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YES YOU CAN…MAYBE

beach shack

LIVING THE DREAM? IT IS POSSIBLE!

YES YOU CAN…MAYBE!

Originally Published the Week of March 3, 2015 in Western Outdoor News 

Admit it. At least once…probably more than once…maybe even several times today, you said to yourself, “I’m gonna blow this place and just move to Mexico!”

 

Or, you’ve entertained thoughts of simply leaving no trail and vanishing into the Baja to put your toes in the sand; a cold one in your hand and create your own Corona Beer commercial. C’mon. You know you have!

 

The grass is always greener on the other side. Heck, I’ve lived in Baja almost 20 years and there’s times when even I get fed up and say, “I’m done with this. I want In-N-Out burgers; push-button convenience; and roads that don’t puncture my tires and wreck my suspension.”

 

But seriously, Baja is high on the “leave-it-all-behind” list. In fact as a whole, Mexico is the #1 vacation and retirement destination for Americans. Some have a plan. Some don’t. Some just wing it.

 

I once met a guy. He was in construction and got crushed in the latest economic fubar a few years back. Frustrated with trying to stay ahead of the game. Decided he’d had it and was going to make his own game.

 

Sold what was left of his business. Bought a big RV and tied his boat to the back of it. Strapped his surfboards on the roof and came south. No forwarding address.

 

Last I heard, he was living on the beach south of La Paz on the Pacific side. I won’t tell you where. He actually had a girlfriend come looking for him once who looked me up hoping to locate him. It wasn’t like I had an address or he had a phone.

 

He had built a little palapa over his RV. He was teaching surfing lessons. He had built a little public shower out’ve old pallets and bamboo and PVC tubes. Fifty cents for 10 minutes of hot water. Discounts on shower time if brought him a 6 pack of beer!

 

There was another guy many years ago. His family came down looking for him. His wife had passed. His kids were grown and off doing their own thing. He hadn’t had much contact with them.   His exit was a little more dramatic.

 

All he said was, “I’m driving to Baja.” His family didn’t think much of it. He was retired and was a travelling kind of guy. But, as a former executive, he at least kept in touch with folks.

 

After five weeks, no one had heard from him.

 

They came into La Paz putting up “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN?” posters everywhere.   It had a fuzzy black and white photo of a smiling guy on an ATV named “Bradley” from Phoenix.

 

They had been up and down the Baja hanging posters searching for him. As I watched them put one up in front of our offices, I could see the angst, frustration and fatigue.   They told me the story. All I could say was that I’d keep my eye out.

 

Several days later, I happened to be out on the sidewalk and saw a tall scruffy bearded guy in cargo shorts and sandals looking intently at the photo. He saw me looking. He looked back and smiled. I raised an eyebrow at him. You?

 

He raised a knowing-eyebrow back.   Looked back at the faded flyer. Smiled a crooked smile and kept on walking. Hmmm….

 

Similarly, I’ve run into others who only go “by first name only please!” Or have openly told me they don’t want their photos taken or “I haven’t used my real name in years, and I like it that way.”

 

Usually said with a laugh. But, they are serious.   They have disappeared into the “frontera” (frontier) of the Baja.

 

Some folks just don’t want to be found. They have their reasons. Some are being chased…family, wife, kids, the IRS. Or not. Others come to chase something else. A vision. A dream. Themselves. Everyone has demons and angels.

 

I haven’t quite figured out my own motivations for 20 years in Baja myself.  I’m still working on it!

 

The stories can continue. Yes, it can be done.  And many do it.

 

But, most aren’t quite so dramatic or abrupt.

 

But, before you put out the “closed” sign on your business; bid adios to the U.S.A. and just sail, drive or surf into the Baja sunset, think first.

 

Don’t crack that beer just yet without some due diligence and a well-thought out exit strategy.

 

I guess the most important thing. Figure out how you’re gonna eat. As good as beans, tortillas and cerveza were on your vacation, it gets old after awhile. And dorado fillets don’t just jump into your refrigerator.

 

If you’re not bringing a coffee can full of cash, then it would be a good idea to figure out a source of income.

 

That means Mexican bank accounts and well, perhaps all the things you were trying to get away from in the first place.  Because, you need documents, documents, documents…starting with a passport…immigration forms…and that’s just to start.

 

If you hated bureaucracy (bureau-CRAZY) in the states, just wait until you get a taste of the Mexican version which is even doubly-mind-boggling, if you’re a gringo.

 

So, much for disappearing because now you’re back “in the system. “ And then there might be taxes to pay. So, you hate the IRS? You may have to now pay taxes in TWO countries.

 

And don’t forget if you start buying things, like land; a home; a car (with driver’s license of course!) and other things.  You’re leaving a trail.

 

So many have the impression that it’s “looser” in Mexico, but like anywhere else, there’s criminal laws, labor laws, civil laws; property laws, immigration laws etc.   And like anywhere else you respect the law.

 

Compliance isn’t optional. And the last thing you ever want to do is run afoul of Mexican law.

 

If none of that matters to you and nothing I’ve written has discouraged you, then come ahead! There’s a sandy beach, blue water, the friendliest folks and a lifestyle unlike anything imaginable waiting for you!  I’ll buy the first beer. See you down here!

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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AVOID LOOKING LIKE A TOURIST IN MEXICO

Mexican-Border-Arizona-Tourists-x

It’s all about having fun! But how you do it is as important as what you do! Smile for the selfie!

 

AVOID LOOKING LIKE  A TOURIST IN MEXICO!

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 17th, 2015 in WESTERN OUTDOOR NEWS

Well, we’ve been at this almost 20 years now running our fishing ops here in La Paz and we see almost 1000 fisher-persons a year.   I love to people watch. It occurred to me that there’s some tips and observations to pass on about avoiding looking and acting like a tourist.

 

  1. Don’t be afraid to speak Spanish. No matter how limited. Do your best! It’s appreciated and encouraged.

 

  1. Don’t be an idiot and speak “Spanish” by simply adding an “El” to the front of every word or adding “O” to the end of every word. For example, “I want-O el plate-O of el chips-O ” will only get eyes rolling. Don’t laugh. I hear this more often than you think.

