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As It Should Be

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As It Should Be

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 6, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

This is my favorite time of year.

 

Late September to mid-December is what I call down-time here in Baja.

 

Much of the crowds are gone.  Kids are back in school.  Families have other things in mind and nothing on the calendar until Thanksgiving.

 

Recognizing that, there’s some great bargains to be had if you work around that holiday.  Airlines consider this “off-season” and have some great rates.  Hotels are often well below capacity so they offer great discounts or can be negotiable if you dial direct.

 

Free breakfast? 

Sure.

Spa time? 

We’ll add that in too.

Tickets to the buffet? 

Not a problem.

How about we throw in a discount for the booze cruise?

Done deal!

And an ocean-facing room too!

 

It’s a pretty time to be down here too.

 

Lots of sunshine, but 20 degrees cooler than the summer with much less humidity.  However, waters still retain much of the summer warmth.  It can be breezy or even windy, but most times it’s postcard perfect.

 

In fact, we call it “non-weather.”  It’s so agreeable, you never even think about the weather.

 

And many oft-crowded places are often empty.  Beaches pretty much all to yourself.  Restaurant staff falling all over you with service.  No reservations needed.  Stores willing to “listen to your best offer.”

 

For fishing, it can be spectacular.  If you can avoid some of the major tournaments going on (or join in and have some fun!), often the waters are uncrowded with sportfishing traffic.

 

In fact, if you check out some of the lessor-visited destinations in Baja and Mexico, there’s very little fishing going on except for you!  However, keep an eye out for the winds and try to pick your fishing days when the forecast calls for diminished winds.

 

Personally, especially as you get into late October and November, there’s just less hustle and bustle.  Things slow down.  There’s fewer tourists around so I think the whole place collectively just takes it down a notch.

 

You take slow walks.  You ride a bike.  You linger over your meals.  You sip instead of gulp.   You watch sunsets. You stop to chat instead of a quick, “Comos estas?” then keep going to the next thing.

 

There’s no place you have to be right now.

 

The shadows are longer. The palm trees rustle in the breeze.  There’s a sparkle on the ocean.

 

Someone is barbecuing carne asada down the street.  Somewhere there’s the lone mariachi trumpet wafting a familiar old Spanish tune you can’t quite place.

 

A young couple walks by in the distance. Barefoot in the sand.  She giggles.  He affectionately punches her in the shoulder.  She giggles, tries to kick him back.  They hold hands.

 

That was you so many years ago.

 

You put your feet up. You hold your cold bottle of beer up to the setting sun and let it shine through the amber glass.  A sip of the icy golden effervescence refreshingly burns the back of your throat.  Ahhhhh…

 

You wonder what the rest of the world is doing.  Or not.

 

You start to take a selfie.  To send to the folks back at the office.  Post on Facebook.  Look where I am.!

 

Nah.

 

That takes too much energy.  Phone off and slipped back into the pocket of your cargo shorts.  Another long draw off the long-neck.  Living the dream.

 

No reason to move.  At some point, you might have to explore where someone is cooking up that yummy carne asada.  But not just yet.

 

There’s more important things to attend to.  Like ordering another cold cerveza.

 

For just a little while, it feels like old Mexico again.   And the world is as it should be.

That’s my story

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______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

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WHEN BIGGER ISN’T BETTER

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WHEN BIGGER ISN’T BETTER

Originally Published the Week of Oct 22, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

It’s always open for discussion, but personally, I don’t think any fish down here pulls harder than a tuna.  It’s basically an explosive muscle with some fins on it.

 

Built for speed and shaped like a bullet, they have no swim bladders and can dive fast, swim fast, and empty a spool faster than any fish I’ve ever experienced.

 

Sure, wahoo have that flat-out greyhound speed of 60-70 mph bursts. But once that short burst is over, it’s not gonna rip off several hundred yards of line yards of line.

 

A yellowtail, amberjack, huge grouper or snapper might bullrush back to its structure or layer,  But, once you work the fish away from the protection, the big part of the battle is won.

 

And think about this.  Folks catch 100, 200, 300 pound marlin quite frequently.  You don’t hear of many tuna of that size being caught.

 

Hooked?  Yes.  Caught?  Not so much!

 

Most anglers I know could bring a 150-pound billfish to the boat in 15 or 20 minutes. Even a rookie.   A tuna of equal size could take an hour or two on the same tackle.

 

They are a special sportfish.

