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One Shot

Originally Published the Week of July 18, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

So…in the 12 years writing this column, there’s two topics I generally avoid.  Religion and politics.  Even in my own personal conversations.  Off-limits.

 

Want to see my eyes glaze over?  Want to see me mentally check out?  La la la la la…I can’t hear you.

 

I do love “discussion.”  That’s fun.  And enlightening.

 

But, even moreso these days, either topic is so volatile.  And it’s not a discussion.

 

It’s an argument.  Arguments by definition are a battle.  There’s an insistence on winning or, at least, winning over the other person.  And when does that ever happen?

 

Nah.

 

I spent too many years as a litigation attorney in a past life in a courtroom and had a lifetime of argument.  And my current life path doesn’t need that kind of agitation anymore!

 

It’s just easier to walk away.  Easier to just say “We’ll agree to disagree” than gird up for battle.  Life’s too freakin’ short.

 

And believe me, I know how to win a verbal argument. I was a professional.  And I don’t like to lose…especially if I think I’m right. And, of course I’m right!  Hahahaha…

 

But, I don’t need more scar tissue.  And I don’t need to lose more friends.

 

So, my column this week isn’t a political statement. It’s merely an observation.

 

Mexico just had its presidential election.  Six years in office.  President Enrique Nieto out.  New Presidente Andres Obrador is on deck.

 

You only get one six-year term.

 

And, maybe it was just me, but President Nieto seemed awfully quiet his last 3 years in office.  He just fell out’ve the headlines.  Didn’t want to make waves.  No reason to make more promises.

 

Why?  You don’t have to campaign again.  What d’ya care?  Live large. Wave and smile. Cruise control. Auto pilot.   Just ride it out. Disappear into the sunset. You had your one shot.

 

And now it’s President Obrador’s turn.  And I genuinely wish him Godspeed and good luck.  One shot to make a difference.

 

One shot.

 

That got me thinking about all the folks we know here at ground-zero.  Our friends.  Working class blue collar.  Ecking out livings.  Family people.

 

I don’t know a lot of Mexico politicians or bureaucrats.

 

I try to keep my distance from both,  although former Baja governor Marcos Covarubias used to come into our Tailhunter Restaurant here in La Paz.  His wife liked to watch boxing and he liked our Hawaiian ribs and cold beer.  We didn’t talk politics either.

 

But the folks we mostly hang with are regular folks like you and me.  We’ve grown to love and respect so many of them and call them our friends.  Hopefully, it’s mutual.

 

But, there’s one big difference.  It was explained to me by one of our long-time employees recently.

 

He’s almost 60-years-old. He’s been a cook or dishwasher for almost his whole life.  And he wanted to thank me for his job which he thought was the most wonderful job he ever had.

 

And he said he hoped he could work for us forever!

 

I think we try to make a good work environment for all our employees.  But work for me “forever?”  Like… as in… “the rest of your life?”

 

You see, here in Mexico, you have…one shot.

 

You start out as a cook…a dishwasher…a taxi driver…a laborer…and chances are, that’s what you’ll be doing the next 40 years.

 

That’s it.

 

You start your kid down that road and he or she will probably be doing the same thing for their whole lives as well.  And their kids.  No other hope.

 

In many cases, we see folks so used to that path, that they have no other ambition either.

 

They  HOPE to get that job as a janitor.  They  HOPE their kid gets that job cooking taco meat.  They  HOPE to always be a security guard.  That’s their dream.

 

That’s the extent of life…and career…and ambition.

 

That’s it. One shot.

 

The education level doesn’t help.

 

Mandatory free public education…for what it’s worth…is only good until 6th grade.  After that, the family has to pay.  If they can afford it, they usually pay for the boys.

 

The girls are expected to…???  Fill in your own blank.

 

Even kids that make it to college level.  We know a zillion kids who get degrees here in La Paz in “tourism.”

 

What that generally means is that they have some English skills and are now qualified to work behind the reception counter in a hotel. Or handing out towels behind the pool.  The rest of their lives.

