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Posts Tagged ‘whale sharks’

On Second Thought…

spring break

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

Originally Published the Week of March 12, 2019 in Western Outdoor News

Back in the day before I lived in Baja, I scheduled a spring-time trip.  Man, after a long winter, I so looked forward to getting into the sunshine and away from the crowds and hectic grind.

 

So, there I was.  At the airport with my luggage, ice chest, rod tube…and holy cow…!!!

 

Where did all these people come from?

 

I had forgotten, it was not only Easter week but also spring break when I scheduled my vacation.

 

Oh the agony!  It’s what I was trying to escape.

 

I ran smack into long lines at the airport.  Students and families all trying to get someplace.  Everyone looking to get away, but now swallowed up in the mass of humanity and everyone getting agro about it.

 

And this was in the pre-911 days before you had to take off your shoes and basically undress and unwrap everything at the TSA counters.

 

Plane was full and it was one of those flights where they asked folks to “volunteer” to give up their seats in exchange for a free voucher blah blah blah.

 

Not a chance. I didn’t exactly see anyone raise their hands abruptly.

 

And in the plane, it was also the flight where they tell you it’s full and there’s not enough room for all the carry-on luggage so please stash it under your seat; over your head; or give it up to the baggage handlers.

 

Oh, and the flight was full of excited kids and babies.  Not that there’s anything wrong…family time is important, but some poor baby was screaming in the back and one little devil thought it was fun to kick my seat from behind. And yell “BOO” through the crack in the seat!

 

Got to the Cabo Airport and again, it was jam-packed.  But, at least most folks were a bit more congenial now that they were on the ground in Baja.

 

Until they hit the immigration and customs inspection lines.  They wound round-and round-and round almost back to Los Angeles! That took almost an hour.  Like waiting in line to ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland.

 

The hotel shuttle from the airport was delayed as well because well…they wanted to fill in all the seats so we had to wait…and wait…until everyone from every flight got through the morass.  Didn’t want to leave anyone who had reservations.

 

I was pretty bedraggled by the time I got to the hotel; waded through a full lobby and reception and got to my room.

 

It was already late. Lots of people partying in the street and a crowd of tequila-fueled partiers was the last thing I wanted.  So, some forgettable room service tacos and I passed out dreaming of big fish in the sunshine and ocean the next day.

 

It wasn’t quite as I envisioned.

 

The marina was packed with boats headed out fishing.  It was a regular morning traffic-jam on the water; trying to buy bait; fueling up; just trying to get to the fishing grounds which was jammed with fishing boats, but add to that the site-seeing boats; the booze cruises; and other pleasure craft.

 

As might be expected the fishing was negligible at best.  Just too much traffic on the water and pressure on the fish.

 

It was like that all week.  But what’s that saying about a bad day fishing is better than a good day of work?  It was nice being in the sunshine, but it would have been nice to hook a few more fish and if it wasn’t so much like work.

 

Oh well.

 

Took a day off to head to the beach.  A little secluded cove that’s a nice getaway.  Not too many folks.  Got my beach chair; small ice chest of beer and my beach towel.  Ready to go!

 

Oh no.

 

To say the beach was crowded is an uber-understatement.  It was more like Woodstock.

 

There was hardly a square foot of sand that didn’t have a tent on it plus tables, chairs, beach toys, blaring boom-boxes playing banda/rancho music and cars parked willy-nilly everywhere also blaring music.  The whole city was out.

 

In Mexico, there’s no designated camp sites.  The beach belongs to the people so wherever you want to camp is legal.  There were tents within inches of each other.  There was no space.  No privacy.   It was almost impossible to walk to the water.

 

I jumped in my rental and drove to two other beaches to the same result!

 

I finally found a spot right next to a local family of 8.  They took pity on the bedraggled tourist and invited me to barbecued carne asada for lunch.  Very kind and nice folks.  I shared my beer.

 

Nothing to do but make the best of it.  It was an OK vacation, as vacations go, but not what I had planned or expected.

 

What I had failed to do and forgotten was Easter and Spring Break.

 

As I found out later, the weeks up to…including…and shortly after Easter are the busiest times of the year for travel and vacation in Mexico.  Not only are tourists, students, etc. travelling into Mexico for Easter and Spring Break,  but it is also the busiest time for locals to travel as well both internationally and domestically.

