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Posts Tagged ‘Baja Mexico’

BAJA SMORGASBORD

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

BAJA SMORGASBORD

Originally Published the Week of April 24 in Western Outdoor Publications

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

 

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

 

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

 

Just one of those awesome spring days in Mexico.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

This offers some incredible challenges to anglers.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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


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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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STAY FOR DINNER! SPANISH FOOD ON THE MENU!

 

Stay for Dinner!  We Have Spanish Food on the Menu! 

Originally Published the Week of April 10, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

A couple of columns back I had written about some history I found in an old book detailing the issues the Spanish had in colonizing the area around La Paz where we live.  Getting the especially belligerent tribes to submit took more than a century longer than other areas of Baja.

 

In that particular report, I had written how the tribesman had “gifted” the Spanish loaves of papaya bread.  It was nothing  like your Aunt Mary gives you for Christmas.

 

The papaya was made from crushed papaya seeds AFTER the tribes had eaten the seeds;  digested them; gathered up the droppings;  THEN baked them up for the conquistadores and padres.  Initially the naïve colonists accepted and ate them with glee.

 

Well…then, the masters found out!  Gag!  Choke! Spit!

 

Remember those Cub Scout cupcake sales as a kid?  Ex-laxing those confections?

 

Well…Whether it was a genuine gift or simply the Indians pranking the Spaniards we’ll never know.  The Europeans’ taste buds and culinary sensibilities were not amused in the slightest.  They retaliated with violence against those dastardly locals.  Complete buzz kill.

 

Recently, I again found myself pouring over some old Baja books in my collection.  One was copy of  the book written by my venerable predecessor at Western Outdoor News, Ray Cannon.  You never know when a gem might pop up.

 

His 1966 book published by Sunset entitled “The Sea of Cortez” is required reading for any Baja aficionado.  If you can get your hands on a copy it’s what Genesis is to the Bible for Baja fans.

 

Just looking at the black and white photos will give you a sense of what Baja was before it was really discovered.  Indeed, many a Baja fan got their fires first kindled reading Ray Cannon’s book as well as his historic columns in Western Outdoor News.

 

Regretfully, I ashamedly have never read the entire edition, but I keep it handy in my library and it’s one of those books I pull down from time-to-time and always find a treasure.

 

Like my previous article  food comes into focus.  But, in a different way this time.

 

One of Ray’s chapters is about the Midriff Islands appropriately located about half-way down the Sea of Cortez.  It’s the narrowest part of the Sea and “Midriff” somewhat describes how the ocean is pinched like a woman’s waist in that area.  The Midriff Islands somewhat form irregular stepping stones between the Baja Peninsula and the mainland of Mexico.

 

On the far eastern edge lies the large island of Tiburon aka “Shark Island.”  It sounds like the name of another reality show.  It’s the largest island in the Sea of Cortez and encapsulates about 450 square miles.

 

Cannon described his earliest visit to the island then inhabited by the nomadic Seri Indians.  They put to shore in a small skiff off their larger vessel. Cannon remembers as they neared shore about a dozen fierce men and women ran out to meet them.  The were brandishing “deadly looking shark spears.”  Ray and his companions quickly reversed course and paddled back.

 

It was later he was told by his Mexican crew why they did not want to accompany Cannon to visit the island.

 

Apparently, people had been disappearing on mysterious “Shark Island” for centuries.   And “not just into thin air” as Cannon recounted.  They disappeared into the soup pot.  Or staked to the barbecue.

 

This included sailors, explorers, gold miners and others.  Never heard from again although bits of pieces of people had been recovered over the years.

 

The Seri Indians never admitted it.  Who me?  Nah!  Must be some other guys.  Would never do that!  Never saw the gringos you’re looking for.

 

But…The Spanish explorers had kept logs of it.  Dating back to the Spanish days, shipwrecked sailors had washed up and found refuge on Tiburon’s rocky shores.

