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“South of the Border…a Little Nip…Tuck…and Troll”

For your next vacation...perhaps a little fishing and some grill work or a facelift?

For your next vacation…perhaps a little fishing and some grill work or a facelift?

SOUTH OF THE BORDER..a LITTLE NIP…TUCK…and TROLL!

Originally Published the Week of January 22, 2015 in Western Outdoor News

Tourists cross the border to Baja for any number of reasons. There’s the food. There’s shopping. There’s the great beaches and hotels. And, if you’re reading this column, well, of course there’s the fantastic fishing.

 

But, there’s another side of tourism that doesn’t get talked about a lot. It often goes unreported, but more than 700,000 foreigners, mostly Americans and Canadians go to Baja for medical treatment every year.

 

Some are fairly routine.

 

“I bring my family here to fish every year,” explained Wilson, one of our clients at Tailhunters in La Paz. “But we also get our teeth cleaned too,” he added with a grin. “ It costs me $150 dollars just for my kids back home, but here in Baja, it runs us only about $20 each!”

 

Josh, from California, spends several weeks in Baja each year. “There’s a terrific Chinese acupuncturist in La Paz who helps me with some nerve and muscle damage I have from Viet Nam. Compared to back in California, I can go several times a week in Mexico.”

 

Others are a bit more urgent.

 

Over my almost twenty years working in Baja, I’ve had clients come to have surgery for a torn rotator cuff; carpal tunnel syndrome; hip repair and knee surgery.   To most, they’ve told me the care was great, but moreso, the costs were a fraction of what they had expected to pay back home.

 

In some cases, there were emergencies. There’s not too much worse than getting hurt while on a vacation.

 

Of course, there’s the usual…hooks-in-fingers…allergic reactions to bug bites…jellyfish stings…cuts…scrapes…dehydration…heat stroke.

 

But, in some cases, treatment was critical. A client who got a little too much margarita jumped into the shallow end of the pool. He went head-first and broke his neck. There have been several acute appendectomie and a broken bone or two (alcohol involved!).

 

In all cases, treatment was fast, quick, competent and especially in the emergency cases, surprisingly good and cheap.

 

John had an emergency root canal in the middle of his fishing trip. “It was incredible. The dentist spoke English and the facilities were as modern as any I’ve ever seen. It would have cost me thousands back in Los Angeles with our family dentist.”

 

Ralph’s side pain in the middle of the night turned into appendicitis and he was rushed to surgery.

 

“I got a private room for almost a week. Great nurses. Doctors who spoke pretty good English. They even called my family doctor to check on me and they had the hospital commissary make American food for me. “

 

He added, “At the end, when they gave me the bill they apologized that it was so high. I couldn’t believe it. Laughable. It was so low, I used my credit card and felt like I should have put a tip on it! Easily 10,000 dollars more at home in Utah.”

 

Other treatment, while perhaps not so urgent, to some is even more important.   Baja is quite a center for cosmetic surgery as well. A nip…a tuck…a bigger/ smaller boob…a bit of lipsuction on the love handles.

 

Indeed, some of the cosmetic surgery clinics advertise “vacation packages” that include hotel and other amenities. You have a little work done under the radar. Recover quietly in sunny Baja. You return with a certain “glow” and no one is the wiser!

 

Like anywhere else, there’s good and bad practitioners. But, I’ve personally always had great care. Many of the doctors I’ve met and a good number of dentists actually received their training in the United States.

 

However, I always suggest asking around. If a doctor’s place looks like it’s down a back alley and has folding chairs, it’s probably not a good gamble. I won’t kid you that fraud is rampant and there’s guys out there that literally purchased their diplomas to hang on the walls.

 

But the good professionals have a track record and grow. Their professionalism in appearance is usually a good indicator of their abilities.

 

There are still some “doctors” who plant themselves next to pharmacies in little hole-in-the-wall offices. They are literally sitting at a folding table.   You walk in or walk up.

 

There might be a hallway of folding chairs each with someone who wants to tell the doctor their problem. The line moves fast. There’s no medical history taken. No temperatures taken. No names given.

 

Pay 5 bucks or whatever the going rate is . Tell the “doctor” what’s wrong. No real diagnosis. He just tells you what drug he thinks will help. He writes you a “prescription” for the pharmacy next door.  Off you go. Next in line “por favor.”

