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“STAY OR GO? “

Looking ominous!

Looking ominous!

STAY OR GO? 

Originally Published the Week of June 9, 2015 in Western Outdoor News

You’ve been looking forward to this Baja fishing vacation for ages. You’re all set. Baja is calling you. You can taste that frosty margarita and you’ve packed and re-packed your fishing gear a zillion times.

Checklist. Passport? Got it. Toothbrush? Check. Hat and camera? Roger. Extra socks. Are you kidding? Extra underwear? Hmmmm…nah…you’ll just rinse your shorts in the sink.   Unnecessary clothes add weight that could be used for packing fish on the way home!

Even moreso, you’ve promised your boss, co-workers and your mother-in-law you’d bring them all some fish. However, the minute you walk out that door, you’re turning off your cell phone and e-mails.

You’re already humming Jimmy Buffet tunes.

And then, you hear the news. What? Oh no. A storm? A hurricane? Rain on MY vacation? No! No! No! Please oh please no!

It starts with a little blurb on CNN or the little rolling banner at the bottom of the TV screen. But, it’s a slow news day and now your evening news picks it up too. A dozen words of dread. You would swear they did it just to jab you.

“In other news, for you vacationers, there could be a big storm brewing a thousand miles south of Cabo San Lucas. And now back to Joe on the scene with his story about talking monkeys…”

And pretty soon, everyone on your Facebook page is telling you about it because, of course, they all know you’re headed to Baja! They start sending you graphic images of the weather map showing the tell-tale whirling cloud clusters. As if you didn’t know.

Your e-mail box is getting pinged as well. Well-meaning or envious friends are writing.

“Hey, duuuude, I think you’re screwed. Did you know that there’s this big storm…” Man, that’s not cool.”

Whoa…underwear is really bunching up. This can’t be happening. You’re trying to get some answers and the folks who booked you may or may not be responding.   Your buddies are getting into panic mode as well. Rumors are flying.

“Man, I heard from a friend of a friend who was reading online that…”

“The word around town is that…”

This is snowballing. Badly. How do you calm your beating heart and reduce the pucker factor?

Well, keep trying to get in touch with your charter or hotel or booking agent, or whoever booked you. This is where it helps to have someone who actually lives where you are going.   An agent who lives in Seattle might not be much help.

Remember that they have a vested interest in you coming down. No one likes handing back refunds. So, take their opinion with a grain of salt and accept it for what it is. The good ones will give you an honest assessment of the pros and cons so YOU can make an informed decision.

Get online and look up the weather forecast yourself! It seems like the most logical thing, but many folks don’t take that first step. There are websites a-plenty including the National Weather Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and many others.

Even for those of us who live here, believe me. We don’t have mystic powers.  We look at those services as well. That’s how we get our weather information. So go straight to the source.   If you ask us, we’re often going to give you the same information you can see for yourself.

That doesn’t mean you should discount what your outfitter, captain or charter guy says.   Sometimes, there’s a lot of value to having someone simply stick their head out the window and tell you if they see storm clouds or bright sunshine!

Your nightly news might have grabbed the story, but a storm 1000 miles away can do many things before it hits landfall.   It could easily peter out. It could veer off. It could turn into a drizzle.

Don’t get worked up for no reason or without all the facts. Or for something that isn’t even a certainty.

Call your airlines. If they are flying in, chances are, it’s OK. But it’s just one more bit of fact to weigh-in.

Here in La Paz, we had something like 18 storm warnings last year in an El Nino season. Only a handful ever dropped rain on us although one of them was a doozy and became the historic hurricane named “Odile.”

As I write this, there’s a storm warning. “Blanca”is heading our way. Everyone is jumpy. The weather forecast changes by the hour. Angst runs high. The memory of what Odile did to us is still fresh.

It’s the 2nd such storm in about that many weeks. The last one, “Andrea” got everyone worked up too.

