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Posts Tagged ‘mexican vacations’

“A Pedestrian Moment of Clarity”

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 23, 2012 in Western Outdoor Publications

It had been a bad day.  I was grumpy.  Not much of the day had gone right.  You know how it goes when you’re out-of-synch with the world.  A disturbance in the force.

It started poorly with no hot water in the shower.

My cell phone battery died.

I had erased something accidentally on my computer.

Friends canceled a lunch at the last minute and I had forgotten to do something my wife asked me to take care of.

The airlines had lost a client’s fishing gear and suitcase. Someone else had lost their passport.

I was now late for meeting and it was my fault.  And just realized I had forgotten my notes.

On top of it,  I just spilled half-a-cup of coffee on the floor  when I swerved to avoid some crater-sized potholes.  The  iterminable stop signs that tortured me block-after-block in the hot sun that blazed through my windshield sure wasn’t doing much for my disposition either.

I was pretty much spitting, snarling and growling at everything in Spanish and in English.  Ever have one of those days when it feel like the cosmos are going to have some fun at your expense?

And it wasn’t even noon yet.

I was in a hurry.  Cars ahead weren’t moving fast enough for me.  Go! Go! Go! I’m late.  Andale!

Someone ahead was trying to cross the busy street mid-block.   Cars were zipping by the lone pedestrian.  No one was gonna let him get across the street.

Serves him right.  Use a crosswalk, amigo!

He sure wasn’t moving very fast.  If he didn’t move faster, someone was surely gonna hit him.

C’mon…get going.  I didn’t want to stop.  I was going to pretend not to see him. No eye contact!  Like  the way you don’t look hitch-hikers in the eye when you don’t want to stop.

But, he came out from my right just fast enough that I had to stand on the breaks.  Grrrrr… Small screech.  Sigh.  Dangit.  I was about to let loose some choice Spanish phrases.  “Cabron!”  “Idiota!”

But I looked up at the same time he stopped right in front of my hood. And in the middle of my snarl he turned towards my car.    We made eye contact.

He looked directly at me and smiled. He mouthed a grateful  “Gracias” with a gentlemanly bow of his head.

He was old.  Or looked old. Grey stubble framed his dark and weathered cheeks and chin.   In Mexico, it can be hard to tell.  A hard life ages people pre-maturely down here.

He couldn’t move fast because he was hobbled.  Badly. I hadn’t seen before that he had a makeshift crutch under one arm. The kind that looked like it had been bound together with dirty duct tape.

His denim jeans were stained and wrinkled. I wasn’t sure if his shirt was cream-colored or simply as dirty as his his pants.

His eyes were tired, but clear.  And in a simple word they spoke to me.  Volumes.

I had to smile and wave back. How could I not?   And I was just about to…well, it’s hard to rip a guy a new one who smiles and bows to you and politely says, “Gracias.”

I waited and watched him struggle to the other side. Cars backed up behind me.  Let ‘em wait.

It was an effort to get up the opposite curb.   Sensing I was still there, he turned and waved an “I’m OK” wave.  Another smile. I waved back.

Some impatient driver behind me honked his horn to get going.

Every now and then, life throws a little high beam into the darker recesses of your spirit. Mine came in the form of a few nano-seconds of human contact on a bustling Mexican street.

This old caballero with the bum leg was  grateful for an unintended act of kindness.  It was un-deserved.  Benevolence nothing. Thanks for nothing.  I was gonna blow by the poor guy as he struggled to cross the street.

I’m so good at turning “inconveniences” into emergencies A cold shower.  A dead cell phone.  Too many potholes and stopsigns.

Seriously?  C’mon, man, I mentally kicked  myself.  Life  really doesn’t have that many “emergencies.” At least, not my life anyway.

In Mexico, I’m just  blessed to have a car.   A cell phone that just needs a charge.   A shower of any kind.  And a computer that can re-create whatever it lost; meetings that need attending; and clients who look to me for assistance. I have friends and family.  I had a cup of coffee to spill.

And it wasn’t even noon yet!

I should be more thankful.  I should be more grateful.  Even for “inconveniences”. Life’s actually pretty good.  Slow down.  Take a breath.  Every now and then, life makes you stop whether you intended to or not!

Happy Thanksgiving from Mexico. “Feliz Dia de Gracias!”