 

In many of the hotels and restaurants, the real work force is governed by powerful unions.  Yes, there’s some benefits to having the union.  Or not.

 

To get that job as the maintenance guy or cashier at the hotel you MUST be part of the union.

 

If you want to better yourself and become, for example, a cook, you lose whatever accrued benefits you had as a dishwasher.  So…Welcome to 40 years of cleaning plates with mandatory retirement at age 60.  No motivation to change.

 

Choose your station in life wisely, amigo.  The glass ceiling is made out’ve concrete.

 

You might go to another restaurant or hotel along the way…but always as a dishwasher.  Oh, and minimum wage is like 8 bucks…A DAY! Six days a week.

 

So, I look at our good friends and employees and know how I’d feel knowing that what I’m doing AT THIS MOMENT is what I’ll be doing the rest of my life.

 

Is this as good as it gets?  As good as it is ever going to be?

 

At more than 60-years-old now, I’m still looking to move up.  Looking for the next opportunity.  Trying to make tomorrow a bit better.  There’s hope.

 

For so many of our local friends…

 

One shot.

 

I’m sure everyone is hopeful that the new presidential administration will be an upgrade.   Will be different.  Will make a difference.

 

But as they head to work for another day, most just shrug and push on.  Another day.  Just like yesterday.  And it’ll be the same tomorrow.

 

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

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


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://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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Everything But the Kitchen Sink

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Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Originally Published the Week of June 28, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

In my last column I chatted about some “hacks” to get your best airline flights if you’re coming down here. Given that summer vacations and fishing trips are now upon us, here’s some suggestions about actually packing for the adventure.

There used to be the times when I would personally bring down two rod tubes and 8-14 rods and reel set ups. I remember the days of 70-100 quart ice chests too. What was I thinking?

Those days are long past. My old back can’t haul those anymore. My tolerance of running through crowded airports or standing in line has diminished as well.

Besides that, airlines charge a mortgage; a small farm animal; and first-born child for being over-weight…over-sized…over-long…Holy Moly!

Fortunately, over that years, I’ve discovered that I can get by with carrying a lot less.

Sure, there’s the inclination to bring all your toys. The latest reels, rods, lures and gadgets. But chat with whomever you are booking with.

What do you REALLY need? And perhaps more importantly, what will you actually use?

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A perfect example is lead.

I’ve had guys bring down a couple of pounds of lead. In a whole year here in La Paz, I MIGHT use 6 total oz. of lead. That’s it! If they had asked me ahead of time, I would have told them.

If fishing with a partner, do each of you honestly need 8 trolling feathers per person? Or a giant 3-pound filler spool of 60-pound test line? Or 10 casting irons each?

 

I don’t know about you, but that’s too much to carry and my buddies and I can share without taking up all that space and dead weight.

Same with coolers. Figure out how much you really want to take home or need to take home. An empty 40-quart ice chest, with nothing in it but air, weighs 8-10 pounds.

If it has wheels, it weighs 12-18 pounds. If it’s one of those 5-day coolers, it weighs even more. If your airline weight limit is 50 pounds, that doesn’t leave much room for frozen fish.

For most of you, you’ll be home in a few hours the same day you leave Mexico so your fish only has to stay solid for that long.

Seriously, consider the lighter more efficient soft-sided coolers. Or one cooler for two of you.

I’m not talking about the flimsy ones you bring ice-cream home from the market. Yeti and other companies make some nice soft ones, but they’re really pricey. I’ve found that American Outdoors, Nor Chill and others make some awesome soft-coolers for a fraction of the price. They don’t weigh much and I’ve had stuff stay frozen for as long as 3 days in ours.

And just a word of common sense. While TSA and other security measures are not as relatively drastic as post 911, there are certain things you still should not try to carry-on into the plane.

I’ve had folks incredulous that they were separated from machetes, Leathermen multi-tools, fillet knives, bait harness needles, lures and hooks. Look, if it’s sharp pack it in your suitcase. Don’t bring it aboard. On year, I had a guy try to bring his own portable anchor. FAIL.