When it “hit” us…there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Not a drop of rain.  In 4 days, it went “poof!” Adios.   Andrea did rain on someone’s parade way out in the Pacific, but not on Baja.  We fished as usual.

With lower Baja so close to the equator, storms can just be part of life. It’s tropical. Storms blow through. With this current El Nino weather pattern, more storms than normal will be around.

Storms come up sometimes with zero notice and unleash for 15 minutes then disappear. It can be raining in one area, but 100 yards away no rain falls at all.

The weather forcast can show “rain”, but it rains in the mountains 20 miles away which are technically part of the city. In the city folks ar eating ice-cream cones with not a cloud in the sky.

That’s when simply asking someone to look out the window can be worth it’s weight in pesos.

Get all the facts. Make a good decision before you cancel your plans and have to tell your boss you’re not bringing him any fish.

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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On any given day in the Sea of Cortez, anything can happen!

On any given day in the Sea of Cortez, anything can happen!

PREPARE FOR THE WORST?

Originally Published the Week of May 14, 2015 in Western Outdoor News

I’m often asked about what kind of gear to bring or for suggestions about gear for coming to fish here in Baja.   Depending on the time of year, location, or species sought, that response can get pretty lengthy.

Given what airlines charge for travelling with your gear and just all the hassle of hauling it around, there’s a thin line between bringing too much stuff and not enough. Of course, we want to bring ALL our toys to play with, right?

There’s that old saying about “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” When that’s applied to Baja fishing that doesn’t have to be so cryptically sinister or mean anything bad.

To me, that means if you’re going to put a bait or lure in Baja waters, you never know what’s going to happen. Be prepared for the “worst” …to get your backside kicked and handed to you at any time or any place!

I’m reminded of a time when I was out on the panga perhaps almost 20-years-ago. I was personally guiding an amigo who wanted to go out and fish light tackle.

Being from Washington, the guy brought a lengthy salmon rod…small…thin…whippy and about 8’ long. It was rigged with 20-pound test.

With my captain on the tiller, we motored out’ve the small bay. We had just passed over the drop-off where the turquoise waters gradually turned to the deep cobalt of the Sea of Cortez. We were still within a few hundred yards of the shore.

Anything can happen.

A few tossed handfuls of sardines and we got swarmed by a school of small dorado. My guy pinned on a bait. Fish on! Instant bendo.

On the light rod, it was a kick. I kept the fish around with chum. He caught and released 1…2…3 fish and had the biggest grin. This was exactly what he came for. “This is better than salmon fishing for sure!” he grunted between lifting and cranking.

Fish number four took a deep dive under the panga and my guy leaned hard into the thin rod as it strained in a near-parabolic arc.   The drag sang.

And then it stopped. And the strain on the rod diminished although the line remained taught. Strangely the line was coming up. At a weird angle.

Suddenly, my captains started yelling, “Marlina grande! Marlina grande.”

There off the starboard side a big marlin came up through the blue. Like a big greyish-blue submarine surfacing through the depths, the marlin was laconically swimming aside us.

And it had a small dorado in crosswise in it’s mouth! And my guy’s hook was in the in the mouth of the dorado! And the drag started to squeal again…Oh-oh…

“What do I do?” he yelled.

I instructed him to keep a high stick and told the captain to start the motor! It’s not like this kind of thing happens to me all the time.

And there we were, now attached to a dorado… that was attached to a marlin seemingly happily making it’s way. It was like a big aquatic dog that has a big bone in it’s mouth. Not a care in the world.

My guy couldn’t set the hook. The hook was in the dorado. All he would do was hang on!   And that’s what we did as the big marlin leisurely bulled through the small waves oblivious to us.

No one was gonna believe this.   What could we do? Watch and grin. It wasn’t exactly under our control at this point.

After about 50 yards, the big fish started submerging on a gentle decline. In no particular hurry it was headed deeper.

The rod and reel took on the full weight of the fish.

“I can still feel the dorado shaking his head!” said my fisherman incredulously.