 

Hopefully, you’ll never need any emergency care on a vacation, but especially with growing medical costs, Mexico is a viable alternative for many people.

 

A little fishing…a little sunshine…a margarita…While you’re there, suck some fat. Grow your boobs. Cap some teeth. More folks do it than you might think. Multi-tasking Baja style!

That’s our story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

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

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

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/

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El NINO NEENER NEENER

blog_el-nino-waves1

“EL NINO NEENER NEENER”

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

It’s inescapable. There are just certain things that puzzle you so much and make you sit back and go “hmmmmm…”

Like, how come a pair of socks go into the dryer and only one side comes out?

Or how come birds overhead ALWAYS know when you’ve just washed your car?

Or two treble hooks left in a tackle box will ALWAYS hook into each other?

Anyway, I’m writing this while overlooking the marina here at Cabo San Lucas waiting for the start of the Western Outdoor News/ Yamaha Tuna Jackpot Tournament.

It’s a lively place and the excitement that’s going to kick off is pretty palpable. It’s quite the circus atmosphere as more than 130 teams from around the world get ready to fire it up.

But, for the rest of Cabo San Lucas, life goes on as “normal.” Whatever “normal is, in this fun place!

The cruise ships are downloading swarms of sandal-wearing sun-seekers looking for t-shirts and “authentic pottery”. The booze cruise has a deckload of bikini-wearing gals and tattoo’d boyfriends whooping and vibrating to some bass-laden song my kids would know; and the street vendors descend on tourists swaying down the sidewalk with red Solo cups in hand and “Cabo Wabo” t-shirts stretched across sunburned shoulders.

“Cuban cigars. Best price, amigo!”

“Silver jewelry. Almost free, pretty ladies!”

“Two for one tequila shots all day, right here, senores!”

But part of “normal” all of the folks fishing here who aren’t part of the tournament and this afternoon, I’m watching sportfishers unload their catches. Catch flags are flying and it’s always interesting to see what gets off-loaded.

There’s some dorado. There’s a few tuna. Hmmm…a marlin.   Wahoo on that boat, nice one. A few more dorado over there. Looks like a decent day on the water.

But one fish catches my eye and seems to be drawing a crowd. It’s about 15 pounds and in a plastic bucket and I hear someone say, “That’s the strangest yellowfin tuna. It’s a mutant.”

But, it’s not. It has the familiar football tuna shape, but the elongated pectoral fins…that’s no yellowfin tuna! It’s an albacore.

Yes, the “chicken of the sea.” Highly-sought commercially. Normally associated with 57-62 degree water. Caught in the dark-blue-purple oceans from California to Washington. But, caught here in Cabo? In 85 degree water?

I guess it’s just one more thing to chalk up to El Nino. Or is it?

After experiencing a season’s worth of signs indicative of El Nino conditions, the scientific forecasters have finally “decided” that we are surely in an El Nino year.

It has been highlighted to the delight/ dismay of many depending on where you live and what you do for a living!

  • Warmer waters than normal played havoc with fishing season. Dorado and marlin up the coast of the Pacific Northwest. Massive tuna schools in southern California. Wahoo on ½ day charter boats out of San Diego.
  • Those same unseasonably warm waters killed off the bait south of the border in many areas which meant the fish schools moved elsewhere or, there was little or no bait for the fishermen to use
  • The same conditions lead to more storms on the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Mexico. Some 2 dozen big storms were charted as evidenced by the recent “Hurricane Vance” that just skimmed off Baja the week of Nov. 4th. But it numerically underscores the fact that the storm folks have almost gone through the whole alphabet naming all the storms.
  • Highly unusual to even see storms in November in Baja, but warm waters draw storms!
  • The highlight/ lowlight of the year was the devastating “Hurricane Odile” in September that ripped Baja and was the strongest storm in Baja history registering winds in excess of 150 mph.   Months of repairs and recovery continue almost 8 weeks after the blast.
  • Should “El Nino” continue as predicted, heavy rains might show up this winter and early next year for much of the drought stricken western U.S.

So, if this actually is an official El Nino season (they usually span parts of two successive years), then one would expect that warm water fishing would continue for Baja fishermen for species like marlin, sailfish, wahoo, tuna and dorodo. Conversely, fishermen on the West Coast of the U.S. should continue to enjoy their phenomenal year on unusual species as well.

But, hold on. Something doesn’t fit.