Also, Mexico inspectors are a lot less forgiving than TSA. Whether I agree with them or not, I’ve been or seen folks relieved of tactical flashlights, masking tape, fingernail clips and dikes. Be forewarned.

For actually packing, there’s a few tricks to lighten the load.

Try rolling your clothes instead of folding them. You’ll fit more and your clothes will have less tendency to wrinkle. Although I really don’t care if my fishing shorts and shirts are wrinkled! Inside a roll is a nice place to keep fragile things too.

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I’ve had a lot of guys and gals over the years, buy cheap t-shirts at the swap meet or outlets. Two bucks apiece or something.

They wear them once and then leave them in their rooms upon departure. Grateful cleaning staff loves finding barely used items. And for you…That much less to bring home.

By the way, if you are bringing stinky clothes and shoes home, toss a dryer sheet into them and it’ll help relieve the smell.  Also, a cheap shower cap works great for smelly shoes and flip-flops.

Also, do you really need the family-sized shampoo or toothpaste? Hand lotion or sunscreen? If you’re only here a few days, do the math.

Bring the travel size or, buy it here when you hit the markets. You have to stock up on beer anyway, right?

There was a time when you really needed to bring whatever you’d need. There was no guarantee that you’d find whatever you’d forgotten in the local stores.

But, for the most part now, everything from toothbrushes and shaving razors to your favorite flower-fragrance shampoo is available here in Baja. The markets contain things you would never have thought of even 10 years ago like craft beers, Japanese wasabi; gourmet cheese and Angus beef; imported wines and fancy mineral waters.

COSTCO, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Home Depot plus good Mexican chain stores are everywhere. You can even get a hot dog while you shop.

I don’t know what happened to the “frontera” (frontier), but this isn’t your daddy’s Baja no more! You can get almost anything. Beyond that, you probably didn’t need anyway.

So pack light and save the extra room for bringing back fish fillets!

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

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


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://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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FLYING LIKE A BOSS

Originally Published the Week of June 20, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

Summer vacation is upon us and I thought I’d share some travel tips if you’re planning on coming down to Baja or traveling into Mexico.  After almost 25 years of running trips here and thousands of clients, we’ve accumulated some things that might make your planning a trip a little less frantic and stressful.

 

My wife, Jill is quite the travel ninja for booking travel.

 

So, credit-where-credit is due, a good many of these are her tips.  In addition to living here in Baja, we also travel extensively.  We also fly extensively and (for better-or-worse) spend over 300 days a year in hotel rooms!

 

For flights, Jill starts looking and comparing prices right away.  Don’t bust your chops and stress by waiting until the last minute.  She starts looking.  She does not necessarily purchase.  This is her starting point.

 

Travel experts say you should be ready, however, to purchase anytime from 50-52 days out from your trip.  That’s the most likely time to find the lower prices.

 

You waited? The WORST time is 3-7 days out.

 

Be prepared to pay a premium if you sat on your hands.  That’s when there’s just a few seats left.  The airlines can jack the prices knowing they’ll be able to sell those seats. . . to someone like you!

 

In our experience, the most crowded flights are Fridays to fly out and Sundays to fly back.  For obvious reasons.  It’s the weekend.  It’s a resort area.  Everyone needs to be back to work by Monday.

 

Sunday is also the most expensive day to fly.

 

When I would fly in and out’ve Cabo, I had a neat trick.

 

I used to plan flying out of Cabo on Sundays in the middle of the crowds. However, I  would tell my office in Califorania that they might not see me until Tuesday or Wednesday.

 

On Sundays, I’d go to the Cabo Airport and check the lines.  If the flight was full, I’d offer the airline people to give up my seat.  For a price!

 

They were always happy and I would usually walk away with one or two free hotel nights; vouchers for meals; AND…free vouchers to fly again ANYTIME!!!

 

Sometimes, I’d do it again on Monday when I returned to the airport and SCORE again if the flight was over booked!

 

There was a time, back-in-the-day, where I had a handful of free vouchers to use and didn’t actually pay for a flight for a good 4 or 5 years!   All from selling my ticket back to the airlines.

