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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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MAKING YOUR CAPTAIN “SMARTER”

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MAKING YOUR CAPTAIN “SMARTER”

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 5, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

I’ve been in the fishing biz now for several decades full-time and another few decades part-time.  I’ve been a guide, deckhand, galley cook, tackle store manager, fishing-school instructor and fleet owner.

 

At the end of the day, I’ve heard a lot of goofy stuff come out’ve people’s mouths.  The majority is great good stuff about what a great time folks had.

 

However,I can tell when I’m gonna get an earful.  And it usually co-incides with a slow fishing day.

 

It usually starts with…

 

“I had a great day…BUT… “ (Here it comes.)

 

“I have a comment to make …”  (Get ready to duck.)

 

“Here’s what YOU need to do better…” (I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before you mentioned it.)

 

“Just a little bit of friendly constructive criticism…” (Of course!)

 

Or…

 

“My captain was so stupid…”

 

I can usually take personal criticism on the chin.  It’s part of doing business and honestly, most folks mean well.

 

And, like I said, this goes hand-in-hand with a slow fishing day.  If the fish are biting, it solves all ills just like magic!

 

So, when someone opens up about one of our captains…a guy who has pretty much spent his whole life in one spot fishing for a living and feeding his family and spent years catering to sportsmen…I like to hear just how “stupid” he was.

 

It usually boils down to the stupidity of the captain either “lost a fish” or “produced less fish” than expected.

 

Well, here’s some tips I’ve come up with to improve the fishing I.Q. of any captain.

 

Watch your lines.

 

Keep your lines in front of you and straight out.  And keep the slack out.

 

There’s the old adage about “no angles no tangles.”  Keeping your line in front of you instead of “under the boat” or “criss-crossing” another line or off at an angle, prevents tangling other lines.

 

Lost time extricating you and re-rigging costs everyone time you could be fishing.

 

Follow your fish.

 

In other words, as the fish moves around, YOU move around too.  You’re not glued to the chair.  Your feet are not nailed to the deck.

 

If the fish moves right, YOU move right.  If it goes left and around the bow, YOU follow it around the bow too!

 

Fish can move fast.  Anticipate where it’s swimming and going to swim.  You go there too!

 

No, the dumb captain did NOT lose your fish in the prop of the motor.  No, the stupid captain did not tangle you in your buddy’s line.  It’s usually because YOU didn’t follow your fish.

 

Novices, especially think the fishing reel is a winch.  If you turn the handle it will winch the fish to you no matter where your line is.

 

No matter where the fish is swimming.  No matter how strong or how big the fish.   Turning the handle will “bend the fish to your will.”

 

Not so.  All the reel does is recover fishing line and store it.

 

And, if a fish is running, it helps slow the fish down with brakes (drag) that evenly puts pressure on the line to make it harder for the fish to swim away and helps tire the fish.

 

But simply turning the handle as much as you can with all of your strength in-and-of-itself will not make the fish come to you.

 

Lifting your rod or following your fish IN CONJUNCTION with turning the handle picks up slack line which ergo brings the fish closer to you.

 

Additionally, don’t let up.  It’s tempting to want to be a spectator.  Fishing is indeed fascinating to watch.  If you’re the one in the middle of it, you want to see that fish.  It’s new.  It’s exciting.

 

And that’s also how you lose fish.

 

Most fish are lost at the very beginning.  When all the adrenaline and neurons are blowing up in your brain with the excitement of getting bit, anglers forget what to do.  They freeze up.  They want to watch!

 

I get it.

 

And they lose fish at the very end.    It’s been a long battle.  The angler is tired.  You can see color on the fish.  Almost there…

 

…and that’s when the angler takes a look. That’s when they’re fumbling with their GoPro camera or their fishing buddy is wiggling in to take an “action shot.”

 

That’s when the angler drops the rod tip or momentarily diminishes the pressure on the fish.

 

The fish gets a 2nd wind and bolts again. Or throws the hook. Or the line snaps.  Not the captain’s fault.  The battle isn’t over until the fish is in the boat.

 

And when the fish finally is close, there’s a right and a wrong way to bring a fish to the gaff.

 

Bring it as close as possible.

 

Time after time, I see anglers get the fish close.  Rather than turning the handle, they step back…and back…and back. Hey! Come back up here to the rail.  Now is the time to actually watch the fish.

 

They can’t even see their line and the fish anymore.  If that fish gets hot again, it takes off and POWIE!  Line breaks;  hook pulls or, at best, the fish is back on.

 

Get the fish tired and gently lay it as close to the boat as possible.  Do NOT lift it out’ve the water!!!  Keep it just below the surface.

 

Pull it out’ve the water and the fish thrashes.  Gravity jumps in too.  The road loads up like a spring and the tension on the line jacks up.  The fish gives a thrash and again..line breaks or the hook pulls out.

 

And secretly inside you’re blaming the captain for not “gaffing your fish fast enough.”

 

This is especially true with streamlined acrobatic fish like dorado which are such common catches here in Baja.

 

Bring the fish to the boat.  Keep an eye on it as you stand at the rail.  Keep it in the water and try to lay the fish on it’s side for an easy gaff shot.