 

Many Mexicans travel into Mexico as well as travel outside Mexico to visit friends and family.  Domestic inter-city travel also fills planes, trains and automobiles…and busses!

 

It’s even busier than Christmas or Thanksgiving.  (In Mexico they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.)

Consequently, you’re not only dealing with crowds, but airlines rates and hotels prices are at a premium. If you can find a ticket or seat available.  Frankly, everything is more expensive.

 

It’s a nice time to visit, but be prepared and give it some extra thought if you’re looking for a bargain vacation or to get away from the crowds.

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.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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AND NOW WHAT?

luggage 2

AND NOW WHAT?

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 26, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

It’s an encounter I’ve run into so many times after so many decades in the fishing business.

 

The angler has caught fish…or the fish of a lifetime…or much more fish than they had anticipated.

 

After all the high-fives…the proud photos…the clinking of beer bottles on the beach or docks, I ask:

 

“So what would you like to do with the fish?”

 

A somewhat blank look gets returned to me.   I can see the wheels processing.

 

“Uh, hmmmm…keep it I guess!  I hadn’t thought that far!”

 

It happens more often than you know.  To veteran Baja folk who fish often, that might sound strange.

 

To many first-time anglers, they were even surprised they were allowed to keep their fish insofar as many fishing destinations don’t allow keeping your catch.

 

Usually, the captain will at least clean and cut the fish.  That’s not the issue. But, then what?

 

First and foremost, I suggest taking some to eat.  There is nothing better than fish that was swimming around that morning.  As I often tell folks as I point to their catch, “His bad day is YOUR good dinner!”

 

I don’t know of too many restaurants that won’t be happy to cook up your catch in a variety of ways.  You’re in for a treat.  Our own Tailhunter Restaurant in La Paz has a whole separate menu of all the ways we can prepre your catch.

 

To that end, hopefully, you brought some ziplock style bags or someone has some.  We always carry some handy or  to hand out,

 

If you don’t plan to use it all, don’t hesitate to give some to your captain.  It’s a welcome and appreciated gift.  Not in lieu of a tip, by any means, but nothing you donate will be wasted.

 

If the captain and his family don’t use it, neighbors and friends will surely consume it.  Many folks in Mexico don’t get regular protein like fresh fish in their diet.

 

One caveat.  Captains and crew are prohibited from selling sport-caught fish so hopefully they’re not selling your catch. If you get any inking that’s the case, don’t give them your fish!

 

If not to the captain, your charter operators often have charities that gladly accept donated fish.  We often send our extra to a senior home and women’s shelter.

 

However, assuming you are planning to take fish home,  what now?

 

Hopefully, the hotel you picked has freezing facilities for fish.  It’s the reason we personally recommend some hotels, but not others.  It’s important.  Some will just stick it in with their kitchen freezers and do not have a dedicated area or freezer for your fish.

 

You might want to check on that.

 

Assuming they don’t have facilities, check with whomever booked your charter to see what they recommend.

 

For actually bringing it home, there’s several alternatives.  If you have an ice chest, that’s the best way.  Styrofoam won’t work.  They will get crushed in the jumble of bags or by baggage handlers so airlines won’t accept them.

 

Ice is not allowed in the ice chest because it will melt.  It will leak.  And no one likes goopy fish water dripping onto and into their luggage.

 

That’s why your fish MUST be frozen.   There’s no dry ice in Mexico that I have ever found so don’t count on that.

 

If it’s frozen, your fish will be fine if you don’t keep opening and closing it.  In most cases most anglers are really only a few hours from home.

 

Most airlines have a 50-pound limit on the size of luggage and that’s how your fish will be headed home with you.  You cannot mail your fish home.

 

So, basically, as many pieces of “luggage” as you want to pay for is how much fish you bring home.  Hopefully, you’re just bringing home what you can actually use and within daily limits.

 

Hard-sided ice chests have traditionally been the norm.  I’ve found that a 30-40 quart ice chest weighs just about 50 pounds when filled with fish.  But, more and more folks are bringing soft -sided coolers.

 

These are not the ones you bring ice-cream home from the market.  These are actual cooler bags meant to keep things frozen for an extended time.  They’re a little more expensive than the hard-sided plastic coolers, but they have some advantages.

 

First, a hard-sided cooler weighs about 8-12 pounds completely empty.  If it has wheels, add another 2-4 pounds.  If it’s one of those “ultra-cold” coolers with thick walls, it’s even heavier!