That’s our story…

Jonathan and Jill

__________________________

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

______________________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO


 
Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate


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

 

 

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The cathedral in La Paz. In the days before cranes and hydraulic lifts and electric screw drivers, someone had to be around to lift the massive stones and drag the enormous beams into place.

A LONG AND DUSTY LINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_____________

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

______________

That’s our story

Jonathan

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 
Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate


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

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Opening one screen leads to another and another. In the quest for information on the "information super highway" one is often subjected to frequent sig-alert traffic jams!

“T.M.I”  (Too Much Information!)

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

It used to be so easy for Baja as well. 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

We’ll get there when we get there.

_____________________________

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

_______________________

That’s our story

Jonathan and Jilly

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO


 
Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate


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

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Nice people sometimes ask the craziest questions. It's hard to believe some of the funny and nutty questions and comments we get.

“HOW DEEP IS ‘DEEP SEA’ FISHING?”

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

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

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

 

“How come everyone in Mexico speaks Spanish?”

 

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

Stuff like that.

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

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

But, we’re professionals!  Ha!

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

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

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

And then it starts…

“Is that near Cancun?”

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

 

And this little exchange…

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

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

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

“Do they speak Spanish in Hawaii?”

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Can I scuba dive without air tanks?”

 

“How deep is ‘deep sea’ fishing?”

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

That’s our story…

Jonathan

__________________________________

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

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 
Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate


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

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Me and Jilly in our booth at the International Sportsman's Expo Salt Lake City UT. Just tryin' to sell smiles one fish at a time.

CHANGES IN ATTITUDES (“ARE YOU TALKING TO…ME?” REVISTED)

Originally Published the Week of March 23, 2012 in Western Outdoor News

So, here it is.  As I’m writing this, we’ve been on the road 78 straight days now hitting all the major fishing/hunting shows…Denver, Sacramento, Portland, Vegas, Seattle, Long Beach…just to name a few.  New show every week.  13,000 miles of driving and, by the time you’re reading this, we’ll be at our 11th show at the Fred Hall Show in Del Mar near San Diego.

So, we see thousands of you all at these shows and many of you have asked about the experiences we had last year on our promotional tour. If you remember, last year, several times at every show we were actually accosted…mostly verbally…sometimes physically by knuckleheads telling us to:

“Go back to your country!”

“How did people like US get into the show?”

“Everyone of you effing people from Mexico should be killed…”

Y’know…lovely pleasantries like that.  Every city.  Every show.  Not just the cities like Boise, Idaho or Billings, Montana either.

The worst were at the shows in Sacramento and Long Beach, California.  Yup…you’d have thought folks in these hubs might be a bit more enlightened. So did we!

It’s a bit unsettling when a guy in an Izod polo shirt with a Tag Heuer watch and a wife looking like she just came from the spa grits his teeth, reaches across the counter at my booth and pokes his finger in my chest and hisses at me, “They oughta just nuke the whole stupid country.”

Well, we got hundreds of e-mails and letters about our experiences.  Outrage. Embarrassment.  Support.  Most agreed that there’s some folks out there that just have their underwear on a little too tight.  We didn’t take it too personally.

But after decades of doing shows and meeting the public, it seemed like the rage and frustration towards Mexico directly and us indirectly came out’ve left field.

So, what about 2012?

I don’t know what everyone was drinking or smoking in 2011, but it’s almost like someone someone threw the light switch the other way. Thankfully, we’ve had very few incidents this year.

In fact, just today while here at the Salt Lake City ISE show, someone did tell me, “I’m not going there to Mexico where they cut off everyone’s head!”  He didn’t stop at our booth to say more or have a discussion.  He said it loud enough for others to hear and his buddies to laugh.  But that was it

.

We’ve had maybe only half-a-dozen actual heated exchanges.  And they were quickly dissipated.  Either we got the person to walk away. (No loss…anyone that tight will never visit Mexico anyway so why waste the energy!)

Or, in two or three situations, the angry person unknowingly walked up while our booth was surrounded by friends and clients who quickly bristled and got their own dander up.

The guy opens his mouth and gives us a piece of his mind.  Party foul!  Don’t call out the host in front of the host’s friends!  The bad guy gets chased away really really fast by friends who give him a bit of his own vitriol.