 

Friends who run travel agencies told me that Tuesdays are the best day to actually push the button and purchase tickets.  If you can, night flights are the cheapest flights of the day.

 

Another little “hack,” if-you-will, that my wife discovered is how to best use your accumulated travel points.

 

Do NOT waste all those precious points to buy your ticket.  If you do that, the airlines always applies it to the highest price tickets they sell.  It’s a waste.

 

What she does is purchase the cheapest ticket she can find online or on the phone.  If possible, she’ll use the airline credit card so we get travel points.  PLUS, there’s sometimes a discount PLUS, if it’s an airline like Alaska, the companion fare is discounted.

 

Then, Jill will use the points to UPGRADE us to first class to go in style and live large.  Yes, I believe I will have another glass (not a plastic cup) of champagne!

 

Sure, the seats and perks are nicer up in the forward cabins, although I’d much prefer the burgers and cheese plate back in economy over the foo-foo food they sometimes serve in first class.  But, for me, the best part is that first class also has better baggage allowances.

 

Often you get one or two free bags or at least they will often discount your extra luggage.  That’s well worth it when you’ve got fishing gear, rods, SCUBA gear, etc.

 

It might just be me, but I think they also handle the 1st class baggage better too.  But another little tip is that I get some of those stickers that say “FRAGILE” and I put those on every piece of luggage.

 

It couldn’t hurt.  At least, I hope to makes the baggage handler think twice before he shot-puts my suitcase or tackle box across the tarmac.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

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.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


Website: 
www.tailhunter-international.com

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


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
 

Phones: 
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“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 »

crazy-drivers

ADVENTURES IN DRIVING

Originally Published the Week of June 3, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

With all the clients we’ve had over the years, we get a lot of comments about drivers here in Mexico.  It does take some getting used to driving and owning a car down here.

 

But, if you ever wonder about Mexican drivers, I can sum it up pretty easily.  Basically, to get a driver’s license, you don’t need to know how to drive!

 

Now, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

 

That’s right.  No driving school or driver’s ed required.   And the driver was probably taught by his or her dad or brother who also didn’t get any formal instruction.

 

There’s no actual driving test either.

 

No need to prove you know where or how to stop.  You don’t have to demonstrate the ability to park or how to do that crazy “Y” maneuver from the curb.  Nope.

 

There is a written test.  Really?

 

Yup. But from what I can tell, it’s more like “show and tell” time.  Open book.

 

Everyone helps everyone.  Got a problem?  Can’t read?  Ask the guy next to you.  Had a certain roadside experience?  Share it with your neighbors!  Bring family and friends along to help you too.  Need glasses?  For what? Not important.

 

Proof of insurance? What’s that?

 

You do have to give a blood sample!  That’s right.  You go across the street from the local Transito Office (DMV) and there are little clinics there.  You go give a little blood sample. You bring the results with your driver’s license application.

 

I have no idea why.

My employees at our Tailhunter Restaurant are also required to give a blood sample.  I guess I understand that. No communicable diseases, right?

 

But giving blood to get a driver’s license?  Maybe to make sure it’s red.  To make sure you’re alive?  To see if you’re a vampire?  It’s just a little pinprick, but it always cracked me up.

 

Once you have all the forms filled out, you go get in line.  Actually, about 4 different lines.  One to submit the forms.  Another to pay.  You take the receipt and go back to the first line to show proof that you paid.

 

Then a different line to get your photo taken.

 

By the way, no smiling allowed.  Or hats or glasses. Must look serious.  Must look like a guy on the Post Office Most Wanted list.

 

Actually, it’s like that for all official Mexican documents.  That includes passports, work visas, immigration papers…no smiling allowed!  Including Sam’s Club and COSTCO membership too!

 

I’m kind of a naturally smiley guy.  We all like to have nice photos on our passports and drivers licenses and other cards, right?  I mean we have to stare at them in our wallets for a couple of years, don’t we?  Friends and family ask to see them all the time to make fun of us.

 

I’ve been told to “cut it out” whenever I try to give ‘em a goofy mug shot.