Colder winter winds are already starting to blow into Baja. Water temperatures are dropping in many areas.

The fishing is already changing too. I doubt we’ll see a full-blown “albacore” run in Cabo San Lucas, but the fact that an albacore was caught says something about a fish that has a messed-up directional radar or, has followed a cooler current of water. I tend to think it’s the later rather than the former.

Where we are in La Paz, we’re seeing fewer dorado and other warm water species and already getting sierra, amberjack, roosterfish, cabrilla and pargo. These are all fish associated with cooler conditions.

Our air is already many degrees cooler than normal and humidity has dropped considerably. Winds are blowing stronger from the north and there are areas that are already too rough to fish on some days.

Everyone asks me , “What do you think, Jonathan? What do you predict if we come fishing?”

I’m stumped. It’s one of those things that make me go, “Hmmmm….”

One of my captains just taught me the word, “Perplejo.” It means “perplexed.” And that’s me.   None of this year has made sense.

Roosterfish or dorado?

Bait or no bait ?

Full moon no moon ?

Rain or sunshine ?

I’ve been wrong more often than not this year. My crystal fishing ball is on the fritz. I stopped trying to over-think it and ultra-analyze it. I just tell people, “Come fishing.” Then I shrug.

It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. Maybe we should be more concerned with fishing than what we’re gonna catch. It still beats work. And it’s still Baja!

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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“But Will They Eat a Yo-Yo Jig?

Seriola_lalandi,I_RR1005

YELLOWTAIL FARMING?

BUT WILL THEY EAT A YO-YO JIG?

Originally Published the Week of March 20, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

While at the Long Beach Fred Hall Fishing Show a few weeks ago, I was directed to an interesting article by a friend who is a commercial fisherman and sportfisherman.  The title kinda piqued my interest:

“NEW FARMED YELLOWTAIL HITS U.S. MARKET”

According to the article published in Seafood Source.com on March 7, 2014 (http://www.seafoodsource.com/en/news/aquaculture/25678-new-farmed-yellowtail-hits-us-market),  these forkies are being formed right in Baja out’ve Bahia Magdalena.  Yes, real yellowtail ranches!

Here’s the article:

“California-based seafood distributor Catalina Offshore Products, and Baja Seas have partnered to bring a new farmed yellowtail to the U.S. market.

Baja Seas will officially introduce its Baja farmed yellowtail, also known as Baja hiramasa, at Seafood Expo North America in Boston on 16 to 18 March. Catalina Offshore Products has been test marketing the fish and it has already appeared on menus in from San Diego and Chicago.

The original stock was bred for Baja Seas from fingerlings produced at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. The fingerlings were transferred to Baja Seas’ grow out facility on Bahia Magdalena, a bay in southern Baja California. Future seed will be sourced from Baja Seas’ own hatchery, Ocean Baja Labs.

Baja Seas uses Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) to create a small water footprint by diminishing pollution and disease; fish are fed sustainable protein- and omega-rich meal derived from sardines in a low Fish In-Fish Out (FIFO) ratio; the fish are raised without antibiotics or paraciticides; and semi-automated feeders and feed cameras prevent overfeeding.

“With consumers demanding more seafood and pressures on wild harvests increasing, we believe aquaculture is the one true sustainable model,” said Luis Astiazarán, Baja Seas’ director general. “Because of their growth rate when compared to other species, marine finfish are the future of aquaculture.”

“The debut of this Baja hiramasa is very exciting for us as it marks a major milestone for Mexico and for the U.S.,” said Dave Rudie, Catalina Offshore CEO. “It is not only a great, local alternative to Japanese or Hawaiian yellowtail, its presence in the domestic market will increase people’s access to a highly valued food source while decreasing pressure on our wild populations.”

It sounds like a good deal.  I like eating yellowtail.  I like catching yellowtail.  I don’t know about the taste, but I have a feeling that the wild fresh stuff is gonna taste a lot better.   I know wild salmon blows away farmed salmon.

But, I’m pickier than most because I grew up on Pacific coast fish.  But, most folks I know wouldn’t know the difference.

I doubt that 90% of those ordering yellowtail in say, Red Lobster in the mid-west, would know the difference between wild or farmed yellowtail either.  It’s probably going to taste just dandy to them.

