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Posts Tagged ‘salt water fishing’

squid martis tags

Giant Humboldt squid surprise alot of anglers when they first encounter them and find them to be voracious feeders and tough fighters when hooked!

squid

Squid can go upwards to…20, 30, 40 pounds or more…they don’t call them “giant” for nothing!

squid_beaktags

The beaks of the giant squid aren’t something to fool around with when still attached to their owners! They’re like big parrot beaks!

THE BIG UGLY

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 28, 2013 in Western Outdoor News

The Captain Victor tied on the heavy leaded lure and handed it back to the angler who looked at it curiously.   He hefted it in his hand and like a weapon.  And indeed, it looked like one.

“Pretty much looks like a medieval club or a torturing device,” he smiled. “a knight could do some damage with this sucker!”

He turned it around in his hand.  The heavy leaded pipe was about a foot long and filled with cement.  It was painted white.  The line was tied to one end.  At the other, it looked like a multi-pronged grappling hook with about a dozen 2-inch long up-turned sharpened spikes.

“Whatever bites this is gonna be interesting,” he said as he put his heavy 4/0 reel with 60 pound test into free-spool and dropped the lure over the side.  Weighing about 2 pounds, it dropped quickly into the depths about 500 yards off the rugged Baja coastline.

Mas linea..more line…more line,” said the captain with a mixture of hand gestures and broken Spang-lish.  “Muy profundo aqui…very deep here, “ as he pointed down into the cobalt morning waters.

“Ok-dokie, amigo” said the angler with a shrug.

The heavy rod and reel continued to play out line.

The captain touched the rod as a sign to stop.  The angler put the rod into gear and figured he was about 400 feet straight-up-and-down.

The Captain Victor motioned for the angler to reel slowly, but at the same time raising and lowering the rod in a sweeping motion stopping the retrieve and letting the heavy jig drop back and winding a few cranks more.

The angler took about half a dozen sweep-and-cranks and suddenly the heavy beefy rod went over double nearly pulling the angler to his feet!

“WHOA!  WHAT THE…???”

Grunting he struggled to turn the handle of the straining reel.  He looked up at the grinning captain now smiling smugly.

“Big squid! Calamar grande!” said Captain Victor with a big satisfied grin and arms folded across his chest.

Sometimes you really have to watch what you ask for.  Often folks want to know if the squid are biting and this just happens to be about that time.  They’re not always “on time” and the bite is cyclical,  but at least for us in La Paz, we get a run of squid in the spring and summer.

Like other sea creatures, it’s not like they send out a memo or anything.

But, when they show up, they generate alot of excitement.  Not only are they fun to catch and extremely feisty when hooked,  but they are just plain fascinating.  They’re the stuff of story, legend and sea-monster!

When folks come down, they normally, aren’t quite ready for what awaits.  The “Humboldt” squid we normally get can be as small as 5 pounders, but 40-100 pound beasts are not uncommon.

When the squid “float” (come near the surface from the cold depths) to where they can be caught, often many boats and pangas will pack the area.  If the big squid are there, it’s not long before heavy rods and double-bent anglers are pulling mightly as if small refrigerators are hanging on the ends…which isn’t too far from the truth!

The vessles are often quite close and once the bite starts, it can get pretty crazy as the wiggling-squirting cephalapods get close to the boats.  A good tip is to let the struggling animals finish their squirting BEFORE bringing them aboard! Between the vessels,  big firehose-sized geysers of water and ink are often seen raining down and spraying anyone within range.  Yells and laughs as well as choice bits of profanity often permeate the scene.

In fact, it’s often a good idea to dispatch the big uglies before bringing them aboard at all.  Squid are voracious and aggressive.  Just because they’re hooked doesn’t mean their beat.

A third of their body length is a mass of tentacles.  An, unlike an octopus, the “suckers” on a squid’s tentacles aren’t little suction cups.  They are concentric circles of teeth surrounding a little beak that can easily break skin when wrapped around the nearest leg, arm or finger.

Certainly, you don’t want to get an appendage near to it’s parrot-like beak which is capable of really doing damage and can take off a finger.  Or they can quickly gouge out a chunk of an angler.

Make no mistake, while small squid in a bait tank can be fun to play with, the Humboldts are dangerous critters.  They are opportunistic feeders and the large ones have been known to attack sharks, tuna and even the occasional diver…not to mention each other.