 

  1. If someone doesn’t understand what you’re saying in English or Spanish saying it 10 times or saying it LOUDER is not going to help!

 

  1. Don’t be the ugly American and complain out loud and try to make everyone understand YOUR English.   Saying, “How come you don’t understand English?” isn’t going to make you any amigos.

 

  1. Lose the sandals or tennis shoes with black socks. Or the leather Thom McAnn shoes with black socks…especially if you’re wearing shorts.  Come to think of it, lose the white socks with sandals too!

 

  1. Don’t be a cheapskate. Tip for service! Minimum wage in Mexico is about 8 bucks A DAY! So, even a dollar or two is much appreciated. Ten percent is nice. Fifteen percent rocks!

 

  1. Try to restrain yourself. Starting sentences with “Well, back in America we do it differently” or “Mexico does everything backwards…” is bad form. Don’t be insulting. You’re a guest!

 

  1. Americans love to walk around with shirtless. It took me years to realize, it’s bad manners.   Sorta of like coming to dinner wearing your jockey shorts.

 

  1. No one is impressed when you pull out rolls of cash. Be discreet.

 

  • Smile dangit! It’s universal. Works in all countries. You’re on vacation.

 

  1. Never call someone over with your palm facing up and beckon with your fingers, “Come over here.” That’s how you clean parts of your anatomy. Better with your palm down and beckon with your fingers like you’re pawing.

 

  1. Make a friend for life. Ask to take their photo! Mexicans, especially the ladies, LOVE to have their photos taken and are very photogenic. It’s considered quite a compliment.

 

  • The universal “bro-handshake” with every cool guy is the casual side-to-side hand slap (low five) followed by the knuckle bump. Try it! Deckhands…captains…waiters…taxi drivers…Now you’re one of the guys!

 

  • Eat where locals eat. Eat at carts or little hole-in-the-wall places. If there’s others eating there, eat there too! It’s a sure sign that it’s better than the place next door where no one is eating.

 

  1. Try something new on the menu or, if you’re in the company of locals, ask if they’d suggest something. Don’t scrunch up your face when they tell you what it is. Just because it has a strange name, doesn’t mean it tastes bad.

 

  • For sure, order what they serve. Don’t go to a seafood place and then order the steak that’s way down on the menu. If you want a steak, go to a steak place.

 

  • There’s no such thing as a “typical Mexican restaurant.” There’s places where locals eat and there’s places where tourists eat. Taxi drivers tell me all the time, that gringos ask for a “typical Mexican restaurant.” The taxi driver doesn’t know what to say. Tell him specifically what kind of food you’re looking for!

 

  1. Lose the camera. Or at least be courteous. Respect privacy and use common sense. Folks love to have their photo taken, but no one likes having a video camera or your big zoom lens zero on them.

 

  • Share what you have. Bag of chips. Candy. Fishing gear. Fish.

 

  • Be remembered forever. Leave or bring a gift. A t-shirt with a logo or a baseball hat are highly prized and expensive in Mexico. Especially if it might be something that reminds them of you. Everyone loves souveniers. That shirt from the company picnic will be treasured a long time.

 

  • Pull up your pants. You might be “gangsta” back home, but locals think you look ridiculous. They’re laughing behind your back. Come to think of it, they’re doing it back home too.

 

  • “Please” and “Thank you” in Spanish or English is always understood and appreciated. At the very least!

 

That’s our story!

Jonathan signature

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: 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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“CALL OF DUTY SURPRISE”

whaleswdennis 311

 

CALL of DUTY SURPRISE

Originally published the week of Jan. 22, 2015 in Western Outdoor News

There are certain things you do in any job that get tagged “Grin and Bear It.” They are the things you MUST do because it’s part of the job and, as much as you’d rather be elsewhere, you at least have to look like you’re enjoying yourself.

 

Whether you’re a big-time executive…a parent…drive a truck…fly rocket ships, etc., there are those parts of your week that can’t be avoided.

 

Like having to get dressed up to go to a relative’s house for a holiday and “make nice” when you really want to just sit on the couch in your own home and your saggy sweats and watch the big football game.

 

In our business, we label them C.O.D. Days…”Call of duty.”

 

For that that could mean waiting up past midnight for clients that have a delayed flight that doesn’t come in until after midnight.

 

Or hunting around at the last minute for (a) sunscreen (b) hat (c) fishing license (d) cell phone (e) all of the above. Because the client (a) lost (b) forgot (c) never had the thing in the first place.

 

Y’know. Stuff like that. A “Call of Duty” event.

 

It was like that the first time I got tabbed to go whale watching. I knew it was a cool event but one of our other guides had a family emergency and, at the time, I was low man. You know what they say about things flowing downhill.

 

It was going to be all day. I didn’t think it would be that eventful. I wasn’t looking forward to driving 3 hours from La Paz to Bahia Magdalena and 3 hours back. Having to make small talk all day.   And, I had seen whales before elsewhere. No big whoop-dee-doo.

 

As it turned out, it was me that was the doofus. It turned out to be almost a life-changing event.

 

The clients were pleasant, lively, conversational and fun! That always helps on a fun drive through the dessert to Bahia Magdalena that starts in the dark at 6 a.m.

 

The drive takes 3 hours, but there’s a great stop for a huge Mexican breakfast of huevos rancheros with chunks of grilled beef, fresh tortillas, toast, chilaquiles (breakfast nachos) fresh juice and hot coffee to kick off the day.   Any other day, I’d have wanted to take a siesta after a breakfast like that.

 

When we arrived at the Bay, I was surprised how many people were there. Families…tour groups…school kids…It was quite an enterprise. I bit like a Disneyland atmosphere rife with excitement and anticipation and groups lined up then boarded pangas to head out onto the bay.

 

It was quite an amusing production line! Boats came back and unloaded one group and another group would board.

 

Given how much each person paid to go out and with 6-10 persons in each panga, these panga captains were doing banner business. Good for them. Most were hard-scrabble commercial captains and the income for the three months of whale watching season from January to March is welcome.