 

The forlorn sailors were grateful to be taken in kindly by the Seri inhabitants.  They were treated and fed well.  Like one of the family. They got fat and sassy.  Living the dream on an island!

 

Until it came time for the big fiesta and finding out the Seri tribespeople were really into Spanish food.  In fact, Spanish dishes were the main course.

 

Over the years, more mysterious “disappearances” fed the stories.

 

History reports that up until the late 50’s the Mexican government allowed the Seri to remain on Tuburon Island. By this time, the tribe, once estimated as large as 5,000 had been reduced to a handful by the usual culprits.   Most notably, they fell victim to European disease.

 

The government had one caveat.  No more cannibalism.   Change your diet! Find a different source of protein.

 

Then some Mexican fishermen went missing.

 

This caused the government to ship the whole tribe of several hundred to the Mainland.

 

Today, the Tiburon Island is operated as a wildlife refuge and very few Seri remain where they are known for artistic basket weaving and those dark ironwood sculptures.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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


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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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NO BAD QUESTIONS?

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No Bad Questions?

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Who will actually be delivering the services?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I have heard people ask me or ask other outfitters:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 
www.tailhunter-international.com

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


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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

 

 

 

 

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To avoid a cultural faux pas FAIL, it’s important to remember which country you’re in! I forgot. HONEST!

MOTHER’S DAY FAIL!

Originally Published in Western Outdoor News the Week of May 16, 2012

I love sharing a bit of Mexican culture in these columns.

As I’m writing this, I realize I really screwed up.  Have you ever forgotten an important day of the year?  Like your anniversary?  A birthday?

Well, I forgot that today (May 10th)  is Mother’s Day!  Oops.  Fail. Scramble to make phone calls…e-greeting cards…and other face-saving measures!

You see, in my brain, Mother’s day is always the 2nd Sunday of May.  That’s May 13th in the U.S.

But here in Mexico, it’s May 10th.  Every year.  Same date.  It doesn’t matter if it’s on a Sunday, a Tuesday, a Thursday or the full moon.  May 10th is Mother’s Day and you’d better not forget it.

In Mexico, where culturally mom is the focus of pretty much everything, she is pretty much a saint.  Where the concept of the centralized family and where generations often continue to live under the same roof or everyone lives within tortilla-tossing proximity to each other, moms, grandmoms, aunties, etc. are held in high esteem.  And never so highly as on Mother’s Day.

(That’s why you NEVER EVER EVER call out a man’s mom.  Those are fighting words and one of the highest insults.  Don’t mess with a man’s mom in Mexico.)

Whereas Fathers Day barely draws a breeze, much of the country takes on a semi-holiday atmosphere.  It’s pretty much a state holiday.

Mom’s don’t go to work or take long leisurely and sometimes elegant lunches much like the Sunday brunches seen in the U.S.  Sons and family members stop working as well to enjoy the day with moms.  Offices shut down. Stores close early.  Kids sometimes play hookie and don’t go to school.  (On Mom’s day, mom is not lifting a finger…that includes driving the kids to school!).  Conversely, to keep the kids from taking the day off, many  schools hold Mother’s Day pageants and recitals and invite moms to attend.

The whole country is on the same page,  so it’s really not that big of a social impact.  It’s like the day before Christmas or that last day of school before summer vacation. No one’s head is there.  No one expects much efficiency anyway!  Not much gets done.

Some families, especially the sons, go through some elaborate expressions of adoration. Huge bouquets of flower. Rooms of flowers!  Sons will hire mariachi groups to sing outside mom’s window or all the sons will get together in the evening and serenade mom themselves accompanied by a boom box.

There will be incredible home parties either catered or home-cooked.  Often, all the guys do the cooking so the moms can have the day off.  In some homes where the mom does ALL the cooking every single meal and every single day, this might be the ONLY day of the year that the men cook or even approach the stove…sometimes to varying results!

Restaurants will have elegant brunches, lunches and dinners set out with Mothers’ Day specials and families will show up dressed in their jackets and ties, dresses and corsages as if headed for a grand social event…which is what Dia De Las Madres is in Mexico.