 

And they are NOT smiling when they scolded me!  That usually makes me smile even more when I get scolded like a little school kid.  So, I think of sour milk and stepping on dog poo to get myself into the right “frame of mind.”

 

Like any DMV, this whole process can take hours.

 

And there’s no chairs.  Or air-conditioning.  Although there’s cart vendors outside selling hot dogs, Cokes, coffee and snacks,

 

However, you can expedite all of this if you know a guy who knows a guy.  There are “facilitators” hanging around. Or one can be recommended to you.

 

The last few times I went, they were off-duty cops making some dinero on the side.  One was a lieutenant.  Another was a detective.  Everyone seemed to know them.  Lots of high-fives and hand dubs.

 

Wassup? How’s the family? What did you think of the soccer game?  You up for a beer later?

 

THAT’s the kinda guy to follow around!

 

You pay them.  THEY will stand in line FOR YOU!  How cool is that?

 

Or, even better, the good ones have “inside connections.”  They fill out your forms for you.  When it’s your time, they walk you right to the front of the line.

 

It’s a bit awkward because you step right in front of folks who might have been waiting over an hour to get to a window. You can feel them scowling at your back.

 

But, you’re marched from one line to the next.  You don’t ask questions.  You just go where your facilitator directs you.

 

You say “Si” and “Gracias” appropriately to every person along the way.  You sign whatever they tell you to sign. You do not smile when they take your photo.

 

No goofing around.  The facilitator is not there to waste time.  He’s there to get you in…and out.  So he can get another “client.”

 

You pay them your pre-arranged fee and you’re also expected to tip them at the end for working you through the system!

 

But you get out fast and easy and you’re on your way to hit the road…

With all other qualified drivers out there!

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


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
 

Phones: 
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“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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FACE EXPRESSION

CHEEKS, BEAKS & EYEBALLS

Originally Published the Week of May 23, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

Traveling and/ or living in another country has a way of expanding one’s horizons on so many levels.  It’s impossible to immerse yourself in another geography, climate, language or, in the case of Mexico,  another culture and travel in a vacuum.

 

I’ve never been too picky about my food.  I generally eat about everything.  But still…everyone draws the line somewhere, right?

 

Do you ever watch the popular Food or Travel Channels on TV?  And you watch the hosts travel the world eating (to us!) strange, bizarre and sometimes squeamish food?

 

Well, I’m here writing this week’s column.  And just a few hours ago, I was  hacking at a goat carcass with a butcher knife with perhaps more gusto than I would ever imagine.

 

Friends had gifted us a whole butchered goat and now here I was slicing ribs, loins and chops surrounded by my employees.  Everyone was anticipating who was going to receive which piece.  Like slicing birthday cake in front of kids!

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I was gonna put a photo of goat’s head in the soup, but nah…

 

The head, neck and eyeballs were especially prized for… Yes…”goathead soup” and other parts would be “headed” towards delicious “Birria” (goat stew).  Or maybe to the grill or chopped for tacos!  Everyone had a family recipe!

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I changed my mind!

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It’s about how you dress it up!

It sounds funky, but with the head in the boiling pot with garlic, cilantro, onions and other vegetables, it’s quite a treat.  You’re living large down here when you dip a hot tortilla into it and shovel it into your mouth!

 

Twenty years ago, who woulda thought?

 

My agrarian family back home in the hills of Hawaii would have been proud to see their kid with couple of college degrees and who used to wear a suit and tie slicing and carving away.  With some pretty good skill, if I say so myself!

 

But, there’s a lot of things that I don’t think twice about anymore.  Things that I would have rolled my eyes at years ago if they hit my plate, now get my hunger pangs off to the races.

 

Often, they’re things that make our tourist visitors wince!

 

For example, after fishing, we cut and clean fish for our clients and nicely pack their fillets to take home.  But, the aftermath of heads and body parts is a shame.

 

My captains and I actually laugh and sometimes playfully argue over “dividing the spoils” left by the clients.

 

The entire heads of snapper, pargo, seabass (cabrilla) and others are highly prized for soup.  The ten-pound head of a big dog-tooth snapper has lots of normally wasted meat.

