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Posts Tagged ‘snorkeling’

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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“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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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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“IN THE PRESENCE OF GIANTS”

Deb_&_whale

A moment of clarity ?

IN THE PRESENCE OF GIANTS

Originally Published in Western Outdoor Publications the Week of March 5, 2014

“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.”

Albert Einstein

Oooo!  Wow!  Oh my!  Lookit!  It’s coming right to us!

Squeels.  More ooo’s and ahhhs!

But, then everyone jostled to the starboard side of the panga. Whoa!  For a moment there was an air of apprehension as everyone hung on.

But Mexican pangas are built for stability and although there was a bit of a list, attention quickly focused on what was making it’s way towards us.

For most of us, we grow knowing we’re at the top of the heap.  We are the  apex of intelligence, power and the food chain.  Master of all we see.  Conquerors of time, space and dimension.

That is, until we’re suddenly faced with the fact that there are creatures larger and stronger than us.

That is, until those creatures are not behind some cage in the zoo giving us a false sense of security.

That is, until one of those creatures is right next to us and literally smack in our laps!

Looking at us.  And we touch it. And in some cases, it tries to touch us.  And maybe communicate with us?

Something like a whale.  Even a 15-foot baby…and it’s uh…its 40 foot mom!

And both were rising and approaching like two big grey submarines towards our awestruck panga full wide-eyed-cellphone-camera-snapping eco-tourists.

You feel small.  And vulnerable.  And utterly amazed.

This isn’t a video.  This isn’t the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet or National Geographic.  Or Sea World.

We’re not in the safety of our Lazy-Boy lounger in the living room in front of the big-screen.

We’re in Mexico. The light hum of the panga outboard is real.   The water and the salt air is real. The sun and breeze on your cheeks isn’t virtual reality. The smell of damp things from the ocean is real.

We’re not outside the aquarium.  We’re on the other side of the glass today.    And we’re in the presence of giants!

And then, the magic happens.

The mom stops just a few feet from our panga.  And the calf comes right up.  And stops and raises his head.  And it’s eye opens and you can swear it’s looking right at you with seemingly the same wonder that that you have for it!

And you reach out and you touch the rough skin and other hands also touch and scratch the youngster.  And in those few moments, you feel like you’re doing more than just touching.  It seems to transcend just a touch.

Two seeming intelligent creatures from different worlds…one above and one below the waters… reach across the abyss of eons and it’s unlike anything you have ever experienced.

Is the little calf really smiling and enjoying the scratches.  Is it wondering about the funny creatures in the floating panga as much as we wonder about it?  Can it sense us?  In some cosmic way, are we communicating?  Will we ever?

Whether one believes in a divine being or creator, I’ve never known anyone to come away from the experience without feeling something very special and different has happened or feeling humbled by the magnificence.   For many, it certainly gives new perspective to our place on the planet.

Every year from approximately, January to March, the gray whales arrive at in Baja at the end of the longest migration of any animal on earth.  Starting at the Bering Sea up by the Arctic Circle, they arrive in Bahia Magdalena, Scammons Lagoon and San Ignacio, three warm water lagoons on the Pacific Coast of Baja.

Once, almost hunted to extinction, they now arrive by the thousands, to breed, mate and give birth.  It is estimated that some 20,000 whales now make the seasonal migration to these protected areas.  In the 1800’s it was once suggested that they exceeded more than 100,000 in population.

But, these areas provide an incredible opportunity to get close to observe these magnificent creatures.  For many, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the calm, protected sanctuaries make an ideal place to see dozens of whales a day on many occasions.

Baja is currently experiencing perhaps one of it’s best whale-watching seasons in years.  If you have a chance, take a trip.  Look into an inquisitive eye of a creature larger than yourself.  Be in the presence of gentle giants.  And perhaps come away understanding a little bit more about so much more.

That’s our story!

Jonathan

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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Tackle Packing & Juggling

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s a right way and a wrong way to pack for a fishing trip to Baja. And then, there’s EASIER ways to do it right!

 

“TACKLE PACKING & JUGGLING”

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 18, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

It’s an irritation, but something we’ve gotta learn to live with these days.  Like taking your shoes off at the airport.   Like having your expensive shampoo taken away at check-in.

I’m sure greater and bigger minds than ours have figured out why they are important aspects of airline travel these days.   We empty  and open our bags and pass our stinky shoes through the conveyer belt and do our little spin in the x-ray scanner.  Like the hokey-pokey.  That’s what it’s all about.

One thing for sure is that the days of free luggage are something we use with words like “back in the day” and “in the olden days.”   The more you bring, the more you’ll get charged.

It kinda makes you cry as you stand in your garage and you look at all your custom rods, reels, feathers, jigs and other toys.   You want to bring them ALL!