 

But, they are picky sportfish too.   And when the big boys start boiling, your first inclination is to grab your big guns too!  Big fish…big baits…big line…big rods.

 

And that all works fine when the fish go “ on the chew” with abandon.  When all hell is breaking loose and they’re hammering everything tossed in the water and fighting each other to grab lines, then by all means reach into your heavy arsenal.

 

But, often the frustration with tuna is they boil…but will have nothing to do with your offerings.  Or they stay just outside of casting distance and get nervous whenever something approaches like a boat, a jig or a tossed sardine.

 

That’s when you have to make a choice.  Stay with the heavy gear and be ready for the big hit…that may never come.

 

Or do something different.

 

Tuna are a per-snickity fish.

 

Think about this.  They never stop swimming.  The must eat.  That’s all they do is eat to keep up that pulsing swimming physiology and high metabolism.  But, how do you get them to eat YOUR stuff?

 

Go lighter.  Go smaller. Be stealthy.

 

Discard the heavy gear and the prospects of having limp line all day and go to your “small game.”

 

I’ve seen tuna go off when all the angler did was change from 50 to 40-pound test. Or drop from 40 to 30 pound test.  Same fish. Same area.  That’s the only difference.

 

That puts more of the odds in the fish’s favor, but at least you stand a better chance of getting bent.  At least you have that opportunity.

 

The other thing is to go for smaller baits.  Dorado don’t care about your bait size.  Wahoo and yellowtail could care less.

 

For some reason, tuna like the smaller baits.  Live bait is great.  Often, dead works just-as-well.

 

But that also involves other factors.  Smaller baits mean using smaller hooks!  Again, advantage to the fish.

 

Match your hook to the size of your bait.  Don’t match your hook to the size of the fish you want to catch!

 

If your hook is too big, it kills your bait.  If you hook is too big your bait won’t swim correctly.

 

And by the same token, if your line is too heavy, your bait won’t swim correctly either. Just another reason to go to lighter line.  But again, you’re stacking the odds in favor of the fish.

 

One other big advantage involves the eyesight of the tuna. They can see lines. They can see the reflection of light on that mono as it lies in the water and that can make the fish wary.

 

We found down here in La Paz, that fluorocarbon leaders can make all the difference in the world in getting bit. Virtually invisible, the line invites more strikes.  But even a few feet of fluro leader gives you a better shot.

 

But again, fluro is more brittle than mono.  Older fluro tends to also be more rigid and hinders the “swimability” of your bait.  And it can break!  There goes your gorilla tuna.

 

Choices…choices.

 

Heavy gear for that big fish, but maybe never get bit?

 

Or lighter gear and having some fun?

 

If your rod is never bent, then you’ll never have a chance at all.  I’d rather get bit.  It’s a lot less boring!

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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Everything But the Kitchen Sink

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Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Originally Published the Week of June 28, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

In my last column I chatted about some “hacks” to get your best airline flights if you’re coming down here. Given that summer vacations and fishing trips are now upon us, here’s some suggestions about actually packing for the adventure.

There used to be the times when I would personally bring down two rod tubes and 8-14 rods and reel set ups. I remember the days of 70-100 quart ice chests too. What was I thinking?

Those days are long past. My old back can’t haul those anymore. My tolerance of running through crowded airports or standing in line has diminished as well.

Besides that, airlines charge a mortgage; a small farm animal; and first-born child for being over-weight…over-sized…over-long…Holy Moly!

Fortunately, over that years, I’ve discovered that I can get by with carrying a lot less.

Sure, there’s the inclination to bring all your toys. The latest reels, rods, lures and gadgets. But chat with whomever you are booking with.

What do you REALLY need? And perhaps more importantly, what will you actually use?

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A perfect example is lead.

I’ve had guys bring down a couple of pounds of lead. In a whole year here in La Paz, I MIGHT use 6 total oz. of lead. That’s it! If they had asked me ahead of time, I would have told them.

If fishing with a partner, do each of you honestly need 8 trolling feathers per person? Or a giant 3-pound filler spool of 60-pound test line? Or 10 casting irons each?

 

I don’t know about you, but that’s too much to carry and my buddies and I can share without taking up all that space and dead weight.

Same with coolers. Figure out how much you really want to take home or need to take home. An empty 40-quart ice chest, with nothing in it but air, weighs 8-10 pounds.