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Here’s lookin’ at you! 

Throw it on the barbecue or into the soup pot and it’ll feed a family and all the neighbors!  Of course, the abuelo (grandfather) always gets the cheeks and eyeballs!

 

The same with the collars and bellies.  Tuna and dorado “pechos” can’t be beat on the grill.  I’m not talking about the stomach and innards.

I’m talking about the chest area of the fish and the long strip of flesh under the fish.  It’s the sweetest part of the animal in the same way salmon collars in Alaska are highly treasured.

 

I will sometimes get a bunch of leftover collars and bellies and grill them at our Tailhunter Restaurant and serve them as free appetizers to our guests.  It blows them away when they find out it’s the stuff they left on the beach that day!

 

Other examples of fish I usually see thrown away…

 

Bonito!  Yes, that dark oily relative of the tuna family.  Great sport, but a strong flavored meat that’s often released or used for bait.  Try chilling it.  Slice some loin very thin and make “Baja Sashime.”

bomito

Look dark.  Tastes pretty good!

Drizzle some fresh lime juice on it.  Splash it with some soy sauce.  Mince some fresh jalapenos on it and let it chill in the frig for 15 minutes.  Serve it like you would any sashimi with ginger and wasabi. Or not!  It’s pretty good as is!

 

Another is triggerfish.  For years, I threw it back or gave it away.  These pesky reef fish have an incredible hard jaw and their skin is almost like rawhide prompting locals to give it the name of “bootfish” because it’s so tough.

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Just add saltine crackers for ceviche!

However, it yields a tasty flaky-white fillet that makes great ceviche and is one of my favorites when it’s battered and deep-fried golden.  Perfect for fish tacos and you can feed a lot of folks with battered fish.

 

Sierra Mackerel is another one of those fish I tossed away for years.  How can anything that has “mackerel” attached to it be any good?  I think of dark, oily strong-tasting meat.

 

But, actually, sierra meat is silky pink and white.  It’s actually related to it’s cousin the much-sought-after wahoo.  Sierra is the smaller cousin and, in season, you can catch ‘em by the load.

 

Cooked up, it is incredibly tender.  A bowl of sierra ceviche with some crackers and tortilla chips will set you back 10 bucks in a restaurant down here.

 

And finally, let’s not forget the taco stands!

 

Anyone can serve up carne asada, chorizo or carnitas tacos.

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Pig cheeks!  It’s not quite the other white meat! 

But, a couple of my favorite stands down here serve,  grilled sizzling pork or cow cheeks.  Or deep fried cow knuckles and joints.

 

Ask around and you’ll also find the real “gourmet” stands that serve tongue and brain tacos as well.  And they’re awfully popular.

 

It takes a bit to get used to, but I can chow with anyone now.  Besides, here in Mexico, everything tastes good when washed down with an icy beer.

 

So, next time you’re down, don’t wince.  Give it a try.  Walk on the wild side!

That’s my 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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 
www.tailhunter-international.com

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


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
 

Phones: 
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“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 »

BAJA SMORGASBORD

Victor rack 4-18 tags

SIX DIFFERENT GOOD-EATING SPECIES ON ONE DAY and OTHERS RELEASED! (Pargo mulatto…red snapper…yellowfin tuna…yellowtail…cabrilla…white bonito)

BAJA SMORGASBORD

Originally Published the Week of April 24 in Western Outdoor Publications

I was on the beach a few days ago waiting for our fishing fleet pangas to come back that afternoon.  I could see them slowly making their way towards me maybe 10 or so minutes out.

 

I had my toes scrunched in that fine warm Baja sand, having kicked off my flip-flops and my drivers and fish cleaners were all waiting to see what showed up.

 

Dang, that sun felt warm on my shoulders.  Not too hot. No humidity.  Just a slight off-shore breeze.  My legs sure need some color.  Too many days in long pants.

 

Just one of those awesome spring days in Mexico.

 

I think spring-time is my favorite time to be here.  It’s the “tweener” time between the end of March and the beginning of June.  It’s not quite winter.  Not quite summer.