Almost 30 years ago, I remember my first trip flying to Baja.  I took 10 rods and reels  (two tubes); a tackle box that weighed about 50 pounds and almost 30 marlin lures (that my buddy had borrowed from WON editor Pat McDonell who didn’t know who I was at the time!).   Oh, and two 85-quart ice chests as well.  And this was for fishing in a panga for only 2 days!

Nowadays, you get one piece of luggage.  If you’re lucky.

Economy airlines charge for each piece of luggage.

Rod tubes are oversize.  Pay extra.  Cha-ching!

Reel bags too heavy.  Pay extra.  Cha-ching!

Ice chest…even with nothing in it.  Pay extra.  Cha-ching!

But, a man must do what a man must do and the fish are calling!  So, we just have to think from a different angle.  Consolidate and downsize.

Before purchasing your airline tickets, find out if the airlines has a special luggage allowance you can purchase.  Some airlines (Volaris comes to mind) allows you to pay a little extra up-front when you purchase your tickets online.

This allows you to bring more luggage and more weight for a fraction of the cost.  If you just walk up to the counter with all the extra weight, they charge BY THE POUND!

For example, we had some clients who purchased $200 round trip tickets to fish with us in La Paz.  We told them to purchase the extra luggage allowance.  They declined to do so.

When they flew back to the U.S. they had several very full ice chests.  It cost them almost $600 to fly the fish back.   OUCH!

For practical purposes, take a look at your own gear, if you’re planning to travel.

“Back in the day” multi-piece travel rods were junk.  Nowadays several very good manufacturers and a number of custom rod wrappers are making some super 2 and 3-piece travel rods in varying lengths and strengths.

Many of them come with handy cases and can literally be carried in the overheads or packed into suitcases.  They even make break-down trolling rods.

For reels, here’s my suggestion.  Pair it down to some essential reels.  Match your reels to what you’ll be fishing for.  You don’t need a bowling ball-heavy 5/0 wide reel if you’re going to be fishing inshore in 100 feet of water.  With the new aluminum reels and their horse-strong drags, you can use smaller/lighter reels to get the job done.  Even for trolling.

I would also suggest putting spectra on the reels then put 150 yards of mono top-shot on them.  That way if, for example, the 40-pound test mono isn’t working, all you have to do is change the top-shot to whatever line is the hot ticket for the bite.   You won’t need a separate reel for that.

For terminal gear, be practical.  If you’re only fishing 3 days, you don’t really need 500 hooks of all sizes.  You don’t need 20 throwing irons.  You don’t need 10 feathers of all colors.   If you can, contact your outfitter ahead of time and find out what’s really working.  Bring the essentials.

While you’re at it, pow-wow with your fishing partner.  Consider packing all your rods together.  In one tube.  Each of you doesn’t need to bring a whole set of lures, hooks and other essentials either.  You can both share and thereby cut down on weight and gear.

As for bringing the fish home,  if you’re like me, it always irritated me to pay to bring an empty ice chest down to Mexico.  Paying for air?  C’mon!

What I’ve been suggesting lately is using the newer soft-sided coolers that are airline rated heavy duty;  keeps things frozen for days; and can be folded and packed into your suitcase on the way down.

We’ve had one made by American Outdoors that has worked like a champ for about 5 seasons.   Another nice thing is that these weigh less than a traditional cooler.  Since most airlines limit you to 50 pounds on luggage,  you can get more actual frozen fish in a soft-cooler than a hard-sided cooler that weighs 8-20 pounds with wheels on them.

One last thing.  In the old days,  my buddies and I brought down one or two sets of shorts and t-shirts with us.  That was it.  Our motto was, “if you can’t wash it in the sink, don’t bring it.”  That was a great way to save room for more tackle.

Of course, that was in the days when my buddies and I were all bachelors.

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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“No Off-Road Means No Off-Road!

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There’s no Auto Club to call out here, amigo! Oh…and you say your cell phone doesn’t get a signal either?

“NO OFF ROAD MEANS NO OFF ROAD!”

Originally published the Week of February 5, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

It was time to put these two guys outta their misery.  For about 30 minutes a group of my captains and I had watched two poor boobs trying to get their rental car out’ve the mud flats.

Standing on a little rise looking down about 100 yards to the flats,  it was hard to suppress the laughs and high entertainment at the expense of the clown show in the sludge.

Earlier in the day, we had seen the small sedan up to it’s axles in the goo.   Stuck.  There looked to be some foot tracks leading away, but no one was around.  We had pangas to put out and clients to attend to so we shrugged.  None of our business.