In fact, the heavy jig used to catch them is painted white to resemble a smaller squid enticing a larger squid to attack it.  Indeed, the squid are cannibalistic and many times, as you’re bringing a squid to the boat, it will often feel like it’s no longer struggling and has turned to dead weight.

If the water is clear enough, you can often see other squid attacking and hacking the one squid impaled on the jig.  There’s no fraternity below the surface.  Eat and get eaten!

It took some grunting and no shortage of sweat and elbow grease to get the big 50-pound squid to the panga.  As per the captains instructions, the angler let the big animal empty it’s jets of water and black ink before bringing it into the panga.

Wiping his brow, with the back of his fist, the angler laid down the rod in exhaustion.

Muy bueno por carnada…good for bait,” smiled Captain Victor as he hacked off one tentacle and wrapped it around a larger bait hook ready to go look for some real fish.

“Like heck!” laughed the angler, cutting off a huge chunk himself and bagging it for the ice chest.  “It’s going into some beer batter for fried squid dinner tonite!”

“But first, let’s catch a few more!” he added tossing the  heavy jig back overboard.

That’s our story!

Jonathan

_______________

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

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

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

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 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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There are times when it's just better and safe to hang by the pool for the day, but if you're headed out,  there's a few things you can do to make it easier to fish in rough water!

There are times when it’s just better and safer to hang by the pool for the day, but if you’re headed out, there’s a few things you can do to make it easier to fish in rough water!

PLAYING ROUGH!

Originally Published the Week of January 3, 2012 in Western Outdoor News

Memories of those calm balmy days fishing the Sea of Cortez definitely weren’t going through my brain this afternoon.  On the contrary.

Although the sun was out, I was relatively “bundled” for Baja fishing.   I was still customarily barefoot, but my fishing wardrobe long loose sweat pants and a layering of t-shirt; long sleeve Pendleton and waterproof windbreaker with hood over my head.  It hardly sounded like Baja fishing couture!

But, that being said.  I was chilly.  It was blustery and spray from the wave-tossed northern winds that sweep the Cortez had my clothes damp and my panga captain and I fishing with our hoods pulled way down!  Out of the corner of my mouth, I said in Spanish, “This is why we get paid the big money!”

He grinned and wiped the seawater that was splashing his face and he held onto the tiller!

It was choppy.  White caps tipped the waves even though we weren’t far from shore.  Brrrrr…

My client, a great guy from Oregon, used to fishing the dangerous mouth of the Columbia River was having a great time in his shorts and t-shirt!  “Heck, this is nothing… it’s cold and raining back home!” he laughed.

Well…yay.  Winter is still not my favorite time to fish, but when you gotta work, you gotta work.  Often fishing in winter in the Sea of Cortez or any of Baja waters can be a challenge.  Forget all the fancy brochures.  Weather is still weather and there are some times of the year that are better than others to fish!

That doesn’t mean there’s no fish, but you have to change your tactics a bit when playing in rougher water.

For one, there’s a good chance you might be doing more trolling than normal.  When waters are rough or when it’s off-season, it’s often difficult to purchase bait because either the bait guys aren’t working.  Or, it’s sometimes too rough to net or hook sardines, mackerel or other baitfish.

So, be prepared to troll.

If you have a water temperature gauge, at least try to find the warmer temperature breaks to work.

Also, given the turbulence on the surface,  certain lures work better.  I put away all the “bullet” headed trolling lures and reach for lures with heads that are heavier to dive beneath the chop.  I like using heads that have slanted or flat heads or have “jet holes” that will also create more action as they are pulled through the waters.

You have to be careful about your lure speeds.  It’s not like you can put it on auto pilot on the console or in your brain.  If you’re in waves and swell, your boat speed will vary constantly depending if you’re going upswell or surfing downswell or getting hit sideways.

Which brings up another point.

In heavy weather, use fewer lines.  And run them equidistant from the transom.  Some guys like to run them close.  Others far from the prop wash.  But either way, fewer lines and keeping them equidistant reduces the frequency of tangled lines, especially if you’re doing “S” patterns or the chop is really pushing the boat and the lines around.  Personally, I like running the lines a bit closer than normal.  Don’t worry about the fish.  Believe me, most fish out there can swim faster than the boat can move so if they’re inclined, they’ll hit your lures even if you’re having to run a little faster or slower than normal.

Finally…

It should go without saying to use common sense at all times.  If it’s too rough, no fishing is ever worth jeopardizing anyone’s safety.  Keep it fun!  Either stay onshore or know when to head for the beach and call it a day!

That’s our story!