 

It’s always sunny.  Temps in the low to mid-80’s.  Nights, you still use a blanket.  Good to have a sweatshirt or light windbreaker in the morning for fishing.  It comes off quick enough!

 

There can still be some strong bouts of wind, current and swells as winter doesn’t always slide out easily.  But, much of the time, it’s just something I call “non-weather,”  It’s so pleasant you don’t even think about it.

 

Conversations don’t center around how hot or cold it is. No one talks about how cloudy or rainy it will be.  You just know the sun is up and then it goes down and in between, it’s mighty pleasant.

 

After Easter and before the summer vacation, it’s also a slower easy time.  The big summer crowds aren’t here yet.  A lot of visitors are refugees from wherever they spend their colder wet winters like Canada, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. If even for just a few days.  Or so it seems.  I can’t blame them.

 

When they arrive, they tell me about snow on the ground or not having seen the sun “back home” for several weeks.  They just want to see the big warm yellow “orb” in the sky.  They often don’t even care if the fish are biting or what’s biting!

 

And that’s one of the really special things about fishing during this time.  I thought about that as I continued to revel in the warm sun on my back waiting for the boats.

 

You honestly just don’t know what you’re going to catch.

 

There’s a lot of anglers who will argue that the hotter warmer months are their favorites.  That’s when the “glamor” fish like tuna, wahoo, billfish and dorado are centerstage.  And rightly so.

 

But during the springtime, there seems to be a lot of variety.

 

The cooler water fish are still around like yellowtail, amberjack, several varieties of pargo and snapper . You can find cabrilla as well as triggerfish and sierra.

 

There are some fish much more specific to this spring-time bite like roosterfish, pompano and palometta  as well.

 

Additonally, as the waters warm or you find the patches of warmer currents, you’ll also get shots at the aforementioned bluewater species like the sailfish, marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dorado.

 

Then, there are always the seemingly ever-present fish like bonito, jack crevalle, bullet tuna and others.

 

I’ve had our fleet come back with as many as a dozen species in a single day scattered among the various boats.  You might not catch a lot of any one species, but you might get some of these…two of those…3 of these and another of that!

 

And the next day might be completely different.  Even two boats next to each other might have completely different catches.

 

Several years ago, I had one Outdoor TV crew that wanted to see how many different species they could catch in a single day.  By the end, we tallied 16 different species of fish!

 

By the same token, anglers can return to a “hot spot” from the day before and find completely different fish have taken over the area the next day.  Or what was biting one day has completely changed depending on conditions.

 

This offers some incredible challenges to anglers.

 

It’s a super time to check off some fish on the bucket list, but also presents new twists on fishing.  Does one use light tackle or heavy tackle?  Spinning gear of conventional gear?  Maybe a flyrod if the winds are down?

 

Are you fishing the warmer water where conditions are blue and clear or will you be fishing the cloudier colder waters?  What about depths?  With both warm and colder waters mixing it up, there will be different temperature thermoclines holding different layers of fish.  Should you use weights? Jigs? Plastics?  Will the fishing be offshore or closer to shore?

 

Or geographically, where are you fishing?  The Pacific side of Baja or the Sea of Cortez?  Also what’s happening in Cabo San Lucas is probably way different than what’s biting in Mulege or San Quintin!

 

Many times during the year when fishing Baja you can get away with one or two rigs and be good for 90% of the targeted species.  But during the spring, you just never know.

 

It does make for some interesting decision making and trips to the tackle store.  Next time, consider a trip in the spring.  It’s a pretty fine time.

 

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


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
 

Phones: 
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“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 »

STAY FOR DINNER! SPANISH FOOD ON THE MENU!

 

Stay for Dinner!  We Have Spanish Food on the Menu! 

Originally Published the Week of April 10, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

A couple of columns back I had written about some history I found in an old book detailing the issues the Spanish had in colonizing the area around La Paz where we live.  Getting the especially belligerent tribes to submit took more than a century longer than other areas of Baja.

 

In that particular report, I had written how the tribesman had “gifted” the Spanish loaves of papaya bread.  It was nothing  like your Aunt Mary gives you for Christmas.

