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Your Negligence. My Emergency?

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Your Negligence.  My Emergency?

Originally Published the Week of March 12, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

Over the last two months of being on the road and talking to hundreds of fishermen at these fishing and hunting shows,  there’s a lot of story-talking that goes on.  I mean, that’s part of the fun of fishing, hunting and the outdoors, right?  Talking smack.  Telling tales.  Mine-is-bigger-than-yours.  It’s a guy thing.

 

And it’s not all about fish, either.  Ever since we were kids, we showed off skinned knees and cut fingers; missing front teeth; and plaster-casted arms.  We wore them like badges of honor.

 

Mom might have hated it, but ripped blue-jeans weren’t a fashion statement.  It meant you played hardball with sticks and rocks not Barbie and Ken dolls.

 

Nothing against girls who played with dolls, but there was something about girls who could lace ‘em up and slide into homebase or didn’t mind a good game of football in the mud.

 

And so it is with fishermen.  You can’t take the kid out’ve the man.  Like Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw and Roy Scheider in the “Jaws” movie showing off their scars.

 

So typical.

 

“This scar is from when I tried to pull a hook barehanded out’ve a wahoo mouth!”

 

“Well see this scar?  It’s the operation from a tendon they had to repair when I was barefooted and tripped on an anchor chain reaching for a beer!”

 

“That is nothing.  Here is where a gaff went through my hand, when I tried to do a trick!”

 

There’s that joke about why women live longer than men.  Yes, we remain little boys deep inside.

 

Yea, “poop happens” as the saying goes.  And a lot of it is our own fault and could be avoided.

 

Usually, most of us are pretty careful.  But, fishing is a sport inherently rife with sharp things; slippery things; pointy things and simply an unforgiving Mother Nature.

 

There’s things I always carry with me on my Baja fishing trips.  There’s the obvious things geared towards prevention.  Like a good hat.  A windbreaker.  High-end sunscreen.  Sunglasses.  Or water (Duh!).

 

Prescription medications.

 

These are the things that even the most veteran anglers sometimes forget but missing any one of them can really crimp your day. Or a vacation.

 

But what about other things?

 

Use common sense.  For some individuals that’s asking a lot. You should know if you can fix it yourself or you need to run to the hospital.  Nothing I say here is a substitute for real medical opinions and knowledge, especially in a true emergency.

 

But…

 

I once had several very well-respected surgeons fishing with me as part of a group.  One of their buddies who was an attorney cut his finger on a lure.

 

It was bloody, but not serious.  It was funny listening to them “go into conference” about the best procedure to fix the finger. Blah blah blah blah blah.  Three surgeons, mind you.

 

It took so long the attorney fisherman looked at me and rolled his eyes then started making jokes about “malpractice lawsuits.”

 

I pulled the attorney away from the group.  Splashed water on the cut.  Told him to hold it high and apply some pressure.  Pulled a band aid outta my tackle box and slapped it on.  Back to fishing for me and the attorney.

 

Silence from the “over-thinking” surgeons.   The doctors mouths dropped then they started laughing.

 

But seriously, even small cuts or punctures can be critical. Not because of the wound itself, but because of infection.  Especially, in Mexico, that can be an issue.  You don’t want thing going septic on you.

 

So, clean the wound as well as you can.  Water, even clean saltwater is good.

 

I always bring some mouthwash with me. One of those little travel sizes works.  It has alcohol.  (It’s also good to chase away onion breath from the lunch burritos).

 

Splash some on.  Beer or other alcohol works in a pinch as well.

 

I always have some assorted band aids.  Keeping the wound clean and covered is essential.  Keeping it dry is important too.  So, I bring some first-aid tape to wrap around the bandage.  I usually have some kids balloons as well to roll over a finger.  We once used a condom (whatever works!) and then taped that on.

 

My tackle box also includes something antiseptic like Neosporin or similar that helps healing and fights infection.  I also carry super glue.  It stings a bit, but it can help seal a cut really nicely almost like brushing on some new skin.

 

If gets a puncture from a fin, tooth or spine, especially something toxic like a scorpion fish, have a bucket handy or plastic tupperware.  Clean the wound and as well as possible. Immerse the body part in the bucket.  Obviously, pull out the barb or fin.