Wow. I figured this wasn’t going to last long. Something was going to give. I mean, 20-pound-test-line and a salmon rod is like hunting elephants with a b.b. gun.

Down went the big fish. Out spun the line. The rod strained, arched and doubled and looked like it was going to break as we stopped the panga. The entire front end of the rod was now in the water.   I had no doubts who would win this tug-of-war!

Then…SPROING! The rod suddenly went slack. Oh no! The inevitable happened. Story-book fish gone!

All three of us momentarily exhaled in a communal shrug. Limp rod. Limp line. Happy but limp spirits to go with it.

And then the rod suddenly arched again and the line zinged tight…And we were on again!

And, in the time it took to type this sentence…a wahoo goes ballistic out’ve the water snagged on the hook and line!

WHOA!!! And before the words could barely leave our mouths. SNAP! The line cut.

And the waters went silent. And the rod went straight…again. And we looked at each other…again. And broke out laughing.

No one would ever believe this.   A sardine bait became a dorado…became a marlin…became a wahoo. Became an incredible story.

You just never know what’s gonna happen when you fish Baja waters. Prepare for the “worst!” But really. Nothing could have prepared us for what happened that day.

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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“REDUCING YOUR “DQ” (DOOFUS QUOTIENT)”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

REDUCING YOUR “DQ” (DOOFUS QUOTIENT)

Originally published the Week of Oct. 29, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

This is that time of year when fishing tournaments run rampant in Baja and other parts of Mexico. Why not? In many respects, this part of the season is the best time for the “glamour” fish like marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo and dorado.   It’s a great time to be on the water.

 

In fact, by the time you’re reading this, we’ll just be about a week out from the start of the 16th Annual Western Outdoor News/ Yamaha Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament. Having been an editor and staff member for WON since 2006, we really look forward to the event all year and seeing so many familiar faces and having a great time.

 

Western Outdoor News Editor and master of ceremonies, Pat McDonell hosts an incredible show for everyone. More than 100 teams from all over the country pile into town for the fishing party.

 

How can you go wrong with a tournament that has a motto, “Fish Hard Party Harder!” Check out all the details here. It’s Nov. 5th-8th: http://www.loscabostunajackpot.com/2014_coverage/preview.php

 

Having worked this tournament as well as many others over the years and participated as a crew-member or angler in other events, I’ve got some observations about how to enhance your tournament experience and reduce your “doofus” factor a few notches.

 

  • It’s all about attitude. Yes, this is a competition. Everyone wants to get that big check, but it’s supposed to be fun. Remember, you left the office, traffic jams and meetings back home. The sun is out. The margaritas are cold. You’re among friends. Enjoy the time.
  • One overly-competitive high-strung-wound-up-underwear-twisted-person on the team can ruin it for everyone on the boat and on shore. Don’t be that person. Remember, you’re not alone and you’re not the only fisherman. And there’s a lot of GOOD fishermen out there.
  • Respect where respect is due. Your captain and crew have probably forgotten more than you will ever know about fishing these waters. They fish more in one year than you will your entire fishing career. Remember, they are part of your team. Work together. Listen to their advice. They want to win as badly as you do!
  • Work out bonus and tip money ahead of time. Will they get a percentage of winnings? Extra money is a nice motivation.
  • If the rod goes off, work out a fair rotation with your amigos about who gets to grab the rod. Rock…paper…scissor…
  • Be careful of what you say on the open radio! The whole world is listening…and probably in several different languages!
  • If you lose or break gear, offer to replace it or pay for it. It’s only fair.
  • No matter how much you plan, the unexpected happens. It might be bait, luggage, food, some other jerk…Hey, roll with it. “Spit” happens, right? Some things are just not controllable. How you deal with it is the difference between an “adventure/ inconvenience” or a “crisis. “
  • Share! I’ve seen fishing team members roll out to the boat carrying everything from bottles of expensive wine to gourmet meats and cheeses and everything in between. And then they don’t offer a thing to the captain or crew who may or may not have anything more than a rolled up tortilla and a thermos jug of water.
  • If your “team” has hats and shirts whether it’s “ Team Joe’s Auto Parts” or “The Reel Screamers” or “Fred’s Flatulent Fishing Fanatics”, get gear for everyone! Everyone loves swag and your captain and crew will wear them proudly.
  • While you’re at it, don’t forget your “land crew” either. I highly recommend family, spouses and significant others at these events. Heck, consider them for fishing, but even if not, remember them too! They’re your support team!
  • These events are a social event, in many cases. Even moreso than a sporting event. Fishing is just the vehicle that gets everyone down to party! Chances are this event has evening soirees and banquets. Everyone plays. No one sits on the beach. So make sure you bring in your support team as well as your captain and crew. Great fun. Great bonding!
  • Don’t make YOUR negligence, someone else’s emergency. The tournament director and staff have their hands full. He does not know where you left your iPhone. The staff does not know the name of the bar you were at last night where you left your official tournament t-shirt. Likewise, it’s not THEIR fault you accepted a “double-dog-dare” and removed your shorts in the hotel Jacuzzi and got asked to leave.
  • Basically, don’t be a knucklehead or the guy everyone points at. Be on time. Read your materials. KNOW THE RULES. Play fair. Be a good sport.

