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Posts Tagged ‘guides’

THE REWIND BUTTON

Too have been there in the 60’s when Cabo was just a beach…when people like Bing Crosby walked the halls of Hotel Las Cruces…when big fish were the norm in the Sea of Cortez and in the heyday of such great places like the Serenidad Hotel when the Johnsons hosted the Flying Samaritans and the aroma of barbecued pork could wafted down the coastline.

THE REWIND BUTTON

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 15, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

I was asked the other day how I might have done things differently now that I’ve marked more than 20 years working and living in Baja.  I had to think about that because I’ve never given it much thought.

 

I confess much of my time, especially the early years, was spent dealing with the immediate present.   I was more concerned with things like, “Where is my next meal coming from?”   Or, “Dangit, do I have enough gas in the boat to make it back to the beach?” And, “How far can I make 200 pesos stretch until I get paid?”

 

Whew.

 

I gratefully have not had thoughts like that in a long time.  Life doesn’t guarantee anything.  I don’t take things for granted.   However,  at least at this stage in my life, I’m usually laughing to myself if those questions inadvertently race through my brain’s neurons.

 

But, looking back, I guess I would have changed a few things.

 

For one, I would have come to Baja sooner.  I didn’t make it down to Baja until my early 30’s.  I would have loved to have seen the Baja 10 or 20 years earlier…like the during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.   I would have loved to have seen Cabo San Lucas “back in the day” when it was still a fishing town.

 

I would have loved to have seen the Baja of Gene Kira, Fred “Baja Ha-Ha” Hoctor, Neil Kelly and Ray Cannon and other great writers who saw Baja in the days when it was truly “la frontera” (the frontier).

 

If my time machine was powerful enough, what I wouldn’t give to have experienced the Baja of John Steinbeck on the Western Flyer with Ed Ricketts!

 

Looking back, I would  had taken the time to have seen some of the great legendary landmark resorts and hotels in their heyday like Punta Chivato; Punta Colorada, Rancho Leonero, Las Cruces,   Hotel Las Arenas or even The Old Mill in San Quintin and so many others.

 

Some are still going strong, but to have seen them “back in the day” would’ve been pretty special.   So many are gone now or are a shadow of their previous glory when they sat alone on pristine fishing waters.

 

Likewise, the “old Finnie” Finisterra Hotel, Hotel Cabo San Lucas and the Hacienda Hotel  hewn out’ve rocks and cliffs would have been something to have experienced in their days of elegance.  I was fortunate enough to spend some time during their waning years, but to have been there when mariachis roamed the halls and played for well-heeled celebrities and guests must have been something to see.

 

Looking back, I would have brought my parents to Baja sooner.  Lots of kids are brought down by their parents, but I was the first in the family to venture south.  It wasn’t until many years later that I got my father to travel with me.  Other family members followed over the years.

 

Those times remain some of the best memories with them.  That “window” closed too soon and before long they had either had passed away or were too old to travel any longer.  And all we have are the memories.

 

As another afterthought, why did I take so long to stick my head underwater? I was raised in the water.  I spent many of my younger years in Hawaii.   I was so intent on fishing from “above the surface” I never stuck my head “below the surface.”

 

Then, I got SCUBA certified.  It opened up an entire new spectacular world that so enthralled me, I kept going until I got my divemaster certification and became a working divemaster.  The waters surrounding the Baja are some of the most incredible in the world.  It also made me not only a better fisherman, but also gave me a greater appreciation for all for the ocean and especially Baja.

 

I surely would have spent more time in the bush.  When you’re living hand-to-mouth, you like to be somewhat close to things like water, gas, electricity and transportation. . .  No matter how primitive.   I would have spent more time as far away from those things as possible knowing that with each approaching year, it would be increasingly difficult because those places are disappearing.

 

In the same vein, I would have literally “taken the roads less traveled.”  More deserted roads should have been explored.  I should have followed more goat paths.

 

They should have been followed to find out what beach, canyon, vista or adventure lay at the end.  Nowadays, too many others have already been down those roads.

 

Finally, I would have learned Spanish earlier and worked at it harder.  It’s my greatest regret that I’m not more fluent. Language is the ultimate “code.”

 

I’ve gotten better, but I think of how so many previous experiences would have been enriched by knowing and understanding Spanish better.  I can only think of what I missed by not understanding a word here or a phrase there.  Likewise, if I had a better command of Spanish, I could have contributed more as well.

