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Posts Tagged ‘whalewatching’

Tell Them Bring the Salad Next Time!

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PEACE OFFERING or DID THE SPANISH GET PUNKED?

NEXT TIME TELL THEM TO BRING THE SALAD INSTEAD!

Originally Published the Week of March 14, 2018 in Western Outdoor News

I’m a fan of history and enjoy finding little obscure bits of historical trivia.  I recently came across a story about our own city of La Paz where we live.

 

If you ever have a chance to visit the city,  I hope you get  the opportunity to visit the city cathedral in the town square.  It’s not a big city.  The cathedral is not hard to find.

 

 

The first thing that will strike you is that it sure doesn’t look like your typical Spanish-style mission so common up-and-down the Baja and into California.

 

It is strikingly absent of the long sepia-colored arched breezeways and adobe walls usually associated with mission architecture.  On the contrary, the La Paz cathedral is kind of square and blocky-looking.

 

It has two atypical  massive bell towers that look more fortress-like than other mission churches.  Heavy stone blocks and concrete masonry have been described as “sober neo-classical” in design.  It doesn’t sound too exciting, but nonetheless, it’s a big church!

 

Indeed, it looks different because it is.

 

Most other missions were constructed by Spanish Jesuit missionaries and conquistadores in the 1600’s and 1700 hundreds.  La Paz didn’t complete it’s house of worship until the latter part of the 1800’s.

 

According to the history, when the Spanish first arrived, they didn’t come as benevolent emissaries of church and crown.  Actually, they showed up as violent buttheads and took a heavy brutal hand to the local indigenous population.  They had no problem applying armor, cannons and musket to get their point across.

 

The locals didn’t take kindly to it and battled back.  And won.  Booted the Spanish right out.

 

This happened again and again.  Something between 5 and 8 incursions by the Spanish were made in La Paz to set up a colony.  In each case, the locals either whupped up on the padres and their military escorts or simply made it difficult to for the Spanish colonists to sustain the outpost.

 

The natives would cut off water; damage crops; and made it impossible for supply trains and ships to replenish and re-inforce the beleaguered  colonists. Life in the New World was hard  and brutal enough let alone being harassed by belligerent tribes.

 

So, the Spanish would pack up and sail away.

 

At least until the next intrepid group of helmet-headed imperialists showed up.

 

According to the story, during one of these attempts, the Spanish thought they were making some headway with the locals.  Rather than attack, the tribesmen presented the Spanish with many loaves of native papaya bread.

 

A welcome gift and gesture indeed!  The Spanish were thrilled with this apparently peaceful overture.  So, thrilled that they decided to have a fiesta to celebrate the wondrous gift of the delicious bread. A bit like the colonists at the first Thankgiving.

 

It was during this fiesta that the Spanish found out that the natives had a special method to making their bread.

 

The natives loved papaya and would consume the entire fruit wasting nothing.  This included the skin, meat and seeds.  It was their traditional way.

 

So far so good.  The key words are “wasting nothing.”

 

The most interesting part was that the tribespeople would then gather up the “previously digested seeds.”  Use your imagination.

 

The seeds ground into the flour used to make this special “Baja Bread” …wasting nothing!

 

Upon hearing this, the Spanish pretty much choked and gagged in” mid-chew” thinking about the origins of their yummy bread.

 

They were mad. Fighting mad at what they perceived was a cruel and sinister joke.  No one was laughing.  The Spaniards thought they got punked big time.  Talk about a “party fail!”

 

And once again, hostilities broke out.  The Spanish had no sense of humor and much blood was spilled over breaking bread.

 

A peace offering misunderstood and gone awry?  Or a dastardly prank pulled on the Spanish masters and padres?

 

We will never know.

 

But the natives again rose up and pummeled the Spanish back to the mother country.

 

I love history.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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


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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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FOR BETTER OR WORSE

Tony Reyes

FOR BETTER OR WORSE

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 1, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

We’re on the road doing our fishing/ hunting show circuit these days.  We just finished shows in Denver and Sacramento and, as I write this, my loptop is bouncing on my lap as we rumble down up the highway towards our next show in Seattle.

 

God bless her.  Jilly is driving our rig through the rain so I can tap away on the computer and make my deadline!

 

We’ve been at this now over 2 decades and I field a lot of questions at these shows while we meet-and-greet in  our booth.  At the last show, I got into a little round-robin with some old-timers and Baja rats.

