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Posts Tagged ‘grey whales’

MARIA’s ALL NIGHT TACO STAND

Late night taco stands are community hubs in Mexican neighborhoods

MARIA’S ALL NIGHT TACO STAND

Originally Published the Week of June 16, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

          Way back in the day during my first years living down here, I had a favorite hang-out.  I was pretty much living hand-to-mouth back then. 

         Truth-be-told, most folks didn’t know I was guiding fishermen all day, but at night, I’d crawl into the back of my old Dodge Caravan.  It was usually parked in some quiet lot or sidestreet.

         Back then, it was home.  I’ve lived in worse conditions so it really wasn’t all that bad.

         I’m not a big drinker nor did I have the dinero to hang out in bars at night.  Not much to do there anyway. 

Back then, most bars didn’t have TV’s to watch and the ones that did had obscure soccer games going non-stop.

         Nope.

         My favorite place was Tacos Maria. 

         I guess, it’s the Mexican version of the all-night diner. Minus the coffee and apple pie.  But it had the best sizzling hot street tacos and salsas.

         Like all the best taco stands, Maria’s didn’t even get started until it was dark.  It wasn’t fancy by any means.  Definitely not a place you would have found on Google or Trip Advisor which didn’t exist back then anyway almost 30 years ago.

         But, this little box of ramshackle plywood with two open sides of counter-space; the corrugated roof; and string of haphazard white Christmas lights was the place to be.

         As lights would peek out from non-descript cinder-block homes that never knew a building code, Maria and her two sons operated on an otherwise lonely dark street corner.  Across the street a hazy yellow streetlight hummed from a tilting concrete pole.    

         If you had to ask about “Tacos Maria” you weren’t from the neighborhood.  A combination of a generation of years and road dust had long-since eroded the name off the side-wall.

Everyone knew the place anyway.

      Maria and her boys that worked with her, never posted hours.  They were open when they were open.  But, as far as anyone could remember, they were open 7 days a week all night and every night.

      There was a wonderful welcoming glow about the place on that dark street and it wasn’t from the streetlight.

     I would sometimes arrive early as twilight turned to dusk turned to night.  Often, I helped set up the scuffed plastic white tables and chairs that a beer company once donated and forgot to take back or replace.

     I’d help unload their battered mini-truck.  Or I’d help ice-down the bottles of Coke, Fanta Orange, 7-up and Strawberry soda that would be re-loaded throughout the night as patrons helped themselves. 

     When night arrived, Maria would fire up the grill.  A transistor radio served as the high-tech sound system

      Scratchy banda music seamed to drift with the beckoning aromatic fingers of roasted carne-asada through the nearby streets drawing folks from their homes.

     Showtime.

     It was wonderful to sit there with a plate of sizzling meat wrapped in a warm home-made tortilla slathered with all the fixings and a healthy dollop of one of Maria’s assortment of fresh salsas.

     I was often reminded of late-night burger places back home.

     But, a neighborhood Mexican taqueria is different.   Back in the U.S. people drifted in an out as they arrived, ordered, ate and then left.

     Here Maria’s was a neighborhood hub and social center.  I came to realize it was really a very important part of the community. 

     There was the nearby church. 

     There was the grammar school.

     And there was Tacos Maria.

     Like the TV show…everybody knows your name.

     And you knew everyone right back.

     In the early evening, families would arrive.  Couples and older folks came later.  

    Kids played and laughed with each other in the dusty glow of the streetlight. Mom’s gossiped and dad’s watched kids and told their own stories and jokes.  Even the neighborhood dogs seemed to know when to come out to romp and play.

     Young couples giggled.  Older couples sought out other older couples. The teens flirted and posed. 

     Young bucks brought their own beer.  No problem.

     The older solo uncles, aunties and grandparents were welcomed at anyone’s tables and made themselves at home.  

     I even remember there seemed to be a renegade chicken or two that ran around underfoot at times.  Escapees from someone’s yard no doubt.

     They would order off Maria’s handwritten menu written with a marker on a day-glo poster board.  But, it probably wasn’t necessary.

      Everyone knew the menu by heart and, as far as I know it never changed.

     Tacos would be served on plastic plates slipped into a plastic sleeve.  When someone was done, no dishwashing required. 

     Toss the old plastic. The plate was just cleverly placed in another sleeve ready for a new order.

     Folks would get their order, roust around in the ice chest for a soda and find a chair, table or sit along the two open-counters chatting and laughing with each other. Maria could chop, cook, serve and hold court like the neighborhood mom she was.

     Tell a joke; listen to a problem; dole out advice or wag an admonishing finger at you…that was Maria.

     Second and third helpings no problem.  Honor system.  You kept track of what you ate and drank and paid at the end.

     You would tell one of Maria’s boys how many tacos and Cokes you had.   They’d tell you how much you owed. A coffee and a shoe box seemed to serve as the cash register.  

     Over time, I got to recognize and know many of the regulars and many became friends.  In those early days, my Spanish was negligible.  An obvious outsider in the midst.

     Although I was often alone, no one sits alone forever at Tacos Maria. There weren’t enough tables anyway so you ended up sharing!

     Through the grateful introductions by Maria and the boys to the rest of the neighbors, smiles and hellos became handshakes and conversations. 

     I was “El Hawaiiano.” (The Hawaiian). 

     Rafa who drove a truck and his young family often came.  Rosario and Julio brought their new baby. 