Just like my friends from Montana and Idaho and Wyoming who are hunters.  They can tell the difference between wild elk and ranch-raised elk meat.  To me, it’s just good eating!

However, if there’s a viable way to take the pressure off the wild stocks so us sportsfishers can still throw an iron or dropper loop a bait yet help meet the demand of the market, I’m all for it.  Win-win!

I’m especially interested in the aspect of this “farmed” yellowtail (no pun intended) if they’re raised with a small ecological footprint.  Not using additives and anti-biotics in their food means the “fish poo” (excuse my Spanish), isn’t polluting the water.

That has been an issue in other aquaculture situations.  Especially, since fish eat a tremendous amount of food to grow.  What goes in…has to come out!

Additionally, if they’ve found a new way to feed these fish and NOT deplete the local bait situation, that’s a major plus for anglers.  No bait…no fish!  No fish…no fishing!

I talked to an amigo of mine, Scott McKenzie, Director of Quality Assurance at the huge American Seafoods in Seattle WA.  Scott is also an avid Baja angler.

Here’s his take:

“The vast majority of Yellowtail consumed globally is farmed. Most of the farmed yellowtail comes out of Japan, with some small production in Australia and New Zealand. From what I’ve heard it is typically a 5:1  feed fish, meaning 5 lbs. of feed to return 1lb of  fish weight. Not the most ideal species to farm with regard to feed conversion rates as those are typically down around 3:1, some are even down close to 1:1 these days.

One of the unsavory part of a lot of these farmed fish operations is they are often using low trophic species as the feed (sardines, mackerel, menhaden, anchoveta,…). The feed coming out of global fisheries that are nothing more than rendering fisheries ( primary products being fish oil, meal) rather than a by-product of a food fishery. In a nut shell, the ocean gets stripped of bait fish to be converted into feed for a farmed fish somewhere around the world.

The amount of antibiotics and crap that can go into them I will leave for another day…

Sad thing, most consumers get all warm and fuzzy thinking they are making green decisions when they opt for a farmed fish to eat- in so many ways, it is more environmentally detrimental than the wild caught equal.”

The world is growing.  There’s more people to feed.  Yet,  we want a balance with our recreational activities.  Everyone has an interest and a stake in things.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

I wonder if farm-raised yellowtail can be released into the wild?  I know they do it with salmon!

And, I for one, wouldn’t mind giving it a whirl on my dinner plate too!

That’s my story!

Jonathan

Jonathan signature

_______________

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

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

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

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

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

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

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“IN THE PRESENCE OF GIANTS”

Deb_&_whale

A moment of clarity ?

IN THE PRESENCE OF GIANTS

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

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

Albert Einstein

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

Squeels.  More ooo’s and ahhhs!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You feel small.  And vulnerable.  And utterly amazed.

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

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

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

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

And then, the magic happens.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s our story!

Jonathan

Jonathan signature

_______________

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

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

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

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

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

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

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Tackle Packing & Juggling

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

 

“TACKLE PACKING & JUGGLING”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Economy airlines charge for each piece of luggage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s our story!

Jonathan signature

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

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

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

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

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

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

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“Through the Looking Glass”

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The famous arch on the public pier in La Paz welcoming visitors to the “Port of Magic.”

“THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS”

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 15, 2013 in Western Outdoor News

Here in La Paz, we call the waterfront area, the Malecon.  It’s the Mexican equivalent of “fisherman’s wharf” in so many ocean-front areas in the U.S.  And, like it’s counterparts north of the border, the malecon is a hub of commercial and social activity.

Restaurants, stores, cantinas and tourist shops dot the area and cater to the numerous locals and tourists enjoying the mile-long stretch of beach and concrete boardwalk.

Smack dab in the middle is the city pier.  At the entrance to that pier is an arch proclaiming “Bienvenidos al Puerto de Illusion” (Welcome to the Port of Magic).

I never really gave it much thought.  Just another chamber-of-commerce slogan to welome tourists.  Yawn.  Lo que sea (whatever).   A bit like U.S. towns annointing themselves the “Cucumber Capital of the World” or “The Place Where Teddy Roosevelt Went to Middle School.”

And I live and work in the “Port of Magic.”  Right.  OK.

And for about 10 months of the year, we are myopically focused on running our fishing business and restaurant 24/7.  Boats in and out.  Clients and amigos coming and going.  Flights to catch and meet.  Luggage and fishing gear hauled and carried.  Fish to be packed and frozen.