 

It’s amazing how things have changed. Several centuries ago, grey whales were almost hunted to extinction. But, as with so many things, if you can label it “eco tourism” and make a living at it, the winds of capitalism blow favorably.

 

Again, good for them. Win-win for all!   Especially the whales!

 

From where we were on the land, the bay is extremely narrow and occasionally, whales could be seen breaching not far away as folks oo’d and ahh’d from the beach and pointed.

 

We boarded our own panga with about ½ a dozen other folks. Having been on other whale watch tours before, I hoped we would MAYBE see one or two and go off chasing them around with everyone trying to get a glimpsing or photos.

 

Not this time!

 

Within minutes we were in the calm waters of the bay having our first “interaction.” A mom and her calf.   The mom stayed about 20 yards off our starboard but the calf…all 15 feet of it…seemed curious.

 

Our captain suggested we all splash our hands in the water. Little by little, the baby got closer . Until…it was right next to the boat.

 

Eager hands reached out to touch the “little guy.” It seemed eager itself and seemed to enjoy being petted. Cameras whirled and clicked. Video cameras jockeyed for position.   People laughed and smiled.

 

I did the same. For a brief moment, it’s eye came out and looked at us and I reached out and gave it a rub! I pulled back laughing as if doing something I wasn’t supposed to do. Like getting caught with the cookies.

 

And everyone laughed.   And it seemed to wink then moved along the side of the panga as if asking everyone to “rub me more.”

 

It blew a misty flume of water that showered everyone and had everyone ducking with laughter and covering their cameras. And the baby moved away under mom’s wing. “That’s enough playtime with the funny creatures in the boat, Junior.”

 

That day, I think I counted more than 40 whales. I would touch at least 4 or 5 and most whales were within a few yards of us all day.

 

One would leave and two would pop up. We’d see others glide beneath us or others spy-hopping (holding vertically in the water to see what’s going on!).

 

It turned out to be an amazing day.

 

After a few hours we returned to shore to a huge shrimp and lobster lunch that again had me wishing for a hammock siesta, but the long drive back kept me smiling. The clients were passed out behind me asleep.

 

The whales are here in Baja until mid-March or so. It’s the longest migration of any animal on earth as they come from the Bering Sea each year to the calm lagoons of Baja to give birth and mate.   Give it a try!

 

That’s our 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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“South of the Border…a Little Nip…Tuck…and Troll”

For your next vacation...perhaps a little fishing and some grill work or a facelift?

For your next vacation…perhaps a little fishing and some grill work or a facelift?

SOUTH OF THE BORDER..a LITTLE NIP…TUCK…and TROLL!

Originally Published the Week of January 22, 2015 in Western Outdoor News

Tourists cross the border to Baja for any number of reasons. There’s the food. There’s shopping. There’s the great beaches and hotels. And, if you’re reading this column, well, of course there’s the fantastic fishing.

 

But, there’s another side of tourism that doesn’t get talked about a lot. It often goes unreported, but more than 700,000 foreigners, mostly Americans and Canadians go to Baja for medical treatment every year.

 

Some are fairly routine.

 

“I bring my family here to fish every year,” explained Wilson, one of our clients at Tailhunters in La Paz. “But we also get our teeth cleaned too,” he added with a grin. “ It costs me $150 dollars just for my kids back home, but here in Baja, it runs us only about $20 each!”

 

Josh, from California, spends several weeks in Baja each year. “There’s a terrific Chinese acupuncturist in La Paz who helps me with some nerve and muscle damage I have from Viet Nam. Compared to back in California, I can go several times a week in Mexico.”

 

Others are a bit more urgent.

 

Over my almost twenty years working in Baja, I’ve had clients come to have surgery for a torn rotator cuff; carpal tunnel syndrome; hip repair and knee surgery.   To most, they’ve told me the care was great, but moreso, the costs were a fraction of what they had expected to pay back home.

 

In some cases, there were emergencies. There’s not too much worse than getting hurt while on a vacation.

 

Of course, there’s the usual…hooks-in-fingers…allergic reactions to bug bites…jellyfish stings…cuts…scrapes…dehydration…heat stroke.

 

But, in some cases, treatment was critical. A client who got a little too much margarita jumped into the shallow end of the pool. He went head-first and broke his neck. There have been several acute appendectomie and a broken bone or two (alcohol involved!).

 

In all cases, treatment was fast, quick, competent and especially in the emergency cases, surprisingly good and cheap.

 

John had an emergency root canal in the middle of his fishing trip. “It was incredible. The dentist spoke English and the facilities were as modern as any I’ve ever seen. It would have cost me thousands back in Los Angeles with our family dentist.”

 

Ralph’s side pain in the middle of the night turned into appendicitis and he was rushed to surgery.

 

“I got a private room for almost a week. Great nurses. Doctors who spoke pretty good English. They even called my family doctor to check on me and they had the hospital commissary make American food for me. “

 

He added, “At the end, when they gave me the bill they apologized that it was so high. I couldn’t believe it. Laughable. It was so low, I used my credit card and felt like I should have put a tip on it! Easily 10,000 dollars more at home in Utah.”

 

Other treatment, while perhaps not so urgent, to some is even more important.   Baja is quite a center for cosmetic surgery as well. A nip…a tuck…a bigger/ smaller boob…a bit of lipsuction on the love handles.

 

Indeed, some of the cosmetic surgery clinics advertise “vacation packages” that include hotel and other amenities. You have a little work done under the radar. Recover quietly in sunny Baja. You return with a certain “glow” and no one is the wiser!

 

Like anywhere else, there’s good and bad practitioners. But, I’ve personally always had great care. Many of the doctors I’ve met and a good number of dentists actually received their training in the United States.

 

However, I always suggest asking around. If a doctor’s place looks like it’s down a back alley and has folding chairs, it’s probably not a good gamble. I won’t kid you that fraud is rampant and there’s guys out there that literally purchased their diplomas to hang on the walls.

 

But the good professionals have a track record and grow. Their professionalism in appearance is usually a good indicator of their abilities.