     Mauricio and Celio would sometimes bring out a guitar and sing.  Victor, Ramon and Alejandro would always argue baseball and soccer into the night.   Misha and Fredo would seek me out and ask about the latest fishing. Chalo would pull up in his taxi cab between fares.

     Tacos Maria and the neighborhood are long gone.  I heard there’s a convenience store there now.  They fixed all the light poles and there’s a sidewalk and a paved two-way street there. 

     But 30 years ago, so far from home at the time, it was nice to feel welcome and part of the neighborhood at Tacos Maria for a few hours.

 

 

That’s my 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.com.

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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CAN’T GET OUTTA YOUR OWN WAY!

CAN’T GET OUTTA OUR OWN WAY

Originally Published the Week of June 1, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

If any of this applies to you, I am NOT throwing shade your way.  I am as guilty as the anyone of this.

It was dawn and we were loading up the clients in our van to get them from the hotel to the beach to board our boats to go fishing that day.

Everyone was loaded and anxious to get going.  Waiting for the last 2 guys.

And then down the lobby steps come Rob and Gerry.  This is their 4th trip with us and really really good guys.

But, they are struggling.  They are carrying more gear than the other 6 guys combined that are waiting in the van.  Everyone stares wide-eyed.

Rob and Gerry need a crew of Himilayan Sherpas.  It took 3 of us to heft stuff onto the roof rack of the van.

When they first started coming down, they were rookies.  Didn’t have much gear. 

However, with each consecutive year, the equipment gets more and more extensive.  They have the latest rods, reels, clothes, lures, gadgets and thing-a-ma-jiggers.

And, it’s not like I can say anything.  I mean, I don’t wanna be a buzz-kill or dampen their enthusiasm.  Like I said, there are really nice guys.

But, sometimes I think they stay up at night on the couch with the remote in their hands.  Or instead of football on weekends, they watch the fishing shows…marathon style!

Every gadget that comes out “made by fishermen for fishermen” or “guaranteed to catch fish faster and easier” or “as seen on TV” gets them twitching to grab their cellphone and credit cards.

They MUST have the “Ferris Wheel Lure” and the “See Underwater Seaview Glasses” and the battery-operated “Sonic Fish Caller.”

They can’t help themselves.  It’s like some gals I know at a Nordstrom Shoe Sale. 

They’re having fun and get so excited they can’t wait to show everyone what they bought and how it’s gonna work.  This will be the year that the fish will literally attack their lines!

Whether it’s the latest type of triple-speeded fishing reel or the hot-color 100 SPF camouflage fishing clothes, they have it! 

…and the always catch fish.  But EVERYONE catches fish. 

I’m not sure that all of that gear really made a difference.  The folks using our basic rental rods do just as well.  The guys who bring a minimum of gear do just as well.

But, here’s the issue I see with these guys getting caught up in the technology.

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They still don’t know the basics. 

I’m guilty of that myself.  I get into a new hobby or interest and then I need all the accessories. Then I  realize…whoa…slow down! 

Put down the catalogs.  Stop web-surfing Amazon.

I need to back up and get some foundation so I know how to use all this great stuff.

I know for a fact, these guys still don’t know how to tie basic fishing knots…because I’ve sat with them and showed them some knot tying. 

But, I know they don’t trust their own knots.  So they always let my captain tie up their rigs.  And bait their hooks for them.

I know as well that they don’t know how to cast or how to work a jig.

They really don’t understand why some people use braided lines.  They don’t know why they need to tie fluorocarbon to regular mono.  Aren’t both kinds of lines invisible?

Why do we use certain hooks?  

They don’t understand how to set the drags or why you can’t just “button down” the drag when a fish is running.   Why can’t you just “winch” the fish to the boat?

Well most of us know…it just doesn’t work like that!

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The thing is sometimes we can get so wrapped up in all the cool fun stuff that we forget the basics.  We trip all over ourselves because of the technology and the “latest and greatest” claims. 

Why take the time to learn when technology will help us fast-forward to our goal? 

Don’t learn to tie knots.  Buy a gadget instead. 

Don’t learn to read the water.  Buy the battery-operated underwater drone camera. 

Don’t learn how to make a jig swim.  Buy a rechargeable lure that swims all on it’s own!

Sheesh! Stop me!

We make it more complicated than it really is.  We can’t see the forest for the trees or the water through all the gear in front of our eyes.  

If fish could laugh, I’m sure they would. 

That’s my 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.com.

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

SOMETHING IN THE WATER?

SOMETHING IN THE WATER?

Originally Published the Week of May 22, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

          “I’ve never seen it like this before”

         “I think this is what it must have been like back in the day.”

         “This is almost eerie.  Been coming for years and there’s something has definitely changed.”

         “It’s like there’s something in the water.”

 

Quotes from a recent sci-fi thriller?

Nope.

Recent comments from Baja fishermen.

And they’re not talking about some toxic sludge, eco-disaster or some other ominous occurrence or disaster.

On the contrary.

They’re actually talking about what might be one of the more incredible fishing seasons in many years.

From all parts of Baja and the west coast of Mexico, reports have been trickling in about phenomenal catches.

Big fish.

Most fish.

A plethora of fish not experienced for far too many years.

Sure, every location is subject to the occasional fish that has a “wow-factor” to it because of its unusual size.  Or the occasional day when all the planets, the moon and stars line up for a haul of a lifetime.

It happens all the time.  Worth a thumb-up; a high-five and a photographic Kodak moment.  That’s why there are fishing magazines and online websites showing the latest and greatest.

However, almost half-way through the year, these “Kodak” moments are getting too frequent to ignore. 