 

So, you’ll only get about 30-35 pound of fillets in the ice chest!

 

A soft-sided cold bag weighs about 3 or 4 pounds.  Often you can just the empty one in your luggage when you fly down.  Headed home, you can put 40-45 pounds of frozen fish in it.

 

Alternatively, there are some extremely good foldable boxes that are specifically made for flying from warm areas like the Baja.  These are NOT the kind you use in Alaska.  These are made to keep out the Baja heat and meant to keep your fish solid until you’re home.

 

One other item to keep in mind.

 

If you’re packing your fish in your own plastic bags or if you’re having someone else pack your fish or having it professionally vacuum sealed, don’t pack too much.  Pack what you can eat.

 

You have great quality fish so don’t stick 5-pounds of fish in a bag if it’s only you and your wife eating.   When it comes time to defrost, you’ll have a bowling-ball sized piece of ice to thaw out and you’ll be wasting some great fish!

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.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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There’s a New Sheriff in Town

 

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THERE’S A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 13, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

Well, here we are on the road again.  For almost 25 years, we’ve been on the road for the first 3 months of the year doing all the major hunting and fishing shows in the Western U.S.

 

From Salt Lake City to San Diego and Seattle to Billings, Montana, we criss-cross the west spending time in our booth each week talking to folks and chatting about visiting La Paz and hopefully fishing with us at Tailhunter.

 

Over the span of 4 or 5 days, we talk with hundreds of folks each week.

 

It’s interesting how the complexion of travelers has changed over more than 2 decades in the fishing and hospitality business.

 

I have often mentioned that it was a bit easier “in the olden days.”

 

Jerry, Don and Tom just wanted to fish and drink beer and eat tacos.  If the room had a lightbulb, a shower and a bed, that was just super.

 

But, even then, we always encouraged wives and families.  Fishing is one of the best activities to get together, especially in the warm calm waters of Baja

 

And sure enough, over the years, we’ve seen a great up-tick in the number of wives, kids and girlfriends and families.  It’s been great.

 

Many times, the ladies were content to let the guys go fishing while they hung out at the pool or beach.  They went shopping or hit the spa.  And they had a good time.

 

But, as time went on, more of the gals were jumping aboard too!

 

They were joining in the fishing…and at times, outfishing the guys!  They were coming out to dive, snorkel, whalewatch and getting in on the fun.

 

Surely, the times were changing.

 

However, in the last few years, we’re seeing another change in travel.  Nowadays, the ladies aren’t just coming along on the trip.

 

They are taking over the trip!

 

They are making the reservations.  They’re making all the arrangements!

 

The ladies are dictating who, what, when and where!  I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise!

 

The ladies are great organizers.  Women are naturally more detail-oriented.

 

But here at these shows, answering questions; phoness or e-mail, it has caused us to be different as well.

 

Sometimes awkwardly so!

 

I mean…after 2 decades, I thought I had heard every question in the book!

 

I simply don’t know how to answer some of the questions these days.

 

I mean, the guys don’t ask questions like:

 

How hard are the mattresses at the hotels? Which hotel has the softest mattress?”

 

“How rough is the toilet paper?”

 

“What’s the brand name of the pillows there?”

 

“How easy is it to buy caffeine free diet Coke?

 

“Does Mexican food have nutrition labels on it so I can check calories and carbohydrate content?”

 

“Can we get a nanny?”

 

“Can you get us a dog-sitter while we are out fishing?”

 

“Our sons want manicures and pedicures.  How do Mexican spas compare to spas in Southern California?

 

I have to admit, that last question really threw me.  Manicure-pedicures for her sons?  Really? I admit I’m old.

 

But back in my time, it seemed a lot easier and less fuss.

 

We were tasked with making sure we washed all the great dirt out’ve our fingernails before we hit the dinner table.

 

Sometimes not so successfully, I might add.  As hungry kids we just dug in!

 

And then we ran right back outside to play in the lovely dirt as soon as we pushed away from the table.

 

But, many of the questions, just leave me looking like a doofus with my mouth open.   I have no way to respond.

 

I really have no idea what to say.  I mean, the hardness or softness of toilet paper has never really been in my zone of consciousness!

 

No guy  ever walked up to me in the booth asking  about the quality of a spa for a manicure or pedicure.  Nor has any guy asked about the brand name of the pillows or bedsheets.