But this afternoon, now that the fishing was done, the car was still there.  And the occupants were back.   And  a group of  my captains watching the comedic scene. Cervezas in hand.  Arms crossed.  Leaning against their pickup trucks.  Grinning.

One guy was in the car revving for all it was worth.  Mud shot skyward.  The other guy was doing all he could to pry the car loose…from behind! It was like a blender exploding.   Covered head to toe in layers of sludge.

Little bits of white poked out around his lower torso indicating that he was out there in his tidy-whitey-underwear getting shot-gun blasted by gobs of mud looking like he got dipped in chocolate goo!  These guys had no clue.  And we had no idea why he had taken his clothes off!

But it was getting late. We had to get home. Wives and kids were waiting.   Good hearts prevailed and finally one of the captains said he couldn’t take it anymore.  He and several other guys got their trucks and some rope and pulled the grateful guys outta the muck.

It’s not the first time.  I’m sure it won’t be the last we give first aid to a rental car.

Car rentals in a foreign country can be quite an adventure.  Most of it is great!  Don’t get me wrong.  We do it all the time in our own travels.

But, Mexico has it’s own caveats it’s good to keep in mind.

For one, the fine print that says, “Don’t take the car off-road” means “Hey, idiot, keep the car on the pavement!”

Mexico isn’t exactly known for having great streets to start. Sometimes it’s just as treacherous navigating the potholes as the Baja 1000,   so don’t even think about trying to cross that patch of sand or salt marsh or stretch of solid-looking mud!

Especially in Baja, it doesn’t take much to suddenly find yourself in the middle of nowhere.  I mean, that’s part of the beauty of Baja.  Having broken down myself over the years, remember, there’s no Auto Club to call.  Heck, your cell phone might not even work ‘en la frontera’ (in the frontier)!

So, don’t get caught like these guys trying to dig your car out in your underwear.  Personally, in the days before cell phones, I once hiked over 30 miles to get help when my own car busted an axle.   I could swear the buzzards were just waiting for me to give it up as their next road kill.

Here’s some tips when renting a car.

For one, rent from someplace that has a recognizable name.  You get what you pay for.  “Jose’s Beach Tours and Car Rental” is probably not what you’re looking for.

Secondly, ask if they have another office in the places you’re going to visit.  For example, if you’re renting in Cabo San Lucas but you plan to drive to La Paz (100 miles away) or Loreto (another 5 hours) and you break down or lock your keys inside (you only get 1 key), there’s no one to help.  You’ll have to wait for someone to come with assistance and that can take hours…or days.  And you don’t get refunded for the days you can’t drive.

Very importantly, know what you’re getting charged for.  So often, I hear clients get “great rates” but then when they return the car, they get surcharged to death for several hundred dollars more.  Know how much the tax will be.  Know about the insurance rates.   Get it all in writing.  Nothing leaves a bad taste after a great vacation like getting stuck with a big bill.

On that subject, if you’re in doubt about insurance, get it.  Don’t drive without insurance!  It’s not that expensive and heaven forbid you’re the one in a zillion drivers who gets in an accident.

Keep in mind, in Mexico, you are guilty until you prove your innocence!  Repeat that 10 times! It’s not like the U.S. where your innocence is presumed.   In Mexico, you are presumed GUILTY!

If you’re in a bender, most times the other guy will have NO insurance.  Locals can’t afford it.   He will say it’s YOUR fault.   You will say it’s HIS fault.  Of course.

Police have little recourse but to sort it out since technically you’re both GUILTY and you can both be detained at the police station until it’s ironed out.  (See the part about making sure the rental agency has an office at the destination you’re visiting…you really don’t want to be waiting at the police station until someone shows up!).

The police aren’t bad guys.  They’re not out to stick it to the gringo.  They would do the same if it were two locals.  It’s just the way the law is written.  Deal with it or do your best to avoid it.

Finally, no matter what you think you may have rented, stay on the pavement!

Even if you rent a Jeep…believe me…it’s probably NOT 4-wheel-drive.  I’ve yet to actually see a 4-wheel drive rental Jeep, but I see yahoos off-roading through the sand dunes and rocks all the time.

If you do take it off-road, look for me and my boys.  We’ll be up on the hill laughing.  Wear good underwear.

That’s our story!

Jonathan signature

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

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

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

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

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

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“Ouch That’s Gotta Hurt!”

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If only it was as easy as finding a KINKO’s to print them out!

OUCH THAT’S GOTTA HURT! (..again)

Originally Published the Week of July 23, 2013 in Western Outdoor News

So, often we hear the phrase “shot itself in the foot.”  So-and-so screwed up again and “shot itself in the foot.”  Sadly, when it comes to Mexico, you have to scratch your head.  Give it a shake and wonder, if it has as many feet as a centipede.   How many times can it cap a round into it’s own tootsies and keep walking?