 

A lot of the “opinions” started with…

 

“Back in the day…”

“I remember this time when…”

“You should have seen…”

“You would not have believed what we saw…”

 

Most were of the opinion that Baja fishing is not what it used to be or that it’s been ruined.  Most of these guys were fishermen that used to come down a lot and had great memories and stories of “the way it used to be.”  Most of them don’t come down much or at all these days.

 

Either their travel days were behind them or they just didn’t think it was worth it anymore.

 

Some incredible stories to listen to.

 

I had to agree with them…somewhat.

 

The days of Ray Cannon and John Steinbeck are long gone.  I’ll agree with that.  It’s not the same “frontera” of crystal waters, dirt roads and remote fishing villages.  But what is the same these days?   Everything changes.  Some for better.  Some for worse.

 

I’ve seen a lot of changes in my own time.  My first Baja experiences took place 40 years ago.  I’ve been running a fishing operation almost 25 years.  I think I have a pretty unique perspective.

 

I’m not a visitor or a tourist.  I don’t come fishing for 3 days a year every other year during the summer.

 

I’m at ground zero every single day.  I don’t get my reports reading the internet or fishing magazines.  My hands smell fishy every day and it’s my reports that others read!

 

So, yes, I do remember the days when there were so many dorado and the roosterfish were thick.  I remember those halcyon days of catching a dozen marlin before breakfast.

 

I remember having to siphon gas into the outboard very morning with my mouth before fishing.   I remember chasing burros off the dusty airstrip so the plane could land. I remember commercial flights for $69 and how pissed I was when it was raised to $89!  Robbery!!!

 

I remember days when ice was a luxury and gasoline was hand-pumped out’ve 55-gallon drums and filtered through a t-shirt.  And the gas was green!  Toilet paper and fan belt hoses were equally valuable if you were travelling.

 

And, I’ve straddled the “new age” when convenience stores dot the highway.  Any hotel without a foo-foo day spa isn’t worth staying it.  Cruisers with more electronics than a moon shuttle ply the ocean.  Fishermen travel with nannies and instead of Volkswagen mini-vans, Hummers and Mercedes now pull up next to me at traffic signals.

 

And then there’s the fishing.

 

I don’t think it’s bad.  It’s just different.  And it’s still spectacular.  And there’s no place else like it in the world.  This giant finger called the Sea of Cortez is still a big giant fish trap ripe for exploration and discovery.

 

What I tell folks is it’s all cyclical.

 

If you based your fishing opinons on fishing only occasionally or fishng  the last few seasons, it was honestly very very scratchy.  Those were El Nino years.  Atmospheric and meteorological phenomenon subjected the Baja to crazy ocean temperatures; tides; currents; and anamolies.   It surely affected the fishing.

 

If you just used that as your criterion, then Baja fishing was in the dumpster.

 

But, like so many things on the planet, it’s all part of a cycle.  El Nino wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last.   Mother Earth has been doing this long before T-Rex trod the dirt and will continue doing it long after you and I are gone.

 

But, during those same years, areas in northern Baja and S.California experienced and continue to experience some of the best tuna, wahoo, dorado catches in decades.  It’s still going on in record numbers.

 

Eventually, it will also end…and something new will start.  Right?

 

Last year, down in Baja, water conditions were more normalized.  El Nino went it’s way.  The bait came back.  The water temperatures were more conducive to the deep-water nutrients returning to the waters.

 

And sure enough, last year was a largely great year for much of Baja.  Fish were bigger and more plentiful.  Tuna, wahoo and giant roosterfish came on strong. Billfish moved back in.  It wasn’t like the “old old days” but by golly, it was like the “good new days.”

 

The other side of the equation is that I think fishermen and locals alike are taking better care of the ocean than they used to.   There’s a stronger awareness that this is a finite resource.

 

Seawatch groups have sprung up to monitor illegal poaching and activities.  Marine parks have flourished.  There are restricted areas where fishing is prohibited to allow species to proliferate.  There’s much more catch-and-release by sportsmen as well as locals.  Efforts are being made to keep and maintain the pristine nature of the ocean.

 

 

It’s a constant vigilance and awareness and there’s still so much to be done and there’s still a lot of bad stuff going on.  There’s a constant battle with legal and illegal commercial fishing and the political/ economic battles in a country that struggles to feed it’s people.

 

There’s the push-pull of development and the ecology.  There’s still pollution.  Just like every other country.