Jonathan

________________

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

______________
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO
 
 
Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 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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Nothing like being front-and-center in the middle of a huge Cabo San Lucas Tournament and the Western Outdoor News Tuna Jackpot is one of the funnest tournaments to be part of.

AND THE FINAL WINNING WEIGHT IS…..!!!!!!

A GATHERING OF TRIBES

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 7, 2012 in Western Outdoor News

This has got to be one of my favorite times of the year.  By the time you’re reading this, we’ll be in the middle of the 2012 Western Outdoor News Tuna Jackpot Tournament in Cabo San Lucas.  This is maybe the 10th year that we’ve worked at the tournament.

The Western Outdoor News Tuna Jackpot Tournament has a special place for me.  With more than 120 teams possibly this year, if it’s not the largest of the big Cabo San Lucas fishing tournaments, then it’s the “funnest” of the tournaments.

It’s hard to dislike a tournament with the motto of “ Fish Hard. Party Harder.”

It’s the “everyman’s tournament”.  Everyone plays. You don’t have to mortage the house or be a millionaire.   Everyone passes “GO!”  Everyone participates.

You’re more likely to run into your neighbor down the street or  Joe the Mechanic and his wife  from Riverville, Oregon.   Probably  Rob and Chuck two carpenters from  Moscow, Idaho or the retired couple from Riverside CA and their sons.

Basically, if it floats it fishes.  Three men in a tub?  Yea, they’re probably team number 63 from New Mexico.  I’ve seen pangas do as well as mega-sportfishers.  Folks with little or no experience and not much more than department-store-fishing gear have as much fun as professional teams.

Heck, last year, the tournament was won by a great guy from the mid-west who had NEVER fished in the ocean.   In fact, he beat the field using a single-speed off-the-shelf-reel and a rental rod!  You gotta love that.

It’s not that hard to win money in the various categories and, even if they don’t get a big check, they still go home with all kinds of gear, swag and giveways not to mention big smiles!

The really neat thing is that we see the same folks year-after-year.  It’s much like a gathering of tribes!  And everyone knows each other.  There’s only about 10 of our Western Outdoor New staff members and then there’s the great group of regular sponsors that just jump right in and  party and hang with everyone.

There are very few strangers and no one stays an outsider for long!

Everyone knows the “Redneck Hillbilly” fishing team and the “Borracho Lizards” and “Shut-Up-And-Fish” team.

I can always tell the cowboy team from Wyoming when they start yelling.  The “San Diego Blasters” have their own set of cheers and there’s another team that will take any opportunity to start singing “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynrd Skynard at the top of their lungs.  Even tho’ they’re from Arizona.  Go figure.

In some ways, the actual fishing tournament seems to just be a vehicle by which we throw this huge 5-day party for 1000 people. It’s an excuse for a kick up their heels…or flip-flops! It’s like letting the  “Gypsies in the Palace!” Yea, lock the liquor cabinet and don’t expect the lawn to get mowed.

I sometimes think the tuna fishing is “something to do in the daytime” and that more people look forward to the huge fiestas we throw each night for the tournament with live music; great food;  gear giveaways; contests; and copious consumption of massive amounts of adult beverages…all under the fall skies of great Cabo San Lucas evenings.

But, yes, there’s still the matter of fishing!

Yea, we just happen to catch a “few” fish. Hehehehe…

This is the time of year when many of the “Big Mo’” cow tuna take up residence around Cabo San Lucas.  We’re talking the 100-300 pound beasts that prowl the sea where the land ends and can bust up tackle and anglers in quick succession.

At last year’s tournament, I could not remember a year when we weighed so many fish over 100 pounds.  And with each “oooh” and “ahhhh”  and click of camera shutters, the excitement builds as each fish is hoisted and charted and each team poses with the Corona Girls.  When you’re up at the scales, everyone is a winner.

And in the last few years, it often seems that the big fish isn’t locked up until the last hour of the last day.  That makes for some good sport fishing drama as some battle-weary team pulls up in the dark and the buzz starts that “They have a big fish!”

And there’s is  an electricity as the big fish is put into a cart and hauled to the weigh station.  And there’s a hush and the anticipation grows heavy.

And the silence as the fish it pulled up.  And…and…and…tension…the rope groans beneath the monster tuna.  And the  weight is announced.

Then a yell!  Cheers erupt!    Victorious fists pump the air!   High-fives! Back slapping! Cameras flash!

The tribes go wild.  It’s pandemonium on the docks.   It’s pretty special.  Wish you were here!

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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