 

But with all respect, these are important things these days and we have to up-our game to make sure we can answer these things.

 

So, I better start checking pillows, mattresses, Diet Coke and toilet paper! It’s a whole different ball game and mama has questions so I need to come up with answers.

 

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:

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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When Fishing Is Not So A-Peeling!

bananas1

When Fishing Is Not So A-Peeling!

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 1, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

“Life is full of banana skins. You slip, you carry on.”
—Daphne Guinness

It’s been about 15 years since I last wrote about a subject that seems to keep popping up. And lately, I’ve had several folks ask about it.

Most folks say they’re not superstitious.

But, they’ll still wear their raggedy “good luck” basketball socks. They refuse to throw away their best bowling shirt.

Do you still have a pair of “tidy-whitey” underwear in your drawer that’s you won’t throw away even if it has no more elastic and your wife nags you about it?

Do you refuse to open your eyes when your team’s kicker lines up for the game-winning field goal because it’s “bad luck?” Still have your bloody-splattered fishing t-shirt from when you were in college when you were 100 pounds lighter?

So, what’s the deal about bad luck bananas and fishing?

To some, it’s just something to goof with and talk smack about.

I’ve seen guys “plant” bananas in their buddy’s tackle box or fishing boots. I’ve seen guys tie a banana on hotel-room doors or toss a banana onto a buddy’s boat.

To other’s it’s deadly serious. It’s grounds for fighting words and coming to blows.

I’ve seen boats catch fire. Bananas were later found in the galley.

I’ve been on boats where everyone is catching fish except the boat with bananas but start catching fish when bananas were tossed overboard.

I was working as a deckhand where a guy broke his leg in a freak accident . Bananas were in an ice chest on deck. Another time a guy had to be air-lifted after having a heart attack on a boat that had bananas.

If bananas were found in the galley of any boat that I worked on or had chartered they were quickly discarded or discreetly “disappeared” at night when the boat was underway.

Rumor has it that Fruit of the Loom underwear used to have a banana on their label, but the banana was eliminated.

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So, what’s the source of the superstitious myth?

There’s a number of theories.

Bananas Stink

Back in the days of sailing ships, fresh fruit and vegetables were pretty important. Having bananas aboard, the bananas ripen pretty quickly and emit a gas and odor that can quickly ruin the food stores of a crew. Lacking fresh produce on those long voyages could lead to malnourishment at best. At worst, death.

No Slowing Down

The fact that bananas ripen quite quickly could also give credence to the lack of fish caught on board. Speed was essential to cargo ships carrying bananas.

Normal ships could travel at regular speeds. Often crews would fish to supplement their diets and the diets of passengers.

Banana boats did not have that luxury. They had to scoot. No slowing down to troll. It was essential to get from point A to point B.

Word got out that you didn’t want to crew or travel on a ship carrying bananas because those ships “never caught fish!” Seems logical.

Hidden Critters
Bunches of bananas could often hide snakes, spiders and other creepy-crawlers that could get loose aboard a ship. Many areas in Africa also were home to a voracious wood-eating termite that could get loose when bananas were brought about those old wooden sailing ships.

A Dark Chapter

If you remember your history, banana boats were often used as slave ships. If you suddenly woke up manacled, crowded and in a dark place smelling of bananas, life was about to take a turn for the worse.

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Davey’s Locker

Similarly, bananas float. When a ship would sink, among other things, floating bananas would often be indicative of the final resting place of a vessel.

Here’s another one…

Good to Be King

From my part of the world where my family originated, in Hawaii, only royalty were permitted to have bananas. A commoner found in possession of bananas could be grounds for execution…the ultimate bad luck!

So, what do you think?

I’m not superstitious, but you’d still better not bring bananas on any boat that I’m on! Why tempt luck?

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:

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.”

 

Read Full Post »

GOOD ENUFF

nolan and me 2 edit

GOOD ENUFF

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 16, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

In addition to our fishing fleet, we have a little bar and restaurant in La Paz where lots of our fishermen trade stories; watch sports; and have a few cold ones.  Most will tell you it’s a fun little place.

 

We also have live music a few nights a week.  Our guys are pretty good.  But anyone is welcome to join in.

 

If you think you can strum a guitar; carry a tune or bang two tin cups together, step on up.  Put your beer down or bring it with you.