 

I don’t have my head in the sand and I’m not saying this because it’s my business bringing fishermen down.   Battles are being won and lost every day.  There’s some incredible problems to be faced.

 

But, overall, fishing in the Baja is still a place unlike any other.  There are more species than anywhere else.  You can still catch your dream fish and you can bend a rod until your arms are sore.  There’s still so much to see and discover.

 

I’ve seen a lot in my time here in Baja.  And there’s still not a day on the water that I’m amazed.  And blessed.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO
 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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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KINGS of the WILD FRONTIER

BEAR

And you went paddleboarding this weekend? 

KINGS of the WILD FRONTIER

Originally Published the Week of January 17, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

“Freedom is being able to do what you want…

…Happiness is enjoying what you do!”

 

We’re in the vast cavernous bowels of the Denver Convention Center setting up our Tailhunter Sportfishing booth for what will be our 23rd year running trips in La Paz.  It’s my 20th continuous year on the show circuit.  Maybe my 40th year doing shows.  I can’t remember!

 

Three months we leave Baja and spend it in the U.S.

 

We do 12-14 shows that usually run 3-5 days each.  In the booth talking, shaking hands and socializing with friends, clients and the public.  “Meet-and Greet” time.

 

Each show has hundreds of other vendors from around the world exhibiting hunting, fishing, camping, boating and all manners of associated gear.  There’s barkers and hawkers and seminars and it’s basically our “outdoor version” of the circus-come-to-town.

 

This week Denver.  Then Sacramento.  Followed by Portland…Salt Lake City…Bakersfield and Boise…Long Beach and Phoenix…and…

 

Well, I get confused after that!  I have a small brain. I’ve been doing this a long time.

 

And we look forward to the carnival and being on the road and seeing all our old friends and clients.  It’s a good time to catch-up.  I good time to relive great adventures!

 

But, as we set up our booth for the first time this year, I look around at the other vendors setting up.  I especially look forward to seeing them.

 

It’s been a year since the last show season ended.

 

How’d YOUR season go? Did the salmon show up in numbers? Did those snowstorms hit you? Look at the rack on that elk!  Dang, that was a huge halibut! An avalanche trapped you in the pass for a week?  You broke your foot when a water buffalo charged you?  And the client trampled you? Congratulations on the new lodge you built!

 

After several decades, it’s good to know who’s still standing…who’s retired…who’s trying to retire…who’s got their kids now running the operation now…and who sadly “finally got pulled down by the wolves.”

 

Anyone worth their salt in the outdoor business will tell you it’s not easy being a survivor and thriver.

 

Your livelihood is dependent on the capriciousness of Mother Nature; the seeming illogic of politics, economy and regulations; the ever-changing tastes of the public;  the encroachment of “civilization.”

 

And just plain luck.

 

Yup, they put a dam on our river.

A hurricane hit us the busiest week of the year when we were sold out.

The snowpack never pushed the herds of game down the mountain.

The new regulations cut the limits in half and the season cut by a month.

Gas prices went up another 20 cents.

Those lands are now closed to public hunting.

They just jacked up the tourist tax by 10%.

Some rich guy bought up that whole side of the mountain…and fenced it off.

CNN just reported that 10 more people got sick at that resort.

Two of the three airlines that fly to us just up-and- quit flying to us.

There’s a new mega-resort being built on that pristine beach.

 

But, I look around.

 

And there’s Joe and Mary.  Forty years of trophy hunting.  They operate a pack train in Alberta, Canada.  Up a mountain.  They say it gets -30 in the winter and they don’t/ can’t leave their cabin.  Completely off the grid.  She can skin a deer.  He can still chop trees.  With an axe. He can spot game with his eyes that you can only see looking through your high-powered scope.

 

Ralph, Paul and Cole are up there somewhere near the Arctic Circle.  Built themselves a lodge with their own hands and native help.  Fly in.  Fly out.  No phones.  But 200 miles of empty river and shore to fish and hunt.  Need something?  Bring it in or do without.  Build it yourself or improvise.

 

Sammy is somewhere in the South American jungles.

 

Found an isolated village of natives along a river straight out’ve Jurassic Park. Built a rustic fishing resort for fishing peacock bass and 400-pound arapaima that lurk in those tea-colored waters.

 

In the meantime, Sam also built a school, medical facility and several industries so his locals would have regular jobs.  He’s working on a small lumber mill too.