If it has wheels, it weighs 12-18 pounds. If it’s one of those 5-day coolers, it weighs even more. If your airline weight limit is 50 pounds, that doesn’t leave much room for frozen fish.

For most of you, you’ll be home in a few hours the same day you leave Mexico so your fish only has to stay solid for that long.

Seriously, consider the lighter more efficient soft-sided coolers. Or one cooler for two of you.

I’m not talking about the flimsy ones you bring ice-cream home from the market. Yeti and other companies make some nice soft ones, but they’re really pricey. I’ve found that American Outdoors, Nor Chill and others make some awesome soft-coolers for a fraction of the price. They don’t weigh much and I’ve had stuff stay frozen for as long as 3 days in ours.

And just a word of common sense. While TSA and other security measures are not as relatively drastic as post 911, there are certain things you still should not try to carry-on into the plane.

I’ve had folks incredulous that they were separated from machetes, Leathermen multi-tools, fillet knives, bait harness needles, lures and hooks. Look, if it’s sharp pack it in your suitcase. Don’t bring it aboard. On year, I had a guy try to bring his own portable anchor. FAIL.

Also, Mexico inspectors are a lot less forgiving than TSA. Whether I agree with them or not, I’ve been or seen folks relieved of tactical flashlights, masking tape, fingernail clips and dikes. Be forewarned.

For actually packing, there’s a few tricks to lighten the load.

Try rolling your clothes instead of folding them. You’ll fit more and your clothes will have less tendency to wrinkle. Although I really don’t care if my fishing shorts and shirts are wrinkled! Inside a roll is a nice place to keep fragile things too.

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I’ve had a lot of guys and gals over the years, buy cheap t-shirts at the swap meet or outlets. Two bucks apiece or something.

They wear them once and then leave them in their rooms upon departure. Grateful cleaning staff loves finding barely used items. And for you…That much less to bring home.

By the way, if you are bringing stinky clothes and shoes home, toss a dryer sheet into them and it’ll help relieve the smell.  Also, a cheap shower cap works great for smelly shoes and flip-flops.

Also, do you really need the family-sized shampoo or toothpaste? Hand lotion or sunscreen? If you’re only here a few days, do the math.

Bring the travel size or, buy it here when you hit the markets. You have to stock up on beer anyway, right?

There was a time when you really needed to bring whatever you’d need. There was no guarantee that you’d find whatever you’d forgotten in the local stores.

But, for the most part now, everything from toothbrushes and shaving razors to your favorite flower-fragrance shampoo is available here in Baja. The markets contain things you would never have thought of even 10 years ago like craft beers, Japanese wasabi; gourmet cheese and Angus beef; imported wines and fancy mineral waters.

COSTCO, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Home Depot plus good Mexican chain stores are everywhere. You can even get a hot dog while you shop.

I don’t know what happened to the “frontera” (frontier), but this isn’t your daddy’s Baja no more! You can get almost anything. Beyond that, you probably didn’t need anyway.

So pack light and save the extra room for bringing back fish fillets!

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-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:

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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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.”

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FOR BETTER OR WORSE

Tony Reyes

FOR BETTER OR WORSE

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 1, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

We’re on the road doing our fishing/ hunting show circuit these days.  We just finished shows in Denver and Sacramento and, as I write this, my loptop is bouncing on my lap as we rumble down up the highway towards our next show in Seattle.

 

God bless her.  Jilly is driving our rig through the rain so I can tap away on the computer and make my deadline!

 

We’ve been at this now over 2 decades and I field a lot of questions at these shows while we meet-and-greet in  our booth.  At the last show, I got into a little round-robin with some old-timers and Baja rats.

 

A lot of the “opinions” started with…

 

“Back in the day…”

“I remember this time when…”

“You should have seen…”

“You would not have believed what we saw…”

 

Most were of the opinion that Baja fishing is not what it used to be or that it’s been ruined.  Most of these guys were fishermen that used to come down a lot and had great memories and stories of “the way it used to be.”  Most of them don’t come down much or at all these days.

 

Either their travel days were behind them or they just didn’t think it was worth it anymore.

 

Some incredible stories to listen to.

 

I had to agree with them…somewhat.

 

The days of Ray Cannon and John Steinbeck are long gone.  I’ll agree with that.  It’s not the same “frontera” of crystal waters, dirt roads and remote fishing villages.  But what is the same these days?   Everything changes.  Some for better.  Some for worse.