 

There are still some “doctors” who plant themselves next to pharmacies in little hole-in-the-wall offices. They are literally sitting at a folding table.   You walk in or walk up.

 

There might be a hallway of folding chairs each with someone who wants to tell the doctor their problem. The line moves fast. There’s no medical history taken. No temperatures taken. No names given.

 

Pay 5 bucks or whatever the going rate is . Tell the “doctor” what’s wrong. No real diagnosis. He just tells you what drug he thinks will help. He writes you a “prescription” for the pharmacy next door.  Off you go. Next in line “por favor.”

 

Hopefully, you’ll never need any emergency care on a vacation, but especially with growing medical costs, Mexico is a viable alternative for many people.

 

A little fishing…a little sunshine…a margarita…While you’re there, suck some fat. Grow your boobs. Cap some teeth. More folks do it than you might think. Multi-tasking Baja style!

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/

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“How We Rolled Rumbled and Stumbled”

 

donkeys

Road trips where you wrote you own captions and every curve there was something unexpected!

“HOW WE ROLLED RUMBLED AND STUMBLED”

Originally Published in Western Outdoor News the Week of January, 6, 2014

Driving the Baja…

 

There was a time not long ago when I actually had the time to drive up and down the Baja Transpeninsular Highway. Time was not “of the essence” and even with cheap flights, gas was still so cheap it was more economical to drive.

 

These were the days several decades before there were regular convenience stores and Pemex gas stations dotting the landscape.

 

Yes, the Transpeninsular was a relative Mexican engineering marvel for its day. Officially called Federal Highway 1, it was quite a feat.

 

Being in the U.S. we take highways for granted and few who visit Baja today remember what it was like before the highway. Even those first years after its completion in 1973 were a bit rugged.

 

Highway 1 dotted-dashed-scurried-and-ribboned the entire 1,000-mile length of the Baja corridor from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. No doubt, to have one solid-length of pavement was a vast improvement over the previous road(s) which required the abilities of a world-class off-road driver and a vehicle that was about as indestructible as an Abrams tank.

 

Even in its completed state, it was politely called a “highway” sporting just two lanes. Laughingly and affectionately, it was called a “leveled goat trail” by its fans who still saw it as a vast improvement.

 

But, the word “solid” is relative. Like so much in Mexico. “Pavement” has many meanings!

 

There were sometimes more detours around missing parts of pavement than actual pavement. That meant forays into the nearby desert.

Potholes stretched for miles and trying to navigate in-around-and-out of them was like trying to dash through a minefield.

 

Sooner or later, the odds were you’d get rocked. The Spanish word for “pothole” is “Hoyo” (OY-yo)…as in OH-no! Which is what you said as your suspension or axle suddenly groaned in agony as it slammed into crater after crater. And you hoped you still had an oil pan.

 

But, so many of us drove the trek regularly, and looked forward to it. It was an adventure of adventures. It was almost a rite of passage to tell someone, “Dude, I just DROVE the Baja.” You didn’t “drive TO Baja.” You didn’t “TRAVEL to Baja.”

 

You proclaimed your coolness and told folks, you “DROVE the Baja.” It was sorta like “riding the Banzai Pipeline.” Or “running with the bulls.” Or “scuba diving with sharks.”

 

Instant cred. Very high on the “neato scale.”  At least a 9 in the ooh-aaa factor.   A bucket list things for guys.

 

Yup…Us cooler dudes, “DROVE the Baja.” Back in the day, the coolest of the cool folks declared they “SURVIVED the Baja” because that was always a pre-cursor to a good story, too! Driving the Baja was one thing.  “Surviving the Baja” meant that a good tale was to follow.

 

The “survivors” brought back great stories and tall tales of roadside frontier adventure. There were flat tires…busted fan belts and axles and green unfiltered gas bought from a guy with a 50-gallon drum and a handpump.

 

How about those swarming mosquitos and flies? Sunburn…hangovers…stalling in sand-filled arroyos and waking up in strange places. And what’s a good story if it didn’t include Montezuma’s revenge… a hurricane… a sandstorm or the occasional ill-advised romantic liason?

 

But, there were also golden gems of deserted white sand beaches and glorious crimson sunrises…mouth watering handmade roadside tacos… ferocious fish that had never seen a hook… perfect thick-lipped waves that had never been surfed…friendly warm people…icy beers and barbecued lobster eaten with fingers and campfires under carpets of stars.

 

And always, there was one more dirt road off the beaten path that beckoned to be explored…begged to be explored. Every adventure started with the words…”We decided to pull off the highway…” Or “We stopped in for just one small tequila…” Or, “I was eating a greasy taco and my eyes locked on this pretty girl…”

 

Federal One has become bigger, better and safer after all these years. There are still stretches of the wild Mexican frontier that go for miles. But, you’ll see more gas station. More convenience stores. RV parks and hotels too.

 

It’s just not the same anymore. You climb on a plane in the U.S. You ride the sterilized tube through the air and maybe see a bit of dessert or ocean below. You exit into an air-conditioned terminal with a thousand other people.

 

The biggest adventure and closest brush with danger is running the gamut of airport vendors trying to rent you a car or get you on a time-share trip.

 

“Free fishing trip, Senor? Just need two hours of your time for a small presentation.”

“Eh amigo, do you need a taxi?”

“Discount snorkel trip for you and your family?”

 

The height of your anxiety and adrenaline level is wondering if your luggage will get searched by duty inspectors at the airport.

 

You remember that undeclared bottle of Jack Daniels hidden in your boxer shorts.   Your wife thinks they inspectors will pull out her lingerie in front of everyone.   Blood pressure zooms.

 

Or major panic. Now that you’re through customs, you can’t find the shuttle driver who was supposed to meet you at the terminal. Whew…there he is. He was hidden behind all those other shuttle drivers!

 

Man, that was stressful!   Gonna have a double margarita at the pool bar as soon as I dump this stuff in the room.

 

It’s just not the same anymore. And neither are the good stories.