 

I guarantee, alone or with the band no matter.  We love it.  The band loves it.  The crowd loves it.  You’ll love it.

 

Enthusiasm counts for a lot more than talent, skill or ability.

 

I’ve played guitar for years.  I’ve played in bands.  I’ve been in front of crowds.  But, by my own standards, I’m a hack.  I get by if I have to.

 

But,  I was hesitant to play with our guys at first.   I don’t know why, but I didn’t think I was good enough.

 

It was the leader of our house band who finally said, “Are you good enough to have fun? If the answer is ‘yes’ then come on up to the stage.”

 

And that kinda did it.  I’m not as good as these guys, but I’m good enough to play WITH these guys and I have a world of fun.   And they have fun with me on stage and the crowd seems to enjoy it too.

 

For some reason, I got two e-mails this week from two different dads. In both cases, they wanted to come fish with us in La Paz.

 

One wanted to bring his young son.

 

Another was going to bring a son and an older daughter, but not his youngest daughter.

 

I also got a phone call from guy who had never fished in salt water, but was hesitant.

 

In all three situations, “not good enough” was mentioned.

 

I had to think about that for a moment before responding to each situation.

 

I rarely hear that someone “isn’t good enough.” Not about fishing.  How good do you have to be?

 

No matter how much someone tries to make of it, I’ll tell ya a secret.  In almost 5 decades of fishing, it’s NOT rocket science.  Fishing is not curing cancer.  Fishing is not winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

We often forget that.

 

And for some reason, I remembered about my guitar playing.  I only have to be good enough to have fun.  That’s all.  Have a good time.

 

I asked each father if their kids enjoyed the outdoors?  Did the kids like fishing at all? Do they have fun?  Did the fathers have fun with their kids?

 

Both answered in the affirmative.

 

I put the same question to the freshwater guy that was nervous about saltwater fishing.  He didn’t want to look foolish or under-gunned if he came to fish with us.

 

“Well, do you have fun fishing?”

 

“Yes, I love it!”

 

Well, what’s stopping you?  Step on up.  If it’s a kid, they’ll never get good at all if you don’t start ‘em somewhere.   Same with the freshwater guy.

 

If you’re good enough to have fun, you’re good enough.  That’s all you need to know.

 

You don’t need to be stronger or bigger.  You don’t need to have all the best equipment. You don’t need more experience. That will come.

 

I’m in my 60’s now.  I have a new first grandson myself.  He’s not even two-years-old yet but we’ve already taken him fishing.

 

Some would say he’s not old enough.

 

Heck, he’s not even potti-trained yet!  That will come, right?

 

But, he had fun so that means he’s already “good enough” and I can’t wait to take him again.  Or the younger sister that just got born two months ago.

 

We’ll have her on the water in good time and I have no doubts she’ll have fun.

 

I won’t be around to see either of them fishing when they’re  60.  But, I hope they remember their grandpa taking them out.

 

Time is precious.  Moments are precious.  Get those kids out.  Get yourself out.  Tomorrow is already here.

 

You’re good enough.  Jump up.  Jump in.  The water is fine!

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:

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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One Star

mojave

ONE STAR

Originally Published the Week of  Dec. 30, 2018 in Wester Outdoor Publications 

 

It was my first Christmas in Baja almost 25 years ago.

 

It wasn’t where I really wanted to be.  At least, not at that time of the year.  Not really at that particular point in my life either.  But there I was.

 

Sitting on my beat-up plastic ice chest.  In the dark.  In the moonlight on a chilly desert evening that was doing it’s best to creep through my thin sweatshirt and grungy army surplus pants.

 

I was in Baja.  Kind of in the middle of nowhere.  At night just off a lonely stretch of road not far outside a small fishermen’s pueblo.

 

Pretty much outta gas, outta money  and out’ve prospects.  And almost outta batteries in my flashlight.  Great.  Just great.

 

When morning hit, all I knew was that I’d be headed down the road to somewhere that only tomorrow knew.

 

Obviously, I also knew that I wasn’t going to be coming home for Christmas.  Because well…for the time being,  my mini-van was home.  Right here.  Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine that I’d be in Mexico for Christmas.

 

Pulled off the shoulder on an empty highway.

 

My Christmas “dinner” that night was a sumptuous feast of canned chicken soup cooked on my single burner camp stove.  Washed down with the last warm Coke I had sloshing in the melted ice water of my cooler.

