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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Jonathan Roldan – BAJA BEAT

BAJA BEAT /
WON News Column by Jonathan Roldan

WON’s weekly Baja columnist as WESTERN OUTDOORS magazine’s Baja

Backbeat, Jonathan Roldan came to Western Outdoors Publications after writing for numerous national and international publications and has been writing for over 30 years.

He worked in radio, TV and print publications for many years and then attended law school and practiced as a courtroom litigator in the the ‘80s and ‘90s. However, having been raised fishing, diving, hiking and camping all his life, the draw of Baja and writing lured him away. He moved to Baja Mexico in 1996 where he operates a Tailhunter International fishing tours in La Paz.

Jonathan Roldan can be reached at: riplipboy@aol.com.

A man’s junk
No, not THAT junk!

I’m talking about fishing junk. And there’s a lot to be said about one man’s junk being another man’s treasure, so to speak.


For instance, let’s talk about “junk fish.” I hear it almost every day when our fishing clients come back.


“We had a good day, but also caught a lot of junk fish too. Fun, but can’t eat ’em!”


“Man, the junk fish were all over us today!”


By that they usually mean species like bonito, jack crevalle, barracuda needlefish, triggerfish and the like.


They can be really fun to catch and make great sport.


However, rather than quickly unhooking them and tossing them back into the water, there’s things to be done with them that can give you a completely different perspective on some of these species.


Let me preface by saying I’m all for catch-and-release. By all means, if you’re not going to eat it and make good use of it, let it go to fight another day and make babies.


However, if one happens to die on you or for some reason you have to take it aboard, there are ways to turn lemons into margaritas.


For instance, it’s an eat-and-be-eaten world down there. Everybody eats everyone else in the underwater foodchain.


Chunked “junk fish” tossed into your chum line can get the fish going and bring them into feed mode. Especially dark meated and bloody fish like bonito or jack crevalle are very oily and leave a great scent in the water.


Besides, they are also very firm and sinewy and will stay nicely on a chunk hook.


You can take a whole bonito, jack, barracuda or other species…maybe one of the smaller ones…


If it’s still alive have a heavy rig ready to go.


I like to cut one of the fins and also put some small cuts in the flanks.


Send it back down deep with sufficient lead on a dropper loop and a stout rod and your drag set tight.


It will go down there and swim irregularly like the wounded fish that it is. The cuts will emit some blood and scent.


Mr. Grouper and Mr. Dog Tooth snapper have big mouths and just love sucking down a tasty whole fish like that! Better hold on!


This will also work if the fish is dead.


Similarly, dead fish can be tied to the transom of the boat on a short rope. Again with some deep cuts in the flanks. Slow trolling, these fish leaves a nice scent in your prop wash.


I’ve been trolling like this many times. With live bait lines out behind the boat, I’ve looked down and seen dorado three feet behind the boat actually taking chunks of the dead fish we are dragging.


I quietly show my clients and point down in the water and have them slowly bring the live bait close into the prop wash and BANG! FISH ON!


You can do the same thing with strips of dead junk fish trolled behind the boat with a swivel and leader. It will often get bit when other lures or bait are ignored.


One trick was taught to me many many years ago by the the owner of the old Doorknob lure company. He told me to actually pin a strip of dead fish onto the hook of the trolled lure.


A greasy, oily piece like the belly meat of a bonito, mackerel, jack or barracuda adds a lot of scent to the water — plus it wiggles when trolled and it entices fish to bite the lure and hold onto that flavor of fresh meat.


You can take a combination of dead junk fish and grind it and mash it up as well. I would take it home and freeze it with the end of a rope frozen into the gooey mess.


I would then take it fishing and hang it over the side of the boat. As the boat rises and falls in the water, the big chunk slowly melts and the mashed chum (blood guts and all) slowly dissipate into the water.


By the way, this is also a good way to attract bait to the boat if you’re catching finbait with a Lucky Joe or Sabiki rig!