We’re out’ve salsa.  The  pork ribs didn’t arrive. There’s a busted toilet.  The beer truck only brought half our order.  The drummer in the band is sick.  Two TV’s are don’t work and we have a full house for football games.

Did I just hear a bunch of glasses shatter? What do you mean we have no tortillas tonite?  Which panga just broke down?  Your buddy just heatstroked and needs a doctor?  No, I don’t know where you put your passport!  I don’t know why the bait is so small this year.   Yes, it’s OK to drink the water.

It’s crazy.  It’s hectic.  We’re little gerbils on a treadmill.  We love our lives and are immeasurably blessed.  But, after months with zero days off, we’re human.

We bump into walls.  We growl at each other.  Patience is thin. Sometimes our smiles aren’t as ready or as genuine as we would like.    How many times can I answer, “Where are the tuna?”  or “So, how come the captains don’t speak English?”

But every now and then the cosmos send down a message that gives us pause to remember where we are and what we really do.

It happened just this week.   Rick was on his 2nd trip in two years with us here at Tailhunters.  He’s a fireman.  He pulled me aside one evening at the restaurant.  He grabbed my hand in his big paw, shook it and gave me a big brotherly-bear hug.

“Hey man, I just want to thank you for having me here, “ he said sincerely.

“Oh sure, glad you’re having a good time!” I replied somewhat generically.  I was kind of in a hurry and didn’t really have a long time to chat.  The restaurant was filling up and I was expecting a big load of arrivals from the airport.  My anxiety was a little piqued.

“No, Jonathan, I really appreciate being here with you and Jill, “ he replied a bit quietly.  He wouldn’t let go of my hand.  “This place stitches my soul.”

Pause.  He looked at me eye-to-eye.  It slowed me down.  “Stitches my soul?”

“I’m a fireman.  I see a lot of things.  For a few days a year, being here in Baja helps put my soul back together.  For a few days on a boat and with my friends, it helps me make sense of things again.  When, I’m fishing my reality is simplified down to a bit of nylon string and a bit of bait.   Things start to make sense again.  It’s my happy place.  It helps me do what I do the rest of the year.  Thanks, man.”

With that, he gave me another bear hug  and let go of my hand.  He grinned and went upstairs to join the rest of his amigos already into their beers.

I stood there in my own moment.

Stiches my soul.  A place where things make sense again.  His happy space.

It’s good to remember that this isn’t just about how many fish you catch.  It’s not about “just a vacation.”

There’s often a bigger picture here.  I have to remind myself that we’re especially blessed to be part of it.   It’s indeed a magic place and a magic space through which we pass.  Vamos al Puerto de Illusion!  Find your happy place, amigos.

That’s my story

Jonathan

_______________

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

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

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

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: Box 1149, Alpine CA  91903-1149

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 »

hogar-de-ancianos-santa-marta

LEAVING SOMETHING ON THE PLAYING FIELD

Originally Published the Week of July 9, 2013 in Western Outdoor News

In all the years down here in Baja, one of the funnest things I ever did had nothing to do with being on the water.  It had a lot to do with being on this planet.

But there we were…us and a handful of fishermen running up and down the aisles of the local La Paz grocery store tossing handfuls of everything in the basket.  Money and cost be damned!

It was like turning kids loose in a candy store!

Remember those old TV shows where the winner got 10 minutes to put as much of anything the could find into the shopping cart before the buzzer rang?  That’s what it was like.   Gleeful fun.  Giddy fun.

Store attendants looked on in horror!

Jimmy was putting bags of rice and beans in his cart and piling that-up with cartons of eggs.

Mike was literally doing a balancing act by pulling cans of soup or vegetables into his cart and making a mess dumping boxes of cereal and soap and juice into his overflowing cart.

Terry had parked in the produce section.  He was busy bagging tomatoes and apples, onions and oranges and trying to squeeze watermelon underneath near the wheels.

On the other end of the store, Larry already had some huge frozen hams in his cart.  He had just laid wasted to the bacon, poultry and hot dogs and was now assaulting the dairy section for milk, yogurt and butter.  See, Larry run!

Laughing like a little kid, I found Mario in the liquor aisle putting jugs of wine on top of boxes of cookies…donuts… and potato chips!

I looked at him puzzled…”Not exactly healthy stuff there, Mario!”