 

And there’s Joey.  He’s like a modern-day Daniel Boone or Jeremiah Johnson.   If you saw, Leo de Caprio in the “Revanant,” that’s Joe.

 

He’s a bush pilot; airplane mechanic; tractor-operator; river guide; naturalist; eco-guide and during the season, big game hunter.  Specialty is giant Kodiak grizzly bears.  GIANT bears that can stand 10’ tall; weigh almost 1 ton with a 24-inch paw.

 

Spends weeks in the bush climbing mountains; crossing frozen streams and trekking over glaciers with a 150-pound pack and rifle with his clients.  He’s the guy standing BEHIND his client with an BIGGER rifle in case his client misses. He makes sure an even bigger bear doesn’t come up from behind!

 

Oh…then he carries the meat on his back DOWN the darned mountain for you too. And, our course, you want the hide and head for a trophy!

 

And, it’s good to see Louie over there setting up HIS booth. He’s 70 now, but has the swimmer’s physique of a 30-year-old.  He’s from South Africa.  He’ll take you to freedive with “Mr. Grinner” the great white shark.  No cage.  No tanks.  You hold your breath.  And your heart!

 

I’ve seen Louie hold his breath for almost 5 minutes underwater!

 

Just you, a mask a snorkel and a wetsuit that makes you look just like a tasty sealion.  Lovely.

 

South Africa is where “Shark Week” gets all it’s great footage to boost their ratings.  I once asked him what do you do when a great white swims overhead and you’re on the bottom?

 

“You keep very still and hold your breath as long as you can!” He laughed back.

 

But what if you can’t hold your breath that long?  “You’d be amazed how a 20’ great white can keep you from breathing!”

 

And on-and-on.  There’s several hundred of these incredible spirits exhibiting at these hunting and fishing shows.  But with each year, they dwindle.  Just like the outdoors they inhabit.

 

It does my heart good to know there’s folks like this still out there. And to call them my friends.

 

And there’s still places to go to find people like this.  And you and I can still go there.  Hope you come to visit!

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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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I SWEAR IT WAS THIS BIG

exaggeration

I SWEAR IT WAS THIS BIG! 

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

 

“All fishermen are born honest…but they eventually grow out’ve it.”…Anonymous sign posted on a fishing shack

 

“Jonathan, come down quick, I’ve got a huge fish.  It could be a record!”

 

Over the several decades in the fishing business down here in Baja, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that.

 

There was a day and time when I’d go rushing over with camera, scale, and tape measure.  Hey, it’s Baja!

 

More world records pop out’ve Baja waters than any other place on the planet.  Line class and weight class records are set every year.

 

I used to stumble over myself sprinting over to the massive fish and beaming fisherman.  Couldn’t get there fast enough.

 

If it wasn’t a call for a “world record” it was a call to check out some no less massive creature from the deep.

 

I admit I’ve gotten older and slower through the years, but I don’t quite sprint over like I used to.   At least not with the same urgency!

 

I have not curbed my enthusiasm by any means.  If an angler is excited and thinks it’s a big fish, then by gosh, I’m excited about that big fish too!

 

But logically, not every fish is going to be a “world record.”  Logically, not every dorado is a “fifty-pound beast.”  Not every roosterfish or wahoo weighs 80 pounds!

 

But, if someone is excited about it, then it’s very likely the largest fish that proud angler has caught…or the first…or prettiest…  It really doesn’t matter.

 

It’s an important fish and I’m excited about it too.

And, despite jokes to the contrary, “size matters.”

 

Actually, it’s all that matters.  But, like we all know, size is relative.

 

I’ve gotten pretty good after all those years after handling thousands of fish.  I can  eye-ball the size of a fish and can give a pretty good estimate on size.

 

So, like I said, I don’t quite hustle down the beach with all available speed any longer.

 

I don’t want to bust anyone’s bubble or temper their excitement so I’ll “conveniently” say, “Darnit,  I forgot my scale, but that’s a dandy fish!”

 

I’ll give a generous estimate and I make sure I take a photo if at all possible with lots of well-deserved genuine high-fives…low-fives…knuckle-bumps and back-slapping.

 

The best part is listening to the stories of the great catch.  Having clients who return year-after-year, gives me a great opportunity to hear the story over and over.

 

Having our own restaurant and bar is also an excellent venue to hear the stories, especially as the beer and margaritas flow.

 

And sometimes, oh my…how the story and size change!

 

There’s the quote that goes, “May I catch a fish so big that I don’t have to lie about the size when I tell the story later.”