 

Yes, it would have been great to have done so many things earlier. Still,  I’ve got no regrets!  But, I guess it’s not too late.  And that’s the beauty of Baja.  There’s still so much waiting to be experienced and folks continue to discover what a special place it is!

That’s my story

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

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

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El NINO NEENER NEENER

blog_el-nino-waves1

“EL NINO NEENER NEENER”

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 10, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

It’s inescapable. There are just certain things that puzzle you so much and make you sit back and go “hmmmmm…”

Like, how come a pair of socks go into the dryer and only one side comes out?

Or how come birds overhead ALWAYS know when you’ve just washed your car?

Or two treble hooks left in a tackle box will ALWAYS hook into each other?

Anyway, I’m writing this while overlooking the marina here at Cabo San Lucas waiting for the start of the Western Outdoor News/ Yamaha Tuna Jackpot Tournament.

It’s a lively place and the excitement that’s going to kick off is pretty palpable. It’s quite the circus atmosphere as more than 130 teams from around the world get ready to fire it up.

But, for the rest of Cabo San Lucas, life goes on as “normal.” Whatever “normal is, in this fun place!

The cruise ships are downloading swarms of sandal-wearing sun-seekers looking for t-shirts and “authentic pottery”. The booze cruise has a deckload of bikini-wearing gals and tattoo’d boyfriends whooping and vibrating to some bass-laden song my kids would know; and the street vendors descend on tourists swaying down the sidewalk with red Solo cups in hand and “Cabo Wabo” t-shirts stretched across sunburned shoulders.

“Cuban cigars. Best price, amigo!”

“Silver jewelry. Almost free, pretty ladies!”

“Two for one tequila shots all day, right here, senores!”

But part of “normal” all of the folks fishing here who aren’t part of the tournament and this afternoon, I’m watching sportfishers unload their catches. Catch flags are flying and it’s always interesting to see what gets off-loaded.

There’s some dorado. There’s a few tuna. Hmmm…a marlin.   Wahoo on that boat, nice one. A few more dorado over there. Looks like a decent day on the water.

But one fish catches my eye and seems to be drawing a crowd. It’s about 15 pounds and in a plastic bucket and I hear someone say, “That’s the strangest yellowfin tuna. It’s a mutant.”

But, it’s not. It has the familiar football tuna shape, but the elongated pectoral fins…that’s no yellowfin tuna! It’s an albacore.

Yes, the “chicken of the sea.” Highly-sought commercially. Normally associated with 57-62 degree water. Caught in the dark-blue-purple oceans from California to Washington. But, caught here in Cabo? In 85 degree water?

I guess it’s just one more thing to chalk up to El Nino. Or is it?

After experiencing a season’s worth of signs indicative of El Nino conditions, the scientific forecasters have finally “decided” that we are surely in an El Nino year.

It has been highlighted to the delight/ dismay of many depending on where you live and what you do for a living!

  • Warmer waters than normal played havoc with fishing season. Dorado and marlin up the coast of the Pacific Northwest. Massive tuna schools in southern California. Wahoo on ½ day charter boats out of San Diego.
  • Those same unseasonably warm waters killed off the bait south of the border in many areas which meant the fish schools moved elsewhere or, there was little or no bait for the fishermen to use
  • The same conditions lead to more storms on the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Mexico. Some 2 dozen big storms were charted as evidenced by the recent “Hurricane Vance” that just skimmed off Baja the week of Nov. 4th. But it numerically underscores the fact that the storm folks have almost gone through the whole alphabet naming all the storms.
  • Highly unusual to even see storms in November in Baja, but warm waters draw storms!
  • The highlight/ lowlight of the year was the devastating “Hurricane Odile” in September that ripped Baja and was the strongest storm in Baja history registering winds in excess of 150 mph.   Months of repairs and recovery continue almost 8 weeks after the blast.
  • Should “El Nino” continue as predicted, heavy rains might show up this winter and early next year for much of the drought stricken western U.S.

So, if this actually is an official El Nino season (they usually span parts of two successive years), then one would expect that warm water fishing would continue for Baja fishermen for species like marlin, sailfish, wahoo, tuna and dorodo. Conversely, fishermen on the West Coast of the U.S. should continue to enjoy their phenomenal year on unusual species as well.

But, hold on. Something doesn’t fit.

Colder winter winds are already starting to blow into Baja. Water temperatures are dropping in many areas.