Maybe you’ve already heard the latest.

You can’t get a Mexican fishing license in Mexico.  Chew on that for a minute.  Mexico has no fishing licenses.

You must still have a Mexican fishing license.  They inspectors are still out there.  But, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone that will be able to sell you one down here.

Here in La Paz, at our Tailhunter operations, we normally have licenses to sell.  We sell a heap of licenses every year to our clients; our competitors clients as well as walk-in anglers.  We don’t make anything on them.  It’s a nice convenience for everyone and we’re happy to do it.

Previously, getting a fishing license was a 2-3 day ordeal and test of stamina and resilience, even here in big La Paz.  You filled out several forms.  You had to go to the CONAPESCA office.  Then off to the bank to pay the fee.  Then bring your bank receipt back to CONAPESCA.  Big difference from buying things over-the-counter at Walmart!

So, being one of the few places allowed to sell the fishing permits in 10 minutes is a wonderful convenience for everyone involved.

Several weeks ago, we were informed by CONAPESCA (Mexican Fish and Game) that they didn’t have any more licenses this year.  Not just us.  Everyone!

Loreto.  East Cape.  Cabo.  And not just us in S. Baja.  It was the WHOLE of Mexico.

We spoke with Tracy Ehrenberg from the Pisces Fleet in Cabo San Lucas and she phoned the main offices of CONAPESCA in Mazatalan.  Here’s their “We-shot-ourselves-in-the-foot” story.

Try to follow this.  According to Tracy, the new head of CONAPESCA simply “didn’t budget” for the printing of enough of the paper licenses to sell for the WHOLE COUNTRY.  Think about that one.  What no KINKO’s?

So, while some smaller outfits or out-of-the-way places might still have a stash of permits, they government is counting on YOU to purchase your fishing licenses online before you come down to Mexico!

There’s a few problems with that.   First, not everyone has computers.  Second, not everyone has printers.  Third, not everyone is computer savvy enough to navigate the Mexican website that sells the permits.  And…

Fourth, the website is about as primeval like it was built by a first-year intern as a school project.  It’s difficult to figure.  It makes mistakes.  It crashes all the time.  It sometimes takes your credit card, but gives you nothing to print out.   It’s very frustrating.

Several weeks ago when I notified our own clients about the situation, and posted the problem on our fishing reports, I must have gotten 20 phone calls and e-mails a day from livid, confused and frustrated anglers.

In fairness, eventually, with enough persistence, everyone got their licenses.  It eventually works and it seems that someone there at CONAPESCA has put the website on a larger server.  It doesn’t crash as often.

But, Mexico tourism didn’t need another SNAFU like this.  It’s supposed to be making it easier and more stress-free to visit, not throw another hurdle in the way of a vacation! How many times can it fire a round into it’s foot again?

Can you imagine the outcry if all the Fish and Wildlife operations in the U.S. “forgot” to print up enough fishing licenses or hunting tags…and yet still enforced them with inspectors out there in the field and on the water?

If you’re coming down, just make a note about the licenses and bear through it.  Here’s how to do it:

Here is the website:  https://www2.ebajacalifornia.gob.mx/Pesca/

 

•    Click the American flag and it will be in English

•    You want to purchase the fishing license for the “FEDERAL ZONE.”

•    Do not be alarmed at the price…it’s in pesos!!!  So just divide by 11 or 12 and that’s the rate in dollars and it will show up on your credit card statement in dollars.

•    If it’s slow or doesn’t work at first, try again later.  With this announcement, everyone in southern Baja has to purchase their licenses this way! 

There is also some other alternatives:

You can also get them from CONAPESCA San Diego, but must send a cashier’s check.  They also process the paperwork the same day and will mail you your permits.   Here’s the link:  http://www.conapescasandiego.org/.  Their phone number is: 619-233-4324

There’s a third option as well.

In Southern California, a number of well-known fishing tackle stores sell them and, if you can’t go to visit, they will take your information over the phone or via e-mail.  They will process the form for you and mail you out your fishing fishing licenses.  It’s fast, it’s easy.  But they have limited amounts as well, and after they sell their stash, they’ll be having trouble getting licenses as well.

Also many of the sportfishing landings in Southern California, especially in San Diego all have fishing licenses to sell.  That’s another alternative.

Most of the time, the website works fine these days.  Just persevere if it doesn’t work the first time.  There’s also the other aforementioned ways to get your license.

Don’t cancel your trip.  Just take a breath and know that it’s as frustrating for us down here as well and we don’t want you being surprised when you get down here and there’s no fishing licenses.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

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

http://www.tailhunter-international.com

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, P.O. Box 1149, Alpine  CA  91903-1149

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttp://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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