 

An old trick we used when I worked on boats commercially is to add some bleach to the water, but also some meat tenderizer.  The bleach helps cleanse.

 

Meat tenderizer breaks down proteins and helps draw out the venom.  Works good on insect bites as well, if you make a paste out’ve it and apply to the skin.

 

Also from the galley…if someone gets a mild burn, honey on the affected area then covered up works like a charm!

 

For jellyfish stings, obviously get the jellyfish of you.  Scrape with an edge like a credit card or even the edge of a knife or shaving razor.

 

Rinse in salt, not fresh, water.  A paste of baking soda and SALT water works as does white wine vinegar that can be diluted with salt water.  Ice can help swelling.

 

Get back to fishing, but once back to shore, don’t ignore the wound. Clean and dress it again.  And keep it clean so it doesn’t get infected.  Get to a doctor if you need to.  Or it gets worse.

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

 Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://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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BAJA BITS PIECES and TACKLE BOX STICKY NOTES

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BAJA BITS PIECES and TACKLE BOX STICKY NOTES!

Originally Published Week of Feb. 28, 2017 in Western Outdoor News Publications

Insofar as lots of you are making or possibly thinking about making a Baja trip this year, and this is the time vacations are made,  there’s a few notes to pass along you might find interesting.

 

There’s good news as far as airline travel.  For one, Southwest has jumped into the already jammed list of carriers flying folks into Cabo San Lucas.  This has several great benefits.

 

I’m not a schill for Southwest.  But hey…in the age of getting nickel-and-dimed by the airlines these days who are trying their best to stay aloft and competitive, Southwest does allow those awesome two free bags!  For fishermen transporting rods, reels, ice chests, boat parts and frozen fish, this rocks.

 

Secondly, Southwest has made a name for itself by being relatively lower-priced than other airlines.  Sometimes a lot lower.   Super.

 

However, by jumping into the mix, their presence has forced other airlines to lower their fares in order to stay competitive.  Winner-winner chicken dinner for us Baja travelers!

 

Also, while on that same subject of airline fares, there’s more good news.  Even on those Mexico routes where Southwest has not started, overall, airfares seem to be substantially lower than last year.

 

I don’t know why, but I’m not arguing either.  I was told that it was because fuel prices have remained lower for several seasons.  Since airlines make their fuel purchase contracts in advance, they have cheap fuel inventory which then gets passed onto us consumers.

 

The downside is there are still some dates, you might want to re-think flying or, at least be prepared to pony up some extra dinero.  One of those is April.

This year, Easter falls smack in the middle of the month.  On either side of that you’ve got a big demand for airline tickets for the springbreak kids and families that flock to Mexico.  The airlines have no problem filling planes.  So, prices are jacked-up.

 

Simple supply-and-demand economics 101.   You’re lucky to even find tickets by this late date for many routes to the most popular places.

 

On top of that, Easter and Holy Week (Semana Santa) are the busiest times for Mexicans to fly.  It’s not Christmas.  It’s not Thanksgiving (an American holiday, not Mexican!).

 

Many local families fly domestically to visit other parts of Mexico and vice versa.  Likewise, many Mexican families fly out of the country and many from the U.S. also fly into Mexico for visits.  That just creates a glut of travelers all vying for limited seats and willing to paying premium prices.

 

So, if you’re wondering why you’re seeing such high prices or non-existent airline seats in April, that’s the reason.  Oh, and many hotels also charge more during the holidays, as they do in the U.S.

 

If you are planning to make a trip, don’t forget to purchase your fishing licenses online.  Many outlets no longer sell the paper fishing licenses.  We use such sites as www.bajasursportfishing.com to get those purchased.

 

It’s actually fast and easy and for once, the Mexican government has a functional well-organized site that doesn’t break down or eat your visa card numbers!   In the past, even Mexican officials would tell me with rolled-eyes that the old sites looked like they were built by high-school interns.

 

If you do get on the site, just don’t panic when you see the prices.  They are in pesos and are not a house or car payment.  Simply divide by about 20 and it’ll show you that the licenses are actually very affordable.  Also, revenue raised from the permits help fund conservation and anti-poaching in Baja and keeps the inspectors out there and vigilant.