The fishing is already changing too. I doubt we’ll see a full-blown “albacore” run in Cabo San Lucas, but the fact that an albacore was caught says something about a fish that has a messed-up directional radar or, has followed a cooler current of water. I tend to think it’s the later rather than the former.

Where we are in La Paz, we’re seeing fewer dorado and other warm water species and already getting sierra, amberjack, roosterfish, cabrilla and pargo. These are all fish associated with cooler conditions.

Our air is already many degrees cooler than normal and humidity has dropped considerably. Winds are blowing stronger from the north and there are areas that are already too rough to fish on some days.

Everyone asks me , “What do you think, Jonathan? What do you predict if we come fishing?”

I’m stumped. It’s one of those things that make me go, “Hmmmm….”

One of my captains just taught me the word, “Perplejo.” It means “perplexed.” And that’s me.   None of this year has made sense.

Roosterfish or dorado?

Bait or no bait ?

Full moon no moon ?

Rain or sunshine ?

I’ve been wrong more often than not this year. My crystal fishing ball is on the fritz. I stopped trying to over-think it and ultra-analyze it. I just tell people, “Come fishing.” Then I shrug.

It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. Maybe we should be more concerned with fishing than what we’re gonna catch. It still beats work. And it’s still Baja!

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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RAMPED DOWN EL NINO?

tromba-marina-la-paz-4

UH…yea! I think it’s time to crank up the lines and get the heck ou’tve the way! It only took minutes for the skies to darken and go from blue…to grey…to black and put down this incredible waterspout!

tromba-marina-la-paz- el sargento

They can come out’e nowhere in a matter of minutes. You can see the huge waterspout and the rain coming! Best to let it pass. It can be over in minutes.

RAMPED DOWN EL NINO?

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 5, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

At the mid-year mark of the calendar as well as the Baja fishing season, maybe it’s time to take another look at the El Nino phenom we may…or may not be having.

 

At the onset of the season, many of us, me included, wrote about predications that this would be an El Nino season. In fact, scientists strongly suggested 2014 to possibly be one of the largest, if not the biggest one in recorded history.

 

In a nutshell, the El Nino event is characterized by abnormally higher water temperatures, higher rainfall (including hurricanes), higher air temperatures and humidity, and for us fishermen, big differences in the fishing season along the eastern side of the Pacific ocean. Basically, the western side of Mexico and the U.S. are affected.

 

Early in the season, it was looking pretty ominous. When so many of us down here in Baja and along the Mexican coast base our livlihoods on nature, the weather and the fishing, it’s hard to ignore the predictions.

 

According to the experts, all the signs were there for a whopper of an el Nino on it’s way. Understandably, it was with some trepidation that many of us kicked off our respective seasons.

 

Well, now several months into the season, an assessment of sorts can be made. Yes, the waters got really warm really fast. In many places they are higher than normal.   In fact, in some spots, it never cooled down from last year. The cold waters never materialized.

 

No doubt, it doesn’t take a meterolgist to tell you it surely seems a lot warmer and a lot more humid this year. Just walk outside. It blazes. The air is thick and heavy in the heat.

 

And the fish?

 

I think I can speak for a lot of us down here and a lot of folks who have visited. It’s really weird. It’s really crazy.

 

At the base…there’s very little live bait. That’s all I seem to hear folks talking about. Well, you see, when there’s an el Nino, the cooler waters from the deep carrying all the nutrients don’t make it up.

 

The nutrients bring the bait. No food. No bait. Or, the waters are so warm, the bait goes elsewhere…or dies.   It’s just part of the cycle.

 

If there’s no bait, that’s gonna eliminate a food source for the gamefish, not to mention make life a little difficult for sportfishermen. Certain species don’t show up…or they show up someplace different.

 

Like slow tuna in Mexico, but tuna show up in big numbers in California and strays of tuna, dorado and marlin make their way up as high as Washington state! Talk about getting lost!

 

But, now at the mid-way point, the pros are saying, maybe it’s NOT going to be a record-breaking el Nino. They are revising their predictions.    Yes, it’s here, but well…maybe it’s not the BIG one!

 

That’s good news and bad news.

 

Bad news…like all weather, El Nino is cyclical. It’s the way of the world so-to-speak.

 

Yes, it brings more rain, but that’s exactly what so many places need along the west coast continents to break extreme drought conditions. In fact, I saw where one meteorologist called it the “Great Wet Hope.” Lord knows rain is needed.

