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Posts Tagged ‘get-away’

Asked and Answered!

68b4ab0dadc09330aa3e84d1539ef68b5fc4e6fd382738206b45f44fd5b5c5cc

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

panga-santi

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.

sportfisher-1

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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CHUBASCO – One Outfitter’s Two Cents

hurricane-party

When life sends lemons…put ’em in the blender to make tortillas!

CHUBASCO – One Outfitter’s Two Cents

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 14, 2016 in Western Outdoor News

Well, as I write this, we just came through another hurricane down here in Southern Baja.   I think for me, it’s about number 8 or 10. Several while in Hawaii. Several of them here in Baja.

It doesn’t happen often.

I forget the litany of names. Norton was the one that just paid a visit a few days ago. Juan was a kicker. Henrietta busted us up pretty bad too many years ago.

Odile in 2014…that was historic and it’s effects still linger. You can see Odile’s tracks today. Broken buildings that never got repaired. Missing trees. Busted billboards that were never fixed.

Odile was a Category 4 or 5 hurricane with winds at almost 200 mph. Roofs went flying to Oz. Trees were tossed about as if a giant hand knocked over a chessboard. Boats were torn from anchor chains and moorings. No water or power…sometimes for weeks to some of the outlying areas.

We live in La Paz, the capital of the southern state of Baja Sur, and you’d think we had those essential services pretty fast. Well, it’s not like back in the U.S.

We went almost 2 weeks using flashlights and seeing how many creative uses we could find for a single bucket of water. Showers…flushing…cooking. I have to say, we got pretty good at it.

Newton, a few days ago, was pretty mild by comparison. Some trees. Lots of mud. Some busted glass. Some roofs (although that’s hardly “mild” if you’re the one losing part of the roof of your home!).

I have mixed feelings about hurricanes…”chubascos”…if you will.

As we run two big fishing fleets of pangas plus a large open-air restaurant, my first concern is safety for our guests, clients and employees.   And their families.

If, like this last one, it doesn’t look too bad, we’re good to go.

Newton was only going to last a day at most. With winds at 50-60 mph and gusts to 100, that sounds like a lot. However, if you warn folks to stay indoors, stay away from windows (or tape them up), it’s just a big storm racked up on steroids.

Secondly, and sadly, folks are gonna lose a day of activities be it, fishing, snorkeling, diving, day tours…whatever. I hate that. Vacations mean a lot. But, back to safety. We don’t want accidents.

Even if it might look good to you, trust us. Or you want to go out “for a few hours until the storm hits.” Nope. We keep you off the water for good reason. We don’t do “Three Hour Tours” ala Gilligan’s Island.

Weather happens. We can’t control rain and wind any more than I can control sunshine and tides although some folks DO expect it.

Yes, if you paid for the vacation, it surely is MY fault. “Why did you make us come down for a storm?” or “You ruined our vacation!”

I hate to break it to you, but this isn’t Disneyland where all the rides are robotically controlled and every environment is hermetically sealed for your convenience. I’ve looked all over for the on-off switch!

Believe me, every outfitter I know from Alaska to South America hates to have to cancel trips too! We all rely on happy smiley people.  That includes YOU!

So, as much as possible, we try to take the lemons and make lemonade…or margaritas, in our case.   I put a positive spin on it, as much as we can.

We tell our guests to stock up on beer and water and ice.   Munchy food is good to have too. Yup…go hog wild with Doritos and Chips Ahoy! Most of the better hotels have generators or at least loss of power is minimal.

And, I make a point of keeping folks informed.

Where the storm is coming from. How long it might last. Why it’s happening. Why we can’t fish. What to do when it hits. Information about airports and flights. People are terribly hungry for information.

Most have never been through a big storm like this.

And this is where I like to “sweeten those lemons” and brighten the potential gloom.

As long as they’re safe, I like to tell folks to enjoy it. Honest.

What else are you going to do?

To me, it’s fascinating to watch real weather…watch the skies and the ocean and rain all come together. I marvel at the power of nature frankly the magnificence of it all.

We have come so far with technology and consider ourselves the center of the universe and the apex of evolution. NOT!!!

When you watch a storm roll in…the ominous sheet of black clouds…the winds that sound like an approaching train…the sheets of rain…it’s a rare person that isn’t humbled.

I know that I am.

We have yet to harness the earthquake…the snowstorm…the tornado…the hurricane. Mother Nature sends us these little reminders about our relative place on the planet.

I try to impart that to our guests.

And, in that respect, I guess we are a lot like Disneyland.

It’s an “E-ticket” ride that might get a little scary. But at the end, you come out’ve the dark funhouse back into the light. The “safety bar” comes up and you all laugh…sigh…and head for a hot dog. And all along, you knew that’s how it would end.

“Most interesting part of the trip!”

 “Wow…that was incredibly fascinating!”

 “Maybe you should charge extra for that next time and just schedule a day off from fishing!”

 “Best Baja trip ever!”

 “Sat inside and just watched nature’s big screen TV in awesome HD!”

“I wanted to sleep in anyway!”

“Drinking margaritas and being part of…instead of watching the weather channel was kinda cool.”