Historically, Dia de Las Madres was not always as we know it.  In 1922, it was brought over from the U.S, but met with significant opposition from the conservative government who attempted to use the holiday to promote the unrealistic concept of women as no more than child bearers!

Over the next decade, the powers in Mexico debated the day as either being too “patriotic” or being “too religious” with all the connotations those labels involved.   It got pretty heated and the Mexican political parties as well as the Church argued the current morals and values of the day such as empowering women, family values, country unity and basically whether women should be let out of the home!  It wasn’t just a Hallmark thing!

It wasn’t until the 40’s…to be exact in 1940, Soledad Orozco Garcia, wife of President Manuel Avilla Camacho, declared 10th May a holiday, thus making it a state-sponsored celebration  of mother’s day …and why I need to find some place that sells some quick Mothers’ Day Cards here in La Paz!  Or a boombox with a microphone!   I really messed up…

***********************

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife, Jill, 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!

***************************

That’s our story

Jonathan and Jilly

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

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Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
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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The cathedral in La Paz. In the days before cranes and hydraulic lifts and electric screw drivers, someone had to be around to lift the massive stones and drag the enormous beams into place.

A LONG AND DUSTY LINE

Originally Published the Week of May 4, 2012 in Western Outdoor News

Having lived down here for quite sometime now, it always gives me pause to see how much of the country is reliant on manual labor.  There’s nothing wrong with it.

I come from a long line of manual laborers who came over to Hawaii to work the pineapple and sugarcane fields or to Central Caliornia to pick tomatoes.  Dad used to take me out to the fields to show me what it was like and tell me, “Stay in school so you don’t have to make your living hunched over in the sun.”  As I grew up, I learned to even despise pulling weeds in the yard, let alone chopping sugar cane stock or packing tomato crates.

Here, in Mexico, unskilled labor is inexpensive and folks need the work. And there’s a lot of folks here.

For instance, after a rain storm, the “broom army” materializes.  Using nothing more high-tech than garden-variety-kitchen brooms provided by the government, scores of folks  hand sweeping the streets.  No machines.  Basic sweat-of-brow technology.

Along the highways, you may have seen them.  Long lonely stretches of desert road.  Sometimes there’s a line of them. Sometimes there’s one solitary guy that makes me wonder “Did you apply for this job?”  “Are you being punished for this?”  Are you low-man on the seniority list?”

But there he is. With a shovel.  Dirty pants.  Usually a soiled t-shirt sometimes pulled up and tucked under the chest so that their tummys are exposed. A kerchief wrapped around his faces to ward off the dust.  Tennis shoes or old torn up work-boots that look like Hernando Cortez himself brought them over from Spain.  A baseball hat of some type worn “Foreign Legion” style with a t-shirt tucked and hanging down the back.

No gloves.  No supervisor.  No support truck with an orange Igloo of water. No “roach-coach” catering truck nearby.  No handy porta-potty close either.  No warning cones or vests.  Cars come dangerously close since Mexican roads have little or no shoulders.  Cows might watch from the scrub.  Probably wondering the same thing…”What the heck are you doing out here?”

But there they are, one shovel of dirt at a time.  It’s hard to tell what the project is.  Move dirt from here to there?   Shovel the dust off the highway?  Each car or breeze that passes only blows the dust right back.  Can’t you just phone it in and say you did the job?  Collect some pesos and go home?  Who would know the difference?

Often you see “gangs” of these worker standing like sardines in a stakebed truck.  Shoulder-to-shoulder.  No sitting.  Obviously, not union.

Day-after-day…same guys or just one guy. Same stretch of road.  Heat numbing.  Mind numbing.

Sometimes, I do see them nap under whatever shade a cactus or other scrub can give them.  Nothing special.  Lie down. Tilt hat over eyes.  Siesta.  Who keeps track of time?