 

Fishermen are among the best story-tellers on the planet.   Ever since the first cave-dwellers came back from the hunt to share exploits around the fires with the rest of the tribe, story-telling is part of the excitement and fun.

 

But, y’know, there really ARE some fish that need to be put on the scale and remove all doubt.

 

We finally got a very expensive IGFA scale that will weigh fish up to 2000 pounds and has to be certified ever year.  It’s come in handy a time or two.

 

Now, I don’t suggest you go out and do that.  For years, I got along very well and still carry some inexpensive hand-held devices in my tackle bag.

 

One is a little battery-operated hand-scale.  A number of companies make them and, although there are still numerical scales, the digital ones are handier and seem more accurate.

 

They have a big hook on them to hang the fish and, will give you a pretty accurate read-out of the weight of a fish.  They’re pretty handy to weigh your luggage as well.

 

They come in several sizes, but for Baja purposes, I have the ones that have 50-pound limits.  It seems to cover most Baja fish.

 

While normally not certifiably accurate, I’ve actually had several of my devices sent in to check their accuracy.  They were all within ¼ to ½ pound of our expensive certified rig.   Surely close enough!

 

Great for settling debates among friends. Great to decide who wins the jackpot over the largest fish and will be buying drinks at the cantina that night.

 

For larger fish up to 100 pounds, there’s the boga-type grips that look like a handled tube with a claw on the end.  They’re a little pricier and spring loaded.

 

They’re also a bit heavier, since they’re made of steel, but also fit easily in a tackle bag.

 

Using the trigger on the device, the hooks grab a fish by the lips.  When lifted, the springs inside the tube give a read-out of the weight.

 

Works great on larger fish although if it’s a long fish like a wahoo or dorado and you’re short like me, you might need to stand on something so the fish is off the ground.

 

But, it’s also handy if you plan to release the fish.  By “lipping” the fish, you minimize harming it.  You weigh it.  You take a photo and you release the fish to fight another day.

 

But, now you know the truth!  What you do with it and how you tell the story is still up to you.

Honest!

That’s my story (Really!  Believe me!!!)

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO
 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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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SCROOGED at the BORDER

sanysidromexicanborder

Whether coming or going there’s always an uneasy feeling when your car gets searched, but going INTO Mexico, especially during the holidays has some potential pitfalls!

border.crossing

Customs at the airport . The dreaded “red light/ green light.”  If you press the button and it comes up green, you continue on . Get the red light and you get your luggage searched. 

1024x1024

Why are you travelling with so many NEW shoes?  You say it’s a donation to a church?  Or are they really to re-sell? Hmmmmm..

SCROOGED AT THE BORDER

Originally Published the Week of December 17, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

Not that it’s been easy at the border sometimes, but given it’s the Christmas season, it’s getting a little “grinchy” lately.  There’s a lot of holiday traffic coming and going through the crossings.  Same at the airports.

 

Not only are many folks going back-and-forth visiting, but both ways, there’s a lot of shopping going on.  Baja folks shopping in Southern California and Arizona.  Folks in those states are likewise making shopping forays into Baja and northern Mexico as well.

 

If you’ve ever walked or driven across the border into Mexico this time of year, you can see all the bundles of toys and electronics that folks bring back home, especially for the holidays.   Likewise, if you’ve flown into Mexico from the states, you’ve witnessed the same things.

 

Everyone’s got their bundles of joy.  Expect longer slower lines.  It’s just part of it. Folks carrying Iron Man action figures and remote-control trucks over the border.  Folks with bulging bags from “Toys-R-Us” trying to get stuffed into the overhead on the plane.

 

However, there are many folks coming into Mexico landspace that routinely bring good cheer to a higher level.  They bring bags, suitcases, boxes…even truckloads of new and used donations; toys; clothes; shoes; medical supplies, building supplies, educational materials and more.

 

Community groups, church groups, social organizations, fraternal lodges and many many individuals with generous hearts safari into Mexico from all parts.  Their largesse is welcome and needed.

 

However, with increasing incidence, it’s getting more difficult to simply transport donations south.  It’s even more difficult during the holidays.

 

With all of the goods coming across from laptops-to-toys and shoes-to-jackets, the border inspectors have been coming down harder on searching through bags whether at the airport or at the country lines.

 

It’s one thing if you have a new X-Box and have a sales receipt to show them.