 

And tonite, like many nights lately, I’d be hunkered in my old mini-van.  Living large.

 

I unrolled my sleeping bag and shook it to make sure no critters had crawled in.  The winter nights are cold, windy and clear in the desert.

 

Sleeping in the van stretched out among my gear wasn’t luxury. It was a necessity.

 

“Come to sunny Mexico!” say the brochures.  “It’ll be fun!” they said.  “It’ll be WARM!” they said.  Someone screwed that up.  Mostly me. Plans had gone catawompus…left of center.

 

This sure was a different Christmas.

 

No gifts.  No family or friends.  No Christmas parades or shopping.  I would have been grateful for a cold turkey sandwich let alone a hot plate of mom’s roasted bird covered with gravy.

 

I used to bitch about hearing Christmas carols for weeks before Christmas.  And the endless Christmas TV shows.   And now it would be great to hear even one corny Rudolph song.  One Frosty.  One RUM-Pa-Pum-Pum little drummer boy.

 

Where are you Charlie Brown?  I know how you felt when no one liked your little tree.

 

No cell phones back then. I couldn’t even call anyone to let them know where I was or how I was doing.  Those were my “knucklehead days.” They weren’t talking to me much back then anyway.

 

I really didn’t need to hear, “I told you so…”

 

But still…

 

No gaudy Christmas lights.  Nothing except a few lights coming from the hardscrabble little pueblo I had passed about a mile back down the road.

 

Just another typical dusty cluster of concrete block homes set in the saddle of some low hills.  Mini- trucks that probably never had hubcaps.  A  rider-less kid’s bike left against a fence, probably when someone got called for dinner.

 

Just like me.  Stuck in the middle of nowhere and not really going anywhere either.  At least not this Christmas night.

 

Especially in the dark, a colorless Baja landscape except for the faded wind-scoured Coca Cola and Tecate signs someone painted a generation ago against a wall.

 

And some tired  political graffiti about voting for somesuch guy who promised to change all this.

 

       “SOY TU REPUESTA! Juntos por el Futuro!” (I’M YOUR ANSWER! Together for the future!)

 

Right.  Politicians and promises never change.  No matter the country.

 

I had passed through the pueblito earlier,  but decided it would be better to pull off the road outside of town.  No sense causing a stir with a strange van parked on their road with an even stranger guy sleeping inside.

 

From my distance, there was surely no sense that it was Christmas.  No colored lights.  Surely no music or semblance of a holiday.  Just me singing the blues in my own head.

 

No other lights except the stars on a clear dark cold night. The kind of stars you can see when there’s no other lights.  And shooting stars too.

 

And one shooting slowly over that little town.

 

And a goofy thought.

 

About another town. Many many years ago.

 

In the middle of nowhere.  No lights.  Maybe some non-descriptn dusty block houses not unlike these.

 

Folks inside just going about their lives. Simple dinners over.  Maybe going to sleep. Just another day. Snuff out the candle or lamp.   Another night.  Nothing changes.

 

Including the night sky.  The same sky.  The exact same stars.  No changes.

 

Yea.  It’s the same night sky.  Gotta be. Thousands of years.  They don’t change.

 

Tried to wrap my tired brain around that one.

 

Maybe the only ones who took notice were some guys on the nightshift watching their animals.  Guys like me, trying to fend off the cold.

 

Who looked up.  Just like I was doing.  Because there was really no place else to look.

 

The story says they saw something up there. In the night sky.  Two milleniums past.

 

And maybe these same stars saw something as well.  Down here.  In a desert town.  Middle of nowhere.

 

Somehow there was a promise that night.  A hope?  Maybe not graffiti’d on a wall.  But something happened that night.

 

And these same stars were there. Back then.

 

And maybe some guys hanging on a windswept desert hill saw something up there too.

 

So say the stories.

 

Or maybe they were just tired and ate some cheap chicken soup.

 

That part wasn’t in the stories.

 

But it was getting colder and the wind was coming up. I climbed into my van and into my sleeping bag.

 

And, for some reason, Christmas wasn’t so bad or lonely anymore.

 

RUM-Pa-Pa-Pum…

 

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

______________

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:

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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CAN’T HAVE TOO MUCH

images (1)

CAN’T HAVE TOO MUCH

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

In my last column, I had written about the fact that when fishing in Mexico, live bait sometimes just isn’t available.  This can be especially true during the winter months due to weather or other variables that can’t be controlled.

