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MEXICO’s CHANGED REALITIES

DSC_0149

MEXICO’s CHANGED REALITIES

Originally published the week of April 7, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

These columns are getting more difficult to write in these hectic times. I cringe writing anything because by the time I publish here or on the internet, often things have changed.

For instance, that last column about “Updates from the Road” was written when this whole coronavirus pandemic was just starting out almost a month ago. It was from that immediate perspective as my wife and I were driving cross-country.

By, the time it was actually published about 2 week later, the world had drastically tilted and I felt like a doofus.

Things are altering so rapidly that let me just advise you up front that whenever you’re reading this, I COULD BE WRONG. THE WORLD MIGHT HAVE SHIFTED AGAIN!

Here’s the lay-of-the land as we know it right now in Mexico and Baja.

Cases of the virus in Mainland Mexico are climbing. However, as of 2 weeks ago, President Obrador told people not to worry. It was just the “early stage” and they should continue socializing, eating out and getting together.

I’m paraphrasing, but he also mentioned that Mexico is “ready” for anything that happens (even tho’ Mexico City has 15 million people and only 14 ICU beds). And that because Mexican people have “Mayan blood” they will be resistant.

The governor or Pueblo went to far as to say that Mexican poor people are immune because only people who travel get sick and (logically), only rich people travel.

President Obrador continued to meet; hold rallies; shake hands; hug supporters; and get together with crowds telling them he was safe because he wore “lucky amulets.”

Even his own health ministers were critical.

Then, Mexico’s virus cases almost doubled later in the week and the President abruptly reversed his position. Now, he’s telling his people to “run for cover.” Although he has not curtailed his own social schedule.

Experts say this might be too little and too late. Mexico might be in for a perfect storm.

Ten percent of it’s population has diabetes. It has the highest rate of obesity (right up there with the U.S.). It has huge issues with hypertension and heart disease. With socialized medicine, it has a difficult enough time taking care of people in normally.

Additionally, even with social distancing supposedly in place, it will be difficult since many people habitate in dense conditions with large numbers often living in the same quarters.

Further, it is estimated that more than 60% of the population lives day-to-day and hand-to-mouth as vendors; plumbers; laborers; etc. with no brick-and-mortar building. The majority of the population cannot simply “stop working.”

Although mainland Mexico has about 2100 virus cases as of this writing, Baja itself has a relative small handful. However, Baja has been turning into a peninsula of ghost towns, especially anyplace that relies on tourism.

As of April 5, all hotels, beaches, public places, restaurants and marinas have been closed by international decree.

Supposedly, this is only until April 30th, but that assumes Mexico shows some improvement.

Police and military are enforcing the closures.

Two weeks ago, both Mexico and the U.S. mutually agreed to close the border to non-essential travel. But that does not seem to apply to tourism, although there’s not really anyone travelling. Airports are empty. There are no cruise ships around.
Where we live in La Paz, many restaurants were trying to survive by doing “take out” service. Most unsuccessfully, but now all restaurants are closed.

We had to permanently close our own restaurant on the waterfront.

Several cities, including Cabo San Lucas have prohibited liquor sales. It is expected that others will follow. Breweries like Corona/ Modelo are shutting down with no one to deliver beers to because of all the restaurant and bar closures.

So, there’s no one on the water. The fish continue to bite and the weather is improving and getting warmer. Airline rates are cheap, if you can find a flight.

Surprisingly, I’ve got folks calling and e-mailing. They are wondering if it’s OK to go down.

They are already “bored and feel fine.”

“Prices are right and less traffic on the water and fishing looks good.”

Need to “get away from the madness.”

“Mexico has less coronavirus than the U.S.”

“Want to help the Mexican economy.”

“Mexico is safe because it’s warmer and the virus cannot live in heat.”

Well, from a pragmatic perspective, sure. It’s OK to go down. Everyone needs the work. You’re a good guy. No one will stop you. Vacation is “essential.”

The hardest part might be finding a flight since so many carriers have canceled their service or have reduced their flights. But, aside from that, should be great!