“Buddy, you need to take a hike!”  “You’re a jerk, keep walking.” “Back off, amigo, you’re full of…”   Well, you get the idea.   It’s hard to suppress a grin still thinking about it.  Thanks guys!

But honestly, I don’t know what’s changed.  Maybe people are coming around and are untangling fact from sensationalism and realizing that, while Mexico has a lot of problems, much of what the media feeds us isn’t the whole story and is not reflective of ALL of the country.  It’s a big place.

The bad guys are not targeting tourists.  Like pretty much anywhere else, there’s places in every city you shouldn’t visit places and things you shouldn’t be doing no matter where you are.  I mean…why would anyone need to go into a dark alley in Ciudad de Juarez? Or, one in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco or New Orleans, etc?  Common sense!

In fact, statistics show that American tourism to Mexico has been on the rise the past year.  Last year alone,  something like 15 million Americans visited Mexico and you know what happened…NOTHING!

What we’ve found instead this year is people walking up to us and asking,

“What do you think about the violence?”

“What’s the real story down there?”

“Is it really that dangerous?”

They really want to know.  They want someone to give another side. And they listen.  Really listen.  And instead of a confrontation, it becomes an exchange of ideas.  They may never come down to visit, but most times, I hear them say, “Wow, I didn’t know that.  That’s really interesting.” They shake our hands and thank us. Hopefully with a little better understanding.

Now, I do hear people say that the ONLY reason we’re pimping this is that we have a vested interest in getting folks down to Mexico.  Of course we do.  We have a fishing business and a restaurant.  To me, what’s good for us is good for everyone.  A little understanding goes a long way.  But, no matter what I say, people will still call it a sales job.

Well, just this week, none other than the  U.S. State Department officially recognized and declared that “no advisory” is “in effect for La Paz and the entire South Baja region.” (that includes Cabo and Loreto!). According to the State Department the report was compiled at the behest of American business groups worried about employee safety and NOT to appease various boosters of Mexican tourism, e.g. self-serving “salesmen” like me!

So, there you have it.  The U.S. Government finally telling folks something most of us in Baja already knew.  Come enjoy!

_______

HOLD THE PRESS…just after I wrote this and it went to publication to the editor, we had two people walk up to us at the booth in Salt Lake City Sportsman’s Expo..  Just as we were thinking we had made it through with a kinder, gentler, season.  Just after I wrote the above column the night before…two folks walked up to us and hissed…”WE HATE MEXICANS!”  And walked on. Didn’t even stick around long enough for get a response from me or my wife.  Both the woman and the man said the same thing and made a point of walking right up to our booth. “ I HATE MEXICANS.”  Dangit…I guess there’s still knuckleheads out there.  Sad.

_________

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

That’s our story…

Jonathan

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://www.tailhunter-international.com/fishreport.htm

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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Only two guys who've fished together for awhile like Captain Jorge and Steve would mug like this. Just two guys fishing together!

DIFFERENTLY THE SAME!

Originally Published the Week of March 8, 2012 in Western Outdoor News

I’m just saying.   I think the world might just be a better place if we all just did a little more fishing.  It might solve a few problems, or at least not have so many. 

 Nations and,  even neighbors,  are pulled-apart by such complicated issues as religion, culture, politics and language or such silly stuff as, “I hate the music that jerk plays! ” 

 

There are simply countless reasons NOT to like each other.  So many reasons to polarize us all. I’m as guilty as the next person.  I probably let a person’s differences jump out at me more often than they should.

 But put two knuckleheaded guys as dissimilar as night and day in a boat… keep some fishing rods handy… and give them the mutally-advantageous goal of trying to fool an animal with a brain the size of a pea…

And it’s amazing to watch what develops. I see it happen all the time. 

One guy speaks Spanish.  One English.

One knows how to run a fishing boat.  One knows how to run a million-dollar company.

One has 3 kids and lives in a cinderblock home with a tin roof and a chicken or two in the yard.  The other has 1 ex-wife, two mortgages and rents a roof-top condo on the west side.

One has spent 30 years learning the waters that provide his livelihood and survival.

One has two advanced university degrees.

One can fix a Mercury outboard or Chevy engine with duct tape and a butter knife.

One can do Power Point presentations before a Board of Directors.

One makes the best goat-meat barbecue in his neighborhood. 

One makes a mean happy hour martini. 