 

Swing!  And easy-schmeazy, your fish is gaffed and in the boat.

 

Keep these in mind.  Use a few of them as you gain more experience and you’ll be amazed at how much “smarter” your captains will get!

 

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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WHERE’s THE PARTY?

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When I first arrived here in Baja to live, Crocs were the hot shoe and I had a lot more hair.  It’s interesting over the decades watching Americana creep into the lives and culture of Mexico.

 

I was shopping just yesterday and noted that it’s mid-October and, as is custom, Christmas decorations and toys are already filling the stores.

 

Yes, it starts a lot earlier here. In about a week, there will be Christmas tree lots in the parking lots hawking trees “Fresh from Oregon!”  I’m not kidding.

 

Y’see, here in Mexico, there’s no Thanksgiving acting as a gastronomical speed-bump before Christmas.  So, of course, the stores want to get you into the holiday spirit while it’s still 98 degrees outside and humidity is 75%.

 

However, with increased popularity, I am seeing more folks referring to “turkey day” coming soon.  Not “Thanksgiving day.”  No reason to celebrate the Pilgrims breaking-bread with the native residents here in Mexico.

 

Still, turkey is quite popular here.  In fact, most cold-cuts and hot dogs are actually made from turkey so a reason to roast a whole big bird is a reason to celebrate “something different.”

 

It’s not every day folks roast turkeys in Mexico. The markets have some great bargains on the birds.

 

There is one more holiday that pops up before Christmas.  It’s not really a holiday, however, in the sense of a huge fiesta.  However, it’s a country-wide celebration that will actually be found throughout the Latin-American nations.

 

Dia de los Muertos…the Day of the Dead… comes in at the end of the month.  It’s not a national holiday.  Nothing is closed.  Business as usual. It’s more like a personal holiday that just happens to be celebrated by just about everyone in their own way.

 

It arises from the combination of Pagan/ Christianity/ Catholicism rituals and actually encompasses three days more-or-less.  Sort of all mixed together, there’s the Day of the Dead, All Souls Day and All Saints Day.

 

The religious side is a remembrance of the departed loved ones.

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Small altars are built in homes with photos and other memorabilia of the departed. Some can be quite elaborate with candles, colorful table cloths, and favorite items of the deceased like bottles of alcohol, pastries and favorite items of clothing.

 

One hotel we work with here in La Paz used to construct an elaborate and beautiful altar in the lobby.  Truly a work-of-art.  They would place photos of long-time employees who had passed away.

 

The altar was decorated with photos; favorite books; musical items; a chef’s spatula and hat.  But, it often had several plates of pastries; cans of beer; bottles of whiskey or tequila…

 

The problem was that hotel guests, especially gringo guests, didn’t know the significance of the altar in the lobby.

 

They thought it was some kind of “welcome table” and would help themselves to the pastries, cookies and cans of beer.  The hotel stopped setting up the display after a few years.

 

The big party, however, is at the cemetery.

dia-de-muertos1

 

If you really want a taste of culture, head to the cemetery at Dia de los Muertos!  In the states, we rock Halloween, but few of us go to an actual graveyard that night.  In Mexico, it’s all part of it!

 

And, it isn’t a creep show.  There’s no gouls and ghosts.  But, there’s definitely a spirit in the air. It’s a big fiesta!

 

Families and friends bring out elaborate celebrations to the graveyard and it’s like a giant tailgate party of a whole different type.

 

Candles and torches set the mood.  Boom boxes and even live musicians add to the ambience. Everything from mariachi, to ranchero music, rap and classic rock can be heard.

 

Barbecues fill the air with grilling chorizo and carne asada. People sing.  Families spread out lawn chairs and blankets on the concrete grave slab.  Fresh flowers and wreaths are brought out.

 

If you forgot anything, food vendors, flower vendors and beer concessions are outside the gate. Grab a wreath; pick up a kilo of hot carne; a couple of bottles of Tecate and head-on-in with your lawn chair.

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If there’s more than one deceased, as is often the case, it’s a mobile party.  From one grave to another.  Families and friends intermingle in a festive reunion of sorts.

 

They gather.  They tell stories.  They laugh.  They remember.  They drink to death as well as to life.  All night long.  Keeping the memories alive for a few fun-filled evening hours.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

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I’m Voting You Off the Island!

 

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I’m Voting You Off the Island!

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

 

Is it just me?

 

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

 

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

 

It’s been a wonderful run.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

It started a few years ago during our shows.

 

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

 

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

“All dirty Mexicans like you should be killed.”

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So, what’s happening?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Here’s a response…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Before I can even finish…

 

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

 

Or this conversation:

 

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

 

“Amigo..uh..That’s illegal!”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

He tries logic.

 

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

 

“The limit is one per day, Pal..”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

And their eyes pop open!  And they go…

 

”Whaaaa…?  You don’t want me?”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

People are angrier.

 

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

 

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

 

Just be on notice.

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

Just my two cents.