 

If it’s true that we’re not going to see the historical El Nino, I guess many of us can breathe a little easier knowing that the likelihood of hurricanes is diminished. However, truth be told, even ONE hurricane/ chubasco can be a deal breaker here in Mexico.

 

Mexico needs water as much, it not more than anyone. And it’s not for golf courses and swimming pools and watering lawns and washing cars. Just basic drinking water is in short supply as well as water for crops.

 

A little rain here and there or short burst in the afternoons are great. It’s perfect.

 

But even a good “tropical storm” of any intensity would be devastating in a country where drainage is a problem as well as basic construction. Arroyos become deadly rivers in minutes. Streets become lakes. Neighborhoods become isolated islands.   Mexico’s infrastructure doesn’t do well with rain.

 

A similar storm in the U.S. would generate some fender benders on the freeway. Surfers in Orange Co. would rush to catch “the gnarly break.” And the evening news would show someone trying to kayak down the concrete “Los Angeles River.”

 

Here… A realatively minor storm of moderate intensity in a few minutes can wipe someone out…destroy businesses…kill people.  Let alone screw up the fishing day.

So, if you’re coming down in the next few months, don’t alter your plans. But be prepared.   It might just rain.

 

If there’s something on the radar and the local port captains close the port or put out warnings, common sense dictates that you might be better served sitting by the pool with a cold one.   Don’t chance it.

 

Fishing is supposed to be fun. Safety first.   It’s not supposed to be an exercise in survival or miserableness or futility. Many of these “storms” are short-lived, but can be strong. We call them “toritos” (little bulls) that hit with the intensity of a hurricane.   In fact, these toritos can come up in minutes and there will never be a warning.

 

If that happens, by all means, clear the water. If you’re close enough to cover go wait it out. You can go back out later. If you’re that’s not an option, call it a day.

 

Two weeks ago, we had a waterspout come up that was the size of a city block and sounded like a freight train from several miles away.   You could see water gushing up off the ocean. It took a matter of minutes for that to form!

 

The other side of these storms is that it washes a lot of debris into the water. This includes mud, trash, and vegetation like trees and bushes.

 

Let it all settle and waters clear. Then look for the temperature and current breaks holding all this floating stuff. You’ll find some of the best fishing around these areas!

 

Just go with the flow. Be safe. Be prepared.

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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MEMO TO SELF – NO BAD DAYS

sunrise

SUNRISE ON THE SEA OF CORTEZ TO START THE DAY. FIRST BAITS IN THE WATER. HOW CAN THAT BE BAD?

MEMO to SELF…NO BAD DAYS!

Originally Published the Week of July 22, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

The day had not started well. I woke up grumpy. I was doing my utmost to put on my best “happy face” for the fishing clients this morning, but it was taking an effort.   Just one of those days we all have when one would be best-served to just stay in bed!

 

I already knew it was going to be a long day. We had problems at our restaurant with the plumbing, and several of our employees were out sick. A vehicle was broken down and required a part they just don’t make in Mexico and there was a chance of rain in the forecast too. Sheeesh. And it was only 5 a.m. in the morning!

 

Worse of all, the fishing had been bad. And I had grumpy fishermen. More than grumpy actually. Rude and pissed off.   The bad fishing had snowballed into complaints now about the service, the captains, the hotel, the food.

 

Funny how that happens. Catch fish and none of that matters. Don’t catch fish and the world is a terrible place. I could feel that target growing on my back. Anyone who has been a guide or outfitter knows what that feels like. As if we could control the wind, waves, weather and fish! But, we care about how our clients feel so you feel the crosshairs growing.

 

But, I guess you pay that money and it entitles you to be grumpy and growl and no amount of cheerfulness or cheerleading on our end was gonna change things.

 

My own mood reflected it as well as a feeling of helpless frustration. If I could make fish jump in the boat, I would. If I could wave a fishing rod in the air, I’d make the clouds go away. Doesn’t work that way.

 

So, we packed them into our van to the beach in the dark and could feel the tension. Yuk. Mine and theirs.

 

And then some of our other fishermen came down and climbed into the shuttle. All smiles. Handshakes. Backslaps. Excited to be going fishing. Looking forward to being on the water.

 

Introductions and greetings.   Among themselves. “Hey, didn’t I see you on the plane?” “Where’d you go to dinner last night?” “Really nice to meet you!” “You’re lucky to have your wife. Don’t let her catch all the fish!” (Laughs) The grumpy guys could care less.   Golly, is it THAT bad?