In any other context, there’s hardly a single reason for these two guys to care a wit about the other.  But, put them in a fishing boat…

And they get along just fine!

All the disparate petty things that pull drive us apart or keep us from getting to know each seem to take 2nd chair to the overall goal of putting a dumb fish in the boat!

Language barriers are overcome with the simple universal communication of a smile or a laugh. 

Often, both guys try extra hard to actually LISTEN more carefully and WATCH more closely.  They SPEAK more carefully and simply to each other…even in their own languages, because they really WANT to be understood! 

We have smart phones, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Skype…all the technology in the world, but we’ve forgotten the skills of LISTENING, WATCHING and SPEAKING SIMPLY! Two guys in a boat wanting to catch a fish will resort to animated and creative hand gestures to make themselves understood!

At the end of the day…smiles…and maybe a photo or two…and a handshake. Both understand “Gracias” and “Thank you.”

 

“Tomorrow” says one.

“Manana!” says the other.

By the next day, more grins on the beach as they meet to go out.  The captain pulls out a little foil packet of grilled fish burritos that his wife made for the client and wants to share. 

“Delicious! exclaims the client surprisedly. 

“Delcio-SO!” confirms the captain proudly with a grin. 

“Hey, Spanish and English are almost the same!” says the client through another mouthful of burrito.

“Si!…Yes!” replies the smiling Captain

“Good…uh…BIEN” laughs the client.

“Correc-TO!” confirms  the Captain as he revs the motor.

The client rummages through his bag and pulls out a box of juice to share with the captain. Gratefully accepted.  Smiles and nods.

And they head out for another day of fishing. 

…and the language barriers start to diminish.  And with each passing hour, the other barriers don’t matter.  They never really did.

At the end of the day, the client “thinks” he understands that the Captain has a younger son who likes baseball. Both have daughters about the same age.  The Captain now knows the client likes the N.Y. Yankees (Captain likes the Red Sox) and the client lives in San Diego.  They both think politicians in both countries are the same…idiots!  Laughs.

And so it goes.  At the end of the day, more handshakes and photos.  More smiles.  The client gives the captain some lures as a gift.  His eyes light-up gratefully!

Mil Gracias!…Mucho thank you’s” says the captain grasping the precious lures.

“Thank YOU very much” answers the client pointing at the captain  “…Gracias gracias, mi amigo!”

 And then the next year, the client comes back. 

 Hands clasp.  And there are big grins and smiles and anticipation of another great time on the water. 

The fisherman shows photos of his kids on his cell phone and photos from the last trip!  The captains smiles proudly looking at the photos.  Using hand gestures and simple words he demonstrates that his kids have grown “this much…”  He uses another hand gesture to happily say his wife has another baby coming! 

 

And every year it grows…3, 4, …7…10 years of fishing together. And it’s no longer captains and client.   A friendship grows. And not a hint of politics…or religion…or cultural differences. And they learn from each other.

He’s become a better fisherman and learned to love barbecued goat and fish jerky and how to catch his own bait.  

The captain has picked up quite a bit of English and has enjoyed bagels and cream cheese.  His son has a new baseball glove and a N.Y. Yankees ballcap.  The captain proudly uses a new reel from a place called “Cabelas.”

Oh…and over the years, they just happen to catch a few fish too.  But it never seemed to be as important or as fun as just two guys hanging out. 

Yup…the world might be a bit better if everyone just went fishing. We’re so differently the same.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

__________________________

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

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://www.tailhunter-international.com/fishreport.htm

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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Amigo, Rick Hosmer has the right idea after a big day of yellowtail fishing!

YELLOW FEVER REVISED

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 20, 2012 in Western Outdoor News

I’ve been writing columns and stories for various publications now for about 25 years and for Western Outdoors now for about 8 years.  Usually, I pop them out in the middle of the night, press “send” …sigh that I got another one in the can and forget about it.  I go to bed.  Morning comes early.

We don’t get the publications down in Mexico so I never see them again and, unless someone mentions something about it, I don’t think about it again.  Another deadline pops up soon enough!

But every now and then, I’ll go back and check out the backlog of stories.  A phone call this past week  from prolific San Francisco Chronicle outdoor writer (and WON columnist) Tom Stienstra got me to look back at some of the many columns from the past.