 

It’s a different issue if you’re transporting 3 dozen pair of Nike shoes; 2 dozen jackets; two laptops and 3 dozen pairs of Levis.

 

You tell the  inspector they’re donations for an orphanage.  You tell him they were all purchased by your church “back home.”

 

First thing he’s gonna wanna see is if you declared these things for customs to see if you paid the import on them.  Or, if they are even subject to customs.  Do you have a real sales receipt?

 

Where’s the orphanage?  Do you have papers from them?  What Church group are you from?  Are you alone?

 

A lot of folks are legit.  Just doing the good thing.  But, it’s never easy being questioned and it puts a crimp on the good Samaritan attitudes.

 

But, from the inspector’s point-of-view, his job is to check for contraband and lawful import duties and taxes.  It is just as likely you have all these things because you’re going to re-sell them once you get across the border into Mexico.   You wouldn’t be the first.

 

As one inspector told me, “Lots of people lie on their customs forms.”

 

Say it ain’t so!  People don’t tell the truth to the customs agents? Really?

 

So, good people are getting stopped.

 

Before you bring it, know the importation and customs laws.  Bring receipts with you.  It sure helps to have paperwork from the charity you’re delivering to and/or the organization you’re representing, if any.

 

In the half-dozen cases I’ve encountered, they involved individuals or an individual who routinely drove or flew donations down to Mexico.  Never had problems.  Until recently.

 

They all got searched unexpectedly.  And the search was thorough.

 

The majority of them had paperwork and were not required to pay duties.  They were ultimately politely waved through.

 

Two of the others had to pay small duties on the new items they had in their truck (t-shirts and school supplies).  They were able to demonstrate that their other items were used clothing.

 

One officer recognized the name of the orphanage in Ensenada and finally waived them through without penalties.

 

It was still a hassle.  No one blamed the inspectors who were all professional and polite and had a job to do.

 

But all of them said they would make sure to have better documentation with them next time to alleviate and expedite the process.

 

So, God bless you if you’re bringing down donations during the holidays or for that matter, anytime of the year.

 

A little foresight and preparation helps!  That goes for bringing gifts to friends in Mexico as well.  Don’t forget your receipts!

 

Speaking of “inspections” that dreaded “red light/ green light” at the airport customs counter in airports is getting 86’ed.

 

If you’re not familiar, after you get your luggage, you must pass through a customs inspection.  You press a button.  If you get the green light, you get to go out.

 

If you get the dreaded red light, they’re gonna open your bags and riffle through your underwear, fishing gear , toothbrush and iPad.

 

It was like playing airport lottery when you press the button.  Personally, I always try to get behind someone who just got the red light.  The red light rarely comes on twice in a row!

 

No one likes to have their bags opened.  But, Mexico is apparently going completely with x-ray machines now.

 

Orale y Feliz Navidad a todos! Que Dios les bendiga!  Merry Christmas and God bless!

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO
 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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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A Better Fish Fillet

Pancho gaff

Taking care of your fish starts before you even get the fish in the boat!

Sasime tuna chunks

Unbruised firm chilled and ready!

A Better Fish Fillet

Originally Published the Week of Dec 4, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

In addition to having our fishing fleet here in La Paz, we also commercially pack fish as well.  During the season, I’m personally in our “fish cave” 2-5 hours a day handling the fish for our clients.

 

Needless to say, I see a heck-of-a-lot of fish.  We get fish that belongs to our clients as well as other anglers who fish elsewhere or have their own boats.

 

It’s very rewarding to send folks home with some really nicely done fish.  Whether they fish with us or not, isn’t important. I like seeing the smiles knowing they’re taking home the very best memories that go along with those packages of fillets.

 

Even better to get calls or e-mails from folks months later.  Or, even longer!

 

They tell me how surprised they are that the fish still tastes steller and just as good as the day they got it.  It’s gratifying.  YESSSS!!!

 

I love it when folks bring me their fish.  Most of the time, it’s at least already cleaned by the captain or deckhand and I’m just fine-trimming, weighing and portioning it so we can vacuum seal it.

 

However, there are times when I simply cringe seeing the fish that’s brought to me.  I literally hate to send it home with folks.

 

What’s that old adage? “Poop in…poop out?” (add in your own derogatory expletive).

 

It’s like anything else.  If you start with good stuff, you end up with good stuff.  If you give me great fish to work with, I’m gonna send you out with some good stuff too.

 

If only folks would think a little bit, and take better care of their fish, it would make a big difference.  That starts long before they bring me their fish.