Maybe I’m wrong, but stories are coming in of species that haven’t been seen in these numbers for awhile.  Stories of fish with incredible…and even world-record size.  Stories of fish that are attacking baits and lures with a rabid ferociousness.

Even divers and snorkelers, sailors and other water-enthusiasts report, more dolphin and porpoise; more whales; more sea-turtles; more manta rays.  Just an abundance of life unseen for a long long time.

What gives?

“I’m sure there were at least a dozen 80-pound roosterfish swimming under the boat!”

“We were back at the docks by 10 a.m.  Limits like crazy in a single day and we threw back more fish than I’ve caught over several days!”

“My kid caught a huge dorado one day.  It  had everyone saying how they had not seen a fish that size in years.  The next day we got one even bigger.  The next day we caught one even bigger than that plus a lot of smaller ones!”

I was discussing it with some of our captains at our fleet here in La Paz.

I think one of them hit the nail on the head in one word, “Covid.”

We all laughed.  But, I think he had it correct.

Think about it.  Last year with pandemic rampaging around, fishing was brought to a standstill.  No boats.  No charters.  No fleets.  No traffic on the water.

Even the commercial boats were diminished.

For the first-time by social, government and health mandate, the fish were left alone.  The ocean was quarantined.  Maybe the first time ever. 

Mother nature was left alone.

Left alone to heal, if you will.  While the rest of us on land tried to find a way to heal as well.

Proving once again, what can happen if we just keep our doggone hands outta the pot.  For the better part of an entire year, we were forced to stay off the big pond. 

And she responded.  Fish had time to grow. Fish had time to re-produce and make more fish.  Waters and habitat got cleaner.  Less pollution. 

It’s a magnificent thing to see again.  I don’t want to be out’ve work like that again.  But, maybe we all needed a little rest and re-assessment.

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

FEELING A LITTLE MORE NORMAL AGAIN

SALUD!!!!

FEELING A LITTLE MORE NORMAL AGAIN

Originally Published the Week of May 17, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

The vibe just kinda just hit me this week.

         I had to go down to Cabo San Lucas which is about 100 miles south of us where we live in La Paz.  Had to take care of some business, but also check out the Cabo Airport.

         I got stuck in traffic.

         It’s been awhile since I’ve been stuck in traffic down here.  I mean, not just slo-mo movement.  I mean gridlock bumper-to-bumper stuff.  

         At the airport, to drop off folks, shuttle vans and taxis were triple-parked trying to let folks off at the curb.  Inside the terminal lines snaked back-and-forth and up-and down. 

        It was a morass of people struggling  to find their proper lines to check in for their flights as well as get their covid tests.

         Picking folks up, the same thing.  Chaos.  People ready and anticipating a cold margarita and sunny vacations now stuck in lines.  Buzz kill.

         Like being a kid getting taken finally to Disneyland then realizing it’s a 2 hour line to get on your favorite ride.

         From the time planes were landing, it was taking 1-2 hours for folks to get off the plane and get their luggage. Then, they had to navigate get through more snaking lines for immigration and finally customs and luggage x-rays.

         It was another hour wait to get a rental car…if you’re lucky.

         As my amigo and I sat in the car waiting for traffic, I looked at him and said, “I guess we’re back to normal.”  And went back to drumming my fingers on the steering wheel.

         And so it is.  I guess we’re somewhat back to normal.  At least it feels like it. The new normal?  Maybe so.

         There’s no doubt that Mexico, especially Baja, has become the #1 vacation target for Americans looking to get away…finally.  Covid or no covid.  Vaccine or no vaccine.

         Mexico is close. A quick little plane ride.

        There’s no quarantine.  It’s economical. It’s a long weekend.   

       To many the culture is not so unfamiliar.  It’s second nature to many Americans.    It’s not like going to France or Italy or somewhere in Asia.  And, getting back home is easy too.

         Although Baja still has restrictions, truthfully, they are almost un-noticeable.

         Sure, you still gotta wear a mask.  It’s a requirement, but it feels very relaxed.  No one is shaking a finger at you if you’re not wearing one. 

       And for sure, it’s rare that someone is going to remind the precious tourists with the American dollars to put on a mask.

           As you walk around, you’ll know if you need to pull up your mask. 

         You will still have folks taking your temperature at some places.  No big deal.

         Admittedly, restaurants and hotels are supposed to only be at 40-50% occupancy. 

         But, I see hotel parking lots are full.   Many restaurants are full and I sure don’t see many tables supposedly 6’ apart.  

          If the restrictions are being observed, it’s pretty loose.  Or maybe no one is really checking that hard.  Getting people working is too important. 

         Everyone is trying to make up for a devastating 2020, no doubt. 

         Those are just my own personal observations.   A generality, if you will. 

         But, honestly, it’s exciting to feel the nice buzz in the air.  A nice energy.  Visitors are excited to be here.

         Folks are excited to be working again. Locals are excited to have you.  Businesses have open arms waiting for you.

         Baja had it especially tough last year.  I remember everything being closed.  I remember night time curfews. 

         I remember only being allowed to have 2 persons in a car and everyone better have a mask on.  I remember having to sanitize your shoes and feet before entering a business.

       For Pete’sake, I remember when they cut off beer sales because brewing beer was a “non-essential activity.”  Long lines and small riots ensued at convenience stores. 

         Toilet paper no problem, but cutting off beer in Mexico?  That’s a real crisis.

         I don’t miss any of that.

        In an ironic bitter-sweet way, I will miss some things however.  Not that I ever want to go back to 2020.