 

Just remember, everyone MUST have a fishing license.  Even if they are not going to be fishing.  If they are on a vessel where others are fishing, even if it’s your 90-year-old grandma who wants to knit or your 2-year-old who sleeps through the whole thing, they must have a permiso.

 

If you’re thinking about driving or have not driven the Baja in a long time, prepared to be surprised.  This is NOT your daddy’s old Baja road.

 

Much of the Mexican Highway 1, is two or four lanes in each direction and about as modern as you might want to find.  This is especially true between towns and cities.  The towns and cities is where you will probably get bogged down with street lights, stop signs and construction.  But, it’s getting there!

 

However, the days of looking for a gas station or being relieved to find someone pumping green PEMEX gasoline from a 50-gallon drum and filtering it with a t-shirt into a milk carton are gone.  Gas stations with convenience stores are everywhere and emergency road-side service is not difficult to obtain.  Cell phone reception gets better each year although there’s some stretches that are still thankfully still quite desolate.

 

Lastly, a word on El Nino that played havoc on the weather; the fishing; and the bait for the last two season.  The experts say it’s over.

 

But, it’s been a tough winter in Baja.  If there’s storms in the U.S. they don’t stop just because there’s a border.  High winds, big seas, and even rain have pummeled the Baja just like in the U.S….only it’s warmer!

 

However, general temperatures look to have returned to normal and my observers are telling me they’re seeing more bait around than they’ve seen in the last two years!  Perhaps a harbinger of a great season to come!

 

This week is the big Fred Hall Fishing and Boating Show at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach.  It runs Wednesday to Sunday March 1-5 and it’s huge!  We’ll be in our regular booth as we have been for over 20 years in the fishing tackle area.  Everyone who is anyone in the fishing industry is there!  Bring the family and come say hi!

Dos centavos.  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

 

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

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://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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Asked and Answered!

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Asked and Answered

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 3, 2017 in Western Outdoor News

As I write this, I’m sitting in my hotel room near Seattle, instead of our place in La Paz.  This is the time of year when we’re on the road like so many outfitters, charter operations, guides and travel services.

 

We’re on the “circuit” travelling each week from one hunting and fishing expo show to another trying to drum up business.  These are huge multi-day shows in major cities that attract thousands of fishermen, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.

 

In the last 3 weeks, we were in Denver for their big 4-day show.  Then a quick crazy drive through the snow to rainy Sacramento for a 4-day show.  And here we are just outside Seattle for a 5-day show.  By the time you’re reading this, we’ll probably be at the Portland show.   And on-and-on for the next 2 ½ months.

 

During these shows, I speak to dozens of Baja fishermen every day.  It’s a great opportunity to chat;  answer questions; get feedback; share stories and hopefully promote and encourage folks to come fishing with us in Baja!

 

In speaking with so many great folks, I get a lot of the same repeated questions.  I’d like to share some of the most common with you and my general responses.  Now understand, this is just my own personal little two-cent opinion.  I don’t speak for anyone else.  Don’t be sending me hater e-mails if you don’t agree.

 

Here we go:

 

What’s a good time to go to Mexico?

 

Actually right now!  With the exchange rate at something like 22 pesos to the dollar, the dollar is incredibly strong.  It makes Mexico a super value and your tourist dollar goes really as far as what it was a year or two ago.

Airline rates are also dropping as the routes are getting more competitive, especially with the advent of new airlines arriving plus well-known budget carriers like Southwest expanding into more cities. Mexico is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations to be found with great bargains to be had.

 

When is the worst time to travel to Mexico?

 

Well, I wouldn’t call it the “worst time,” but I’d personally avoid the week before and the week after Easter.  Airline rates are especially high and hotel rooms can be at a premium as well and hard to come by.

 

This is many folks fly in for “spring break,” but also because for Mexico, more folks fly internationally and domestically than Thanksgiving (Mexico doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving…except for tourists) and even more than Christmas.

 

Holy Week (Semana Santa) is much celebrated in Mexico and many Mexicans visit family and relatives.  So, flights are booked and expensive.

 

How come the fishing has been so bad the last few years?

 

It hasn’t been bad.  It’s just been…different.