“Hey…they’re OLD…they’re not DEAD! They should have some fun!” he yelled back.

I had to laugh.  All of this “largesse” was headed to one of the old-folks home here in La Paz.  Yes…”old but not dead and certainly entitled to fun!”

As soon as all of this was loaded into the van, we were headed there to the senior home to play summer-time Santa Clause…a total surprise!

Every year this group pulls this crazy stunt.  Their last day in town is a “run through the market” followed by a visit to the senior home to big smiles, hugs, and grateful handshakes from a group so often forgotten.

The seniors are so often forgotten.  They’re not cute.  Many can’t speak.  They sit for hours just staring.     One of the gents gets a special smile as he pulls the bottle of tequila from the boxes of groceries and flashes a toothless grin!  I  would have bet the barn that he squirrels it under his shirt and sneaks back to his room!

But they aren’t the only ones.  We have another group of anglers that takes all the fish from their last day of fishing. They donate it to whatever cause seems to be the most needy.  Sometimes, it’s the seniors.  Sometimes it’s the kids.

It doesn’t matter.  It seems that they fish especially hard that  last day because they know that even “junk fish” like bonito will be more than welcomed.  Jack crevalle and triggerfish all go into the ice chests ready to fillet!

Again, the smiles are priceless.

I have another group of good-Joes.  They fish with us and eat at our restaurant.  They automatically put up $50 bucks a head.  They order and eat off the $50.

They order a 10-dollar burger or plate of tacos and nachos.  The remainder is a donation to charity.   If they have 10 or 20 guys…that can be a nice sum that buys a lot of dry goods,  toiletries, rice, beans and yes…pampers and toothpaste.

Others aren’t so grand, but bring whatever they can.

A dentist brings cases of the extra sample toothbrushes  sent to his office. He has us give it to an elementary school near Las Arenas.  A doctor gets boxes bandages.

A guy who sells paper products brings note pads and colored-pencils.  Kids who treasure each piece of paper act like gold,  bust out huge smiles.

Another group collects old sporting goods cast-off by their own kids who have outgrown them. They come down with baseball gloves,  a catchers mask,  some old rubber bases and deflated soccer balls and basketballs that can be inflated again.  Old sweaty baseball hats with MLB logos are treated like winning lottery tickets.

Eyes glow.  Handshakes exchanged.  No words necessary.   It’s universal.  Win-win.  Priceless friendship and gratitude.

Things that we so often take for granted like toothpaste and soap and shampoo are a luxury.   We go through sports gear as fast as we visit our sporting goods store and see a new model that promises to make us stronger, faster, or better.

We don’t give 2nd thoughts about how important something like pampers or socks or clean t-shirts might be.  Or just what a treat a cheap sip of wine might be  even if served in a Dixie cup.

You always hear athletes talking about “going all out” and “leaving it all out there on the court or field.”  Give it your all.  Regret nothing.

Here in Mexico, leaving even a little something behind on the playing field is makes everyone a winner.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

_______________

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

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

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

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: Box 1149, Alpine CA  91903-1149

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 »

THE BAJA HANDFUL OF KNOTS

They come in all shapes and sizes!

They come in all shapes and sizes!

MY BAJA HANDFUL OF KNOTS

Originally Published the Week of June 26, 2013 in Western Outdoor News Publications

If you ever want to start up a conversation among a group of fishermen or suddenly get a room of yakking party-ing guys to stop talking and gather around, there’s one sure-fire way that I’ve found.  It never fails.  Instant focus.

Just start talking about fishing knots.

Instant Pavlov’s dog and the dinner bells with 100-percent success.   It works even better if you happen to have a spool of line and some hooks.   If the crowd is relatively inexperienced, there’s almost a hush.

If the gathering has more veteran fishermen, it’s instant debate.  It’s like throwing bloody chum in the water or handfuls of  live bait into boiling tuna.  No one can resist plugging into the conversation!

I’m not even going to touch opening the subject with flyfishermen who’s knowledge and propensity toward complicated knot tying requires a PhD. In physics.

But for your average fresh and saltwater  weekend warrior and occasional Baja and long-range guy, everyone has an opinion on knot tying or is certainly “all-ears” to see what’s new and exciting or missing in their knot-tying arsenal.