What got me writing about this subject is a recent visit to the old mission here in La Paz.  Visiting the historic sites that dot the California, Baja and Mexican landscape is one of my favorite things.

Whether it’s Mission San Gabriel or San Diego or Santa Barbara or the Baja missions in Loreto or San Ignacio or, as I said here in La Paz, I never tire of walking into them and spending a few moments.  Or touching the old adobe or walking the paths and tiles.

There’s something about touching a bit of history.  It’s not a re-creation like going to Universal Studios or Disneyland.  This is the same water trough where the Spanish soldiers watered their horses.  Here’s the breezeway between the rectory and the church where some padre’s sandaled feet used to walk 300 years ago. And here’s the cemetery that holds so many stories.

If you get a chance to visit or ever have.  Be quite for a moment and sit still and the history will honestly talk to you!

But, the last time I was in, I was doing just that and it occurred to me.  There’s A LOT of wood in here.  Huge thick wooden beams criss-cross and support the massive ceilings.  Massive wooden doors.  Solid hard wood benches and the ornate altar and crucifix and so many other items.

Y’know, Mexico doesn’t exactly have a lot of trees.

And the huge bells and ornaments.  The  masterpiece stained glass windows and tile work.

They didn’t just hop down to Home Depot to get these in the 1600 and 1700’s.

I’m sure the Jesuit padres and the Spanish conquistadores did hard work, but I don’t envision, Sargeant Garcia and Friar Antonio making bricks or dragging huge chunks of lumber over the mountains.  They didn’t dig those irrigation aquaducts for the fields or paint the mission ceilings either.

Nope…they were built by some every-day Joe and Mary.  Born with a native name that was probably taken from them at their Christian baptismal and given  names like Jose and Maria.

And these are the folks who did the work. Who busted their backs often in the name of the spirit of Christianity and the promise of eternal salvation.  Only IF they learned to wear a pair of pants and help build the church.  Toil the fields. Build a wagon road.   Sweep up after the soldiers and padres.

They built quite an empire.  Same folks are still working. Still toiling in that hot Baja sun. Willing to work.  Needing to work.  I look at the guys on the side of the road as we speed by and wonder if they come from that long dusty line of laboral history. One shovel at a time.

_____________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife, Jill, 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!

______________

That’s our story

Jonathan

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: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
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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Opening one screen leads to another and another. In the quest for information on the "information super highway" one is often subjected to frequent sig-alert traffic jams!

“T.M.I”  (Too Much Information!)

Originally Published the Week of April 18, 2012 in Western Outdoor News

 

In the current lingo of the internet and texting, most teenagers can tell you what “TMI” means. “ Too much information.”  More than I need. 

 

When I got married a few years ago to Jilly, I wanted to surprise her for our honeymoon (no wise cracks, guys!).  So I told her I was sagely going to handle the honeymoon arrangements especially after all the work she had done for the massive wedding.  She rolled her eyes a bit and laughed.  She had her hands full anyway and she gamely expressed confidence in my  stellar organizational abilities.  In all fairness, I could’ve set up a camping trip or a Motel 6 and she’s still would have gone along cheerfully.

 

What she didn’t know was that I was secretly going to extend our honeymoon for extra days.  Some things she didn’t expect. Some things NOT in the budget…  Some ritzy hotel!  Spa!  Restaurants!  Only doing this once so might as well shoot for the moon.  The credit card was empty at the time. (ha!)

 

So, I hit the internet.  Now, this was only 3 years ago.  The last time I booked a really big deal was back in the day when I reached into dad’s car and grabbed the Auto Club Catalog.  Remember those?  Dog-eared and coffee stained.  It was the” bible” when you went on a family trip.

 

But because this was so special, I needed to know everything about everything.  Bad move!

 

Before long, I had two laptops opened plus my desktop computer.  I had multiple screens opened on each one…Trip Advisor….Yelp…Facebook…My Space…Yahoo…Google…

 

I had review after review. Link upon link.  Photo libraries.  Experts reviews.  Some agreed. Many conflicted.  Who had the best hotel?  Ocean view? Spa?  Restaurants nearby?  Brunch?  Room service? 

