sitting on blocks on DRY LAND in a dusty boat yard ! Not my favorite idea of social distancing. Cabin fever crazy right now!

SERGIO – (Transportation Driver) – My wife keeps making me clean the house. We have the cleanest house in the neighborhood. I need to get out before my wife makes me clean the house again. But there is nowhere to go!

That’s my (their) 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 »

FAMILY PLANNING

kids-fishing-with-parents

Could be the start of a lifetime of memories

FAMILY PLANNING

Originally Published the Week of  Feb. 11, 2020 in Western Outdoors Publications

This is the time of year when lots of folks are planning their fishing vacations to Mexico for the coming year.  Conversely, this is the time of year when folks like us, who run fishing operations, answer a lot of questions.

 

With increasing frequency, we get numerous questions about bringing family members in general and kids, in particular.  More-and-more, it’s not Ralph and the buddies coming fishing anymore.  It’s Ralph and his family or Ralph and his son(s).

 

Indeed, with travel increasingly easier and, with many more family-friendly facilities, it’s a no-brainer to want to bring the family or introduce them to south-of-the-border fishing.

 

But, let’s focus on the kids for now.

 

Ultimately, you know your kids better than anyone.  I hope.

 

You would think.

 

But, honestly, after 25 years, nothing surprises me.  There are some parents that seem to have no clue about their kids.  If the outdoors, or fishing, isn’t of any interest, you can’t drag them kicking and screaming onto the water.

 

No judgment.  But, it’s not for everyone.

 

I don’t like cherry tomatoes.  I don’t like wearing wet socks.  I don’t dislike baseball, but I’d rather watch a football game.  I get it.

 

Some little girls we see down here are way more into the outdoors than their brothers. They carry rods. Bait their own hooks.  Love getting dirty.

 

And that’s way cool too.  But, the brother might be a math whiz. Also, very cool.

 

But, if you are bringing them down and plan to go fishing, remember that it’s all about them…not YOU.

 

Some folks forget about that.  It’s not about you catching the most fish or the biggest fish.  It’s not about seeing how much beer you can drink on the boat and letting the captain or deckhand do all the work and babysits.

 

Remember that a lot of us got interested and love this sport because probably someone older and smarter and more experienced like our own dads, an uncle, an older friend or brother took the time with us.

 

Take the time with them and make it a positive experience.

 

First and foremost, see to their safety and comfort.

 

Make sure they understand about the ocean and water.  It’s a bonus if they can swim, but maybe this is their first saltwater experience.

 

Most operators in Mexico don’t have kid-sized flotation devices (life jackets).  It’s impossible. Kids come in all sizes.

 

If they do have kid-sized flotation devices, they are bulky and uncomfortable.  So go out and find a flotation device they can wear comfortably all day.

 

Also, you would think common sense would prevail, but you’d be surprised.

 

Don’t forget sun protection like SPF lotion (and it really helps if you put it on regularly).  Hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts keep them comfortable.  A painful sunburn later on isn’t going to help anyone’s vacation.

 

If the boat has shade, encourage them to stay in the shade as much as possible.

 

Further, gear the trip to what they can reasonably handle and have a good time.

 

It doesn’t do to take a first-timer out in rough weather and big-seas on a 30 mile boat-ride to the fishing grounds.  You prove nothing and you might end up with a sick kid who wants nothing more to do with your “idiotic sport.”

 

Nor does it help to put the youngster into a situation they’re not ready to handle or doesn’t lead to positive results.

 

For example, I know very few adults that can handle 100-pound tuna.  Let alone a first-timer.  Let alone a youngster who has never caught anything maybe larger than a bluegill or stocked trout.

 

Gear the trip to their experience and fun level.

 

Bring lots of good food and drinks too.  No one knows better than you how good food tastes when you’re outdoors.  Some of my best memories as a kid fishing wasn’t always the fishing. It was the great lunches my mom and dad always set up for the picnic or on the boat.

 

Do the same!  In between fishing, it’s a great time to share a bite.

Nolan and me 2 edit

Several years ago, we took our 2-year-old grandson out on a panga.  He was still in pampers.

 

But, we picked a calm day and took him close to shore.  Waters were shallow, clear blue and he could see the fish under the boat.