 

The “El Nino” weather pattern has a lot to do with it and it’s been like an elephant in the room for the last two seasons.  It’s nature doing what nature does every decade or so.

 

With El Nino, the cooler waters that bring upwellings of nutrients never showed up. The waters remain unseasonably warm.

 

No nutrients meant not baitfish.  Without the food supply, the bigger sportfishing never really showed up.

 

Or, if they did, it was all helter-skelter with unusual fish showing up at different times or certain species not showing up at all.  On the other hand, areas like Southern California have experienced giant tuna just offshore; wahoo and marlin within sight of the Orange County freeways; plus delivered much needed rain and moisture for the entire western U.S.

 

The scientists have declared El Nino over and a gradual return to normalcy is expected.

 

Is there a lot of anti-American sentiment about President Trump?

 

On the street level, I’m not seeing much of it.  There was a lot of rhetoric and worry during the election that got heated, much like in the U.S.  It still continues with a wait-and-see attitude.  But, nothing directed at tourists!

 

In my opinion, Mexicans, are a lot like Americans.  They are either very passionate about politics or they aren’t.  Most folks at ground zero, seem understandably more ticked at the Mexican government for recently raising gasoline prices by a whopping 20%!

 

For folks who literally can only afford to put in a dollar of gas at a time; or have to ride public transportation,  it’s a huge increase.  It has resulted in protests and some degree of civil unrest.  Again, wait-and-see.  Economists say prices will adjust.

 

And, I guess we’ll see what happens with “the wall” that the President promises.   But, I don’t and have not seen any particular anti-gringo sentiment. Anti-politician sentiment…yes!  Just like most countries.  But nothing directed at individuals.  Mexico loves tourism.

 

 

What about the new tourist tax that’s coming in Baja?

 

It’s a non-issue for the most part.  With the current dollar-to-peso exchange rate it’s a “massive” 17 dollars and mostly will be part of the airline ticket.  It’s like buying gasoline in the states, a huge amount of the price are “taxes and fees.”

 

Tourists don’t even realize it.

 

For years, many of us visiting Baja paid an “exit tax” to leave the country and had to dig into our pockets at the airport when departing after our vacations.  A lot of us had empty pockets by that time!

 

So, they just added it to the cost of the airline ticket.

 

 

Do you need a passport to visit Mexico?

 

You bet.  Easily obtained online.  Don’t wait until the last minute to get your passport or try to get it expedited in time for summer vacation at the same time when half the U.S. is trying to get a passport.

 

Tourism cards won’t work.  The days of simply having a birth certificate are long gone.

 

Do my kids need fishing licenses even if they are not fishing?

 

You’re not letting your kids fish?  C’mon, man!

 

But yes, anyone on a craft where fishing is taking place must have a license.

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

 

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

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://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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RUINING A GOOD THING

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NICE HEAD SHOT WITH THE GAFF INSURES GREAT MEAT!

RUINING A GOOD THING

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 8, 2016 in Western Outdoor News

I see it time and again. Every afternoon for about 9 months-out-of-the-year, my crew and I personally trim and vacuum seal fish for our clients. We do anywhere from 50-400 bags per day. That’s A LOT of fish.

No doubt, it’s good business. Moreso, I think it’s a worthwhile investment for any angler wanting the best care for his or her fish.

Or not.

 “Nah, we’re gonna bag it ourselves.”

(Angler jams it all in a few bags. Gets home. Must now defrost a bowling ball-size baggie of freezer-burned fish. For only two people. Fish gets wasted. Tastes like…uh…freezer burn.)

 I’m gonna take it back home and then use my vacuum sealer on it”

(Takes home frozen fish. Must now defrost it again to use on home machine because it’s awful tough to vacuum-seal frozen fish. Fish has now been frozen and defrosted several times by the time you eat it. Plus probably rinsed or soaked in fresh water diminishing the taste.)

 “I don’t wanna waste the money. Why?  I’m just gonna eat it.”

(Well, of course you are! Glad you’re not a picky eater!)

And I love this one:

“We have a vacuum sealer back in the hotel room.”

(Spends all day on a boat. Comes back to room. Sets up vacuum sealer on hotel room bathroom sink. Scatters bloody, gooey, slimey fillets all over the counter, the shower, the sink. Maybe enlists someone to help. Spends next 4 hours sealing fish one…fillet…at…a…(yawn)…time.   Rest of buddies are hanging poolside drinking beers and eating nachos).