 

That’s my story…

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

Read Full Post »

BAJA SMORGASBORD

Victor rack 4-18 tags

SIX DIFFERENT GOOD-EATING SPECIES ON ONE DAY and OTHERS RELEASED! (Pargo mulatto…red snapper…yellowfin tuna…yellowtail…cabrilla…white bonito)

BAJA SMORGASBORD

Originally Published the Week of April 24 in Western Outdoor Publications

I was on the beach a few days ago waiting for our fishing fleet pangas to come back that afternoon.  I could see them slowly making their way towards me maybe 10 or so minutes out.

 

I had my toes scrunched in that fine warm Baja sand, having kicked off my flip-flops and my drivers and fish cleaners were all waiting to see what showed up.

 

Dang, that sun felt warm on my shoulders.  Not too hot. No humidity.  Just a slight off-shore breeze.  My legs sure need some color.  Too many days in long pants.

 

Just one of those awesome spring days in Mexico.

 

I think spring-time is my favorite time to be here.  It’s the “tweener” time between the end of March and the beginning of June.  It’s not quite winter.  Not quite summer.

 

It’s always sunny.  Temps in the low to mid-80’s.  Nights, you still use a blanket.  Good to have a sweatshirt or light windbreaker in the morning for fishing.  It comes off quick enough!

 

There can still be some strong bouts of wind, current and swells as winter doesn’t always slide out easily.  But, much of the time, it’s just something I call “non-weather,”  It’s so pleasant you don’t even think about it.

 

Conversations don’t center around how hot or cold it is. No one talks about how cloudy or rainy it will be.  You just know the sun is up and then it goes down and in between, it’s mighty pleasant.

 

After Easter and before the summer vacation, it’s also a slower easy time.  The big summer crowds aren’t here yet.  A lot of visitors are refugees from wherever they spend their colder wet winters like Canada, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. If even for just a few days.  Or so it seems.  I can’t blame them.

 

When they arrive, they tell me about snow on the ground or not having seen the sun “back home” for several weeks.  They just want to see the big warm yellow “orb” in the sky.  They often don’t even care if the fish are biting or what’s biting!

 

And that’s one of the really special things about fishing during this time.  I thought about that as I continued to revel in the warm sun on my back waiting for the boats.

 

You honestly just don’t know what you’re going to catch.

 

There’s a lot of anglers who will argue that the hotter warmer months are their favorites.  That’s when the “glamor” fish like tuna, wahoo, billfish and dorado are centerstage.  And rightly so.

 

But during the springtime, there seems to be a lot of variety.

 

The cooler water fish are still around like yellowtail, amberjack, several varieties of pargo and snapper . You can find cabrilla as well as triggerfish and sierra.

 

There are some fish much more specific to this spring-time bite like roosterfish, pompano and palometta  as well.

 

Additonally, as the waters warm or you find the patches of warmer currents, you’ll also get shots at the aforementioned bluewater species like the sailfish, marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dorado.

 

Then, there are always the seemingly ever-present fish like bonito, jack crevalle, bullet tuna and others.

 

I’ve had our fleet come back with as many as a dozen species in a single day scattered among the various boats.  You might not catch a lot of any one species, but you might get some of these…two of those…3 of these and another of that!

 

And the next day might be completely different.  Even two boats next to each other might have completely different catches.

 

Several years ago, I had one Outdoor TV crew that wanted to see how many different species they could catch in a single day.  By the end, we tallied 16 different species of fish!

 

By the same token, anglers can return to a “hot spot” from the day before and find completely different fish have taken over the area the next day.  Or what was biting one day has completely changed depending on conditions.

 

This offers some incredible challenges to anglers.

 

It’s a super time to check off some fish on the bucket list, but also presents new twists on fishing.  Does one use light tackle or heavy tackle?  Spinning gear of conventional gear?  Maybe a flyrod if the winds are down?

 

Are you fishing the warmer water where conditions are blue and clear or will you be fishing the cloudier colder waters?  What about depths?  With both warm and colder waters mixing it up, there will be different temperature thermoclines holding different layers of fish.  Should you use weights? Jigs? Plastics?  Will the fishing be offshore or closer to shore?

 

Or geographically, where are you fishing?  The Pacific side of Baja or the Sea of Cortez?  Also what’s happening in Cabo San Lucas is probably way different than what’s biting in Mulege or San Quintin!

 

Many times during the year when fishing Baja you can get away with one or two rigs and be good for 90% of the targeted species.  But during the spring, you just never know.

 

It does make for some interesting decision making and trips to the tackle store.  Next time, consider a trip in the spring.  It’s a pretty fine time.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-international.com.  They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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


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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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NO BAD QUESTIONS?

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No Bad Questions?

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Who will actually be delivering the services?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I have heard people ask me or ask other outfitters:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-international.com.  They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 
www.tailhunter-international.com

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


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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

 

 

 

 

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Tell Them Bring the Salad Next Time!

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PEACE OFFERING or DID THE SPANISH GET PUNKED?

NEXT TIME TELL THEM TO BRING THE SALAD INSTEAD!

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Indeed, it looks different because it is.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So, the Spanish would pack up and sail away.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

We will never know.

 

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

 

I love history.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-international.com.  They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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


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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

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