I noticed that as much as Baja has changed.  So has my writing.  The more fishing I’ve done, the more I’ve thought differently about fishing as well. Techniques change.  Gear has changed.  Technology has changed and even in some cases, the fish themselves have changed.

Yellowtail for instance.  I found I had last written about yellowtail in this column back in 2008.  Other than tuna, I don’t think any other fish generates more interest or even frenzy among veteran Baja fishermen than yellowtail. And…co-incidentally, it’s yellowtail season in Baja!

The big jacks are not only real sluggers on rod and reel but can attain trophy-size proportions not to mention being great eating.

But, after you fish for a certain species a certain way, you can get set in your ways.  I mean, if one technique works, then if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.  I see a lot of Mexican captains like that.  Grandfather, dad, brothers and cousins all used a certain technique so why change?  They roll their eyes and grin when the gringo client shows some new-fangled lure or reel “guaranteed” to produce fish!  Lo que sea…”whatever!”

For example with yellowtail, I was convinced that the tried-and-true colors for casting lures (throwing iron) would be blue and white.  With some variation at times for green and yellow or scrambled egg (white, red, orange, yellow).  It seemed that everyone was always catching yellowtail on those colors.  Well, it might also have been a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Everyone was ONLY using those colors because everyone, like me, had bought into the same mantra!  Ergo, yellowtail were ONLY getting caught on those colors because that’s the only colors anyone was using.

However, like with many lures, I’ve found it’s not so much the color.  It’s how you fish it.  A variation on the saying, “It’s not worm, it’s how you wiggle it!”

Generally speaking, fish any lure color at the right speed, depth and action and if the yellowtail are there, their predatory instincts kick in and they’ll bite!  Like a cat.  They don’t care about the yarn ball.  If it rolls past their noses, they’ll pounce!

Some of my BEST yellowtail action came when I had LOST my preferred colors and had to dig in my tackle box and fished with pink (lost that)…went to lime green (lost that) then found my “jewel”…an un-painted ugly  lead-colored jig that slammed fish-after-fish.  Next time out, everyone else was using the “colored” lures and my ugly jig outfished most everyone!  I used that lure for years until it was so scarred from teeth and until it too was finally lost!

Another “revision” to my yellowtail hunting.  Structure.  My amigos fishing Cedros, Benitos, Mulege, Loreto and Santa Rosalia might agree or disagree with me as they fish yellowtail a lot more than we do in La Paz where I am, but yellowtail move around a lot!

I used to always think to fish them deep or at least around structure.  Off southern Cal waters we’d search for them under kelp paddies.  In Baja, we look for them around reefs and high spots on  submerged mounts or generally deep areas over structure.

I’ve now come to believe that, like most fish, find the food source and, like most fish, you’ve got a half-way decent chance of finding the big yellow forktails.  They love mackerel.  But they also love sardines, caballitos, smaller jacks, and squid.  You don’t see it as often as in the Baja glory days, but yellowtail will boil on the surface and I’ve caught yellowtail over sandy bottoms where the there was absolutely no structure and only a few feet deep.  They key was finding the food source.  Just common sense.

Finally, when nothing else works…troll!  Ewww…that ugly word.  But yea…you’ll cover more water and hopefully roll up on some fish by dragging something behind the boat.  If slow trolling a big slab greenie mackerel or caballito isn’t available then those big-lipped deep-diving Rapala, Yo-Zuri, Braid,  or similar lure in the magnum size will often work when nothing else will!  Bigger the lip, the deeper the dive, but just don’t get hung up on any rocks!

That’s my story!

Jonathan

___________________________

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

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

                       

 
Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate


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

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The curious statue of the old man in the paperboat staring out to see on the La Paz malecon waterfront.

“JUST ONE MORE TRIP…”

Originally Published In Western Outdoor News the Week of Feb. 8, 2012

To any of us who work in the sportfishing industry where our livelihood is dependent on the seasonal whims of nature, there are  often some pretty rough times.  Especially these days when things are complicated even moreso by economics, politics, plus changing social and ecological interests, there’s many a night when folks in our industry bang ourselves on the head.  Why do we do it?  There’s gotta be an easier way to make a living. 

          Well, a few months ago, I got a thought-provoking e-mail from Peter, a long-time WON reader.  Here’s what he wrote:

 

 

          “I’m 75 years old now. I started fishing when I was 11 years old. Fishing with a drop line from the old Santa Monica Pier.  Fishing for perch, smelt and mackerel with the old drop line was the beginning. For my 12th birthday I got a 7’ rod and a Penn reel.”

