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Jonathan Roldan – BAJA BEAT

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Friday, January 17, 2020
The gift
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Family planning


Yes you can
If you’ve already fished in Baja or Mexico or are an old hand south of the border, my column this week might be pretty elementary. You might want to click or turn to the next page and read something else.

My wife Jill and I are on the trade show tour right now. I’ve been doing these fishing / hunting expositions now going on 30 years.


From just after Christmas until almost Easter, we’re on the road. We criss-cross pretty much all of the western United States in our vehicle and, in our booth, appear at these shows. We just finished shows in Denver and Sacramento.


And, I am writing this from our hotel room where we stopped for the night. Tomorrow, we hope to hit Seattle, where we’ll set up for the next show.


At these expos, of course, we’re promoting our own operation in La Paz, Tailhunter Sportfishing. But, I see us doing more than that.


I hope we are also good ambassadors on behalf of Mexico when we are in the U.S. In the same way, I hope we are good ambassadors for the United States when we are at our home in Mexico.


Sure, it’s great if folks wanna ask us about spending vacation time with us fishing and letting us set it all up. That’s our business.


However, I’m more than happy to chat with anyone about Mexico and Baja. I don’t claim to know everything, but in almost 30 years living in Baja, I’ve picked up a few things and tidbits of knowledge.


Folks have questions about road conditions. I had one lady think she could drive from Cabo San Lucas to Loreto in about an hour because it was only “2 inches distant” on the map! That kind of thing (in reality, it’s an all-day drive).


They’ll have questions about the food. Or lodging. Crossing the border. Passports. Medical care. Living in Mexico. Even about fishing in other parts of Baja.


Happy to do it! For whatever my two-cent opinion is worth. If I don’t know, at least, I hope to point folks in the right direction.


And, of course, there’s the usual question that makes me grit my teeth and try to smile.


For instance, just the other day at the Sacramento show, I had someone ask me when is the best time to fish the “salmon runs” in Baja.


Or the guy who walks up to my wife and I standing in our colorful booth adorned with fish picture and videos playing and asks, “So, is the fishing any good there?”


Uh, no.


We’re just standing in the booth for 10 hours and 4 or 5 days a week because the fishing sucks. That’s right up there with the gent who walked up to the booth and said, “So, uh… you guys fish down there in La Paz?”


Please walk to the next booth sir. They’re from Alaska. Their booth has bear and moose and deer photos, and go ahead and ask them if they have hunting there.


But, one very sincere and genuine question I get asked is about taking fish home. When I tell them they are absolutely allowed to take fish home, I am genuinely surprised at how many are shocked.


Many have fished all over the world, but never in Mexico. In many places, it is all catch-and-release. Or they have very restrictive catch regulations.


I always explain that Mexico also has regulations and yes, there are limits. And limits are meant to be observed.


However, within limits and only taking what you can reasonably eat, you are very welcome to bring fish home. In fact, that’s one of the big draws of fishing in Mexico.


Generally speaking, I tell them they are allowed to take up to 10 fish per-person-per-day, and with some exceptions, up to 5 of any one species.


We encourage catch-and-release, and if possible, releasing juveniles and females as well as roosterfish, billfish and small rockfish.


However, there’s no size limit as it can be a 1-pound fish or a 100-pound fish. All the same.


That usually produces some real smiles.


I have also fished in places where all fish had to be released. Or, I was only allowed to take one fish and it had to be consumed that day. Or, the catch went to the crew of the boat and if I wanted any, the crew would sell some back to me.


Grrrr…


I’m all for releasing fish and only keeping what you can reasonably use.


The last time Jilly and I fished for dorado, we caught 99 in three hours! We only kept two small ones for dinner with friends and let all the rest go. Easily done with barbless hooks!


However, in chatting with folks, they tell me they have always wanted to give Mexico a try for fishing.


They know it’s a great value and very close. However, thinking they could not take any fish home was a game-changer.


Now you know, and yes you can!


* * *


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


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