 

Wait, that one looks good, but two other reviews said the place had bad service.  But another 10 reviews say it’s great.  This other hotel has ocean-views, but their restaurant has bad reviews and they say it’s noisy.  This other one looks good, but it’s not walking distance to anything and they charge an extra 40 bucks to park which could have fooled me. 

 

OK…this resort has a spa discount package but only on weekdays.  That won’t work.  This one has great rates…darnit…only during off-season.  This one looks great!  Call them now…”What?  You’re already sold out???”  (gnashing of teeth).  Delete delete delete!

 

And the restaurants…OK…that one has 500 good reviews but 60 bad ones.  This one has live music and great seafood, but it says don’t go on weekend because it has too many tourists in them.  This other one is famous and has been there for years, but the last few reviews are terrible! 

 

I was doing this all in the middle of the night too so that I could hide this from Jill.  Before long, I was going crazy!   Eyes were going buggy looking at so many websites and reviews and photos.  INFORMATION OVERLOAD!  TILT! TILT!

 

But, you know…it’s your honeymoon.  You want everything “just right.”  As it turned out, after 4 fretful nights, I finally just pulled the trigger and made my best-informed-decisions and all turned out well.  My lovely bride was all smiles and I saved the fledgling marriage! She didn’t cut-and-run.  Whew…

 

It used to be so easy for Baja as well. 

 

In fact, the least amount of planning seemed to be the typical modus operendi.  You called the guys.  You got the station wagon or van.  In went some clothes.  In went the surfboards and fishing rods.  A cooler.  A copious amount of junk food procured from the first 7-11 on the road…Doritos…check…Jerky…check…Oreos…check…oops…run back in and get beer and Cokes.  A box of cassettes or 8 tracks. 

 

You had destination in mind.  You headed sort of in THAT direction.  Again…the Auto Club Map and book in the glove box.  Maybe a copy of Gene Kira’s the “Baja Catch” on the dashboard and some faxed copies of the surf report.

 

You’d figure out the rest “on the fly.”  Maybe you’d camp.  Maybe all sleep in the car.  Maybe all of you piled into some little Mexican beach motel. 

 

It was THAT easy. You knew it would work itself out.  The important thing was that you were GOING!  Not where you were going so much as the thrill of knowing you were on a road trip together to the BAJA!  You all piled out’ve work on Friday and picked all the buddies up along the way.

 

Nowadays, the information super-highway has, in many ways complicated things as much as made it easier.

 

There is so much out there, that it’s impossible to filter!  Our own website must be 40 pages large, but that’s because it has to be large to compete with everyone else out there. It’s a necessary evil.

 

And it’s hard to de-code everything.  It’s easy to hide that a certain hotel is 30 miles away from town or that another is actually built next to a cement plant.  The photos always look GREAT on the internet. 

 

Likewise, what does the word “rustic” mean when used to describe a hotel?  That could mean charming Mexican artisan décor or it could mean the air-conditioning system is powered by two gerbils running in a wheel. Or “close to the beach?”  How close is” close?”  Walking distance.  For who? 

 

After all that, sometimes it’s just easier to ask someone who has been there.  Assuming you truest their opinion.  But often…  Word-of –mouth sometimes trumps technology.

 

But, I miss the old days.  Pass the Doritos and pop some Rolling Stones in the 8-track…

We’ll get there when we get there.

_____________________________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife, Jill, 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!

_______________________

That’s our story

Jonathan and Jilly

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: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
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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Nice people sometimes ask the craziest questions. It's hard to believe some of the funny and nutty questions and comments we get.

“HOW DEEP IS ‘DEEP SEA’ FISHING?”