 

Hope to see you in Cabo at the Tournament! You’ll see me working the scales with Pat and Big Mike. Come say hi and introduce yourself.   Giant tuna are showing up so I hope to hoist one up for you in front of the Corona girls!

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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LESS IS MORE…or MORE THAN ENOUGH?

So so so many toys!  But we can only fish with one-at-a-time!

So so so many toys! But we can only fish with one-at-a-time!

LESS IS MORE…OR MORE THAN ENOUGH?

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 20th, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

It was almost comical and I didn’t want to say anything. After all, they were our fishing clients.   But it took 4 of us to load all their fishing gear on the panga. It reminded me of an Everest expedition where the intrepid explorers are followed by a line of sherpas.

 

Artic ice chest…spinning rods…fly rods…bass rods…conventional rods…three jumbo tackle boxes…video camera case…Gopro camera water proof case…underwater extension rods…special seat cushions that had beer holders in them…even “catch flags” they planned to fly from rods for when they returned to shore.

 

Ahhh…God bless ‘em.

 

They were so excited. First time Baja fishermen. They were like little kids. It was like Christmas. They had a list of all the species they planned to catch. They had a GPS pre-programmed with all the “hot spots” they had read about. They had waterproof maps and fish i.d. charts.

 

So much enthusiasm. Between my captains, deckhands, drivers and other fishermen, it was hard to suppress the chuckles.   I really wanted to say something. But what could I say?   They had all the toys and they planned to use them.

 

They took to heart the saying, “Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. “

 

Here’s the rub…I was supposed to go out on the panga that day with them. I rolled my eyes.

 

My captain had to leap over all the gear to get to the tiller on the motor. There was barely any room to sit. I squeezed on top of an ice chest as we headed out. This was gonna be interesting, but I was grinning. Whatever. Let’s go fishing, guys!

 

With all the rods jutting out, we looked like a CIA boat bedecked with prickly porcupine radar antennas as we zoomed to the fishing grounds.   I counted…1, 2, 3…8…11…15…19…20…26 rods! Custom wrapped. The latest hi-tech reels. Spooled full of shiny new line.

 

When we got to the spot, it got a little awkward.

 

Do remember watching your kids at Christmas barrel into the goodies under the tree? Ripping and shredding and laughing…oh the carnage! Oh the humanity!

 

Well, the gear boxes opened and out came hooks and lures and feathers of all shapes and sizes. Leaders and gadgets and wires and do-dads and thing-a-ma-jigs and watcha-ma-callits and chingaderas came pouring out. ! Many still in their wrappers.