I think almost all of us who have spent even a little time on the water know or, at some time back-in-the-day, learned the clinch knot or the improved clinch knot.  It’s the one they use to print on the back of packs of hooks and other accessories.  If  my fuzzy memory serves,  it was printed on a lot of Berkely produces and some still call it the Trilene knot.

I’m pretty sure it’s the one my dad first showed me.  Boy, did I practice and practice that one.  In fact, I remember mom catching me in my bedroom  floor long after bed-time.  I was  tying knots by the light of a flashlight  and using my 2nd grade scissors to trim off the tag ends! Mom just said, “Oh Jonathan…” and left me alone! I know when she told dad, he cracked up.

I guess in the passing of time, I’ve learned quite a few knots.   All serve their purposes.  What great names!  They sound like cocktails…The Bimini Twist…the Cat’s Paw…the Arbor…the Australian Braid…the Bristol…the Nail…the Blood knot…the Albright Special…the Orvis.  There are hundreds!

I once had a friend who would spend hours trying to develop some new knot just so he could claim it and have his name on it…forever…his legacy sealed in angling lore.  Terrible fisherman, but he sure knew how to tie knots!

Anyway, between you and me…frankly…the only reason to know that many knots is to impress people.  Like a name-dropper at a cocktail party.  People’s ears perk up when they hear names like the Palomar and the Spider Hitch.  And, I admit, when I want to direct attention to myself…like I said, start talking about knots and throw in some fancy names and it’s like a magnet!  Try it sometime.

Go get yourself a knot tying book or look up on the internet or youtube and there’s some great stuff to learn.  Then pull out some fancy names next time you’re among friends.  Like some guy who learned some card tricks, every fisherman within ear-short will be listening to you!

But, in full disclosure, for the several dozen knots I know,  there’s maybe only a handful that I ever really use and maybe only 3 or 4 that I use 95 percent of the time.  These are knots that you SHOULD know and with them under your belt, there’s not too much you can’t do.

It’s like rock ‘n’ roll.  If you know 3 simple chords and a decent 12-bar progression, you can probably play…well…just about anything!

The most important knot that I use is the San Diego knot.  I call it the most important because it’s the knot that joins my line to the hook.  It’s the last line of  attack and the part that attaches me to the fish.  So it better be a good knot!

It’s a variation of the Uni knot (you can look all of these up) and I’ve also seen it called the Duncan knot and the San Diego Jam knot.   It takes a few minutes to grasp the concept and a few more to learn it well.  But it’s worth it.

It has never failed.  The line might break but, in my experience, the knot has never broken, even on the largest fish I’ve tangled with.   I’ve seen tests run and it’s pretty hard to beat it’s breaking strength.  It’s variation called the  Double San Diego knot (merely doubling the lines) is even better and a standard knot here in Baja and on the long range San Diego fleet.

If you learn it well, it is also a handy knot to join to lines together like a mainline to a leader.

Which leads to my 2nd most important knot which is the Overhand knot.  It’s my personal favorite not only for joining lines, but especially to join lines of dissimilar diameter.  When you’re in a hurry to join  mono leader to braided line (not the best, but serviceable) it’s also handy.  If you know how to tie your shoe, this knot is that easy.  Learn it and remember it!

My last knot would be the Surgeon’s Loop.  It’s pretty much as easy as over…under…and through.  And you’re done!  Like the ads on TV…”even a caveman could do it.”  It’s great for …well…making loops to hold sinkers…to hold hooks.   I use it a lot.  I use it a lot more than the  dropper loop if I’m tying the loop to a sinker.

Fishing in rocks, if the sinker gets stuck on the bottom, the dropper will break easier than the dropper loop and at least let you get your main line back.

If I need a loop to tie the hook to…then the Dropper loop is my choice.

And that’s it!  Not much you can’t do with this handful!  Learn them and it will cover almost everything but the most specialized situations.

That’s my story

Jonathan

_______________

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

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website: 

http://www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttp://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

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

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Jonathan boat

FACING FORWARD LOOKING BACK

Originally Published the Week of May 4, 2013 in Western Outdoor News

One of my esteemed predecessors writing this column for Western Outdoors was the famous Fred Hoctor.  People described him in many ways.  A curmudgeon.  A crank.  Crusty.  Or worse!

Even he admitted to it. Always with a laugh.