Except for one thing…

It’s thoughtless and you’re not doing anyone any favors.

Realistically, you are not single-handedly saving the Mexican economy.

For the same reason so many of us are “sheltering in place” and for the same reasons, my wife and I haven’t gone home to Baja yet is that we could be contagious.

We feel fine, but that’s not to say we aren’t carrying the virus.

That’s not to say we won’t pick something up in a car, gas station, airport, or airplane on the way down. Touch a rail. Drink a cup of coffee. Breathe someone else’s air.

This thing could be totally asymptomatic.

Or, given it’s shelf-life, it could be on a bit of our clothes or our suitcases or my backpack. And we would never know it.

And then, we unknowingly infect our driver…a captain…an employee…a friend…

And they pass it on to someone else.

And people get sick. And people die. Yea…people die. And, Mexico is not someplace you want to get sick.

No matter what the government says about “being ready.” I have seen Mexico’s socialized health system at work. We have employees and I’ve been personally in that system.

As one of my captains told me when I asked him what happens when you really get sick, he told me, “We just die or they let us die.”

Simple as that.

It’s OK to cut my finger or sprain an ankle. But you surely don’t want to need a ventilator. There really aren’t any to go around.

Our city of La Paz with about 250,000 people has something like 4 ventilators.

Or what if YOU get sick and/or bring the virus back home with you? Like the 70 kids from the University of Texas who took a charter to Cabo San Lucas for spring break. They came home and something like 44 of them have tested positive. How many did they infect?

All because you want to fish. Or you’re bored. Or prices are right.

I’m saying this against my own self-interest since we own a huge sportfishing fleet and restaurant. We could sure use the business.

But, this is about social responsibility and the sooner we get a handle on this thing the sooner we get back to normalcy in the long-run. And hopefully back out to fish.

If you already have reservations for later in the year, don’t cancel them yet. Things could turn around. Or, postpone your trip for later.

But, until then, dig in and hunker down. Let’s do this together. It’s all abstract until someone you knows dies. And that’s a harsh bottom line.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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MUSICOS de la NOCHE

cowboy-campfire

Talent in unlikely places

MUSICOS de la NOCHE

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 26, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

I don’t get to see many movies. Especially living in Baja and with our lifestyle, we barely ever get to watch TV, let-alone catch a movie.

And that’s with a bar that has 13 TV’s in it. We’re always running!

However, Jill and I recently got to sit down for a moment and catch the movie “Yesterday.” It’s a romantic English comedy about this guitar-playing singer who has spent years trying to “make it big.”

He just can’t seem to get it going.

He’s ready to quit and go back to being a teacher. On his way home after a failed gig, there’s a mysterious global blackout and a bus accidentally hits him in the dark. He’s hospitalized.

When he wakes up, he takes to his guitar and plays the Beatles’ iconic song “YESTERDAY” for some close friends and they are mesmerized. They have been his friends and supporters for many years. As friend do. But none of them delusioned about his talent.

But, now their mouths are dropped open.

Blown away to be more precise. He protests and keeps insisting it’s one of the greatest songs from the Beatles.

Beatles? Who are they? Some kind of bug?

As it turns out, the whole world has never heard of the Beatles and suddenly this guy starts playing all the Beatles hits…

“I Wanna Hold Your Hand”
“Back in the U.S.S.R”
“She Loves You”
“Hey Jude” (although the record company wants him to change the title to “Hey Dude”)…

…and the whole world goes crazy for him and thinks he’s the biggest singer-songwriter in the history of the world. A fun movie and I won’t kill the ending for you!

But, it reminded me of a story. Of hidden talents.

Many many years ago, I was invited by a bunch of our captains to come over one evening for some beers and tacos. Nothing formal. Just a bunch of the boys.

Sounding like a good idea, I drove out to the remote area where many of the captains and their families lived.

I had left the lights of the city way miles behind in the rear view mirror. The night was chilly and clear.

It took a bit of navigation to find the little pueblo nestled in the darkness of the low hills and shrubbed-trees a few miles back from the beach.