        In a weird Twilight Zone kind of way, it was a peek at Mexico the way it was 30 or 40 years ago.    

         The ocean was empty and uncrowded. 

         The fish were ready and eager.  There had been so little traffic on the water. 

         I had the beaches to myself.  

         At restaurants the service was crazy good.  Waiters were falling all over themselves to wait on me.  Few tables were occupied.

         Hotels were almost giving away rooms to have you be there.  You got the pool all to yourself.  The jacuzzi didn’t have 20 kids diving in it.

         The swim up bar was just you and the bartender.   And he was anxious to have some company.

         And traffic?  What traffic?  Roads were empty.  The airport was empty. 

         Things moved at a much more leisurely pace. 

         I couldn’t wait for it all to end and it’s good to get back to some normalcy.  Good to see people back working and visitors flocking back.

         But, for awhile I got to see a different older Mexico.  Just for awhile. 

         It’s like those movies where someone invents a time machine and goes back in time.  Nice to visit, but you don’t wanna stay there too long!

         It’s good to be back to business.  Even if I’m stuck in traffic now and then.

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

______________

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

_____________

 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

 

Website:

 

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

 

 

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
 
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

 

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

 

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

 

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

Read Full Post »

ADVENTURES IN DRIVING

man-in-car-accident

ADVENTURES IN DRIVING

Originally Published the Week of May 13, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

          We’re gonna do a little “word association” test.  Read the following words then close your eyes.

         “MEXICAN DRIVERS”

         I bet I can guess what went through your head after reading those words.  All those “stereotypes” come flooding into your thoughts?

         Just to be fair, stereotypes are stereotypes. 

         They’re a broad-brush painting that may-or-may-not have a lot of truth or fairness to it.  But, after living in Mexico for almost 3 decades, the thoughts that flew through your brain probably weren’t too far off.

         Listen, there’s bad drivers all over the world. 

         How many people did you call out under-your-breath on your last freeway commute home from work?  Everyone slower than you was a “jerk.”  Everyone faster than you was a “butthead.”  Right?

         I don’t want to say that Mexicans are bad drivers.  But, I will say they drive “differently” and it behooves you to be a “better” driver because of it.  In other words, CYA. . .”cover your backside” and drive defensively.

         Why is that?

         Well, a couple of things that happened recently might have coalesced my thoughts on the matter.

         For one, I just realized that of our employees that “know” how to drive,   most have no driver’s licenses.  Some have NEVER had a license or have expired licenses.  They just laugh. 

         When you need to get from Point A-to Point B for work, you do what you gotta do.  Don’t need no license and don’t have time or money to get one!

         As a foreigner, I never had to take a test to get a Mexican driver’s license.  I never had to even prove that I could drive.  I just had to fill out the paperwork. 
        

         I had to pay my money.  And, like DMV’s everywhere, I had to stand in several long lines. 

         However, unlike say the DMV in the states, I found out that I could pay a proxy to stand in line for me.  Yup.  Pay for someone to stand in line for me!

         I could go sit down; check my e-mails on my phone; buy a hot dog or a churro from one of the vendors inside the TRANSITO (DMV) office.  My proxy calls me when it’s my turn to run up to the line. 

         He follows me to the next line.  He tells me where I need to sign documents.  He basically leads me by hand from one teller window or clerical office to the next. Nothing is done in one line.

         It’s a good thing because the TRANSITO office is a small version of the floor of the NY stock exchange.  It’s chaos incarnate.

        Noisy.   Little offices everywhere.  Lines everywhere.  Lines to nowhere.  Confusing signs on the walls.

       People milling and yelling and papers being shuffled.  There’s no appointments.  There’s no obvious order.

         Paying a proxy a few bucks and a hot dog was well worth it.   Turns out my guy was a police officer making a little money on the side.  Tipping is appreciated.

         Circling back, however, the point of my story is that to get a license you do NOT have to prove you can operate a moving vehicle.

         Unlike, the U.S., however, you DO have to prove that you are “alive.”

         I say that tongue-in-cheek because to get a license, you must submit to a blood test.  Yes, a blood test.  I don’t know why.

         But, you go across the street to an approved “lab” and they take a blood test.  Cost is about 20 bucks.  You take your test results when you get your license.

         That’s it.  No driving test.  No written test.

         Painted outside the TRANSITO office there’s ariel-view street grid l painted on the asphalt/ concrete. .  Kinda like Lego-land.  

         The streets area about 12-inches side.  It has little streets and buildings painted there with parking spaces and stop signs and left-turn lanes and one-way streets.

         I’m told that an examiner will take you through a “test” and let you WALK through the faux-streets.  You get to show that you know when to stop and how to back up and how to make left turns.

         You are not in a car. 

        You are in an “air-car” like playing “air-guitar.” 

        You are not in a vehicle.  You turn our “air wheel” to make a turn.  You shift gears in the air like when you were a kid.  You step on the imaginary brakes.

         Maybe you even have to make “vroom vroom” sounds as you drive around.

         Like I said, I never had to take any kind of driving or written test to get my Mexican license.

         However, I’ve had local friends who were given written exams.  They were getting their driving licenses for the first time.

         The tests are not open book.  There is no book.   There’s no manual.

         If you know how to drive, it’s not because you took lessons. It’s because someone else, maybe with questionable skills shows YOU how to drive.  The circle continues.

         With the written tests,  no one is monitoring the test takers.   Apparently,  you’re welcome to discuss questions with your neighbor test-taker. 

