CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Jonathan Roldan – BAJA BEAT

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Thursday, March 14, 2019
On second thought…
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
The zing-powie fish


I’m voting you off the island
Is it just me?

We have now been on the road criss-crossing the country since just after Christmas. All these fantastic fishing/hunting/sportsman shows from Denver to Seattle and Long Beach to Salt Lake City and many more.


jillandjohathan
JILL AND JONATHAN.

Jill and I haul our booth and a zillion pounds of brochures and flyers in our vehicle and promote our Tailhunter Sportfishing operation in La Paz, but also just visiting Baja and Mexico in general.


It’s been a wonderful run.


For almost 25 years, we hit the road for almost four months. Add in another 15 other years for other fishing businesses and that’s about 40 years of shaking hands, smiles and good will.


It’s been a privilege and an honor to see so much of our great country and visit so many wonderful folks. Even more so to host them, their friends and family with us in Baja.


Most of our clients become our friends. And we’re now into two or three generations. It has been one of my life’s great joys.


So, what’s changed? And indeed, is it just me? Or are all of us just a little more on edge? More flinty. More intolerant. Less sensitive or overly sensitive at the same time. Sometimes over the same thing and at the same time.


It started a few years ago during our shows.


People directly confronting us or out of the side of their mouths saying things like:


“Why’d they let people like YOU into this show?”


“All dirty Mexicans like you should be killed.”


“We can’t believe you’re up at this show trying to make people go to THAT country!”


I’m not proud to say that a few times I rose to the bait and we had some confrontations at the booth. I hate when someone gets in my face and jabs a finger in my chest, especially when I’m trying to get everyone to stand down.


Some don’t dare say it to me, but I hear them say it to my wife. And, that I won’t take. Say it to my face if you have something to say.


And, no, it wasn’t isolated in just certain places. It happened in almost every state and city we visited. But only now and then.


I just chalked it up to ignorance. Or too much alcohol walking around through the show. Can’t fix stupid.


And believe me, it’s just one tiny-eenie-weenie part of the thousands of folks we chat with every year.


No, we’re not Mexican. We’re very American and very proud of it.


But, I’m also proud of the work we do and all the happy times we’ve provided. I’m proud to also represent Mexico and it’s people and hopefully open a few eyes to new experiences and a wonderful culture.


By the same token, I feel we represent Americans as well. We strive to be good ambassadors in Mexico because, well… we’re Americans and we will be judged by our actions.


So, what’s happening?


At the shows, the complexion of people seems to have changed. So many folks still come to our booth to ask about fishing and vacations and laugh over fishing stories.


But increasingly, people come up to the booth not to ask about vacations or if the hotel rooms have air-conditioning or how big are the fish in August.


They have opinions to share. And we’re sitting ducks in our booth.


More belligerent. More confrontational. More argumentative. More contradictory. More profane.


You say that something like “Sir…In the past 10 years, the best time to catch tuna is the summer months!”


Here’s a response…


“Well, you’re full of crap. I have a friend who has a friend and he fished twice there in Baja and he caught tuna in winter!”


And it’s said with emphasis on the C-word and inches from my face. A challenge.


“OK, Sir. I don’t doubt your friend’s friend has caught tuna, but I’ve been in Mexico almost 30 years and…”


Before I can even finish…


“So, you’re calling me a liar? I guess just like all Mexicans, you just wanna take people’s money and talk sh-t!”


Or this conversation:


“We never listen or care about limits. Whenever we go to Mexico, screw the limits. We kill whatever we want to kill and as much as we want.”


“Amigo… Uh, that’s illegal!”


“So what? Every Mexican captain or Mexican can be bought off if you give him enough money. (Ha!Ha!) That’s why we go to Mexico because rules don’t apply! We can do whatever we want. Who cares what Mexico or Mexicans think?”


“Well, that’s not how it works for me. Or my employees or my captains. It’s not only illegal and unethical, but I don’t know any LEGITIMATE operator where we live that would tolerate that or would risk their business or reputation doing that!”


“Then you’re all idiots! (Guffaw guffaw!)"


And he makes a point to point that stupid finger at my face. Cute.


He tries logic.


“Like when we catch marlin. Last time we went, I caught and boated a marlin. There’s 3 other guys on the boat. It’s not fair to them that they don’t get to kill a marlin too, is it?


“The limit is one per day, Pal…”


“Well, it’s a stupid rule and you’re stupid for not letting your clients catch what they want because if you don’t, there’s plenty of other Mexicans willing to play ball!”


My hackles are up… count, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… take a breath.


Look… I have a business to run and payroll to make and I surely love earning a buck. But, for the first time in decades, I’m reserving the right to fire clients. Sometimes even before they are clients…


I do the same to folks who stand at my booth and rail on all the things wrong with the U.S. and Americans and how it’s all gone to hell in a hand basket. And on and on.


There’s a time and place. The counter of my booth isn’t it. It’s a fishing booth, not your soapbox to tell me all the things you hate about our country or people.


“You just need to move on. I really don’t want you down to visit us. I do not want you or your money or your business. You’re not worth the energy."


And their eyes pop open! And they go…


”Whaaaa…? You don’t want me?”


As if they’ve paid their entry ticket to the event and it entitles them to spew vitriol at me and I’d better well stand and listen to it. And how dare I refuse to listen and not want their business or listen to their opinions.


Well, yes I can. You have a right to your opinon, but I have a right not to have to listen either.


Yessir. You, sir, are voted off the island! Seeeee ya!


And these are no longer isolated incidents. That’s the sad part.


A day doesn’t seem to go by at the shows these days when at least once or more when someone has something to get off their chest on us. It’s either because we’re handy targets or directly fired at us because of what we do.


People are angrier.


They’re more emboldened to speak their minds with no filters. Maybe it’s social media. Maybe it’s just the times we live in. Maybe it’s just me lacking much patience for haters.


In that respect, I’m angrier too. And it takes a lot to get me angry.


Just be on notice.


If you’re gonna spew hate and nonsense about me, my work, my wife, employees or both my countries of Mexico AND America, I have no hesitation to telling you that I don’t need you. You’re already wrecking my day standing in front of me yapping your pie-hole.


Twenty years ago — heck even five years ago — I’d have sucked it up and smiled and accepted their money and booked them to come down and fish. I’m learning to say “no” in my old age. I can be a butthead too.


I’m not going to let that ugliness ruin it for so many other incredible folks who just want to have a good time with friends and family.


Nor will I let you come down and show our Mexican friends another side of ugly Americans and let you taint all of us. No, sir. Not everyone is like you.


Just my two cents.


Reader Comments

Mexicans are Americans. There's a whole bunch of different Americans.
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