 

“The room service didn’t have cheesecake…” is a lot different from

 

“Did I tell you about the time these Mexican fishermen with lobsters came to our campsite and wanted to trade for a 6 pack of Budweiser? And one guy had a guitar…and my buddy Dave pulled out a bottle of Cuervo?”

 

“Man…let me tell you…”

 

Editor’s Note:  Jonathan and Jill Roldan of Tailhunter International Sportfishing (www.tailhunter-international.com) in La Paz make the Mex 1 run often. They are at their first show of the year for them, at the ISE show in Sacramento that starts Wednesday at Cal Expo, with stops in Long Beach and Del Mar on the SoCal schedule.

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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NOCHE BUENA and a MIDNIGHT CLEARLY

Mexico night sky

NOCHE BUENA and a MIDNIGHT CLEARLY

Originally Published the Week of December 9, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

I was only going to be in Baja for a year. Has it been almost twenty?

 

The longer I am here the more Christmas seems to change a bit.   The early years were surely different.

 

I was living out in the “country” then. Well…10 miles down a dusty dirt road far off the pavement in the cactus and Baja scrub in a little remote Mexican bay. Far away from the city lights, I worked for a little off-the-grid hotel that only had 4 rooms.

 

And that’s all there was out there. Today, you still have to drive down a dirt road to get there and the hotel is closed and being re-claimed by the Baja sands. As so many Mexican dreams go.

 

I had very little then, but I often felt like I was king of the world at times. I was only half-a-step from living out’ve my old Dodge van at the time with fishing rods and an old one-room adobe. “Living the dream,” as many would later tell me!

 

I spent most nights sleeping outside in a hammock under a weathered palapa made of sticks.   Jimmy, my little dog and I lived much by candlelight and a propane stove. No phones. No electricity to speak of.

 

And I remember it was Christmas. In the Baja. In Mexico. So far from Christmases remembered.

 

I remember the brisk wind and the clear starry skies overhead where clusters of the galaxies were so thick as to appear as if a huge black canvas had been lightly airbrushed with white.   With no city lights, shooters streaked criss-crossing tracers from horizon to horizon.

 

I wore the same faded shorts and some awfully thin flipflops that had long since lost their tread. I’m sure I smelled like fish most days which is how I earned my living for the hotel taking their few clients fishing and diving.

 

No one ever complained about how I looked or smelled. I was part of the landscape in my ratty straw hat and cut-off t-shirts.

 

Mesquite was abundant so it was often just as easy to cook over a jumbled stone firepit I had made outside my little casita on the bare ground. It wasn’t much more than a rocky rise of hardscrabble Baja dirt. But…during the day, the little spot had a zillion dollar view of the beach and bay that would make a realtor drool.

 

But not tonite. A moonless crispy December night in Baja. I could hear the waves of the bay lightly crashing against the sands down the beach somewhere in the darkness below. With barely more than the stars above, the orange glow of my little fire fought a losing battle to penetrate the darkness.

 

But all is calm. My fire bright. Noche Buena. Christmas eve.

 

I pulled my thin flannel shirt a little tighter against the chill. Me and and Jimmy the dog. I tossed another branch of twisted mesquite into the flame.

 

I had come a long way from American cities and holidays past. Never in my wildest dreams would I have envisioned spending Christmas like this. Life takes funny turns. There’s a thin debateable line between an idiot and genius.

 

No tree. No carols. But, I had nature’s own magnificent light show overhead and the dancing flames of a mesmerizing campfire to hold gaze into.

 

Completely alone but not the least bit lonely. On Christmas. And it felt like it just couldn’t get any better.

 

And then, just outside the ring of flickering firelight, a shuffle of feet. A bit of laughter. Faces and smiles materializing on the other side of the orange haze of whispy smoke. The spectral ghosts of a Dicken’s Christmas?

 

“Que onda? Que tal, Jona! Feliz Navidad! Felices fiestas, Mano!”

 

It just got better.

 

Some of the commercial fishermen and their wives had trudged up the rise from the beach. Several packs of beer in hand and tattered beach chairs. Uninvitedly always welcome. Saw my fire. Come to join. Come to laugh.  Share the warmth of a chilly evening.

 

My Spanish was barely elementary back then. But, some things are universal. Bridges are easily crossed with smiles, high-fives, back slaps and shared fraternal cervezas. Especially on Christmas Eve.

 

They already had an obvious head start on me. No formalities needed. They plopped down around the fire and it was on. No need to break the ice. I toasted and laughed and did my best to sing.

 

In any language…”Noche Buena” is still “Silent Night.” I had no clue about some of the other rowdy rancho songs they sang.

 

We whooped at the top of our lungs and lifted Tecate cans to health and family, love, life and the star-filled night. Or nothing in particular.

 

You know that saying about “Dance like no one is watching and sing like no one can hear?” There’s a special child-like exhilaration attached to that.

 

Of all things, they started singing “Jingle Bells” in Spanish. I doubt my amigos even had a concept of a sleigh or reindeer or even snow. Ni modo…no matter! One more time with feeling from the top!

 

Then they asked me to teach them the song in English. Por favor!

 

Me leading! Oh my…ever fall over laughing? I don’t think there had ever been such a bawdy version…Christmas angels winced but couldn’t help smiling…

 

DOSHING TRUE DUH SNO

EN WUN WHORE’S O-PEN SLAY!

ODOR FEELS WEE-GO

LOFFING OLE DUH WAY

 

HO! HO! HO! (Everyone jumped in on that part with gusto!)

 

 

And we laughed and snorted and guffawed and stomped our dusty feet. I stared into that campfire and thought of perhaps another chilly night in the desert many eons ago. That brought others to a spot in the desert.

 

Some wise guys and sheep ranchers. Amigos of different languages and cultures. Pulled in by the flame and warmth of a beckoning light.

 

And here we were… A bit of light in the darkness on a windswept beach knoll in Mexico. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. As primal as that. Some friends. A few beers. Laughs and smiles. A song and and a welcoming campfire in the dark. Christmas Eve and all was right.

 

Noche Buena. Noche excelente.