 

We held the rod and reel and he turned the handle, but he got the idea pretty quickly and really enjoyed catching fish (and playing with them in the bucket).

 

We also released fish too.  We pointed out birds and dolphin and other boats.

 

We didn’t stay out long, but then took him to the beach to swim and splash around.  All-in-all a good start and a positive day for all of us!

 

We taught him about” high-fiving” and saying things like “BOO-YAA!”

 

Encourage, praise and be excited.  You’re grooming a new fishing buddy!

 

And we took lots of photos.

 

By all means, take lots of photos.  You’re only passing through this way one time!  Make it special and hold onto those memories of a lifetime.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

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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ENDEAVOR to PERSEVERE

ENDEAVOR to PERSEVERE

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

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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.

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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.

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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 »

RUNNING LEANER

RUNNING LEANER

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 19, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

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There’s that old saying, “Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”

 

If you’re a fisherman like me, you got toys.  Lots of toys.  And we like to play with our toys and surround ourselves with lots of our toys.  Deep inside, we’re still little boys.

 

Just the way we are.

 

So, when I go on fishing trips, I want to bring all my toys with me. Bring the whole garage full if possible.  And use them all too.

 

And you want back-up gear for your backup gear.

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A 3 day fishing trip to Baja?

 

Well, let’s see.

 

Eight sticks…2 trolling rods…4 bait rods…2 jig sticks.  Check.

 

Of course, that means 8 reels to match.  And 3 extra reels in-case there’s a malfunction like a handle falls off or you burn-out the drags.  Check.

 

Terminal tackle:

 

50 hooks of each size

20 jigs in all colors and shapes

5 pounds of lead

20 trolling feathers

Squid jigs

Large, medium and small rod belts/ harnesses

Leader material in all sizes from 10-100 pound sizes

…and of course something to carry it all in.  Check

 

100-quart ice chest.  Check.

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Over the years, I’ve seen anglers bring some other weird stuff too!

 

One guy brought his own anchor.

Another brought a machete.

A fish-finder and battery

A large battery-operated bait tank

A fish caller that made sounds underwater to “call fish.”

A harpoon.  Yea…a full-sized harpoon.

 

C’mon, man!

 

But, in all honesty, it’s great to have it but for just a few days on the water, how much do you really need?  How much will you realistically use?

 

Especially, in these days of airlines increasing the restrictions on the size and weight of luggage and the prohibitive fees for exceeding those restrictions, it’s time to re-evaluate.

 

If it’s you and a buddy, consider combining your gear, as much as it hurts to share.  Put all your rods in one container.  Share hooks, jigs and other equipment.

 

Downsize!  There’s some great travel rods out there these days that will literally fit in an overhead compartment.

 

Ask your charter operator what you really need.  Maybe they already have some or all of your gear and it’s good stuff.  Leave what you don’t need home.

 

If you’re chasing dorado, there’s no need to pack a Penn 50W International. Match your reels to what you will realistically be targeting. Or consider bringing lighter gear and use the heavier gear provided.

 

For taking fish home, consider soft-sided coolers.  Hard-size ice-chests weight a lot with absolutely nothing in them.  Soft-coolers weigh only a few pounds and you can put a lot more fish in them and still stay under the airline weight restrictions.  Plus, they’re a lot easier to haul around.

 

I’m not talking about cold coolers like you bring ice-cream home from the market or keep your drinks cold at a tailgate picnic.  These are genuine cold bags that are often airline-rated and will keep your fillets frozen for many hours or even a day or two.

 

These coolers are also great on a boat.  They will keep drinks and ice colder longer than a hard-sided cooler.  Plus, again, a lot easier to handle than a hard-sided cooler.

 

You also want to check your airlines too.  Some, like Southwest allow for free bags.  Others might be cheaper, but charge a lot for luggage and especially for being over-weight or over-sized.

 

One other thing, consider leaving some of your gear behind for your captain or crew.  It’s a great good-will gesture although should NOT be done in lieu of a tip.

 

Gear is expensive in Mexico and would be extremely welcome as a gift.  Do you really need to drag home all that lead or 10 jigs?  It will help lighten the load home.

 

Either way, leave the harpoon in the garage!

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That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

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