But he was a helluva writer and one of those guys who just had the knack for spinning yarns and telling stories. He wrote columns and books including the iconic, “Baja Ha Ha” that can still be found in many bookshelves.  Say what you want, but “Old Fred” was prolifically brilliant and witty and one of the original Baja rats.

I started writing outdoor pieces about 30 years ago myself.  I don’t know where Fred got a hold of me or how, but he would call me up now and then.  To me, it was like Papa Hemingway or John Steinbeck calling.  I never really knew what to say or how to engage him in conversation.

Usually, though, it seemed as though he was calling to get something off his chest.

I’d pick up the phone and I’d hear, “Kid…this is Fred. (Never give his last name unless I asked it …so the first few times, it was just “Fred” as if no one else named Fred would have called me).

He’d say, “Kid, I read what you wrote in such-and-such a magazine.”  He’d say this in a his gravelly voice that sounded like central casting for a guy who smoked too many cigarettes…sucked the dust off too many Baja backroads… and raspy from tipping the bottle…sometimes I would swear he was tipping while he was talking.

He’d usually cuss at me a bit  and then launch into a story.  The story had nothing to do with anything I’d written.  He wouldn’t even comment on my writing.  He’d laugh.  Cuss s’more  and just hang up.  Never asked my opinion or try to converse. Never said good-bye or drop a salutation.  Just hung up.  Zzzzzz…dead air.  Dial-tone.

Uh…thanks for the call, Fred.  Nice to hear from you.

But, I always liked that he called me, “kid.”  It was nice to know that I was being read by someone!   It was like knowing that someone cool was watching me.   Someone older and wiser…(Fred passed away in 2001 and I’m sure being called “wiser” makes him just spin and hoot from the other side).

Somehow, I’ve always thought of myself as “the kid.”  I was always the younger guy around.   In the industry, there were all these older guys that I looked up to and who took me under their wings.  I felt like I was always sitting at the “kids” table at Thanksgiving and the grown ups were at the big table.

But a sobering thought hit me while pondering what to write for this week’s column.  That was 20-30 years ago and I’m on the near side of 60 years old now.   I’m not a kid and somewhere and sometime, I moved up to the big boy table.  And somehow more and more spaces kept opening up there.  Little-by-little, the grown ups passed on.

Mentally, I still feel like one of the young guys, but my salt-and-pepper beard and creaky joints tell a different story.   All my friends are this old too.  And there’s not too many ahead of me.

But, the sad thing is that there aren’t too many behind me either.

The kids table isn’t very filled anymore.  My generation seems to be the YOUNG generation even tho’ we’re retiring and having kids in college and seeing grand kids.  There isn’t much of a “younger generation” filling in the gaps behind us.

At all the hunting and fishing shows we attend with our booth, most of the operators and outfitters are about my age or older.   Most of the charter boat operators are my age or older.  At the seminars I do for fishing clubs…again…my age or older.

And the ones leaving the sport and leaving the industry simply fold up.  Their kids do other things.  It’s a hard life making ends meet relying on skill and the whims of Mother Nature.    The kids of the guys who participate in the sports have other attractions…X games…video computers…social media.  Heck, how many kids these days even go outside?

Even here in La Paz.  The kids of my captains, even though many go onto other jobs and professions, don’t come back to the water let alone wanting to do what dad does.

And the same for our fishing clients.  We’re all aging together.   I saw one group of firefighters several weeks ago who have come fishing with us for over a decade.

At dinner one night, I said, “Years ago, you guys would tear up the hotel.  You’d streak through the halls and do naked cannonballs into the pool.  I’d find you on the beach in the mornings passed out and drag you onto the pangas.  Now by 8 p.m. you’re all in your rooms watching CNN and asleep by 9 o’clock!”

We all laughed through our “reader glasses” we all bought from COSTCO.  Very simply, we got older!   The telling thing is that of the 20 or so guys, not a single one of them has kids that like to go fishing, nevermind coming to Baja.

Unfortunately, I think that bodes poorly on so many levels.  Wow.  I’m close to being the last of the generations to remember when the roads were all dirt…the tumbleweeds blew across a beach without high rise hotels…ice was non-existent…air-conditioning meant opening a window or opening a tent flap…gasoline was filtered through a t-shirt…the dinner menu was tortillas and whatever you caught…and you opened a beer with your fishing pliers.

After me…after us…the ranks are thin and thinning.

That’s our story…

Jonathan

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

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Tailhunter International

 

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Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745

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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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