        Answer by committee.  Everyone gets to agree on the right answer about when it’s OK to blow through a stop sign or not having to signal a left turn.

         When, my wife, Jill went to get her motorcycle license so she could ride her scooter it was a good example.  She panicked when she was given the written test in Spanish.  Multiple choice.

         To her great joy, about 5 other test-takers all gladly helped her.  They not only interpreted the questions, but also gave her the correct answers!

         She only missed 1 answer and later told me she didn’t understand half the questions.  But, she did got her scooter license.

         Two weeks later, she stopped riding the scooter because of all the “crazy drivers.”  I’m glad she did!

         Just saying…

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

IT MIGHT TICKLE…OR NOT!

illuminacovidtestingservice

YOU MIGHT FEEL A TICKLE…OR NOT!

Originally Published the Week of May 4, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

“OUCH!”

“HEY!”

I admit hearing my lovely wife squirming behind the closed door had me squirming and wincing myself. First, because no one likes to hear a loved one in distress or pain.

Secondly, it was because when she came out from behind that door, it was my turn to go back there.

We were there for our required Covid tests in order to fly back to the U.S. for a quick turn-around trip.

Since January 26th, the CDC and Biden Administration are requiring that everyone FLYING back into the U.S. from an international destination needed to have a Covid test.  Further, it can’t be any older than 72 hours before the date of travel back into the U.S.

You need to have the test even if you have been vaccinated.

Many hotels in tourist-saturated areas like Cabo San Lucas have facilities to obtain the tests.  Plus labs have sprouted up all over.  Additionally, all the international Mexican Airports have testing labs to facilitate the tests.

Where we live in La Paz, the hotels do not have enough international tourism to warrant erecting labs or creating testing facilities or services.  Therefore, my wife and I opted to go to one of the local labs.

So, there we were.

Nice clean little place that offered all kinds of lab services; blood tests; or pretty much anything diagnostic to poke and prod one’s body.  As mentioned, lots of labs have popped up everywhere to administer the covid testing.

I didn’t have any trepidation.   Figured it would be in-and-out-and done.  I heard it was a 15-minute issue. Results in an hour.   How bad could it be?

We had to show our i.d. and the expression-less lady behind the acrylic glass reception office with the mask took our info.  Tap…tap…tap…typing stoically on the keyboard.

No expression.  Reminded me of the one of the old nuns when I was in grade school.  All business. 

Of course…just before…I got whacked on the head with a ruler.

They told us that the test would take 15 minutes, but like most things, the paperwork part took “at least” 15 minutes by the indifferent receptionist.

A lady in a white lab coat came out.  I was directed to take a seat.  Jill was told to follow the lady in the lab coat behind a closed door.

At first I heard my wife giggling. 

I grabbed a magazine and opened a page.

Then, I heard the giggles turn to groans…and a bit of agonized yelps.

That didn’t sound so good.  My anxiety level took a couple of up-ticks.

More bad sounds and squirming.

Then Jill came out.  She did not look happy.  And I know she has a pretty high pain tolerance. 

Before I could say anything to her, the lab-coat lady beckoned me into the room. 

My turn.

I sat in the chair with a nervous laugh as she took out the long nasal swab. I tried to smile and I know my hands gripped the arm-rests of the chair.  Based on what my wife went through, I prepared for the worst.

 Here she goes…up my nose!

…and then she was done. 

Just like that. Maybe 2 total seconds where she was actually WAAAY back there that were uncomfortable, but otherwise easy-shmeazy.  I felt a little tickle. 

We were done.

Got results in 30 minutes on our cellphone.  Both negative.

As I found out later, just like anything else, folk re-act differently to the actual testing.  I guess it also depends on who’s sticking that swab up your nasal passage too.  But, I did feel really bad for Jill.  Hours later, she said she could still feel it.   I’ve heard that from others as well.  It can hurt!  Or not.

COVID-19-Test_Topper

One friend has had the test 6 times for work related requirements.  He works in a testing lab. 

He told me 3 times it hurt enough to bring tears to his eyes.  Three times, he felt almost nothing.  All done by the same lab tech at his work.  

He told me it had alot to do with the condition of nasal passages.  Allergies, dry weather or a recent cold can inflame the nasal cavity.  Previous nasal injuries can also produce scar tissue.  Using a saline rinse before and after the test helps.  So does putting some non-fragrance vaseline in your nose. 

Anyway…for Jill and I…

Cost was 1000 pesos…$50 each. 

Had we gone to the Cabo Airport, it’s a little different.

For one, give yourself an extra hour so you have enough time for the test.  Keep in mind that there could be a line. 

Covid test site at Cabo Airport copy

(The testing tent outside Cabo Airport)

However, according to one of our friends who took the airport test, “…the test was pretty easy. You walk in (take your luggage with you);  scan your QR code with your phone to fill out the questionnaire; and you pay. “

 

“You are then led into a corridor to sit down, wait until someone sticks that swab down your nose, leave, and 30 minutes later, get an email on your results!”

 

         Cost was about $40 and he said they accept credit cards and pesos, but no American dollars.

 

         It’s also important to have functional cell service while at the testing site (airport WIFI doesn’t work) because when scanning the QR code, you go to a site that you need to fill out which includes an email address. 

 

That’s where your results will be sent.  There’s someone there to help with English or Spanish.  

 

Bring your luggage back with you to the counter and show your results to get your boarding pass.   You’ll also need to show your cellphone questionnaire before they let you up to the gates.

customs-line-at-san-jose

As this is a new thing, the airport can be a morass of frantic travelers wrestling with cellphone reception; figuring out where to go; filling out the forms, etc.  However, there are numerous friendly and patience airport assistants all over the place being very helpful.