I understand the mindset. God bless ‘em. I’m not saying this to drum-up fish-packing business. We’re plenty busy!

But, you already pay all this money and spend all the time to come down to catch beautiful fish and then don’t take care of it is nuts!

From an economic perspective, if you have 50-pounds of dorado or tuna in your cooler and it retails at $20 or $30 per pound, do the math. That’s at least $1000 of retail fish you’re goofing with.

It’s like when I worked in a tackle store years ago. A guy would come in and buy $2000 worth of fishing gear for a trip, then ask for the cheapest “most economic” fishing hooks in the store.   It doesn’t make sense.

Listen, if you have the opportunity to seal your fish, by all means, do it. You’ll be grateful you invested in it when you’re eating that tasty fillet many months down the road.  If you’re giving it away, you’ll be a superstar.

But, many places in Baja still don’t have that availability.

Whether they do or not, there’s some things you can do to help insure your catch is in the best condition possible.

For one, if you can, ask your captain or deck hand to try to gaff the fish in the head.   Body gaffs are easy and sometimes you just don’t have a choice, but pushing that big steel hook through the meat obviousy damages the meat.

This is true especially in bloody fish like tuna. The blood floods into the damaged portions of meat ruining big chunks of it.

Once it’s in the boat, get it on ice. As soon as any living thing expires, it’s already deteriorating.

The best way to arrest the process is to ice it down. Especially in the Baja heat, just letting a fish sit on a hot deck, literally starts cooking the meat.

It’s not always possible. Sometimes, there’s just too much going on or you’re in a wide-open bite to stop and change gears. However, if you can get your crew to bleed the fish while it’s still alive and it’s heart is pumping, getting the blood-letting vastly improves the texture and flavor.   Again, this is especially true of bloody fish like tuna.

Once the fish is cleaned, again keep it as chilled as possible. Bring zip lock bags.   Here’s a big error I see all the time when people bring fish into our packing facility.

The cleaned fillets are kept cold, but without bags, they’re just thrown back into melting ice. The ice melts. It’s fresh water. The saltwater fish is now soaking up fresh water ruining the taste.   It’s floating in it!

Or, even worse, it’s NOT cold water because all the ice has melted. Now the fish is being slow-cooked in warm water. By the time I get it or see it, the fish is literally firm and bleached.

Dorado fillets are rubbery. Tuna should looks like red juicy steak. Instead, it looks like sinewy chicken.

One trick I learned years ago is called “Mexican Vacuum Sealing.”

It’s simple. Put your fillets in a zip lock. Don’t close it up. Immerse it slowly in a bucket of water allowing the water pressure to push the air out and compress the bag. When all the air is out, pull the bag closed.

Ta-DAH! Instant vacuum seal. Actually, leaving just a little bit of clean salt water in the bag is another bonus.

You’ve spent a lot to have that fish. So, take care of it!

That’s our 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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!    

______________

 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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: 044-612-14-17863

.

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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THE LITTLE PANGA THAT COULD

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THE LITTLE PANGA THAT COULD

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 25, 2016 in Western Outdoor News

It’s Baja. It’s the fall. It’s “tournament season.”

Up and down the Baja, but especially in southern Baja, this is an exciting time to visit. Weather is awesome. Airline rates go down. Towns are less crowded as families are mostly back in school.

At least, the kids are back and school. Mom and dad can take a few days off and run to Mexico for some R ‘n’ R between the hectic summer and the approaching holidays at the end of November.

It’s also a great time to fish and that’s a big reason there’s so many tournaments…big and small…going on this time of year.   Marlin tournaments. Tuna tournaments. Catch-and-release tournaments. Dorado tournaments. Charity tournaments.

True-to-form, there’s a lot of big money involved. Hundreds of thousands…even millions of dollars in purse money to be won.

But, on the other side of it, big money to play as well.

Mega-yacht-sportfishers…100’ foot battlewagons…professional crews and fishermen from around the world with every gadget; every bit of technology; any “edge” that will get them that big check on the last day.

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And then, there’s the little skiffs and pangas.