 

EN WUN WHORE’S O-PEN SLAY ODOR FEELS WEE GO LOFFING OLE DUH WAY…indeed!

 

Only in Mexico! Andale and Feliz Navidad, mis amigos! God bless us everyone. Peace to you my fish brothers and sisters.

 

 

Somewhere even the angels were singing along. Once more with feeling.

 

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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GREAT TIME TO VISIT

This time of year is a good time to find your own little beach...and maybe something else too!

This time of year is a good time to find your own little beach…and maybe something else too!

A GOOD TIME TO VISIT

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 25, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

I have an usual method to measure the “ changing-of-the-seasons” here in La Paz.  My sure-fire way to know that the warm-weather tourist season has ended is goofy, but simple.

 

I walk outside our Tailhunter Restaurant and use the street as my measuring device.

 

For about 8 months of the year, getting across our main street from one side to the other is an exercise in agility, patience and frustration.  The long straight “malecon” that runs along the ocean-front of our city is like a mini-dragstrip.  Perfect for parades.  Perfect for marches.  Perfect to see how fast your car accelerates.

 

And that’s what it’s like getting across the street.  No one stops. Pedestrians beware.  Cars have the right-of-way.  That’s the unwritten law most of the year.   There’s two kinds of folks…the” quick” and the “quicker.”

 

Then, about now, it changes.

 

The shadows get longer as the sun rises and sets at a lower angle.  The bay gets breezier.  And, for some reason, people…and drivers slow down.  In fact, there’s just less people.  And using my “measuring stick” of a street, I can cross at leisure.  As many times as I want.  I can even stand in the middle of the street and take photos.   Ho-hum…

 

Where’d everyone go?

 

About this time, except for the influx of snow-birds, tourism just kinda slows down.  There will be a spike for the holidays like Christmas, but for many areas, from November to March, Baja changes from the “land of mañana” to “the land of maybe not even mañana…maybe the -day-after-manana.”

 

But, it’s a great time to come down.

 

Depending on your perspective, winter is Baja is either warmer or cooler!

 

It’s surely cooler than April to October when the legendary Baja heat sends visitors cranking on their hotel air-conditioning units or spending their waking hours at the poolside swim-up bar.  Humidity is nil.  Daytime air temps in the 60-80’s are more the norm.  You night even use a blanket at night.  It might actually be a good idea to pack a pair of jeans or slacks and a sweatshirt!  Some areas of Baja actually get “cold” by Baja standards and frost is not uncommon and you’ll see us locals in down jackets and watch caps.

 

Conversely, if you’re from say…the Pacific Northwest…Canada…the East Coast…you’ll find the winter months to be head-and-shoulders over shoveling snow or drying out from rain.

 

You’ll get a grin watching us residents “bundle up” while you saunter down the marina or beach in shorts and send Instagram selfies to your envious neighbors back home while holding icy margaritas.  Bargaining for silver jewelry for your wife beats crawling under your car to put on snow chains.

 

Further, as I alluded to above, crowds are down.

 

Be the only ones in a restaurant.  The hotel staff call you by name.  The bartender remembers your favorite drink.  No lines for attractions.

 

Actually find a beach where you’re not dodging beach balls or forced to listen to someone else’s obnoxious boom box.   Walk downtown and around town and sit and watch and listen, immerse and discover without a time-share or t-shirt sale dogging your every move.

 

If you plan to fish, winter-time fishing might put a whole different spin on Baja fishing for you. Cooler waters and perhaps windier conditions might predicate completely different types of fishing for you.   Winter or inshore species you hadn’t considered like yellowtail, pargo, cabrilla, amberjack and others will surprise you.  Shoreline fishing and beach fishing can produce sierra, rooster fish, jack crevalle and pompano and perch.

 

And there’s a good chance the waters won’t be crowded and the shorelines will be deserted!

 

And there’s that aspect again…just not many folks around.

 

And that’s good.  There’s opportunities for bargains and deals.  Taxi drivers need fares!  Negotiate to have a personal driver for all your days.   Or negotiate for a better deal with the rental car agents who all work on commissions.

 

Restaurants, eager for patrons have deals on drinks and food.  Many of the smaller hotels, and oftentimes the most charming, will often negotiate as well, especially if it’s off-line and person-to-person.  Ask for a deal on an extra night or two!  All they can say is “no.”

 

Same with tourist vendors.  Alway wanted to try snorkeling?  Want to do that glass-bottom boat thing?  Want some horseback riding or try that off-road ATV?  Ask for a deal.   Winter is the perfect time.

 

Bottom line is that often you’ll see a whole different side of Baja and Mexico during the winter months.  Even for frequent visitors who usually only show up during the peak warmer months, they find a completely different complexion to their favorite Baja locations this time of year.  For many it becomes a favorite.  And a hidden secret they sometimes aren’t eager to share lest the crowds come back!

That’s our 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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“REDUCING YOUR “DQ” (DOOFUS QUOTIENT)”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

REDUCING YOUR “DQ” (DOOFUS QUOTIENT)

Originally published the Week of Oct. 29, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

This is that time of year when fishing tournaments run rampant in Baja and other parts of Mexico. Why not? In many respects, this part of the season is the best time for the “glamour” fish like marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo and dorado.   It’s a great time to be on the water.

 

In fact, by the time you’re reading this, we’ll just be about a week out from the start of the 16th Annual Western Outdoor News/ Yamaha Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament. Having been an editor and staff member for WON since 2006, we really look forward to the event all year and seeing so many familiar faces and having a great time.

 

Western Outdoor News Editor and master of ceremonies, Pat McDonell hosts an incredible show for everyone. More than 100 teams from all over the country pile into town for the fishing party.

 

How can you go wrong with a tournament that has a motto, “Fish Hard Party Harder!” Check out all the details here. It’s Nov. 5th-8th: http://www.loscabostunajackpot.com/2014_coverage/preview.php

 

Having worked this tournament as well as many others over the years and participated as a crew-member or angler in other events, I’ve got some observations about how to enhance your tournament experience and reduce your “doofus” factor a few notches.