“I lived about 12 miles from the ocean and soon found me and my 7- foot rod were not welcome on the street car that ran along Venice Blvd to Santa Monica. So I made the trip on my bicycle riding 12 miles each way with my 7-foot rod etc. I soon graduated from the pier to fishing from a Fishing Barge in the bay and then to 1/2 day boats fishing for Halibut, Bass and Barracuda.”

“I dreamed of the day when I would be 16-years-old and able to drive south to San Diego and get on the San Diego Boats to fish for Tuna and Yellowtail. “

“In the late 70’s, I started fishing on the Long Range Boats. My first trip was a 4- day on the Royal Polaris. I was hooked on long range.  Over the next 25 years I fished most of the long range boats from San Diego.”

“Things were different for me then. I was working and earning a decent wage.  Fuel and boat fares were much cheaper. I could afford to take 2, 3 or 4 trips a year.”

 “ Now,  I am 75-years-old, living on my modest social security income. Fuel and boat fares are pretty much beyond my means. My last long range trip was 5 years ago. My tackle is, by today’s standards,  pretty much obsolete. I still read the fishing reports in WON and on the internet and dream of going out for the tuna and yellowtail again. “

Maybe sometime…  One more trip…  The others will look at the old guy with the old gear and chuckle….  But I don’t think the fish will know the difference…  anyway, I hope not.”

“Oh yes…  I have also fished the East Cape and La Paz (long before Tailhunter was there)  All great memories.. and lots of fish stories..

“One more trip…”

 

 

There’s a most intriguing statute out on the waterfront of La Paz in front of the now-closed Hotel Los Arcos.

          It’s weathered and the copper patina is showing through after many years of sun, salt and sand.  It’s on a pedestal on the busy malecon thoroughfare.  It’s a bit larger than life-size depicting a curious old man staring out to sea. 

He’s in shorts. Like little school-boy shorts.    But around his waist is a giant paperboat…the kind you made as a kid.  Perched on his head is a duplicate paper hat.  Even in the worn statuary, there appears a glimmer in his eye and a clear grin on his weathered face.  With one hand, he is shading his eyes against the sun.

          What’s he looking for?  What’s he waiting for?   

          I’ve never been good at interpreting art.  I either get it or I don’t.  Just me.  I never got this statue either. 

          But, then I got Peter’s e-mail.

          As someone who’s been fishing a long long time, I’ve been blessed with more time on the water than I could have ever hoped for.  But, as with all anglers, I think I might be at the point where I have more fishing behind me than ahead of me.  It’s life.  It’s just the way it is.  A time is coming when I won’t be able to go out anymore.

          But what memories!  Like what Peter wrote.  There were so many good days that you remember with a smile.  And, despite the advance in years on our bodies, spirits and souls, who of us wouldn’t like to have back some of those carefree days of paper boats and school-boy shorts? 

          At least for me, when I get some of those insane days when things are crazy and we wonder why we do what we do, I’m gonna pull out Peter’s e-mail and remind myself.  

What we do, if we work in this industry, is create smiles and memories. One of our “just-another-day-on-the-job” is someone else’s lifetime memory. Like Peter and his 7-foot rod taking the streetcar to fish. . .His first long range trip of foray into Mexico.   We are very privileged.

I understand the old man statue now. 

As Peter wrote, “I dream of going out for tuna and yellowtail again. . .Maybe sometime…  One more trip…  The others will look at the old guy with the old gear and chuckle….  But I don’t think the fish will know the difference…  anyway, I hope not.”

Just one more trip.

___________________________

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

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

                       

 
Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate


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

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A ittle planning before heading out is not a bad idea!

“WINTER MAX FISHING”

Originally Published in Western Outdoor Publications the Week of January 26, 2012

I might be committing a bit of heresy. Fishing can be crap in the winter.  OK, I said it. But, hold on. Before I’m ex-communicated from the fishing brotherhood, let me explain.

We’re doing all these fishing and hunting fishing shows and expos for the next three months.  Just finished Denver and, by the time you’re reading this, we’ll have just finished the ISE show in Sacramento and are on our way to the Seattle area for the next show.  These expos are great.  It’s an incredible opportunity to chat with old amigos and folks interested in coming to fish in Baja.