One last thing I will often do with a junk fish that regretfully gets killed.


I always keep a bottle of the hottest burn-your-butt hot sauce in my tackle box.


When a sea lion comes around and starts creating a nuisance, I don’t wanna hurt it permanently. I just want the animal to go away and bug someone else’s boat.


I’ll take that junk fish and put hot sauce in it and heave it like a football at the sea lion. He/ she grabs it like they pulled another fast one on me. They might toss it in the air a bit thinking to rub my nose in it.


Then they dive.


I count…5…4…3…2…. I know that bugger sealion is chomping down.


BAM…up he comes barking and yapping and flipping all around with a mouth of spice he’s never had before! And he goes swimming off!


Like I said, I don’t wanna hurt any animal permanently or unnecessarily but this is kinda funny. Beats the old days with seal bombs and wrist rockets.


Oh… and it works great on seagulls and pelicans too! Just a drop of hot sauce on a piece of bait. Hehehehehe….


* * *


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


•   •   •   •   •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


I don’t always tell people where I fish… but when I do, it’s a lie!
Fishermen are funny folks.

Most of them that I know will give you the shirts off their backs. They’ll invite perfect strangers to sit down for dinner and a beer.


They’ll happily give you every fish recipe they know. They’ll patiently show you how to tie every knot or explain their gear to you.


But, there’s a caveat and limit to generosity. Fishermen have a reputation for tall tales and outright lies. It’s in our nature.


Nowhere is that more evident than when you ask an angler where his secret fishing spots are located.


He or she will give up the combination to the family safe or tell you where the family jewels are stashed before revealing their honey hole fishing spots.


In my years down here, I have seen some crazy things.


With our fleets here in La Paz, let me preface by saying that most of the captains are related by blood or marriage. Overall, no matter which fleets they work for, there’s a general spirit of cooperation.


Most times!


There’s mutual respect and at the end of the day, they all have to go home to the same families, neighborhoods and, in some cases, the same homes together.


But, like competing football teams, that doesn’t mean there’s any lack of competitiveness or shenanigans.


For example, there’s radio channels.


There are the general channels that everyone listens to or for emergencies. But then each fleet also has it’s own channel that everyone in that particular fleet tunes to. Everyone knows the other fleet’s frequencies.


And there’s the “secret channel” where anyone can listen, but the fleet broadcasts its phoney-baloney info! And the channels change all the time to keep the competition off-balance.


For instance, they’ll broadcast the wrong locations to catch bait or where the dorado or tuna are biting. They’ll outright lie about what they’ve caught in their fish boxes or where they are located.


And all seems fair.


It’s part of the game and strategy because everyone is doing it. The “hot” guy one day might be ice cold the next. He might be giggling about his secret spot today but tomorrow, he’s the goat and gets duped by false info.


The secret to playing the game is scanning through all the radio junk and know who’s broadcasting what info and recognizing voices.


To us it sounds like one continuous Spanish word and a lot of squawking, but there’s a method to the madness. I’ve even seen them disguise their voices.


Almost like the Navajo radiomen in World War II.


So, if your captain seems like he’s spending a lot of time on the radio, he’s wading through all the chatter and keying on what’s happening on the oceanic gameboard.


This was all explained to me years ago by one of my captains after I asked him why he spent so much seemingly useless time on the radio.


He laughed and said, “I’m playing the game! My youngest brother and uncle work for the other fleet. My older brother and cousin work for you so we screw with each other all day. So do all the other captains!”


Gamesmanship! Know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ’em.


He also said, “We know the gringo guys in the big yachts are trying to listen as well and we do not want them to know our spots and ruin the bite!”


Well, OK then…


Another time with one of our favorite skippers, he told us to bring colorful beach towels with us. Sure. No big deal.


Later in the day, he brought us to one of his “secret spots.” We were having a blast catching fish.


But, whenever another panga (from another “team”) got close to us, he would quickly tell us to take down the rods and hide them. He told us to grab the beach towels and pretend we had been swimming.