 

  • It’s all about attitude. Yes, this is a competition. Everyone wants to get that big check, but it’s supposed to be fun. Remember, you left the office, traffic jams and meetings back home. The sun is out. The margaritas are cold. You’re among friends. Enjoy the time.
  • One overly-competitive high-strung-wound-up-underwear-twisted-person on the team can ruin it for everyone on the boat and on shore. Don’t be that person. Remember, you’re not alone and you’re not the only fisherman. And there’s a lot of GOOD fishermen out there.
  • Respect where respect is due. Your captain and crew have probably forgotten more than you will ever know about fishing these waters. They fish more in one year than you will your entire fishing career. Remember, they are part of your team. Work together. Listen to their advice. They want to win as badly as you do!
  • Work out bonus and tip money ahead of time. Will they get a percentage of winnings? Extra money is a nice motivation.
  • If the rod goes off, work out a fair rotation with your amigos about who gets to grab the rod. Rock…paper…scissor…
  • Be careful of what you say on the open radio! The whole world is listening…and probably in several different languages!
  • If you lose or break gear, offer to replace it or pay for it. It’s only fair.
  • No matter how much you plan, the unexpected happens. It might be bait, luggage, food, some other jerk…Hey, roll with it. “Spit” happens, right? Some things are just not controllable. How you deal with it is the difference between an “adventure/ inconvenience” or a “crisis. “
  • Share! I’ve seen fishing team members roll out to the boat carrying everything from bottles of expensive wine to gourmet meats and cheeses and everything in between. And then they don’t offer a thing to the captain or crew who may or may not have anything more than a rolled up tortilla and a thermos jug of water.
  • If your “team” has hats and shirts whether it’s “ Team Joe’s Auto Parts” or “The Reel Screamers” or “Fred’s Flatulent Fishing Fanatics”, get gear for everyone! Everyone loves swag and your captain and crew will wear them proudly.
  • While you’re at it, don’t forget your “land crew” either. I highly recommend family, spouses and significant others at these events. Heck, consider them for fishing, but even if not, remember them too! They’re your support team!
  • These events are a social event, in many cases. Even moreso than a sporting event. Fishing is just the vehicle that gets everyone down to party! Chances are this event has evening soirees and banquets. Everyone plays. No one sits on the beach. So make sure you bring in your support team as well as your captain and crew. Great fun. Great bonding!
  • Don’t make YOUR negligence, someone else’s emergency. The tournament director and staff have their hands full. He does not know where you left your iPhone. The staff does not know the name of the bar you were at last night where you left your official tournament t-shirt. Likewise, it’s not THEIR fault you accepted a “double-dog-dare” and removed your shorts in the hotel Jacuzzi and got asked to leave.
  • Basically, don’t be a knucklehead or the guy everyone points at. Be on time. Read your materials. KNOW THE RULES. Play fair. Be a good sport.

 

Hope to see you in Cabo at the Tournament! You’ll see me working the scales with Pat and Big Mike. Come say hi and introduce yourself.   Giant tuna are showing up so I hope to hoist one up for you in front of the Corona girls!

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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“FIRST TIMER CHECKLIST”

couple on beach

 

FIRST TIMER CHECKLIST FOR BAJA MEXICO

Originally Published the in Western Outdoor News the Week of May 14, 2014

Despite the media blitz about violence…despite past warnings of swine flu…and a downturned economy, Mexico has one of the fastest growing tourism economies in the world right now. In fact, it’s breaking records with something like 24 million visitors last year.

 

World-wide, folks are simply realizing that Mexico is a great value for a vacation destination whether they are coming from Europe, Asia or even just coming across the border whether flying from Portland or driving from Phoenix or San Diego.

 

For many of us, who have been visiting or actually live in Mexico, we’ve come to just take it for granted on so many levels. Especially, for fishermen in the southwestern states of the U.S. going to Mexico is about as routine as taking a camping trip to Yosemite or a run to Vegas.

 

But, from the perspective of someone who lives and runs a sportfishing business here in Mexico that specifically caters to tourists and sportsmen and women, we’re seeing an increased number of first-timers! Great for us, but so many questions show a commonality of interest.

 

You might even think that many folks who read this publication must surely know about fishing in Mexico, but there’s many who have never been south and are thinking about it.

 

So, a few things to think about:

 

First, yes, you MUST have a passport. I get this question all the time. The old days of simply having your drivers license and a copy of your birth certificate won’t work these days, especially after 9-11.   For sure, you want to be sure they let you back INTO the United States after your vacation!

 

They are relatively easy to obtain and you can get the process started online by just hitting your search engine for U.S. passports. Or check this: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/costs.html

 

The thing is, just don’t wait until the last minute! Especially, as vacations times like summer…Thanksgiving…Christmas… get near. It only takes a few weeks, but slows down during high seasons and you don’t want to be “sweating bullets” waiting for the mailman as your own vacation gets closer.

 

Next, do some research. It can be confusing. There’s almost TOO MUCH info out there, but better to have too much than too little.

 

Do some research about the destination itself. Just because all of your neighbors have been there, it might not be your cup of tea.   If you’re not into jet-skis and paragliding and crowds then maybe you want to check out a slower-paced place to put your toes-in-the-sand.

 

Or, if your wife is really into gourmet dining and shopping, then find a place that has those things. If you’re trying to use some of your time-share weeks, not all places have time shares, nor do all airlines fly every day of the week to all destinations.

 

Next…

 

Another advisory…don’t believe everything you read online.   Like anything else, online websites are heavy into self-promotion. Good or bad…that’s just the way it is.

 

For example, if a place says it’s “near the beach” that can be two blocks; a 10 minute walk; or one mile. What exactly does “near the beach” mean?

 

You might also ask or find out what’s nearby to wherever you’re staying. It might look great in the online photos, but of course, they might not tell you that there’s a raucous nightclub next door that goes until 4 a.m. every morning.   They might not tell you that there’s a fish processing plant upwind that provides some wonderful fragrances in the afternoon breeze.