 

The happy folks were all long-time customers. They all came from different parts of the country.   I had known them for a long long time and knew their stories. But, all of them were coming together this morning and meeting for the first time.   Just happy to be out; happy for maybe more reasons than just going fishing.

 

Yes, I know their stories.

 

For several of them, this could be their last trip.

 

One has a serious kidney surgery as soon as he gets back.

 

The wife, they were talking about? The gal schlepping the rods and laughing with the boys? She just found out she’s got a malignant tumor in her breast. She’s got a lot on her mind, I know.

 

One of the other guys? He’s had several strokes. I see the changes in him. He still at it, but he can’t fish every day like he used to. I worry about him pulling on a big fish. He’s fragile, but gutty as hell and won’t let anything stop him.

 

Another guy in the van, he’s had 24 surgeries. TWENTY FOUR!

 

He had his first heart-attack at 35 years-old. His first stroke at 36.   He had a heart transplant several years ago. His face is scarred from skin cancer. Right around his mouth, lips and chin.   As soon as he gets home from La Paz, he’s got a date with the dermatologist.

 

He once showed me what his chest, arms and legs look like from all the surgeries. He laughing called himself “Frankenstein.” He takes several dozen pills a day to keep going.   He has to wake himself up at night to make sure he takes some of the pills on time.

 

He just came back from a salmon trip in Alaska. And now here he is in La Paz fishing with us.

 

He once told me, “I know people who are more fortunate than me and let little setbacks get to them. They are miserable.

 

I choose to be happy. I chose to LIVE and enjoy the time I have. I got the message early! Fishing just happens to be the vehicle that gets me off the couch and enjoying life!”

 

 

None of the folks in the shuttle van know the background of the other folks.

But there were those who were really looking forward to the day. And others who started the day already under a toxic cloud.  I guess I could be included in that group.

 

I want to tell the grumpy guys…”LOOK AT THESE HAPPY PEOPLE!” I want to introduce them and tell the grumpy guys the stories about the happy people.   I know it’s not my place.

 

But, I want to say, a bad day fishing is just that. A bad day fishing. You’re here. You’re enjoying times with friends. You’re doing something that a zillion other people will never ever get to do in their lives. See a sunrise. See the dolphin. Feel the salt spray. Crack beers on the beach.   Fishing isn’t life. Life is fishing.

 

I think there was a reason I saw these folks today. Wake up call. Life ain’t so bad a’tall. I’m blessed. Memo to self…no bad days allowed!

 

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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“More than Potato Salad and Fried Chicken”

U.S. Flag Tailhunter

“MORE THAN POTATO SALAD AND FRIED CHICKEN”

Originally Published the Week of July 10, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

One of our fishing clients down here in La Paz was sipping a cold one in our restaurant and asked if I missed 4th of July.

 

Having been down here in Mexico working now almost 20 years, yea, I really do. I miss it a lot. Being that July 4th is always smack in the height of the summer fishing season, it’s been a long time since I’ve been part of the celebration “back home.”   But, this is where work requires that I be down here and so-be-it.

 

Superficially, man…I miss a good parade and watching the kids and the floats and the music…and most of all standing with hand-over-heart as I watch our vets and service folks marching tall and proud. I get choked up over that.

 

I miss the smell of green summer grass-in-the-park and that smell of barbecued burgers and saucy ribs and ducking the occasional errant Frisbee. I miss the sand between my toes and a paper plate of fresh potato salad, sloppy pork-n-beans, fried chicken and a beach fire in the dark as fireworks burst over the water to the oohs-and ahhs of the crowd. I miss hearing the Star Spangled Banner played.

 

So many things parked in my memory banks.

 

But, I get a completely different perspective living outside the U.S. and looking in from afar…from Mexico. And, although the two countries share borders and so many other things in common, they are still so far apart. And it makes me appreciate the U.S. even moreso and what the 4th of July means.

 

For one, I take fewer things for granted. Simple things.

 

Like water.

 

Back home, you flipped on the faucet. Bad as it might taste, you take for granted that water comes out. You can cook with it. Wash clothes. Come home from work and take that long easy hot shower. Wash your car. Water your lawn. Gasp…fillyour hot tub and swimming pool!