         Off you go.  No quarantine when you get back to the U.S.  Hopefully, as things get better, they’ll eventually do away with the test requirments. 

         Until then, best to know what to expect.

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

 

Read Full Post »

TROUBLESHOOTING – DON’T LEAVE FISH TO FIND FISH

panga

TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR FISHING – DON’T LEAVE FISH TO FIND FISH

Originally Published the Week of April 28, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

How does that saying go?

         “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

         I would like to throw out a challenger:

         “Nothing worse than a grumpy fisherman when everyone else is catching fish except him.”

         I know from experience.  I have been in the path of such a demon and it can be like watching one of those disaster movies where the huge apocalyptic tidal wave is coming.  There’s no escape.  Climbing the tallest tree or building isn’t gonna save you.

         Running a couple of fishing fleets here in Baja, I get the reports from my captains before they get back to the beach.  Everyone has caught lots of fish.  Everyone had a great time.

         Except one boat.  And the one guy.

         And it’s the guy who calls himself the “expert.”  He’s fished everywhere and caught everything and he’s done it all.

         And my captain gives me the code word on the radio “caliente” meaning, they’re coming in hot.  The client is NOT happy.

         Oh no.  Not like I can run away.  I know I’m gonna either get an earful of what went wrong ( it’s never the angler’s fault).  Or, I’ll get the silent Clint Eastwood squint of the pissed-off fisherman.

         Nothing like someone who’s upset and when you ask them what’s wrong, you get a brusque, “I’m fine!”

         Well…alrighty then…we’ll just walk to the other side of the room and give you some space!

         Before trying to figure out what went wrong I always chat with my captain.  I don’t like asking questions that I don’t already know the answer to. 

         Was the bait bad?  Was the guy simply unlucky?  Did he actually hook fish, but they broke off ?  That’s not bad fishing.  That’s simply bad catching. 

         Did he have a tackle box full of bananas?

         Often, one I hear is that the client just kept moving around too much and kept telling my captain he wanted to move.   Even when the fish were biting.

         The client wanted bigger fish. 

         Or he wanted a different species…then another type…then another type to cross of his bucket list.

         Or he simply had read too much and wanted to try all the “famous” spots he read about.

         For whatever reason, the client was like a waterbug scooting from spot-to-spot-to-spot.   Even when the fish were biting.  Even when other boats were catching fish. 

         That spot just wasn’t up to his expectations and in a version of “grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side” wanted to keep moving…and moving again.

         When I am finally able to confront the angler, it’s really hard to tell them to just stop racing all over the ocean.  Especially, if it’s an angler that attests to knowing more than my captain or me about fishing.

         However, I learned long ago when working as a deckhand and also as a fishing guide “Don’t leave fish to find fish.”

         There’s only a finite number of hours in a fishing day.

         If the fish are biting where you are, you probably shouldn’t pull up and go looking for a different spot.  At least give your current spot time to produce whatever it’s going to produce. 

         Sure, you might find a better spot.  But, there’s a good chance you might not.  And you’ll be wasting time and bait and gas chasing around.

         While everyone else is hooking fish and having a good time!

        

        

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

PRESENTATION IS A GAME CHANGER

PRESENTATION IS A GAME CHANGER

Originally Published the Week of April 20, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

Presentation is a simple concept explain.  How something looks, feels or even acts has a lot to do with how that subject is perceived.

         Perfect examples.

         Two hamburgers.  Same meat.  Same cook.  They both taste the same.

 But, one is served on white table cloth with nice silver.  There’s a nice garnished sprig of parsley and the plate is shiny white ceramic. 

         The other burger comes in a greasy wrapper. 

         Most folks would be more inclined towards the nicely packaged burger, even though personally, I’d probably grab the one in the greasy wrapper that’s all messy.  But, that’s just me.  

         But, that wrapper registers an impression in my little brain that the one in the greasy wrapper is gonna taste better.

         Possibly a better example:

         The young man that comes to pick up my daughter for the evening at the movies.  For the first time. First date.

         Torn jeans…dirty fingernails…way too many piercings and a dragon tattoo up his arm.  And honks for her to come out.

         Danger! Danger!  Not with MY daughter!

         Or the young man shows up on time. Calls me “sir.” Holds the door open for my girl and he’s nicely dressed.

         In both scenarios, it’s the same kid.  If my daughter is going out with him, I’m sure he’s probably a sweet kid and nice guy despite first impressions.  Clothes aren’t everything. 

         I didn’t exactly look like a prize at that age either. 

         And the dad writing this article has a piercing and several tattoos! 

The nicely dressed kid does get bonus points for calling me “Sir.”

         But, first impressions are important.  There’s no getting around it. 

fish bait

         Fish are a lot like that too.  Presentation is everything.

         Some folks think if they have a lure in the water or if they have a bait on a hook in the water, the fish will jump all over it.  And they can’t figure out why they’re not getting bit.

         Or how come the guy next to them is getting hits left-and-right.

         There’s the old saying that, “20% of the fishermen catch 80% of the fish.”

         There’s a reason.  Much of that has to do with presentation and the impression it makes on the targeted fish.

         Imagine that “Mr. Fish” has a whole bunch of choices down there. 

Why should he bite you?  What makes your bait stand out and gets his brain neurons saying, “Eat! Eat! Eat!”