 

Or, if it says, “near the beach” or “on the beach” is that a beach you can swim at? Or is that a beach that they have “no swimming signs/ no fishing signs” posted?

 

If you’re going to be fishing is there a freezer? If you plan to bikeride, do they have rentals? If you’re going to be windsurfing, is there a place to store your gear or will you have to carry your rig on a burro down to the beach?

 

If you can’t walk stairs (Mexico is a land of stairs and very few elevators) find out if there’s an elevator or do they have first-floor rooms.

 

Or it’s going to be too windy. Or too hot. Of it’s too far from town.   The more you do ahead of time, the less you’ll have to worry about later when you’re supposed to be on vacation.

 

Figure out what you want to do. If you plan to fish, then go to a place where they have fishing. And find out specifically, if it’s the type of fishing you want to do at the time you want to go there.

 

I once got asked, “When is the salmon run in La Paz?” No lie.

 

I hope you’re not planning to fish for salmon in Mexico, but seriously, it makes no sense to book a place in February expecting to catch marlin. Then, you find out there’s no marlin until July!

 

Another time, I had a family all set asking to take surfing lessons…in Loreto…which is about 350 miles from the nearest shore break.   They were sure disappointed when I had to give them a small lesson in geography.

 

A little research goes a long way. All places are not created equally and Mexico runs a wonderful gamut of places that are very touristy to places where you’ll be the only tourist in town! Lots of folks are finding exactly what they’re looking for south of the border.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

 

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

Screen-Shot-2013-10-14-at-7.50.13-PM

 

“JUST ASK”

Originally Published the Week of April 3, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

The pangas had all returned to the beach with happy fishermen.  Fish had been cleaned and were either getting icy in the hotel freezers or were in the kitchens getting prepped for the grill and tonite’s dinner.

 

Most of the guys had headed to their rooms for siestas and shower.

 

Others, had dragged themselves directly to the pool and the margarita bar foregoing the showers…and the siestas. But, I knew that for most, one drink and they’d be passed out contentedly in a lounge chair…dreaming of the fish they caught and the ones that got away.

 

I was already in the office, putting away gear and breaking down the days’ events.   I had to get ready for another group of anglers coming in that evening on the next flight.

 

I brisk knock on the office door turned out to be one of the dad’s who had been fishing that day.

 

“Jonathan, I can’t find my son, Joey.  He helped me carry gear back to the room and I went in to take a quick shower before dinner. I came out and can’t find him anywhere. I hate to be a bother. But, I looked everywhere.”

 

I told him not to worry. Ten-year-olds don’t usually stray too far and many of the other anglers knew or were familiar with the youngster.

 

We checked the restaurant and the pool.  We hit the Jacuzzi. We walked to the kid’s playground. We asked a number of other anglers. No one had seen Joey.

 

“Let’s walk back to the beach,” I suggested to dad.  And we took a short little hike to the little cove next to the hotel where our pangas drop off the anglers.

Sure enough, there was Joey sitting in the panga with our Captain Lorenzo.  We could see both of them had their heads down and were concentrating on something.

 

As we got closer, Dad said, “Joey, we’ve been looking all over for you.  What are you doing here with Lorenzo?

 

Both the captains and Joey looked up with big smiles.  Joey held up a hook and some line!

 

“I came walking back to the beach and found my friend, Lorenzo.  And I asked him to show me how to tie a fishing knot! Look dad!”

 

He held up the hook and proudly showed off his knot.

 

“I did this one all by myself!”

 

“Wow!,” said dad with raised eyebrows.  “Even I don’t know how to tie a fishing knot.”

 

Captain Lorenzo looked just as pleased.

 

In broken “Span-glish” he explained that Joey had just walked up and asked how to tie a knot. It reminded him of his own boys and how he had shown them many years ago how to tie a fishing knot.

 

“They are grown men now, but I remember those good days,” he said wistfully.

 

“You are lucky to fish with your father,” he said to young Joey.

 

“Captain Lorenzo, will you show me how to tie a knot also?” asked dad.

 

Claro que si…of course, mi amigo.  Es un placer…it is a pleasure!” replied the Captain.  “Here take a hook and some line…”

 

And with that, I backed away smiling down the beach.  The lost had been found.  And perhaps some other things had been found along the way.

 

An hour later, I went back down to the beach and half-a-dozen guys were surrounding the panga, all intently learning to tie knots.  Captain Lorenzo and Joey were “holding court.”

 

One thing I learned long ago was one of the fastest way to get a “group session” going was to tie a knot in front of a bunch of fishermen.

 

Whether it’s a “San Diego jam,” a “Palomar”, an “Albright special”, a “Cat’s Paw”…whatever-you-want-to-name-it…tie a knot.

 

And someone will say “Hey, can you show me that again?”  Or, “But, I tie it differently, like this…”

 

And there you go! Instant…constructive debate discussion and discovery!

 

It also occurred to me that one of the least utilized sources of fishing education are the Mexican captains and deckhands who take us all out fishing.

 

These guys fish more days in a year than most sportfishermen and women will fish in our lives. Most of them started as commercial fishermen and have been doing nothing else their entire lives.

 

You get pretty good when catching a fish puts food on the table and buys clothes for the family. Often, without all the fancy technology available to the rest of us, they have to be better than the fish as well as their competitor captains and crews.  Proudly so.

 

I talked to Captain Lorenzo a few days after the knot-tying beach party.

 

“Everyday, there are new gringo clients. And they all want to catch fish. They come.  They go.”

 

“To many, I am just the Mexican captain and the guide.  And that is fine. We have a good time and I have been doing this more than 40 years and I am proud of what I do.”

 

“But, sometimes the clients get angry because they want to do everything.  That is fine too.  But, then I watch them and they have many problems.   And they get angry and do not catch fish.  Angry clients are not happy.”

 

“It is OK if they know how to fish, but many make mistakes.  And they do not want help.”

 

“I wish they would ask. I like it.  I am happy to teach. Then everyone has a good time.”

 

“No one ever asks.” He said with a shrug.  “Except one little boy.”

 

That’s our story!

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.”

 

Read Full Post »

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