Dwarfed in the middle of the pack of world-class sportfishers, they’re bobbing around out there.  Huffing and puffing and ready to join the fray.

There’s Bob and Mike with their favorite captain Armando and his son Nacho.

And there’s Kevin and Patty too. And her brother Alex with their hopes pinned on Captain Julio and his panga skills.

The little pangas that could.  The little pangas that can.

With a 75hp motor; a canvas baitwell hanging off the transom; an ice chest full of beer and burritos. No one has matching “team shirts.” There’s no air-conditioned salon. You want air?  Drive the boat faster!

There’s no tuna tower or flybridge. They’ve got a radio; a tank of gas; their rods …and a world of hope, enthusiasm and expectation.

I love ‘em. They make me smile.

It’s like rooting for the Jamaican bobsled team or the marathon runner from some village in Tibet who has zero endorsements and one pair of shoes.

Running and barking with the big dogs.  Perfectly entitled to howl at the moon!

The little panga. Like that kid’s story about the “Little Engine That Could.”

I think I can. I think I can.

“Nice to see ya kid, but stay outta our way and our wake,” says the big sportfisher. “You might get hurt.”

“You just watch me!” says the little panga with a feisty rev of it’s little Mercury motor. Vroom vroom vroom!

sportfisher-3

The audacity. Panga-chests puffed out. Every right to be in the lineup!

They become local and crowd favorites. As blue-collar as it gets. Pulling for the little guy against the goliaths.

And just like in the story books, every now and then, the tortoise beats the hare. Every now and then, the “Rudy” comes off the bench to score the winning touchdown and Rocky busts up Apollo Creed’s rib to win the title.

At one prestigious tournament, two local kids got enough donations from friends and neighbors and running their own fund-raisers to charter a friend’s panga. A local tackle store jumped aboard with provisions. A sandwich shop donated meals.

tuna-cabo-tournament-2013-2

They came in third out’ve more than 100 teams and earned enough money to pay everyone back with interest. The docks erupted when their fish was weighed and they were literally carried off on shoulders like the winning coach at the Super Bowl.

I saw another local panga team win a tournament using a home-made lure. The lure had been made by the captain’s grandfather back when abuelo was a local commercial fisherman in the days when they used 6hp pull-start lawnmower outboards.

The captain told me, “My grandfather gave it to me just for this event. He said, the lure was good enough to feed the family for many years. It will bring us luck.”

One of our own panga captains entered a tournament in San Jose del Cabo a number of years ago and won a sizeable prize.

I was very excited for him.

He told me that all the big boats went way offshore to chase the schools of tuna. His little panga did not have the range so he stayed closer to shore. He found a school of tuna and happened to catch the winning tuna!

I asked him how big it was expecting him to tell me a story of a monster yellowfin tuna.

He laughed and held his hands about 3 feet apart.

“Fifteen kilos (30 pounds)” he grinned.

“That’s all? That small?”

“It only had to be bigger than the next one!” he smiled back.

You just never know.

You don’t have to be the biggest, fastest or fanciest. You don’t have to be the richest.You just have to be the best. Or the luckiest. For one day. One morning or one afternoon.

And that could happen to anyone at these tournaments! Anyone can play.

Yes, you could. Yes, you can!

sushi-time-cabo-panga-fishing2

That’s our 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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!    

______________

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

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://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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“We Have to Get Up at What Time?”

family-at-airport

WE HAVE TO GET UP AT WHAT TIME TO GO FISHING?

Originally Published the Week of October 12, 2016

It seemed a lot easier back in the day to go on vacation when we were kids. But, then again, that’s from kid’s perspective.

I’m sure mom and dad worked hard to make it all work out, but from the view at ground level, it didn’t seem too hard at all.

Dad piled us into the station wagon. How hard is that? Yup, the one with the seat facing backwards towards the tailgate.

We sang along to an AM car radio. Or themes to TV shows. Dad and mom sang along with us. Corny? Not then!

On the car roof was one of those canvas rooftop carriers. It held the musty Sears Roebuck tent and those sleeping bags that had flannel insides printed with moose and jumping fish.

Mom always made magic happen.

To this day, I would swear she got the entire family’s clothes into one single giant suitcase. One coat. One pair of Redball Jet or P.F. Flyer high-top tennis shoes. Some jeans and your swim shorts. That’s all you needed.