 

For example, I know you don’t always have control over it, but whenever possible, go for…or ask for head gaffs on a fish. Not always possible.  And it takes a certain level of skill between the gaffer and the angler.

 

A lot of anglers don’t realize that it takes a bit of finesse to lay out a hot fish “just so” whereby the captain can gaff it in the head.  Sometimes, a captain is just anxious to get the fish in the boat so the client doesn’t lose the fish.  I get it.

 

But, sticking the fish in the head, avoids damaging the tasty valuable meat.  When a fish gets stuck in the body it continues to pump blood into the flesh.  It “bruises”, if you will. A big ugly bruise.  Especially, muscular fish like tuna.

 

So… I get these gorgeous chunks of valuable fish and so much of it is ruined by huge bloody “bruises” in the meat.   It has to be cut-out and discarded.  I’ve had to toss out 10-20% of otherwise perfectly good meat due to bleeding.

 

Along those lines even if you don’t get a head gaff…Once you do get your fish in the boat, give some thought to “bleeding” your fish.  Time constraints in the middle of a hot bite will sometimes prevent this, but if you can do this or ask for it, it makes a huge difference.

 

Simply, while the fish is still alive, cut it by the heart and bleed it. If you can, hold it in the water, the heart will pump out excess blood.

 

When any creature dies, it starts to deteriorate immediately. Logically, so does the blood.

 

When you let a fish pump out it’s blood, it greatly enhances the quality of the meat and taste.  You’ll notice a fresher less fishy flavor and the flesh will have a lighter color to it.

 

Of course, the worst kind of fish I receive is when the fish has not been kept cool after it dies.  Ice is critical.  If not ice, at least, don’t leave it out in the hot Baja sun as some folks do.  It’s literally cooking!

 

The fish comes to me and it almost “dissolves” in my hands.  It falls apart.  It’s mushy. It falls off the bone.  It’s grey and discolored.

 

Tasty tuna, wahoo, snapper…it doesn’t matter.  It might already be starting to stink.  I wouldn’t serve it to our cats.  Unsalvageable.

 

Often, so much if it, I can’t even pack.  In all fairness, I have to throw it away.

 

If it’s somewhat salvageable, I know it’s gonna be crap when the folks eat it and there’s no way to explain once they walk out the door and go home with their fish.  Just such a waste.

 

Another peeve is letting fish sit in water after it’s cleaned.  No plastic bag.  Just sitting and floating around.  Often it’s in the melted ice.  Maybe it’s cool.  Maybe the water is already tepid and warm.

 

Just floating and maybe getting warm.  A lovely “soup” in the making. But either way, two things are happening.

 

It’s breaking down into mush. Maybe not so fast just sitting out in the sun, but on it’s way to falling apart.

 

Second, the fresh water is getting infused into the flesh.  For one, it might not be the best water to begin with.  But, sitting in fresh water, the natural saltiness that makes ocean-fish so tasty is getting lost.  Want bland-tasting fish? Let it soak in fresh water.

 

A quick fresh water rinse is OK.  Letting it soak is tragic.

 

Lastly, you would think it’s common sense.  But avoid the urge to put your fish in the same ice chest as bottles of beer!  If you must join them, use canned beer.

 

You can imagine what happens when beer bottles break in an ice chest full of fish fillets.

 

I’m good, but not that good.  Impossible to pick little pieces of glass out’ve your fish fillets.  I have to tell you all your fish is headed into the trash unless you want to eat pieces of glass!

 

A little thought is well worth it.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO
 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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 They’re Not On The ‘Net, Man!”

5 stars

BUT THEY”RE NOT ON THE ‘NET, MAN!

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 21, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

I’m as guilty as anyone.

 

I don’t think I’m quite a “slave” to social media, but yea, it peeks it’s obtrusive face into my life more than I would like to admit.

 

I’m not one of those constantly buried with my nose in my smartphone. My thumbs aren’t constantly tapping out messages.  I don’t need to “like” or “friend” everyone on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp or all the others.  Thank you, I have enough clutter.

 

But, they do have a time and place.

 

And one of them is when I go to a new place or plan to make reservations. Or I’m on a rare vacation.

 

Darn, I hit those review websites like Trip Advisor, Yelp and Google pretty hard.

 

Half-a-dozen screens open on my laptop!  Do they have 3 stars?  5 stars?  How many reviews do they have?  Someone didn’t like their service?  Beds too hard? Drinks too small?  Noisy kids in the pool?  Overcooked food?  No wi-fi?