Originally Published the Week of April 4, 2012, in Western Outdoor News

Every year, after we do all our promotional shows across the Western U.S., I like to compile some of the funny questions and comments I heard during the past 3 months.  Folks approach our booth to talk and ask us questions and we literally see speak to hundreds of anglers and hunters at each show over the 4 or 5 day period.  Over the years, there have been some doozies…

“What’s the best day of the week to catch a blue marlin?”

 

“How come everyone in Mexico speaks Spanish?”

 

“It’s called ‘Baja California’ but I can’t find Baja on a map of California!”

Stuff like that.

Sometimes we roll our eyes. Sometimes we have to ask the to repeat the question because we can’t believe what we just heard!

Sometimes, it’s awfully hard to choke back a laugh or be a wise-guy (more my nature) and fire back a quick smart-aleck response…especially after talking to hundreds of persons at each show and hearing so many questions over and over!

But, we’re professionals!  Ha!

And we have to remind ourselves that these are truly and honestly sincere and generally intelligent folk.  I’m just as guilty of not having my brain and mouth in synch.  You be the judge! Sometimes, there’s just NO answer to some of these questions and comments!

Almost every conversation starts up with someone walking up to our counter and firing the opening line…

“Where you out’ve?”  (even tho’ the words LA PAZ MEXICO are plastered all over the booth!  )

And then it starts…

“Is that near Cancun?”

“Is that near Tijuana?  I took a picture there once with a donkey painted up like a zebra!”

 

And this little exchange…

“You don’t look Mexican.  Did you learn your English from missionaries?”

            (“Sir, I’m actually from Hawaii,” I responded)

“Really?  Are you selling fishing trips in Hawaii?”

“Do they speak Spanish in Hawaii?”

“So, in Hawaii, did you learn English from the missionaries?”

 

“Hey, do you know my friend in Cabo San Lucas?  His name is Jose.  He’s short like you with black hair and mustache.  Everyone knows Jose!” (I’m sure he’s in my rolodex!)

“So, is fishing any good where you’re at?”  (Nope…that’s why I’m selling fishing trips at a FISHING show and there’s pictures of FISH all over my booth!)

“I knew a guy once that got Montezuma’s revenge from drinking the water in Mexico.  Will that happen to me?  What will happen if I get Montezuma’s?”

“When do the salmon run in Baja?  I hear you get some good ones and they’re not like the salmon in Alaska!” (I guess not!)

“I was told Mexican ranchers raise little goats so they can get cheese and breed with them and have babies.  Is that true?”  (Can you repeat that one more time again, Sir?)

“Can my wife walk across the border to Loreto to go shopping?” (Oh sure…if she can walk about 500 miles!)

“I heard you can’t drive an American car to Mexico because American speedometers show miles-per-hour and in Mexico they don’t have miles…only kilometers.  Mexican cars have kilometers on their dashboards.  So, Mexican cars cannot be driven in the U.S. either.”  (Someone has been eating the brownies with the little green flecks in them again!)

“My wife doesn’t like the sun can she stay in the room the whole time?”

“Can I scuba dive without air tanks?”

 

“How deep is ‘deep sea’ fishing?”

 

“I’ve never fished in the ocean before.  What happens when the fish pulls me out’ve the boat?  Will sharks eat me? I watch “Shark Week” all the time on TV and I know what happens to people who get in the ocean.”

“I was in prison once and can’t get a passport.  Will they still let me come fishing where you’re at?” (They might let you out of the U.S., but you’re gonna have a big problem trying to get back in!”)

 

“Last time we were in Mexico it was really windy! What can you do about the wind?” (Well, let me just wave my magic wand over the earth and sky for you!)

“Are you positive you’re not selling fishing trips to Hawaii?

 

By the time you read this, I’ll be home in La Paz!  Thanks to everyone who came out to say hi to us over the last 3 months.  WON readers are EVERYWHERE!   There’s no such thing as a dumb question.  But…You never know when you may end up as part of a story!

That’s our story…

Jonathan

__________________________________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife, Jill, 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: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
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.”

Read Full Post »

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