 

I’ve seen a lot of changes in my own time.  My first Baja experiences took place 40 years ago.  I’ve been running a fishing operation almost 25 years.  I think I have a pretty unique perspective.

 

I’m not a visitor or a tourist.  I don’t come fishing for 3 days a year every other year during the summer.

 

I’m at ground zero every single day.  I don’t get my reports reading the internet or fishing magazines.  My hands smell fishy every day and it’s my reports that others read!

 

So, yes, I do remember the days when there were so many dorado and the roosterfish were thick.  I remember those halcyon days of catching a dozen marlin before breakfast.

 

I remember having to siphon gas into the outboard very morning with my mouth before fishing.   I remember chasing burros off the dusty airstrip so the plane could land. I remember commercial flights for $69 and how pissed I was when it was raised to $89!  Robbery!!!

 

I remember days when ice was a luxury and gasoline was hand-pumped out’ve 55-gallon drums and filtered through a t-shirt.  And the gas was green!  Toilet paper and fan belt hoses were equally valuable if you were travelling.

 

And, I’ve straddled the “new age” when convenience stores dot the highway.  Any hotel without a foo-foo day spa isn’t worth staying it.  Cruisers with more electronics than a moon shuttle ply the ocean.  Fishermen travel with nannies and instead of Volkswagen mini-vans, Hummers and Mercedes now pull up next to me at traffic signals.

 

And then there’s the fishing.

 

I don’t think it’s bad.  It’s just different.  And it’s still spectacular.  And there’s no place else like it in the world.  This giant finger called the Sea of Cortez is still a big giant fish trap ripe for exploration and discovery.

 

What I tell folks is it’s all cyclical.

 

If you based your fishing opinons on fishing only occasionally or fishng  the last few seasons, it was honestly very very scratchy.  Those were El Nino years.  Atmospheric and meteorological phenomenon subjected the Baja to crazy ocean temperatures; tides; currents; and anamolies.   It surely affected the fishing.

 

If you just used that as your criterion, then Baja fishing was in the dumpster.

 

But, like so many things on the planet, it’s all part of a cycle.  El Nino wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last.   Mother Earth has been doing this long before T-Rex trod the dirt and will continue doing it long after you and I are gone.

 

But, during those same years, areas in northern Baja and S.California experienced and continue to experience some of the best tuna, wahoo, dorado catches in decades.  It’s still going on in record numbers.

 

Eventually, it will also end…and something new will start.  Right?

 

Last year, down in Baja, water conditions were more normalized.  El Nino went it’s way.  The bait came back.  The water temperatures were more conducive to the deep-water nutrients returning to the waters.

 

And sure enough, last year was a largely great year for much of Baja.  Fish were bigger and more plentiful.  Tuna, wahoo and giant roosterfish came on strong. Billfish moved back in.  It wasn’t like the “old old days” but by golly, it was like the “good new days.”

 

The other side of the equation is that I think fishermen and locals alike are taking better care of the ocean than they used to.   There’s a stronger awareness that this is a finite resource.

 

Seawatch groups have sprung up to monitor illegal poaching and activities.  Marine parks have flourished.  There are restricted areas where fishing is prohibited to allow species to proliferate.  There’s much more catch-and-release by sportsmen as well as locals.  Efforts are being made to keep and maintain the pristine nature of the ocean.

 

 

It’s a constant vigilance and awareness and there’s still so much to be done and there’s still a lot of bad stuff going on.  There’s a constant battle with legal and illegal commercial fishing and the political/ economic battles in a country that struggles to feed it’s people.

 

There’s the push-pull of development and the ecology.  There’s still pollution.  Just like every other country.

 

I don’t have my head in the sand and I’m not saying this because it’s my business bringing fishermen down.   Battles are being won and lost every day.  There’s some incredible problems to be faced.

 

But, overall, fishing in the Baja is still a place unlike any other.  There are more species than anywhere else.  You can still catch your dream fish and you can bend a rod until your arms are sore.  There’s still so much to see and discover.

 

I’ve seen a lot in my time here in Baja.  And there’s still not a day on the water that I’m amazed.  And blessed.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

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Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-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
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO
 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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 SWEAR IT WAS THIS BIG

exaggeration

I SWEAR IT WAS THIS BIG! 

Originally Published the Week of January 3, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

“All fishermen are born honest…but they eventually grow out’ve it.”…Anonymous sign posted on a fishing shack

 

“Jonathan, come down quick, I’ve got a huge fish.  It could be a record!”

