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Jonathan Roldan – BAJA BEAT

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Friday, September 27, 2019
C.P.R. for FISH


Running leaner
There’s that old saying, “Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”

If you’re a fisherman like me, you’ve got toys. Lots of toys. And we like to play with our toys and surround ourselves with lots of our toys. Deep inside, we’re still little boys.


Just the way we are.

So, when I go on fishing trips, I want to bring all my toys with me. Bring the whole garage full if possible. And use them all too.


And you want back-up gear for your backup gear.


A 3-day fishing trip to Baja?


Well, let’s see.


Eight sticks… 2 trolling rods… 4 bait rods… 2 jig sticks. Check.


Of course, that means 8 reels to match. And 3 extra reels in case there’s a malfunction, like if a handle falls off or you burn out the drags. Check.


Terminal tackle:


— 50 hooks of each size


— 20 jigs in all colors and shapes


— 5 pounds of lead


— 20 trolling feathers


— Squid jigs


— Large, medium and small rod belts / harnesses


— Leader material in all sizes from 10- to 100-pound- test


— … and of course, something to carry it all in. Check.


— 100-quart ice chest? Check.


Over the years, I’ve seen anglers bring some other weird stuff too!


— One guy brought his own anchor.


— Another brought a machete.


— A fish-finder and battery.


— A large, battery-operated bait tank.


— A fish caller that made sounds underwater to “call fish.”


— A harpoon. Yeah… a full-sized harpoon.


C’mon, man!


But, in all honesty, it’s great to have it but for just a few days on the water, how much do you really need? How much will you realistically use?


Especially in these days of airlines increasing the restrictions on the size and weight of luggage and the prohibitive fees for exceeding those restrictions, it’s time to re-evaluate.


If it’s you and a buddy, consider combining your gear, as much as it hurts to share. Put all your rods in one container. Share hooks, jigs and other equipment.


Downsize! There are some great travel rods out there these days that will literally fit in an overhead compartment.


Ask your charter operator what you really need. Maybe they already have some or all of your gear and it’s good stuff. Leave what you don’t need at home.


If you’re chasing dorado, there’s no need to pack a Penn 50W International. Match your reels to what you will realistically be targeting. Or consider bringing lighter gear and use the heavier gear provided.


For taking fish home, consider soft-sided coolers. Hard-side ice-chests weigh a lot with absolutely nothing in them. Soft-coolers weigh only a few pounds and you can put a lot more fish in them and still stay under the airline weight restrictions. Plus, they’re a lot easier to haul around too.


I’m not talking about cold coolers like you bring ice cream home from the market or keep your drinks cold at a tailgate picnic. These are genuine cold bags that are often airline-rated and will keep your fillets frozen for many hours, or even a day or two.


These coolers are also great on a boat. They will keep drinks and ice colder longer than a hard-sided cooler. Plus, again, a lot easier to handle than a hard-sided cooler.


You also want to check your airlines too. Some, like Southwest, allow for free bags. Others might be cheaper, but charge a lot for luggage and especially for being over-weight or over-sized.


One other thing, consider leaving some of your gear behind for your captain or crew. It’s a great goodwill gesture, although it should NOT be done in lieu of a tip.


Gear is expensive in Mexico and would be extremely welcome as a gift. Do you really need to drag home all that lead or 10 jigs? It will help lighten the load home.


Either way, leave the harpoon in the garage!


Jonathan can be reached at his Tailhunter Sportfishing Fleet in La Paz at www.tailhunter.com.


• • • • •

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