 

So, what do you do?  Cancel the trip and go back to your hotel room?  Throw or troll lures all day?

 

Over the years, I’ve often been asked about bringing down frozen bait like squid.  Frankly, I never say no.  Even if there’s plenty of live bait available, if someone wants to bring some down or buy some, that’s fine by me.

 

It’s one of those things like being rich…or being too skinny…you can’t be too rich or too skinny.  Relatively speaking.

 

And in my book, bait is one of those things that it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.  I’d rather have too much than not enough.

 

To me, the best universal bait in Baja is squid.  Pretty much everything eats squid.  There are even times when squid works better than live bait.  For example, I’ve hooked some of my largest tuna, on squid.

 

Trolled, chunked, cast, jigged…it all works.  And it’s better than nothing and sometimes it’s better than anything.

 

But, you don’t just want any kind of squid.

 

Leave that frozen stuff they sell at the bait shop home.  Fresh dead squid is the best.  Believe me, fish know the difference.

 

If it’s fresh caught and never been frozen, all the better.  That would be my first choice.

 

Rather than bring it down to your Baja destination, see if one of the local markets has some fresh squid or the fish sellers at the farmer’s market in town.  It’s not only fresh, but it’s as cheap as you’ll find it short of catching your own.

 

Absent that, if you’re bringing some from home, again hit up the fresh stuff from the seafood market or fish counter at the supermarkt.  If it has to be frozen stuff, make sure it’s table quality squid that’s for human consumption.

 

To bring it down, you’ll have to freeze it anyway.  If you have a vacuum sealer, great. If not, use small ziplock-style freezer bags and portion it out, so you use only what you need for the day.

 

There’s nothing worse than defrosting a 5-pound chunk of frozen squid on a boat in an ice chest, bait tank or…in the sun!!!

 

It’s not only going to make a stinky mess, but at the end of the day, you’ll have issues with the un-used squid and storing the goopy glop for the next day’s fishing.

 

Year’s ago, I had some fishing clients who forgot their defrosted squid in the trunk of their rental car.  By the time they remembered it, it was late and after a few dinner margaritas.

 

They figured it would be OK.  It was night.

 

Well, nights in Baja are still 85 degrees and the plastic bag leaked right into the trunk carpeting…right under the rear seats and into the floorboards.

 

Come morning, they couldn’t even get into the rental car without gagging.  Good thing they bought insurance!

 

Once you have the squid ready to use, there’s no end to the techniques.

 

Slow troll a whole squid behind the boat.

 

Pin a whole squid or strips of squid to a trolling lure for scent and action and drag it behind the boat.

 

Pin some on a lure and cast or jig with it.

 

Send some down on a hook with a weight, dropper loop style, and a half-dozen reef beasts will be all over it including, pargo, cabrilla, grouper, snapper and more.

 

Chunk with it.

 

Cut it into chunks and toss handfuls into a slow current as you drift.  In the middle of the sinking chunks bait up another chunk of whole squid on a hook.

 

With your line slack and in freespool, let your baited hook drift down with the rest of the chunks.  This is a dynamite way to get hooked up.

 

Keep your line slack and in freespool so it stays with the rest of the chunks.  If your line suddenly starts ripping up, remember “dead bait doesn’t swim.” Flip the brake and set the hook!

 

There’s some fish, like dorado, that specifically like live bait. Dead stuff doesn’t get them too interested unless they are already in a frenzy.

 

But, you can use the chunked squid as chum. It gets the dorado coming to the boat so you can toss a lure or a whole squid and them and “swim” it back to the boat.

 

You can also cut up and pulverize a bunch of squid and make a chum bucket using a small mesh bag hung over the side of the boat or weighted down and hung at depth to attract fish.

 

If you want to supercharge it, add in some commercially bought fish scent to the bag as well.  It’ll leave a nice slick of scent in the water and you never know what might show up!

 

If you have limited live bait, there’s one really nifty trick I learned years ago from one of my captains.  You can put a live bait into the body cavity of a squid.  It will swim!  Just put a hook into it and let it do it’s stuff.

 

And, as a fallback…if all else fails!

 

Fresh squid great deep fried or made into calamari salad!

unnamed

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:

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.”

 

 

Read Full Post »

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