But, so often, I hear:

“We’ve fished down in Mexico 3 times and didn’t catch a thing.”

“Long boat ride. Just trolled all day.”

“Five trips and no marlin. No tuna.”

“They always lie and tell us there’s a lot of fish but we never get much.  Really disappointing.”

Then, I ask them, “What time of year did you go fishing?”

So often I hear, “Uh, December.” 

“Christmas”

“January”

“Winter time.”

I kinda shake my head.  I can certainly understand when I speak to these good folks who live in the frozen, wet, cold winters of Montana, Colorado, Alaska, Canada and Washington. There’s a definite need to toss off the down jackets and thermals and bolt as fast you can to the land of flip-flops and margarita!  If you’ve ever spent any time in these beautiful places, there’s only so much you can take until you crave some sunshine and Vitamin D.

But just cuz the sun is shining south of the border doesn’t necessarily mean the fish are biting.  At least not ALL the fish!

Sure, the brochures and websites all look good with all those pretty fish and sunny beaches, but so often, folks fail to check whether those gamefish species are biting during their vacation.  Just ask!  Or they fail to take a look at fish reports (like those in Western Outdoor News) or online reports. 

Although you really never know what you might hook when you fish in Baja, historically, most species run during particular seasons.  Just like anything else and everywhere else on earth, there’s a time for the whales to migrate; a time for the salmon run; for geese to fly south and yes…for marlin, dorado and tuna to show up as well! 

Very often tourists will book a boat and just tell the captain, “We want to catch a marlin” or “Let’s go for tuna!” 

The Mexican captain and crew, anxious to please, and understandably sometimes lacking the ability properly verbalize other alternatives,  fire up the engines and off  they go with a shrug and as much enthusiasm as they can muster.   If it’s a good day, the captain is a hero.  If it’s a bad day, he’s a goat. 

The better option would have been for the clients to ask what’s biting (no matter what time of year!) and pursuing those species or just letting the captain fish.

  Give the green light. Tell him you want some action.  (It’s an easy word in Spanish…”accion!”)

 Most captains I’ve known over the years that are worth their salt and lime don’t want to go on a long boat ride anymore than you. Pragmatically, why burn the gas for nothing?  Believe me, they want to catch fish as much as you do! When our own captains in our fleet hear the word “accion,”  I usually see big smiles and hear an enthusiastic, “Vamonos!” (Let’s go!”)

 Especially, for Mexican winter-time fishing, when there can be so many variables in wind, current, tides and fish,  find out what’s going on and do a little research before booking your trip. It will be worth your effort.  Maybe you’ll find out it’s better to go another time; change your fishing strategies or even go somewhere else! 

The Baja is 1000 miles long with about 2000 miles of coastline and bordering two different oceans.  What’s biting in Cabo isn’t the same as what’s biting in Mulege.  What they’re catching in Ensenada or off Cedros Island isn’t the same as the catches in Bahia de Los Angeles.  Common sense!

I often get prospective clients telling us, they are coming in the winter and “I want to catch a marlin.”  Or, “I’ve never caught a dorado.”

I’ve found it’s better to possibly lose the booking and be up front. Better to have a happy satisfied client than disappointing a client that had unrealistic expectations. 

So,   I tell them when the optimal time would be to catch the fish they are looking for or, if their vacations are already set, I make sure to give them realistic expectations for what they are most likely to encounter.

For instance in winter it might be cabrilla…pargo…snapper…sierra…jack crevalle…bonito…yellowtail…etc.  I also throw in the kind of weather and ocean conditions that might arise as well.  Of course, Baja being Baja and the fish gods often being fickle, if they do catch some trophy blue water fish, expectations have been exceeded. We’re suddenly heroes and my captain is the best thing since the invention of the tortilla.  

But, lacking that, I encourage folks to ask what’s biting and be flexible about the fishing as the best way to avoid disappointment. Nothing is ever guaranteed in fishing, but plan your fishing as carefully as you plan your hotel and the rest of your vacation and you’ll max your vacation memories.

_________________

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

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

                       

 
Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate


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

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Another business locked and up for rent...