He told us to make a lot of noise and pretend we were drying off and wave at the other boat as it went by.


As soon as they were gone, out came the rods again! Sneaky.


There was another year when we had a huge dorado bite going off north of town. The “fish magnet” turned out to be a huge Christmas tree that someone had set adrift.


Floating upside down, it attracted huge schools of sizeable dorado and other species. Whoever was on the spot could easily load up on fish and/or catch- and-release as quickly as you could put a bait in the water. It was epic.


One or two boats would fish the spot and load it up. It would then call in other friendly pangas. They would get their limits. They would leave and call in others. And so-on-and-so-on in a great rotation!


All the while, phoney radio transmissions were getting sent out. But…word eventually got out to the other fleets.


Every few nights, each fleet would “steal” the tree and tow it to another secret spot known only to it’s captains.


A few nights later, having deciphered all the crazy radio broadcasts, some other fleet would steal it back. This went on for two weeks until the currents carried it away or the tree simply disintegrated.


Even on a daily basis, when our own captains return each day to give me their reports, I ask where they were fishing or where they found the bite.


“Where were you fishing today?"

I get winks and a smile, “In the Sea of Cortez, Senor Jonathan!”


Let the games continue… can’t trust a fisherman to give a straight answer.


*  *  *


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


• • • • •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


Living the dream
I think a week doesn’t go by down here where we live that someone doesn’t ask me about retiring to Baja or somewhere in Mexico. So many dream of “Living the Dream” after they walk away from the 9-to-5.

Kiss-off traffic and kiss-off the hassles and anyone who doesn’t like it can kiss something else for all you care.


The warm waters, blue skies and white sands call you and cold cervezas already have your name on them. The sounds of the mariachi and Jimmy Buffet beckon you like an irresistible siren. There has to be a way to do it.


And, in fact, so many have done it and are doing so with increasing velocity every year. Americans and Canadians alike have chosen Mexico as the #1 retirement destination in the world.


Despite travel warnings, Mexico has one of the highest tourism rates of any country. And, as more folks visit, they’re thinking that a permanent vacation might not be a bad idea.


If you have Mexico as a possible retirement destination, think on it carefully.


Remember, you’re not moving to another state. You are moving to another country with it’s own set of laws, customs, culture and language. It’s not like grabbing the U-Haul, calling some buddies with pick-up trucks and moving across town.


It’s not for everyone, but if you put some thought into it, the possibilities are worth exploring.


The first thing to think about here is what kind of lifestyle you think you want to have. And also, where do you want to live?


If you want a lifestyle similar to what you have north of the border, you can probably do it a lot cheaper here in Mexico.


If you really do not need a 3-bedroom home with the air-conditioner running all the time and you can turn things down a notch and live more like your local neighbors, you can do quite well.


When I first got down here almost 25 years ago, my roommate and I rented a 5-bedroom house with a 7-car garage! Not because the two of us needed it, but because it was $120 bucks a month! It came with a maid 5 days-a-week also!


The only reason we moved out was because the owner sold it.


Researching some online websites that specialize in retirement living and assets, the average cost of living for a retired couple is about $2,000 a month ($24,000/ year) here in Mexico.


And that’s living pretty comfortably.


Also, the dollar is extremely strong in Mexico against the value of the peso, so your dollars go quite far here in terms of purchasing power.


Of course, like all real estate, location is important. Are you living with an ocean view or in close proximity to the ocean? In the little towns in the mountains? A resort city? A regular urban location? All of those things factor in.


If you’re renting, housing is cheaper here than in the states. Gas is about what you pay for it in a major U.S. metro area.


But how much driving are you really doing? I put maybe 20 to 30 miles a week on our beater vehicle, but that’s also because I run a business. I used to commute 50 miles one-way each day back in the U.S. in traffic!


Food is definitely cheaper. Electricity is probably a bit more. Services like phones and internet are a little cheaper, but quality is not always great. It’s serviceable but not always reliable depending on where you live.