 

Here, in Mexico, water is at a premium. What we call “drought” in the U.S. is almost comical in Mexico. Sometimes nothing comes out’ve the faucet…for days!

 

Here in La Paz, often water is only sent to your home or business through the city pipes every-other-day or every two days. And even then, pretty much at a slow drip.

 

That’s why you see these huge black plastic “tinacos” (storage cylinders) on top of business and houses. That’s to save the water when it’s available and running. If you run out, you have to wait until the city opens the spigots again.

 

The tourists never see that because the hotels and golf courses and swimming pools are always full. But, I saw a report once that said the fresh water daily allotment for the average Baja citizen is less than one-gallon-a-day. And getting smaller.

 

And more…

 

As a former attorney back in California, I don’t take justice or the U.S. legal system for granted anymore. Nor am I so quick to make fun of it’s many problems.   I still challenge someone to come up with a better way to do things.   It still has a fundamental premise, that you are “innocent until proven guilty.” And there’s nothing the government can do about that.

 

Here in Mexico, they still operate under the archaic Napoleanic code from the days when France ran Mexico.    Under those laws, the state “presumes you are guilty and it’s up to you to prove you are innocent.”

 

I have seen the damages up-close-and-personal here.   We’ve been victimized ourselves.

 

Prove you didn’t steal from your neighbor. Prove your kid didn’t start the fight that broke another kid’s nose. Prove your wife didn’t crash into someone else’s car. Prove you didn’t hurt someone’s reputation by something you said. Prove you didn’t sexually accost a fellow employee.

All it takes is an accusation and a report to authorities by someone who doesn’t like you. And now it’s YOUR problem. It’s YOUR burden to prove you’re innocent.

 

Another thing is that I don’t take the ability to work so lightly. I know in the U.S. we have a serious crisis in employment.   I have several college degrees plus a law degree, but I’ve been unemployed. I’ve quit jobs. I’ve been fired from jobs.

 

But, I always had options. I always had hope that I could find another job.

 

I’m here in Mexico now because of a choice I made years ago, not because I wanted to live outside the U.S. but because there was a business opportunity that presented itself. But, it was a choice I had because I had options.   I had that independence. And I was lucky and blessed.

 

We have so many good friends, employees and associates and acquaintances after almost 2 decades here.

 

I look at them and I’m grateful for what we have as Americans roving this planet who at least have opportunities and options.

 

Here in Mexico, if you’re a dishwasher or you’re a taxi driver, that’s probably what you will be the rest of your life. That’s it. No upward mobility.

 

There might be some lateral mobility in that instead of a dishwasher you might get to be a truck driver, but not likely. You will live and die a dishwasher or waiter or farmer. That’s it. Same for your kids. What’s a career?

 

There’s no “correspondence school” or “next big opportunity.” You are what you are. My amigo is a floor cleaner. He will be a floor cleaner his whole life until he dies or his back gives out. Whichever comes first.

 

Education is mandatory to only 8th grade. How far would you have gotten on an 8th grade education?

 

Having education, even a college education, could still mean you’re now qualified to work in a retail store selling shoes or in an office filing papers. You can keep your hands clean. Maybe.

 

And, if you lose your job, that could be it as well.

 

We know a very good accountant working for a company. She’s 35-years-old. She told us if she ever loses her job, she is no longer employable because she is “too old” and companies don’t hire “old people.” She supports a family of 4.

 

Truthfully, when you hit 65-years-old here, you are forcefully retired. No matter how good, valuable or healthy you are. No matter that you’re the sole earner in your household, you’re out’ve the work force.

 

Just yesterday, a single-parent friend told me her son missed a job interview because he didn’t have shoes.

 

Last week, another friend told me he had to quit a job as a maintenance man because it was too hard to walk 5 miles to work and back six-days-a-week. He’s 62-years-old and supports a family of 5.

 

We might share borders, but we are so far apart. And every 4th of July away from home, I’m ever more grateful for the opportunities and freedoms I’ve enjoyed and been blessed with. For all it’s problems, the U.S. still enjoys so much that the rest of the world never has or will.

 

Can someone pass me another piece of fried chicken…

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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A DEARTH of ‘DINES

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NO MAS????

A DEARTH of ‘DINES

 

Originally Published the Week of May 27, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

 

It’s an early Baja morning and the sun was just starting to light up with golden blue hues against the western horizon. The heat would soon follow, but for now, the dawn was still freshly-tinged with the salty residue of the retreating night.