 

The papaya was made from crushed papaya seeds AFTER the tribes had eaten the seeds;  digested them; gathered up the droppings;  THEN baked them up for the conquistadores and padres.  Initially the naïve colonists accepted and ate them with glee.

 

Well…then, the masters found out!  Gag!  Choke! Spit!

 

Remember those Cub Scout cupcake sales as a kid?  Ex-laxing those confections?

 

Well…Whether it was a genuine gift or simply the Indians pranking the Spaniards we’ll never know.  The Europeans’ taste buds and culinary sensibilities were not amused in the slightest.  They retaliated with violence against those dastardly locals.  Complete buzz kill.

 

Recently, I again found myself pouring over some old Baja books in my collection.  One was copy of  the book written by my venerable predecessor at Western Outdoor News, Ray Cannon.  You never know when a gem might pop up.

 

His 1966 book published by Sunset entitled “The Sea of Cortez” is required reading for any Baja aficionado.  If you can get your hands on a copy it’s what Genesis is to the Bible for Baja fans.

 

Just looking at the black and white photos will give you a sense of what Baja was before it was really discovered.  Indeed, many a Baja fan got their fires first kindled reading Ray Cannon’s book as well as his historic columns in Western Outdoor News.

 

Regretfully, I ashamedly have never read the entire edition, but I keep it handy in my library and it’s one of those books I pull down from time-to-time and always find a treasure.

 

Like my previous article  food comes into focus.  But, in a different way this time.

 

One of Ray’s chapters is about the Midriff Islands appropriately located about half-way down the Sea of Cortez.  It’s the narrowest part of the Sea and “Midriff” somewhat describes how the ocean is pinched like a woman’s waist in that area.  The Midriff Islands somewhat form irregular stepping stones between the Baja Peninsula and the mainland of Mexico.

 

On the far eastern edge lies the large island of Tiburon aka “Shark Island.”  It sounds like the name of another reality show.  It’s the largest island in the Sea of Cortez and encapsulates about 450 square miles.

 

Cannon described his earliest visit to the island then inhabited by the nomadic Seri Indians.  They put to shore in a small skiff off their larger vessel. Cannon remembers as they neared shore about a dozen fierce men and women ran out to meet them.  The were brandishing “deadly looking shark spears.”  Ray and his companions quickly reversed course and paddled back.

 

It was later he was told by his Mexican crew why they did not want to accompany Cannon to visit the island.

 

Apparently, people had been disappearing on mysterious “Shark Island” for centuries.   And “not just into thin air” as Cannon recounted.  They disappeared into the soup pot.  Or staked to the barbecue.

 

This included sailors, explorers, gold miners and others.  Never heard from again although bits of pieces of people had been recovered over the years.

 

The Seri Indians never admitted it.  Who me?  Nah!  Must be some other guys.  Would never do that!  Never saw the gringos you’re looking for.

 

But…The Spanish explorers had kept logs of it.  Dating back to the Spanish days, shipwrecked sailors had washed up and found refuge on Tiburon’s rocky shores.

 

The forlorn sailors were grateful to be taken in kindly by the Seri inhabitants.  They were treated and fed well.  Like one of the family. They got fat and sassy.  Living the dream on an island!

 

Until it came time for the big fiesta and finding out the Seri tribespeople were really into Spanish food.  In fact, Spanish dishes were the main course.

 

Over the years, more mysterious “disappearances” fed the stories.

 

History reports that up until the late 50’s the Mexican government allowed the Seri to remain on Tuburon Island. By this time, the tribe, once estimated as large as 5,000 had been reduced to a handful by the usual culprits.   Most notably, they fell victim to European disease.

 

The government had one caveat.  No more cannibalism.   Change your diet! Find a different source of protein.

 

Then some Mexican fishermen went missing.

 

This caused the government to ship the whole tribe of several hundred to the Mainland.

 

Today, the Tiburon Island is operated as a wildlife refuge and very few Seri remain where they are known for artistic basket weaving and those dark ironwood sculptures.

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


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
 

Phones: 
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“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 »

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