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         Let’s talk about live bait for the moment.

         How is it acting?  Lively? Lethargic? Plain dead?  

         Take dorado fore example.  Dorado, are like cats.  Fast moving lively things put them into attack mode.  The livelier the bait the better. 

         By contrast tuna can be notoriously lazy and love picking up dead bait or barely lively bait.  It’s like they don’t wanna chase anything. 

That’s why chunk bait is so effective.  Just a big mass of dead and dying bait dumped into the drift. One chunk has a hook in it.

         Speaking of hooks…How you rig (“pin”) your bait on a hook can have a massive effect. 

         For one, generally, match your hook to the size of the bait.  Don’t match your hook to the size of the fish you’re chasing. 

         For instance, if using a 6-inch sardine or anchovy, jabbing a 10/0 hook in it is going to kill the bait, even if you’re chasing 100-pound fish.  That’s not doing you any favors. 

Simple logic.

         Likewise, if your line is very heavy, your bait is gonna tire out faster and you’re not even going to know it.  Your line is way out there and you have no clue that your poor little bait is half-dead floating where you can’t see it.   

         And you wonder why your buddy keeps hooking fish!

         A lot of anglers also don’t know that you can actually control how your bait swims. 

         Pinch-off or cut off a bit of tailfin and your bait will swim erratically.  Often, this is a great attractant for gamefish who like to grab injured bait that can’t escape.

       Darwin’s theory.  Culling the herd. It sets your bait out from the rest of the bait in the water.

        Try these next time. 

       If you pin your bait on the bottom-side behind the dorsal fin, you bait will tend to swim directly away from the boat and down.

      If you hook your bait on the top-side behind the dorsal fin, your bait will tend to also swim straight out, but will stay on the surface.

     If you put the hook through the right collar, the bait will swim to the right.  Through the left collar and the fish will swim to the left. 

     Handy to know for those baits that continually want to swim under the boat or if you’re on a boat and you can’t get around someone or something.

     If how “food” looks and acts is important, consider how something “smells” also affects attractiveness just like smelling a steak on the grill.

     When I was first learning to fish as a kid, my old Japanese uncle taught me to keep the bait as fresh as possible.

     Don’t touch the bait with hands that touched food or something oily.  Or suntan lotion. 

     He was a smoker and never ever touched his bait with the hand holding his cigarette. 

     If you do have stuff on your hands, wash it off then put some fish slime or dead bait on your hands to cover up the fragrance of soap or other detergent.

     Presentation makes a difference.  First impressions are a game changer.

That’s my 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.com.

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

Originally Published the Week of April 4, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

Back in the day…state of the art. (Shudder)

          There was a time, many decades ago when I worked as a deckhand on sportfishing boats, when there would be an audible groan when someone walked on board with a spinning reel.

         If you don’t know, there’s basically two kinds of reels.  Everything else is a variation of those two reels.

         There’s a “conventional reel” that looks kind of like a barrel-shape on top of the rod. 

conventional reel

         Then, there’s the “spinning reel” that goes under the rod and looks like…well…a spinning reel.  It’s not easy to describe. 

         A lot of fishermen started out as kids with a spinning rod fishing in lakes and streams.  Great reels, no doubt. Easy to learn.  Easy to use.

         My own first was a black Mitchell Garcia (remember those?) with 4-pound-test line that my dad had attached to a K-Mart fishing rod.  (Remember when K-Mart ruled?).

         But, as far as many of us saltwater fishermen were concerned, spinning reels should stay in lakes and stream. 

         In fact, many of us called them “coffee grinders” outwardly or at least under-our-breaths.  This was due to the big handle you would “grind” when retrieving line or fighting a fish. 

         “Coffee grinder” was not a complimentary title.  Anglers who brought them out on boats weren’t held in high esteem either.

         Justly or unjustly,  it marked that person as someone to avoid.  You stayed away from them.  You fished as far away from them as possible.

         You’d just as soon fish next to a guy who picked his nose than a guy with a spinning reel.  It was that bad.

         There was a good chance that if that fisherman had a coffee-grinder reel, they weren’t very good fishermen.  Additionally, the reels themselves had a hard time controlling fish.

         The reels often weren’t very good.  Poor engineering .  Poor components. 

Ultimately, they were just overblown and oversized freshwater reels.  I’ve seen these reels seize up or break. I’ve seen big fish just blow these reels apart. 

         A novice fisherman with a reel and equipment that doesn’t do much to control a fish is a bad combination.

9ec1a38b7f73943ec0d57ef2e092888c copy

         Chances are they’re gonna tangle you which wastes a lot of time and gear.  It will always happen at the worst time.  And they won’t know how to untangle things.  It’s now YOUR problem. 

         Additionally, because of the gear and inexperience, they can’t control their fish during the fight .  That means, not only are they tangling you, but they have a good chance of cutting your line…especially if your line is taught as you also fight a fish!  Adios fish! Seee-yaaaa!!

         DANGER! DANGER!!!  STAY AWAY FROM ME!!! RUN AWAY!!! GO FISH ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BOAT!!!

         This was years ago.  And all things considered, I knew there had been many improvements.  However, old prejudices die hard and old dogs don’t learn new tricks very well.

         The only reason I mention it is because over the last few years, I’m seeing more and more of these spinning reels showing up on fishing boats in Baja.  With the exception of trolling or the biggest of big fish, they seem to be working well.

         The technology has improved. 

         They are lighter and stronger alloys. 

         They have better line capacity and are able to hold larger line classes.