 

Compare.  Compare. Compare.

 

Sometimes the information superhighway is just overloaded with too darned much info. Boggles the brain.

 

Hey, everyone gets a bad review every now and then. Even the best.  Not everyone likes Santa Clause, the Pope, or the Dali Lama. Not everyone liked the “Sound of Music” or thinks, Disneyland is the “happiest place on Earth.” So, a bad review now and then won’t deter me.

 

But, a whole bunch of bad reviews is a different animal.  Danger. Danger.

 

A whole lot of good reviews surely helps.

 

But sometimes, it helps to just push yourself away from the screen and keyboard.  Especially in Baja.  Wake up and smell the salt air…the desert…the beans and rice, as it were.  Go all in. Taste the salsa!

 

Use a bit of common sense.  A dash of adventure.  Open your eyes, ears and senses.

 

If it looks good…feels good…other people are there…chances are it IS good.  Even if it’s not listed on some webpage.

 

Some of the best places will never show up on any social media review board.  You’ll never read about the friendly service; the cozy room; the tasty margarita or the best taco you’ve ever had on the internet.

 

The owners and managers themselves aren’t checking their reviews every day and wringing their hands about a bad write-up or counting their good comments proudly.

 

A lot of the best out there don’t know.  Or care.

 

I once offered to write a review in a magazine I worked for of a little-known family-owned hotel that sat at the end of a gravel road on pristine stretch of beach.  The hotel had been in the family for 3 generations.

 

I told the owner it would help bring lots of business. I would also post it on the internet on several blogs that I wrote.  It would be super!

 

The owner smiled and said,“Gracias, that is very kind.  But no thank you. We have enough business and we like it that way.  We don’t want to be so busy.  Just tell your friends you had a good time.  That’s enough.”

 

I had never met someone who didn’t want MORE publicity.  Even free publicity!

 

As his wife explained to me later, more people meant more upkeep, more maintenance, more workers, bigger parking lot, bigger kitchen…more strangers, more amenities, blah blah blah.

 

I got it.  There was something to that.

 

And they were right.  Bigger it not always better.

 

Over the years, I’ve found in Baja that some of the best places are down that dirt or gravel road.  They’re not listed.  You’ll never find if they are rated 2 stars or 5 stars.

 

You’ll find them behind two palm trees and a rickety fence with hand-painted letters.   And a sign pointing toward the beach.

 

They have 6 rooms and little cantina and Mama Maria makes breakfast every morning.  Papa Carlos will show you to your room overlooking the beach.  Son, Danny, laughingly chases the chicken out from behind the bar and makes a mean tequila sunrise. The happy family dog takes handouts.

 

You’ll find another place under a light post on a street corner surrounded by plastic chairs and a line of folks waiting for a fresh sizzling carne asada taco.

 

Luz takes the orders and makes change with a smile. Older brother, Julio handles the grill like a Benihana chef and flirts with the neighbor girls.  Tacos are a buck.  Bottles of Coke or orange soda are in the plastic ice chest.  Help yourself and tell Luz.

 

You’ll find another place 3 blocks from the neon strip and the booming discos.  It’s wedged between a dress shop and a travel agency.  The menus are plastic like the chairs and tablecloth and utensils.

 

The “napkins” are a roll of papertowels.

 

But Vincente the waiter is also the owner.  He promises you the best lobster burrito you’ve ever had.  And he’s right!  Fifty pesos?  About 3 bucks.  Are you kidding me?  Keep the change, Vincente!

 

You ask your taxi driver, Chuy, about a good tour company to take you around town.  He tells you he’ll take you and the family to all the best places and be your personal driver.  Fifty bucks for the whole day.  You take a chance.  What the heck.  All in.

 

He takes you to his favorite restaurants where they treat you like family. He directs you to some great deals on shopping and tells you if they’re charging too much.  Chuy jumps right into the bargaining to buy that sarape and silver bracelet you think you need. Money and laughs exchange hands.

 

He drives you to the best beach and wanders away for a few hours so you have some private time with the family. Barbecued shrimp on a stick?  Coming right up!

 

He takes you to the old cathedral and town square and you listen to local musicians play guitar to the pigeons and doves.

 

None of these people or places will ever be listed on the internet.  You’ll never be able to write a review about them or give them any “stars.”

 

But, you’ll never forget the smiles and experiences either.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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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