 

Over the several decades in the fishing business down here in Baja, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that.

 

There was a day and time when I’d go rushing over with camera, scale, and tape measure.  Hey, it’s Baja!

 

More world records pop out’ve Baja waters than any other place on the planet.  Line class and weight class records are set every year.

 

I used to stumble over myself sprinting over to the massive fish and beaming fisherman.  Couldn’t get there fast enough.

 

If it wasn’t a call for a “world record” it was a call to check out some no less massive creature from the deep.

 

I admit I’ve gotten older and slower through the years, but I don’t quite sprint over like I used to.   At least not with the same urgency!

 

I have not curbed my enthusiasm by any means.  If an angler is excited and thinks it’s a big fish, then by gosh, I’m excited about that big fish too!

 

But logically, not every fish is going to be a “world record.”  Logically, not every dorado is a “fifty-pound beast.”  Not every roosterfish or wahoo weighs 80 pounds!

 

But, if someone is excited about it, then it’s very likely the largest fish that proud angler has caught…or the first…or prettiest…  It really doesn’t matter.

 

It’s an important fish and I’m excited about it too.

And, despite jokes to the contrary, “size matters.”

 

Actually, it’s all that matters.  But, like we all know, size is relative.

 

I’ve gotten pretty good after all those years after handling thousands of fish.  I can  eye-ball the size of a fish and can give a pretty good estimate on size.

 

So, like I said, I don’t quite hustle down the beach with all available speed any longer.

 

I don’t want to bust anyone’s bubble or temper their excitement so I’ll “conveniently” say, “Darnit,  I forgot my scale, but that’s a dandy fish!”

 

I’ll give a generous estimate and I make sure I take a photo if at all possible with lots of well-deserved genuine high-fives…low-fives…knuckle-bumps and back-slapping.

 

The best part is listening to the stories of the great catch.  Having clients who return year-after-year, gives me a great opportunity to hear the story over and over.

 

Having our own restaurant and bar is also an excellent venue to hear the stories, especially as the beer and margaritas flow.

 

And sometimes, oh my…how the story and size change!

 

There’s the quote that goes, “May I catch a fish so big that I don’t have to lie about the size when I tell the story later.”

 

Fishermen are among the best story-tellers on the planet.   Ever since the first cave-dwellers came back from the hunt to share exploits around the fires with the rest of the tribe, story-telling is part of the excitement and fun.

 

But, y’know, there really ARE some fish that need to be put on the scale and remove all doubt.

 

We finally got a very expensive IGFA scale that will weigh fish up to 2000 pounds and has to be certified ever year.  It’s come in handy a time or two.

 

Now, I don’t suggest you go out and do that.  For years, I got along very well and still carry some inexpensive hand-held devices in my tackle bag.

 

One is a little battery-operated hand-scale.  A number of companies make them and, although there are still numerical scales, the digital ones are handier and seem more accurate.

 

They have a big hook on them to hang the fish and, will give you a pretty accurate read-out of the weight of a fish.  They’re pretty handy to weigh your luggage as well.

 

They come in several sizes, but for Baja purposes, I have the ones that have 50-pound limits.  It seems to cover most Baja fish.

 

While normally not certifiably accurate, I’ve actually had several of my devices sent in to check their accuracy.  They were all within ¼ to ½ pound of our expensive certified rig.   Surely close enough!

 

Great for settling debates among friends. Great to decide who wins the jackpot over the largest fish and will be buying drinks at the cantina that night.

 

For larger fish up to 100 pounds, there’s the boga-type grips that look like a handled tube with a claw on the end.  They’re a little pricier and spring loaded.

 

They’re also a bit heavier, since they’re made of steel, but also fit easily in a tackle bag.

 

Using the trigger on the device, the hooks grab a fish by the lips.  When lifted, the springs inside the tube give a read-out of the weight.

 

Works great on larger fish although if it’s a long fish like a wahoo or dorado and you’re short like me, you might need to stand on something so the fish is off the ground.

 

But, it’s also handy if you plan to release the fish.  By “lipping” the fish, you minimize harming it.  You weigh it.  You take a photo and you release the fish to fight another day.

 

But, now you know the truth!  What you do with it and how you tell the story is still up to you.

Honest!

That’s my story (Really!  Believe me!!!)

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
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO
 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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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