Several things you will have to get used to include possibly a lack of reliable mail service (again depending on where you live), or it can be very costly. Paying bills can be a chore… again very often related to mail service.


Getting someone to come by to do things — i.e. plumbers, painters, repairmen, electrician, the cable guy…


They’ll get there when they get there. No amount of phone calls will make it go faster. No amount of money will make it go faster or (laughing) telling people, “I’m an American!”


We have a saying here that if someone tells you, “Manana (tomorrow)” for the 3rd time, it ain’t happening. They’re just being too polite to tell you they can’t do it.


Go find someone else. When you find a reliable person for any job, grab and hold onto them! There are some great folks down here who do great work.


The problem is that everyone else has grabbed them as well. They are in high demand.


So, back to square one.


They might also have to tell you “Manana” as well. Not because they’re slackers. It’s because they’re extremely busy. It’s just part of living here.


Another big consideration for retirement is health care.


For the most part, I’ve found that health care here is pretty good. We live in a major city. La Paz also happens to be the capital of the state. So, the level of care is probably better than some other places.


Our U.S. medical insurance doesn’t work down here so yours won’t either, but we have always used private doctors and dentists and been able to easily use a credit card or cash.


For example, I had some back issues a few years back. I was in a private hospital in a private room with American meals and two personal physicians and two personal nurses for almost one week.


When I checked out, the doctors sheepishly apologized to me for the high cost. I held my breath as they handed me the bill.


It was a little over $1,000 dollars! That included everything even the meds! That might have covered only one single day in an American hospital.


Two years ago, I had two root canals and two fillings needed. Three visits to take care of everything was less than $200 in a dental office that was more like a health spa. They had classical music playing, plant filled rooms, aromatherapy fragrances, attentive friendly assistants and a U.S.-trained oral surgeon who spoke English!


Near here, places like Cabo San Lucas and other “tourism” centers also have good care as well. Many of the doctors and dentists I have met were either educated in the U.S. or go to the U.S. for continuing education.


Of course, the further you go from major population areas, the health facilities diminish. Keep that in mind no matter where you retire, much like anywhere in the world.


Many of our fishing clients come down and take an afternoon or day off to do some routine dental work like cleaning or a quick filling at a fraction of the cost.


The same with medications is also true. Many folks that live in close proximity to the border in states like Texas, Arizona and California routinely visit Mexican border towns to purchase prescription drugs.


Remember, that whatever medical policies you have in the U.S. probably won’t be applicable here in Mexico.


But there’s the local socialized medicine that anyone can get. And there are local health insurance policies as well that can be obtained. Just remember that like anywhere, it’s more difficult to obtain the older you are or if you’re past 65 or have pre-existing conditions.


Living the dream here in Mexico is a very viable and popular option. This column barely scratches the surface of the research you should do before making the move.


*  *  *


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


• • • • •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


The zing-powie fish
There are some things we tangle with in life that we sort of lump into one big group. It’s just easier.

All facial tissue gets called “KLEENEX.”


All whirlpool tubs are called “JACUZZIS.”


On the freeway, everyone who tailgates you is a “JERK.” Everyone who blows by you at ultra speeds is “MORON” (or worse)!


As fishermen, in many places, we call all bottom fish “ROCKFISH.”


Conversely, there are those things in life that defy description or categorization. In fact, there’s a group of fish here in Baja that fall into that amorphous category and I call them like I see them.


They are the species I call “ZING-POWIE” fish!


zingpowie
A ZING-POWIE fish that didn’t zing-pow. It’s a good day if you get 3 out of 10 ZING-POWIE fish to the boat.


So many folks come to fish looking for the glamour species like marlin, tuna, wahoo and dorado. The ZING-POWIE fish are often overlooked.


That’s because it’s not generally perceived as “big game” or “deep sea” (I hate that term…yes, the sea is deep!) fishing.


Because the ZING-POWIE fish don’t live out there in the blue water. They’re not out on the high seas.