I followed the stab of my headlights through the dust of the gravel road and found the little clearing behind a group of block houses.

The guys were already there mostly lit up by propane lights hung from trees and surrounding an old brick barbecue. I probably could have found the place just by following the aroma of cooking meat over smoky mesquite and the laughter of beer-driven voices arrayed in plastic chairs around the fire.

An instant welcome with lots of hugs and handshakes. A plastic chair was shoved under my butt near the crackling fire.

A cold can of Tecate thrust into my hand pulled from a tattered scuffed ice chest.
Psssssst!!! Pop that beer and even in the dark watch the icy smoke rise before tipping it back and feel that wonderful icy burn in the back of my throat with the first sip. Nectar of the gods for sure!

It’s the Mexican equivalent of happy hour.

Just like any other workplace. The workday is done. And it’s been a good one. Put your feet up. Loosen the belt. Put on the kick-back clothes and some old flip-flops on the dirt ground.

No boss or employee foolishness. Just one of the guys. And it feels good to be included. And welcomed.

Cracking some beers. Shop talk and jokes. Easy conversation. Knee slapping laughter. Letting fly the occasional un-apologetic burp. Or worse!

Grilled meat and fresh tortillas with salsa served in mismatched plastic bowls on a makeshift plywood board on concrete blocks. Delicious goodness dripping down chins and wiped with shirt sleeves. Sluiced down with another beer.

The family dogs press noses against pants legs eagerly hoping for something from greasy fingers. The chickens know to keep a low profile in the bushes.

Life is good around the fire.

And you think it can’t get better until someone pulls out a guitar. And starts strumming a few notes. Hmmm…that note buzzed a bit.

A little adjustment on the tuning and a few chords from a familiar rancho song…you wish you could remember the name of it.

But yup, that’s Captain Alfonse pulling chords out’ve a guitar that looks like it’s seen more than a few campfires. Maybe even more beat up than Willy Nelson’s guitar.

A longing tune about a missing love.

Alfonse has worked for us for years and you had no idea. A few sing along. Others stare into the fire with smiles.

The last chord drifts off with the final words to the song. Andale, amigo! Applausa applausa as beers are lifted.

Then Captain Mario produces another guitar. His cousin goes back to the house for an accordian. Captain Yonni, pulls a fiddle from his rusty pick-up truck and Captain Bujo and his son pull some old maracas and a scratched trumpet they were hiding someplace.

Pickin’ and grinnin’ Baja-style.

And here we go! Uno…dos…tres…

A few simple songs at first. More beer and the music and songs get tighter along with the voices!

Who knew about such hidden talents way out past the city lights! Just incredible musicians. My mouth drops open.

Happy songs. Sad songs. Drinking songs. Anyone not playing is singing or clapping rhythms.

Wives and kids join in. The dogs wag happy and even a few chickens come out. One couple dance a well-practiced rancho two-step in the dirt with neighbors clapping time.

Sheer joy and simple pleasure of songs and companionship with neighbors, compadres and family. In the dusty glow and iconic hiss of the propane lamps and a communal campfire.

I don’t know the words, but can’t help it when maracas are put in one hand and beer in the other. I can sing “La-La-La” as good as anyone when I’ve had enough beer.

And it feels good to join in and just let go. Loud as you want. As off-key as anyone and laughing your head off about it with good friends.

It’s the best of nights. It’s the kind of nights you don’t find anymore. Neighbors just getting together to sing, drink beer and laugh. Maybe like our grandparents did back in the day.

Before internet. And TV. And everyone behind their own little closed doors not even knowing your neighbors.

Tomorrow is another workday. But today is today and the music seems as if it’s being carried to the sky by the sparks of the fire. Little pinpoints of light and harmony up to the stars.

Who knew?

Music out where the streetlights end and the dusty road begins. And hidden talents under the desert sky.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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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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YES YOU CAN!

YES YOU CAN!

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 28, 2002 in Western Outdoor Publications

If you’ve already fished in Baja or Mexico or an old hand south of the border, my column this week might be pretty elementary. You might want to click or move over to the next page and read something else.