 

All organized. Color-coded. Size-coded. Species evaluated. Things for tuna. Things for dorado. Things for dorado AND tuna. Things for wahoo. Need a purple pink speckled marlin lure? Got it! Surface lures…bottom lures…mid-water lures. Everything had a pouch or pocket. Everything in it’s place!

 

I’ve done plenty of long range trips for 12 and 14 days where I didn’t have this much stuff. We were only going a mile offshore for a few hours. Fishing 2 days total!

 

And stuff for their belts…pliers, dikes, hook disgorgers, hook pouches, sunscreen holders.

 

My gosh, they must have accumulated enough points on their Cabela a dn Bass Pro visa cards to fly around the world!

 

And just like kids oooh-ing and ahhh-ing…each guy was as eager to show off his “toys” to me and the captain.   Simultaneously, he was in showing them to his fishing buddy and also seeing what his buddy had brought along.   Like opening two picnic baskets at the church luncheon!

 

I just stood back. Tried to look really really realy gosh darn excited! I mean, I hate to discourage or curb anyone’s enthusiasm. So, I smiled and gritted my teeth.

 

“Wow…that’s uh… really great you found one of those lures.”

“You got 4 of them in each color?”

“You bought 100 hooks of each size too? No way!”

 

But, we were burning daylight. I could tell on the radio that some of our pangas were already into fish.

 

There was stuff scattered all over the decks!

 

I finally said, “Guys, time’s-a-wasting. Let’s get fishing.”

 

They looked at me. They looked at the captain like eager kids. The captain shrugged his shoulders and dropped a bomb.

 

“Tie on a hook. We will fish with bait.”

 

Silence. They looked at me. I looked at them.

 

I said, “Yup…bait’s working. No leader. Let’s just tie on hooks. Maybe later we’ll get to use some of that great gear you brought.”

 

They looked at each other and I could sense the puzzlement and disappointment from their quizzical looks.

 

“C’mon, guys, “ I tried to say gently with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. “The fish are biting so let’s get in on it. Get out some hooks and stow the rest of the gear for now so we don’t miss the bite.”

 

While they stashed all their stuff, the captain and I tied on hooks for them to save time. I didn’t want to look them in the eyes. I felt like I had taken away their toys. Or had told them there is no Easter Bunny.

 

But, the fish bit. The sun came out. The water was blue. And the fish bit again. And the icy beer and lunches always taste double-good outdoors on the water.

 

There was a point later in the day when their fish box was filling and the fish were swarming and I asked if they’d like to try out some of their fancy gear. But, they laughed and were too busy hooked up to want to change.

 

The whole day, they ended up using one rod each. And maybe half-a-dozen hooks. And were happy. Beyond happy.

 

As one of the guys laughingly said to me headed back, “Somehow, I still have to explain to my wife why I needed to buy all this gear.”

 

His buddy said, “I once asked my wife why she needed so many shoes.”

 

“What did she say?”

 

“Because I say so, Dear. Because I say so…”

 

“I don’t think that will work on my wife.”

 

We all laughed.

 

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.”

Read Full Post »

RAMPED DOWN EL NINO?

tromba-marina-la-paz-4

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

tromba-marina-la-paz- el sargento

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

RAMPED DOWN EL NINO?

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

And the fish?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

That’s good news and bad news.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

That’s my story!

 

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

___________

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

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

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

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

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

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

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MEMO TO SELF – NO BAD DAYS

sunrise

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

MEMO to SELF…NO BAD DAYS!

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Yes, I know their stories.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

That’s my story…

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

 

 

_______________

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

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

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

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

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

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

 

 

 

 

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“More than Potato Salad and Fried Chicken”

U.S. Flag Tailhunter

“MORE THAN POTATO SALAD AND FRIED CHICKEN”

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So many things parked in my memory banks.

 

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

 

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

 

Like water.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

And more…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Can someone pass me another piece of fried chicken…

That’s my story

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

 

_______________

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

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

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

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

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

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

 

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