Sunday, September 21, 2008

GillBilly Chronicals: Surf Fishing in Baja, Mexico Slide Show and Real Time Weather Report

A gorgeous day spent alone on a Baja Beach with your family surf fishing with the local wildlife. Bookended by 2 of our favorite local billboards.

Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico weather report in real time...

found at Weather

Reading about baseball is a lot more interesting than reading about chess, but you have to wonder: Don't any of these guys ever go fishing?
Dave Shiflett

Friday, September 19, 2008

GillBilly Chronicals: 97 Year Old Angler Catches the Big One

At 97, pardon San Diegan Dr. David Jessop for bragging a bit about a recent catch. Not only is Jessop still above ground at 97, but he's still catching big fish, too. Jessop was fishing with his buddy George Cowan, who is a youngster at 88, tussling with a black seabass he estimated to be well over 150 pounds. “It looked like it was 6 feet long and 500 pounds by the time I got it up close enough to see it,” Jessop said. “But George said it was more like 150 pounds. I was pretty excited.” Jessop hooked the protected black seabass on a lightweight bass outfit, using an anchovy pinned to a small No. 1 hook.

“We were just outside the Mission Bay Jetty, and I threw over to try and land a sand bass or something like that,” Jessop said. “It took me over an hour to get it to the boat, and the only reason I did is because George did such a masterful job running the boat. I could have been spooled a couple times there.”

Jessop is already a member of the San Diego Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in the Hall of Champions, but his legend continues to grow. It's safe to say he may be the oldest angler ever to catch and release a 150-pound black seabass.

Oldest anglers: Blanche Seccombe, 106, Montana's oldest angler. She participated in the 15th annual Fishing Without Barriers Day on Flathead Lake in Montana in July. Blanche, who lives in Bigfork, didn't catch any fish, but at 106, she's still getting around. Blanche's secret to longevity: “I eat bacon every morning,” she said. “Crisp bacon.”


I didn't really say everything I said.

Yogi Berra

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

GillBilly Chronicals: Hurricane Ike Makes Landfall

Ike last week on the 12th of September as the hurricane came onshore


There's no taking trout with dry breeches.
Miguel de Cervantes

GillBilly Chronicals: The Modern Day Baja, Mexico Presidio


The Santa Barbara Royal Presidio, built in 1782, was the last of four military fortresses built by the Spanish in California. The original fort was a fully enclosed quadrangle surrounding an open parade ground.

As Baja struggles to emerge from its third world status, one constant remains; it is still viewed as essentially a lawless society. There is absolutely no safety beside the remote campfire or sleeping in the secluded beach cabin or tent. You soon realize if your privacy and personal belongings are invaded and vandalized, a call to the local authorities that were not there to protect you in the first place are slow to respond to your plight after the incursion. Through progressions of evolution the fact still remains, one of the safest places in Mexico that is currently considered secure is in the modern form of the traditional cultural structure of local protection, the presidio. Here you find safety in the solace of hired guards and a walled enclosure.

Spain's colonization strategy of Northern Mexico was through the establishment of missions, pueblos and presidios, each having a distinct function. Missions were intended to be the facilities for turning natives into Christian citizens of the Spanish empire, thus providing a civilian population, a labor force and auxiliary military support for protecting Spanish interests in the area. The pueblos (towns) were designed to be composed largely of families recruited in Mexico. They were expected to provide agricultural support for the presidio companies, while also expanding population centers and military reserves in case of invasion. Finally, the presidios were the military outposts established to provide coastal defense from foreign invasion and to defend the missions and pueblos. In addition to their military role, they were the civil, economic and social centers for the frontier settlements. The presidios were the trading centers, which received and disbursed the annual supply of goods from Mexico, on which the entire population was dependent for survival. The presidio companies, composed largely of married soldiers and their families, were planned as "seed" communities from which future pueblos would grow, thus strengthening Spain's claims to the region. All of the presidios met to varying degrees the goals assigned to them by the Spanish Crown. Most were successful in fulfilling their role as "seed" communities. Pueblos grew up around the forts as military personnel retired from active duty and constructed adobe homes nearby.

Currently it is considered dangerous to live in the Baja pueblo without barred windows and big dogs. It is against the law to bear arms in Baja, so either pets or other means must be employed to protect one’s life and property from banditos. The walled community or modern day presidio is the more preferable arrangement. The gated marinas that contain some of the most expensive gringo possessions, the large yachts, have the most well developed security measures. Long established communities like Las Gaviotas also have high walls and extensive community security protection. The feeling of vulnerability when you leave the confines of the security bubble that you are comfortably within is understandable, because suddenly you are confronted by a band of glances that often give away the contempt and desire for what you are and have. On busy weekend days, constant sirens outside your stronghold may make you all the more less likely to leave the nest.

One of the highest priority security zones in Ensenada is the Cruiseport Marina and cruise ship dock facility. Thousands of touristas from outside Baja disembark here daily to visit the local trinket shops and cantinas and subsequently dance on the tables. A terrorist type attack on the Cruiseport compound would be a major blow to the local economy. Across the harbor, the same is true of the container ship docks; any disruption of the life support supply line that the containers are delivering would soon cripple the entire northern Baja economic realm.

The security infrastructure in Baja is by far the most important subject to be discussed in the future. The police can't protect who are here now, how can they be expected to protect all that are supposedly going to buy these quickly reproducing condo units? The bad press that has been recently reported in the southern California news media will make it impossible to sell these structured cubicles, regardless of how beautiful the view is, if these security concerns are not mollified. The awareness that one must live in a private security zone without being able to visit the outside world and see the many attractions that exist in Baja will further stem the flow of new tourism dollars and citizens from north of the border.

Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.
Oscar Wilde