ZING-POWIE fish could be right in front of your hotel. They live right in the rocks there by the shore. They inhabit reefs and shallow high spots.


You don’t need a giant sportfisher to get them. You don’t need complicated gear to get them either. Sophisticated state-of-the-art electronics can be left at home too. You don’t need 20 satellites to find the honey holes.


It’s pretty simple. Locals catch them in a tin boat with fishing line and a spark-plug for a sinker. In fact, the good ones make a living off catching ZING-POWIE fish.


I call them ZING-POWIE fish because that’s the sound it makes when you hook up one of these fish. And then lose it in the blink of an eye!


I’m referring to a group of fish that encompasses cabrilla (Mexican seabass), grouper, amberjack, barred pargo, mullet snapper, dog-tooth snapper and to some degree yellowtail and several other species.


They inhabit rocks and reefs and other structure.


Some can be monsters in the 50- to 100-pound range or larger. But even the smaller ones can frustrate and challenge the best anglers.


They’ll hit live bait and lures and when they hit, it’s like a freight train. The water can be relatively shallow. Often you can see the fish under your boat.


Their method of feeding is to ambush their prey with powerful lightning strikes, then retreat back to the structure. Snatch and go!


So, for the angler, there’s no time to react!


You don’t let them “nibble.” You don’t let them “take a little line.” There’s barely time to set the hook!


Imagine that you are fishing only 20 feet of water. You get hammered by something big. In nano-seconds, it takes line. Your rod also bends a few feet. You slam the brakes!


It’s already in the rocks. You lose! ZING-POWIE! Your line snaps and your rod flies back in your face like a spring! BOING!


That fish with all it’s power, has sharp teeth… powerful jaws… sharp gill plates… sharp scales… and he lives in razor sharp rocks and reefs.


And they have the power of a Pit Bull on steroids and the tenacity of a German shepherd hanging onto a burglar’s pant leg!


Before you even realize what happens, your line goes… ZING-POWIE!


And it snaps! Even before your captain can fire up the motor and hopefully pull the fish out’ve the rocks!


It’s a game that tests even experienced anglers. If you use heavier line, the ZING-POWIE fish have sharp eyes. You won’t get bit. Forget braided line. It is way too visible.


Lighter line gets you bit more often, but that can be like going after an elephant with an air-rifle. Of course, it’s Murphy’s Law that when you have your lightest gear is when an 80-pound amberjack strikes or a 150-pound grouper decides to chomp your bait! ZING-POWIE!


But, even the smallest fish have the odds in their favor given their physical attributes and treacherous environment. When I guide, I’ve often told clients, this will be both fun and frustrating.


If we get 3 out of 10 fish to the boat, that will be a good day!


The frustration in this type of fishing isn’t just losing the fish after getting jerked out’ve your socks. It’s that often you can see the fish right under the boat or behind the boat in your chum line.


Pargo, for instance, when they spawn in the shallow waters, looks like a Japanese koi pond on steroids. Basically, 20- to 60-pound “red carp” that looks like an undulating carpet of copper and red.


As you chum them to the boat, waters explode with huge backs and wide tails blowing up the water. One client said, “They look big enough to put a saddle on them!”


Fascinating to watch.


And then they hit your bait while you’re entranced with all the action. With no warning. No nibble. Just a sucker-punch-in-the-gut and your reel screams and your rod bends… and ZING-POWIE!


You’ve already lost the fish! Oh, the agony!


I have clients who come year-after-year to pit themselves against the ZING-POWIE fish! A new rod… a different reel… a new type of hooks… some new tactic they read about in a magazine!


This is the year, they will NOT be mastered by some stupid fish!


As one of my clients said after a fun but unsuccessful day, “It’s like playing a slot machine in Vegas. It’s so tantalizing close. The next quarter will surely bring success.”


Then he laughed…


“And in the end, the house always wins. But I can’t wait to give it another try tomorrow!”


* * *


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


•   •   •   •   •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


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.


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