Mom produced wonderful meals. Picnics emerged daily from a single dented and scratched green Coleman ice chest.

Could it have really been that simple?

Fast forward to family vacation 21st Century. You’ve gotta be kidding.

You’ve been planning for months. You’re finally eschewing the annual fishing “man-cation” with your posse of buddies and you’re gonna bite the bullet and take the family clan.

You knew in your heart it was time.

You couldn’t keep coming home and telling ‘em what a great place Baja is…then possibly hope to keep it to yourself. Every bastion…every frontier must eventually fall.

So, somewhat reluctantly you acquiesced to your wife’s suggestion, “Honey, I think you should take me and the kids with you to Baja this year! Maybe your mom and dad want to come too!”

Eventually, you got into it, but now as you’re about to embark, there’s some trepidation and, admit it, some of the excitement is tarnishing. It’s indeed NOT like heading south with the boys.

You survey the mound of matched designer luggage, backpacks, duffels, and cosmetic bags, that make your ice chest and fishing tube look like they don’t belong.

Matched outfits. Matched shoes. Several bathing suits. Technology and the attenuant cords, cables and chargers for iphones, ipads, notebooks, tablets, laptops, smart phones and cameras. Per person!

That doesn’t begin to include the toys…snorkel gear…golf bags…surfboards…tackle boxes and of course, that 8’ long rod tube. Holy cow, you need a parade of Napalese sherpas to schlepp it all.

And, assuming you’ve survived the journey and made it to Baja, you’re again reminded that it’s NOT gonna be your regular trip with the boys.

“Why do we have to get up that early to go fishing? Isn’t it OK if we go AFTER lunch?”

 “All the TV shows are in Spanish!”

 “I can’t believe the internet is soooo slow in Mexico! How can I skype my boyfriend or watch youtube?”

 We have to change hotels, a gecko lizard keeps running across the wall. It’s icky!”

 “You actually eat the fish the same day you catch it?” Can we just have McDonald’s like at home?”

 “No room service or hair dryers?”

 You can’t just throw up your hands and head to the bar. That’s not gonna earn you any family points at all.

Here’s what it all comes down to…EXPECTATIONS!

Yessiree, this is NOT like vacation with the guys so know everyone’s expectations about this trip. Then plan accordingly and alter YOUR expectations so everyone has a good time.

You may have to cut down on the fishing a bit if the whole family isn’t into it. Or, make them easy days of fishing if they’re new to it.

No need to be hardcore if it only makes everyone miserable. And, if you do go fishing, or any other activities, remember, it’s about THEM, not about you. If everyone has a good time, you’ll have a better time too.

So often, I’ve seen guys, or sometimes even both parents, get on a boat and literally expect the captain and deckhands be the babysitters or watch the kids while mom and dad do their thing. No bueno. Taking care of your kids is not their job.

If you’re gonna go someplace rustic, make sure the family knows you’re not staying at the Four Seasons or the Ritz. Or even the Best Western. There might not be shopping, or fancy restaurants or a gourmet menu, etc. Or a spa!

If it’s really a deal breaker, either make other arrangements or spend some time on a day trip or something similar so that you can take them shopping, dining or other activities everyone will enjoy.

And, that’s a key too. Do stuff everyone will enjoy. Do things and go places that are age and activity appropriate.

For example, hanging out all afternoon on certain parts of Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas with lots of drunk gringos at Spring Break, might not be the best idea if you’ve got young kids.

By, the same token, if the glass bottom boat tour or zip-lining aren’t your thing, but the family really wants to do it, suck it up. Put on a smile and set it up. You just might enjoy it.

This also goes if you’re bringing along say…mom and dad or older folks. Include them in the activities and family fun.

For Pete’s sake, don’t park them out in the hot sun at the pool then run off and leave them! Your dad might love sitting by the water watching string bikinis, but if he gets heat-stroked, it’s gonna ruin a lot of vacation.

And don’t forget to keep them hydrated, especially in Baja. Don’t laugh, I see this happen quite often! Older folks need special care…and their meds!

If all else fails, shrug your shoulders. Surrender. Smile. You’re not gonna win. Do what dads and husbands have done for centuries. Smile and say, “Yes, dear!”  You can give up. Give in or go on!