         They cast as smoothe as silk and even a novice can learn to handle one very easily and quickly.  Certainly it’s a lot faster and initially more comfortable than a conventional reel set up.

         They also have reversible handles so both left-and-right handed anglers are comfortable and “bait runner” innovations that allow baits to free-swim more naturally than the predecessor reels and more like conventional reels.

         First and foremost, the drag systems are so much more improved.  They can really put the brakes on some of the biggest and most powerful fish most anglers will encounter.  That includes tuna, marlin, giant roosterfish and others.

          Frankly, they look like something a starship trooper would would use in a Star Wars movie.

saltwater-spinning

         I know a lot of these innovations have actually been around for a bit, but well…like I said…I’m old school.  And more spinning reels are catching my eye.

         And folks are doing well with them.  Even veteran fishermen are finding a spot for them in their arsenal.

Kristina Ainsworth yellowtail tags 3-21

         I’m not giving up my conventional gear, but I stopped making fun of anglers with coffee-grinders and looking sideways at them with a wink or raised eyebrow.

         Always room to learn at least one new trick, although sometimes I’m a slow learner.

 

That’s my story…

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

_____________

 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

 

Website:

 

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

 

 

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
 
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

 

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

 

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

 

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

Read Full Post »

DON’T DO AS I DO

DON’T DO AS I DO

Originally Published the Week of March 28, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

Dan Stewart Gerardo rooster 9-20

           I’ve done many “how to” articles and magazine columns over the years.  So has everyone else. 

         However, I can’t think if I have ever done an article about things you should NOT do when fishing in Mexico. After 30 years and thousands of clients, I’ve seen a thing or two and maybe I have a little insight for you.

         I’m also getting a lot of inquiries from folks who plan to go fishing for the first time in Mexico as well in 2021.

         A lot of it might just be common sense and/ or common courtesy.

         Here’s some things that I’ve been told by my captains or other employees and friends who are in the tourist industry.

         Here you go…

         Don’t be afraid to speak Spanish.  It’s appreciated. 

         By the same token, don’t assume that people don’t understand what you’re saying in English.  I’ve witnessed some embarrassing moments and have had a few of my own where I said something and thought the other person didn’t understand.  

         Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know.  Believe me, it’s way better than the person who shows up and tells you they know EVERYTHING or they are the BEST at everything. 

      Blah…blah…blah.  My brain shuts down.  Words are coming out of your mouth, but all I’m really hearing is Charlie Brown’s teacher.  Waaa-waaa-waaah!

         Don’t act like you could do it better or you know someone who can do it better.  It comes off as condescending.  People are doing the best they can.  Walk a mile in their shoes before you tell someone they’re doing it wrong.

         Don’t be afraid to overtip.  Don’t show money then be chintzy. 

         At minimum wage in Mexico, a person earns maybe $8-10 dollar PER DAY.  That’s PER DAY.  For an 8-12 hour day.

         If you can afford to be on vacation, you definitely make more than that.   

        He doesn’t need to hear how much you own/ earn/ make.  Doesn’t need to see your big wad of cash, then you tip like it’s painful.

          And for Pete’s sake…you’re not doing anyone any favors by giving them three of your junk fish (like bonito or mackerel) that you were gonna throw away anyway instead of cash.

         The man has to feed his kids and put gas in the boat so be fair.

         Don’t overindulge in the party then ruin it for everyone.  You’re not the only one on vacation.  Respect that other people are also trying to enjoy themselves, including members of your family, friends, etc. 

         Everyone loves to party, but you getting plastered and causing a scene or throwing up really is a buzz kill for everyone who is with you or is near you.

         Don’t be afraid to share.   You got extra?  Spread it around?  Offer. 

        Got an extra burrito in your box lunch or an extra Coke or beer?  Offer.  It’s great good-will and, even if gratefully turned down, it shows you’re an OK person.

          In fact, purposely bring or buy extra food for your captain and crew!

         Here’s one not many folks think about. Don’t lose or break gear. 

        It happens.  We all know it.  It’s part of fishing.  But, offer to replace it or buy new ones.  Gear and tackle are incredibly expensive in Mexico. 

      Where we are in La Paz, a Rapala is $35 dollars.  Good hooks run 50 cents each.  It adds up. A small leader spool or fluorocarbon costs $40.

         You gave him a $50 tip is great.  But wait.  You also lost 2 of his $40 lures and bird-nested about 30 dollars worth of line.  C’mon man.

         While you’re at it.  Don’t belittle the man’s boat; his gear or his tackle.  Bring your own next time.  Most guys I know or work with take a lot of pride in their belongings. 

         At least the ones I work with.  They do a lot with a little and make the best with what they have.  Like having someone come to your house or ride in your car then tell you it needs improvement.  It’s insulting.

         In all honesty, none of the things above apply to 99% of our visitors.  God love ya.  Most tourists are gems and so much above is common sense and just being decent and courteous.

         Frankly, the biggest “DON’T” that I ever talk to people about is not to forget who you are and where you come from.

         If you’re reading this, chances are you’re American.  Don’t forget that.  You’re being watched carefully.  In many ways, you’re down here “representing.”

         For all the good as well as all the bad.  Don’t leave a lasting bad impression.

         In almost 30 years in Mexico and thousands of friends and clients, I can only think of a handful who crossed the line. Egregiously.

       But, I never forgot them!  Others probably never forgot either.  Not a good memory to leave when you go home. 

      The best thing you can ever do, no matter where you travel.  Don’t ever forget “please,” “thank you,” and your smile.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

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

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Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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