 

It is early enough that skippers and anglers alike still hunched shoulders in windbreakers and sweatshirts against the nippy breeze and spray knowing full-well that the sun would soon throw open the furnace blast of another Mexican day. But, there was no hiding the anxious anticipation of another grand fishing day in the Sea of Cortez.

 

The panga motored as quietly as possible into the little rocky cove. Several other pangas were already up against the craggy shoreline of the island. In the bows, a skipper or assistant could be seen with cast nets draped over shoulders and squinting sunglassed-covered eyes into the shallow waters.

 

The captain of this particular launch cut the motor and drifted toward a little warren of rocks. He jumped lightly forward to the prow.  Readied his net and with a circular fling; expertly tossed the cast net into the air where it hung; pancaked open; and fell flatly into the waters.

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As the captains pulled the drawstring of the net enclosing the snare and drew it towards the waiting panga and anxious anglers, something appeared wrong. Usually, the “pull” of the net would be evidenced by some bit of strain and effort by the captain.

 

But, he pulled the net effortlessly up.

 

Normally, with a grunt, the skipper would heave the bulging net up-and-over above the live bait well and with another pull a “zillion trillion” thrashing, splashing, struggling dark-backed sardines (‘dines) would tumble en masse into the waiting waters of the bait tank.

Two or three quick tosses more and the panga would be loaded. Then it would be a sprint to the fishing grounds heavily bulging with hook-sized bait and high on anticipation for another day of bent-rods and bloody decks.

 

But, this time there was no grunt-and-heave. The net came up virtually empty. Four mini-sardines…FOUR…were released into the bait tank. A dozen more net tosses and 90 minutes of searching and scouring produced only a handful of baits for their efforts.

 

Each fruitloss toss-and-retrieve caused shoulders to sag.

 

Nothing like starting the fishing day where elation and anticipation backslids into deflation. No bait?

 

The other pangas did not do much better. They would end up making the best of the day with sliced bonito; a few live ballyhoo; some scrounged mackerel and some chopped-up squid. Just not quite the same as being able to chum handfuls of sardines into the water to get the fish going.

bait

 

It’s been happening with increased frequency in Baja waters. Especially this year as a combination of variables seems to be combining for a “perfect storm” in terms of bait.

 

Part of it can’t be helped. It’s nature. Nature does what nature does and it’s like trying to stop sand from getting in your hot dog at the beach. It’s gonna happen.

 

This appears to be an El Nino season. But, moreso, the scientists are saying maybe it’s a “super” El Nino season with the warmest water and air temperatures in the history of recording el Nino conditions.

 

The cycle pops up every few years and, in a nutshell, means warmer ocean conditions along the Eastern Pacific coast along the western side of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Warmer waters mean more storms; higher incidence of hurricane.   It’s the reason folks in Washington encounter stray dorado and tuna that lose their way in the warm currents and head far more north than their usual comfort zone.

 

But, these warmer waters mean the colder waters from the deep trenches don’t come to the surface. The cooler waters bring the nutrients. The nutrients bring the bait fish. The bait fish provide food for the sportfish. Are you following this? One big circle of nature. And tag…this is us this year. Warm waters = less bait.

 

The other side of the equation is perhaps more ominous. Some would say even a bit sinister. Because we’re doing it to ourselves. We can’t do much about El Nino.   But, us humans aren’t doing much to help ourselves either.

 

It’s the fish pens. You’ve heard of them. The controversial but apparently successful capture of juvenile tuna and yellowtail in huge nets then raising them in a net-like corral. Grow ‘em big and sell ‘em off. It works. It’s great. It’s economical.

 

Supply and demand. The planet craves seafood. Heck, it needs food period! The fish pens help fill the need. If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t be using it.

 

Here’s the rub. Everyone gets the impression that fishing farms are “green.” And there’s a lot of controversy about that. I guess it depends who you’re reading.

 

But, I’ve read that it takes anywhere from 3-10 pounds of “bait food” to grow a tuna one pound bigger. . So, let’s see…to grow a 50 pound tuna? Do the simple math. Hmmmm…that’s a lot of food.   It has to come from somewhere.

 

Arguably, wherever they have set up these “pens” they have depleted the bait stocks.   Pretty much raided everything in the waters that could be used or ground up into fish meal. It reminds me of those days when the cattle or sheep came to an area and ate all the grass that held the soil. Resulting in dust bowls. Are we headed for a “toilet bowl?” Are we destined to be live-sized versions of the Tidy Bowl man adrift in blue water?