That’s our 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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“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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PASSPORT PANIC

Don't be this person!

Don’t be this person!

PASSPORT PANIC

Originally Published the Week of Sept 28, 2016 in Western Outdoor News

Oh no! Did you really let that happen?

A chill goes up your backside. Palms get clammy. You just want to bang your own head against something unforgiving…like a concrete wall.

You can already hear your family or friends rip into you.   But, it can’t be much harsher than the names you’re already calling yourself.

Everyone has been planning this trip to Baja for months…or years! Everyone was looking forward to it. It’s all everyone has talked and thought about. You’re jacked. You’re pumped.

If you can’t go, it affects everyone’s vacation. Not just your own.

And now you feel like a total doofus supreme.

You realized your passport is expiring. Or you forgot to get one!

Until now. And the trip is just around the corner.

Your own excuses sound pretty lame. Even to you.

“I was really busy!”

“I forgot!”

“No one told me!”

“I need a passport?”

 And there’s absolutely no one you can throw under the bus except yourself. It’s your own darned fault! Your own stupid negligence. Let the flogging begin.

Or you can get past it and go pro-active and see if you can salvage this.

Let’s start with the basics. Tacks and nails. Maybe it’s not too late!

Your passport is good for 10 years. Read this. Go get your passport now and take a look at it. Don’t wait until the lady at the airport asks you to show it to her for seat assignments. With a long line of anxious people behind you.

(Sidebar note. Some countries require that you have at least 6 months validity still remaining on your passport. )

Still good? Great. Move along. Take a breath. Crack a brew.

Expired? About to expire? You don’t have one to begin with? OK, time to move.

It takes about 4-6 weeks to get one. Maybe longer if it’s that “rush” time when everyone is getting passports. Like just before summer or holidays.

Start here: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html. You can do a lot of it online.

Got less than 6 weeks? Crunch time? Underwear bunching up?

You can get one expedited in 2-3 weeks.   It’ll cost you at least an extra 60 bucks. Peanuts really given that your butt’s in a vice.

According to the government, you can expedite by mail. Get your application documents together, toss a check into the envelope. Mark “expedite” on the envelope and overnight the thing.

For some folks, like me, that would be too nerve wracking. I don’t want to be waiting by my mailbox. I don’t want to wait everyday for the mailman as the trip gets closer.

The alternative is making an appointment at the nearest passport acceptance facility and take care of this in person. Get this done! Here’s the link to find the nearest acceptance facility near you: https://iafdb.travel.state.gov/

If you’ve got less than two weeks. You’re not beaten yet! You’re just a bigger knucklehead. Suck it up.

You must make an appointment at a Passport Agency or Center. In addition to extra fees plus the applications and documents, you must show proof of impending national travel. You must call for an appointment. Call 1-877-487-2778 or 1-888-874-7793.

But wait. You really blew it and you’ve got less than a week before the trip.

You’re not completely out of the game yet. Maybe. Close, but not yet.

There are private “courier companies” that are called “Passport Expeditors.” They are not part of the government or government run, but are allowed to submit passport applications on behalf of folks like you.

They are listed online. Read all their fine-print of what they can and cannot do.

Basically, your negligence is their emergency. They’re SWAT and Seal Team Six last ditch black-ops to get your little blue book.

Just know this. Just like the real military guys, nothing is guaranteed. This is your own fault for waiting until the 13th hour.

The U.S. government also says that there’s no guarantee that it’s any faster than if you made an appointment at a regular government input facility. At some point in the process, you’ll still have to drag yourself to a government passport center.

Even if the expeditor says you can do everything online, the government says, nay nay. “We still wanna see your stressed self face-to-face.”

The government will not intervene nor does it have anything to do with these collateral services. But, they’ve been known to be helpful in a pinch.

This will also cost extra for the service. But, it’s an alternative source that might be able to help. You’re trying to save your vacation!

If all this fails. Fall on your sword. Man up. Blame the dog for eating your application or the postal service for losing the mail.

Hope it doesn’t come to that because otherwise, we’ll miss you down here! We’d had for you to watch everyone’s vacation on Facebook when they share photos!

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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“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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