My wife Jill and I are on the trade show tour right now. I’ve been doing these fishing/ hunting expositions now going on 30 years.

From just after Christmas until almost Easter, we’re on the road. We criss-cross pretty much all of the western United States in our vehicle and, in our booth, appear at these shows. We finished shows in Denver and Sacramento.

And, I am writing this from our hotel room where we stopped for the night. Tomorrow, we hope to hit Seattle where we’ll set up for the next show.

At these expos, of course, we’re promoting our own operation in La Paz, Tailhunter Sportfishing. But, I see us doing more than that.

I hope we are also good ambassadors on behalf of Mexico when we are in the U.S. In the same way, I hope we are good ambassadors for the United States when we are at our home in Mexico.

Sure, it’s great if folks wanna ask us about spending vacation time with us fishing and letting us set it all up. That’s our business.

However, I’m more than happy to chat with anyone about Mexico and Baja. I don’t claim to know everything, but in almost 30 years living in Baja, I’ve picked up a few things and tidbits of knowledge.

Folks have questions about road conditions. I had one lady think she could drive from Cabo San Lucas to Loreto in about an hour because it was only “2 inches distant” on the map! That kind of thing. (It’s actually an all-day drive).

They’ll have questions about the food. Or lodging. Crossing the border. Passports. Medical care. Living in Mexico. Even about fishing in other parts of Baja.

Happy to do it! For whatever my two-cent opinion is worth. If I don’t know, at least, I hope to point folks in the right direction.

And, of course, there’s the usual question that makes me grit my teeth and try to smile.

For instance, just the other day at the Sacramento Show, I had someone ask me when is the best time to fish the “salmon runs” in Baja.

Or the guy who walks up to my wife and I standing in our colorful booth adorned with fish picture and videos playing and asks, “So, is the fishing any good there?”

Uh, no.

We’re just standing in the booth for 10 hours and 4-5 days a week because the fishing sucks. That’s right up there with the gent who walked up to the booth and said, “So, uh…you guys fish down there in La Paz?”

Please walk to the next booth sir. They’re from Alaska. Their booth has bear and moose and deer photos and ask them if they have hunting there.

But, one very sincere and genuine question I get asked is about taking fish home. When I tell them they are absolutely allowed to take fish home, I am genuinely surprised at how many are shocked.

Many have fished all over the world, but never in Mexico. In many places, it is all catch-and-release. Or they have very restrictive catch regulations.

I always explain that Mexico also has regulations and yes, there are limits. And limits are meant to be observed.

However, within limits and only taking what you can reasonably eat, you are very welcome to bring fish home. In fact, that’s one of the big draws of fishing in Mexico.

Generally speaking, I tell them they are allowed to take up to 10 fish per person-per-day, and with some exceptions, up to 5 of any one species.

We encourage catch-and-release and if possible releasing juveniles and females as well as roosterfish, billfish and small rockfish.

However, there’s no size limit as it can be a one-pound fish or a 100-pound fish. All the same.

That usually produces some real smiles.

I have also fished in places where all fish had to be released. Or, I was only allowed to take one fish and it had to be consumed that day. Or, the catch went to the crew of the boat and if I wanted any, the crew would sell some back to me.

Grrrr…

I’m all for releasing fish and only keeping what you can reasonably use.

Last time Jilly and I fished for dorado, we caught 99 in 3 hours! We only kept 2 small ones for dinner with friends and let all the rest go. Easily done with barbless hooks!

However, in chatting with folks, they tell me they have always wanted to give Mexico a try for fishing.

They know it’s a great value and very close. However, thinking they could not take any fish home was a game-changer.

Now you know and yes you can!

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 http://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 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

maxresdefault

I know it’s the holiday season.

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Bing Crosby had his White Christmas after all.

 

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

 

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

outlaw-josey-wales

 

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

 

Hardly Christmas stuff, but what the heck…

 

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

 

“Endeavor to persevere.”

Josey wales

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Let me put this in context.

 

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

 

They weren’t terrible.

 

Let’s just say they were “inexperienced.”

 

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

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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.”

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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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