 

Here, in La Paz, the head of La Paz Tourism, Sr. Pedro Aguilar told me that the fishfarmers are prohibited from taking bait in the bay and around our two islands. However, our local sportfishing captains tell me that the bait guys from the pens are out at night scouring those very areas capturing all the bait they can get.

 

The other side is that all the “waste” product has to go somewhere and it’s going right into the waters and creating a whole separate ecological issue. Tons of “fish poo” isn’t a good thing, especially in these shallow areas where the pens are located and ocean currents aren’t there to sluice out the after-product.

 

If you’ve ever even seen what your kid’s goldfish can do to a home fish bowl after a few days of not changing the water, imagine what a net load of fat tuna can squeeze out.

 

It’s not just here. It seems to be happening all over. And again, we have the challenge of balancing the need for food; the ecosystem; the sportsmen…and then, of course the corporate interests.

 

So…a double whammy curse on us. And I don’t know what to do about it. Awfully discouraging.

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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ENSO-states-viz_0

Equatorial tropical waters getting warmer and might be the vanguard of a super el nino on the way.

 

SUPER BABY ON THE WAY?

Originally published the Week of April 15, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

I waited for awhile to write something about this. I’m no expert and even the experts had differing opinions. But, the more I read and the more I see reported from fishing around here and in other areas of Mexico, I guess it better be addressed.

 

Plus, everyone is asking me as well.

 

Things are looking like we might have an “El Nino” on the way. In fact, it might be a Baby-Huey-sized “Super Nino,” if things continue to shape up.

 

Everyone talks about it but few understand what it is and what really happens. Mostly, absent all the scientific-speak, most of us just want to know how that’s going to affect the fishing, right?

 

Originally, it was recognized by fishermen in South America when anomalies in the water temperatures started showing up around Christmas time. Hence, “El Nino” means the “little boy” or Christ child.

 

According to the folks at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), in a normal year (whatever that is) trade winds blow westerly across the Pacific.   That means waters around Indonesia are warmer and as much as a half-meter higher than say, Ecuador.

 

In an El Nino year, it’s just the opposite.

 

For those of us geographically challenged, that means the Eastern Pacific, including the western U.S. and Mexico, get much warmer water temperatures. Among other things.

 

Whether that’s good or bad depends on your perspective.

 

On the bad side, it dries out places like Australia and can lead to heavy brushfires. On our side of the Pacific, rain follows the warmth. Accordingly, the likelihood liklihood of hurricanes and destructive rainstorms increases as do heatwaves in the same areas.

 

For those in drought-stricken western U.S. states, I guess you have to watch what you ask for.

 

But, what does this mean for fishing, besides maybe some having to break out the rain ponchos?

 

In real terms, the warmer water usually means the presence of warm water fish, much to the thrill of anglers in the western U.S. In past years, this meant “exotic” fish like marlin and dorado showing up occasionally in Seattle catches.

 

It means that California anglers, especially those in Southern California might not have to venture to Mexico to catch these same species. Weekend warriors on half-day boats could be taking home dorado fillets!

 

For us in Baja, we’re still wondering.

 

There’s no doubt that we’ve been experiencing much warmer than normal waters.   Since last season here in La Paz, water temperatures never did drop that much near the end of the season. To wit, we never really had “winter fishing” per se.

 

In fact, as in many places around Baja, the warm water species, like dorado and tuna stuck around or showed up much earlier than normal.   Here in La Paz, we encountered water surface temperatures into the 80’s several months earlier than normal.

 

Great for swimming. But, in terms of how this will affect the fishing season, vamos a ver…we’ll have to see.

 

Here’s the rub with el Nino.

 

With the warmer waters, the nutrient-rich cooler waters that come up from the deep-water upwellings don’t show up either Those nutrients support the bait stocks. Bait dies or moves off. That doesn’t bode well.

 

One other issue.

 

The science folks speculate that this might be the “big baby”…the super nino! The last big El Ninos was the one that bridged the 1982-1983 and the 1997-98 seasons.   With the latter being the strongest recorded.

 

This April, water temperature increases along the equatorial Pacific are already even higher than those previous El Nino years. So, this could be a record-buster if it happens.

 

So, brace yourself one way or the other.   Nothing is completely definitive at the moment, but all signs are pointing that way. Me? I’m still going fishing! It still beats working.

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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