MEXICAN ECONOMY AT GROUND ZERO

Originally Published in Western Outdoor News the Week of January 10, 2012

Just before the holidays, I took a little hike into downtown La Paz to go pick up some gear I needed from one of the local hardware stores.  During the frenzy of the fishing season, I don’t often get a chance to get out let alone take a walk down the waterfront and into town.

Seriously, in the course of about 8 months of craziness, walking about 8 blocks might as well be a cross-country excursion.  There’s just no time to go strolling when you’re going full turbo shuttling folks to and from airports; shoving pangas off the beach; packing fish;  tracking down a piece of luggage or trying to figure out who doesn’t want salsa in their lunch burritos for the next day fishing!

Anyway, my walk got a little depressing.

Old Juancito’s little taco stand had closed.  I think it has been on that corner over 30 years.

The little French place had a “SE RENTA” (for rent) plastered over shuttered windows.  In fact, I counted 4 restaurants that had closed as I walked along.  It included some pretty fancy places too.

The little neighborhood department store had the equivalent of a “Going out of Business Sale.”

One little Bed and Breakfast had a “For Sale” sign stuck out front and it was clearly no longer open for business.

I got hailed by Jose Luis, driving a taxi.  He stopped to wish me Feliz Navidad.

“Why are you driving a taxi?” I asked.

“Our shoe store had to close,” he said sadly. “My family has owned that store for 23 years, but there is not enough business so I am driving a taxi.  But, it is not much better. I have had only one trip for 50 pesos (5 bucks) in 3 days.”

I get asked a lot if the downturn in the U.S. economy has affected us in Baja. Most folks are touring visitors so they only see 3, 5 or 7 day chunks of life through the  picture-perfect postcard perspective of a hotel or timeshare where superficially, all looks rosy.  It’s vacation!  It’ supposed to look like a postcard.

However, I can’t think of too many places or too many people that have  not been affected by the crunch anywhere on the planet…at least not in my circle of friends or places I know.  As the dollar goes, the rest of the world goes as well.

I know of at least five big multi-million dollar real-estate projects  around La Paz that will never be completed; have gone bankrupt; or are simply languishing vacant stoically  waiting for the relentless Baja desert to do what it has been doing for ages…re-claim them to the weeds, sand and dry winds.

I can’t speak for the rest of Mexico or even the rest of Baja, but I can’t imagine it’s too much better.  I think because in Southern Baja, so much of the economy is based on disposable income whether it involved tourism, real estate investments; vacation homes and land speculation, it may have taken a longer time for the economics to crash, but it may take even longer to recover.

It’s a trickle-down effect.  You can point the finger at the economy; fear of swine flu or nervousness of drug violence.  But the triple whammy effect is the same.

If the fishermen aren’t coming down with their buddies and families; if people aren’t buying land or condos; if cruise ships aren’t dropping anchor; if vacation homes aren’t getting constructed; then no one is buying gas.  Fewer people are eating out.  No one is shopping for t-shirts and trinkets.  Fewer margaritas are getting ordered.

Whether you walk some of the business streets of La Paz or the marina in Cabo San Lucas, the commonality of boarded shops or “for rent” signs is unmistakable. Those that are open have restricted hours; have cut back on staff; or changed other aspects of doing business.

I kid you not.  Parts of the once-bustling waterfront/ marina district around Cabo are a virtual ghost town at times.

As one prominent well-known cantina owner told me,  “In 30 years of operation in Cabo, I have never seen it this bad.”

At our own restaurant/ bar in La Paz,  I get a constant stream of job applications from skilled chefs that worked 20 years in a big-chain hotel; or waiters who spent an  entire career waiting on the rich and famous now asking if we have a dishwasher position open.  Anything.

One La Paz restaurant manager told me that on one single day, they sold “just one beer.”

Another usually bustling eatery told me  they had just one dinner table all evening.  For three days, they didn’t have a single patron.

I get regular inquiries from fishing captains asking if I have any positions in my own fleet because they’ve not had a single trip in 1, 2 . . .3 months.

As one of my local friends told me, “When times got rough in the past, I have cousins who would sneak north across the border for a few weeks and make good money. Wash some dishes.  Dig some ditches.  But now, even in the U.S. there’s no jobs. The whole world struggles.”

So, yes, our little slice of Mexico is going through a rough patch.  I wish there were some answers.

That’s my story

Jonathan

__________________

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

Jonathan Roldan’s
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“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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