 “First time in years…no phones no internet…my office couldn’t reach me. I wasn’t compelled to answer e-mails. I had forgotten how wonderful that was! I read a book and took a nap…in the middle of the day with the sound of rain outside!”

Are some of the comments, I’ve gotten.

Of course, this is not to make light of the seriousness of the larger storms; those who have indeed suffered bad property loss or injury; or the safety issues.

Always, safety first.

Weather happens. Make the best of it.

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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Attack of the Stoopids!

 

7-30-15-3

ATTACK OF THE STOOPIDS!

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 31, 2016 in Western Outdoor News

I have no doubts that you’re like me. Every now and then, you have “an attack of the stoopids.”

 

It’s one of those slap-yourself-in-the-head-kick-yourself-in-the-rear-moments when you do something so uncharacteristically STUPID, it just amazes you. Yea…it’s a knucklehead moves that happens to all of us.

 

It happens to some more than others. Surely, you have that one fishing friend who seems more prone to it than just about anyone you know.

 

In more than 20 years here in La Paz, we see it more often than you might imagine. These are cases where smart, otherwise intelligent folks, leave their common sense back home when they come on their Baja vacation.

 

…And they get the “Attack of the Stoopids.”

 

These really happened. There’s an old saying, “Your negligence shouldn’t be MY emergency.” But check these out…

 

Like the frantic call from the fisherman at the airport who doesn’t know what to do. He didn’t know he needed a passport to visit Mexico. Of course, it’s my emergency. “What should I do, Jonathan?”

 

The guy with intestinal problems. He didn’t remember until the day he arrives that he didn’t pack his colostomy bag. By the time his family Fed-Expressed it to him several days later, he was turning colors.

 

We’ve had similar situations with anglers who forgot their heart medications…their HIV meds…and a glass eyeball…(not kidding).

 

And then, another good guy who had too many tequilas. He did a huge belly flop into the pool and his dentures flew out’ve his mouth. And broke. His last words were, “Hey everyone, watch this…!”

 

Speaking of packing, sometimes the smartest folks have stoopid attacks.

 

I had a neurosurgeon who always let his wife pack his bag. She forgot to pack extra underwear for him.

 

He woke me at 2 a.m. in the morning, asking what he should do. He didn’t have underwear to go fishing in the morning. Dead serious. Had to assure him it would be OK. The fish wouldn’t care.

 

“Are you sure it will be OK? Jonathan?”

“Yes, Doc. We’ll take you to Walmart tomorrow after fishing.”

 

Then, there’s the good amigo who comes in the morning to go fishing.  He can’t understand why the shorts he packed are so tight and don’t fit right. “They pinch!”

 

Turns out he had packed his wife’s shorts in his suitcase. He was wondering why they “rode up.” You bet they “pinched.”

 

Or the guy who opens his suitcase in his room. Instead of his fishing clothes he finds lacy black lingerie, high heels, a feather and a whip! Turns out he grabbed the wrong black bag from the airport turnstile!

 

There was one guy with a recipe for disaster. He got drunk and decides he wants a tattoo for his birthday. Next morning, across his chest instead of his wife’s name” ROBERTA” it says “ROBERTO.”

 

Jewelry can be a problem. Wedding rings…

 

We got a call from the airport. The client is frantic. He took off his wedding ring and he’s headed home now and just remembered he’s not wearing it! He’s pleading for us to search his room. He had some explaining to do when he got home, I’m sure. We didn’t find it.

 

We’re always getting calls, from folks that hid money, valuables or jewelry in the toilet tank…ceiling tiles…taped to the back of dresser drawers…in the air-conditioning duct…And then they forget! And don’t remember until they’re back home.

 

Or worse, they KNOW they hid it and now they are gone. But, they can’t remember where they hid it.

 

Of course, it’s up to US to go through the room and figure out where it’s hidden! Often the room is already occupied by someone else!

 

Back in the day when travelling was easier and a lot looser, a guy call us. Hopping mad. We were waiting for him to arrive. He apparently boarded his plane.

 

When he asked the flight attendant for the immigration papers to fill out, she told him you only need the for international flights. His secretary had booked him to Laredo, Texas instead of Loreto, Baja, Mexico!

Someone was gonna be looking for a new job.

 

We had a similar “vacation fail” with a family that messed up their vacation and ended up on a flight to La Paz, Bolivia instead of La Paz, Mexico!

 

Fishing gear is especially susceptible.

 

Guy walks in to show off his brand new custom flyrods…right into the ceiling fan. Whap! Whap! Whap! No more tips. Ever seen a grown man cry?

 

Or the angler who forgets he had 5-pounds of frozen squid in his tackle box. In the trunk of his car. In the Baja sun.  And they leaked. Into the back seat. For two days. And it’s a rental car.

 

Or in the middle of a red-hot bite, the fisherman who realizes he clamped all his reels on his rods…backwards.

 

Or shows up to fish and it hits him…he FORGOT to bring his reels and only brought the rods!

 

There’s just no cure. The knucklehead bug can hit us with an “attack of the stoopids” at any time!

 

You see, some of the things I mentioned above.

 

I’m the guy who was the knucklehead.   Even I leave my brains at home sometimes.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

_______________

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