Tom Gatch

Tom Gatch is a Reader contributor. See staff page for published articles.

Comments by BajaTommy

Rosarito Beach Sportfishing, Alive and Well

Oh, do you know Hugo Torres? Well, I have known him and have worked together with him for years to bring more tourism to Baja Norte, so I might be in a little better position than you to tell the complete story of the structure’s history. It was, in fact, true that the original business plan to justify the substantial expenditure necessary to build the pier was initially based upon the erroneous belief that passengers could be successfully ferried from cruise ships to a land based platform that would allow them to spend some shore time in Playas Rosarito. Nonetheless, the construction of a sportfishing pier near the hotel was something that Hugo has dreamed of since he was a very young man; a place where both serious and occasional anglers would have a chance to take advantage of what is still a productive regional fishery. And prior to the economic downturn on both sides of the border, there has even been a plan in the works to augment the rocky outcroppings at the end of the pier with an artificial reef made of quarry rock and transplanted kelp to further enhance the marine life and adjacent ecosystem. Although that plan is currently on hold until such time when economic conditions will support it, the belief that it is a viable concept has never been abandoned. As one who has personally fished there often I can assure anyone who is interested in the subject that, at least to the hundreds of kids and families who leave the Rosarito Beach Hotel’s Sportfishing Pier every year with broad smiles on their faces whether they have any fish in their bucket or not, its building was one of the best things that has ever happened in providing a wholesome, highly accessible recreational option for their community.
— April 1, 2012 8:57 a.m.

La Bufadora, Baja – Escape from SoCal Sprawl

Hola Joe, Please remember that my piece was focused on the wild land near the end of the peninsula, adjacent to La Bufadora and its famed blowhole. That area is still blissfully separated from the nearby populations in the poblados of Punta Banda, Esteban Cantu and the outskirts of the Ensenada further east. I am, however, sadly familiar with the debacle that occurred out on the Punta Banda Estero spit over a decade ago when dozens of American and Canadian residents were rousted from their homes by unscrupulous individuals, whose names I know but will not share here, who deliberately misled the victims of the scam into thinking that they had some sort of legal title to the properties where they resided. The then used their legitimate title and the existing Mexican legal system to unfairly evict the poor folks irrespective of how much they had invested. Although this horrific event got an inordinate amount of press coverage in southern California that continues to cloud our region to this day and devastated the lives of many foreign residents that were either retired or getting to retire, it did prompt the Mexican government to create a legal vehicle, the Fido Comiso. This is actually a bank trust, in which a certified Mexican bank acts as trustee and hold the title for the foreign resident in question. Since all Fido Comiso’s require that all of the property’s title and ownership documentation be verified prior to its acceptance, it offers a rock solid vehicle for foreigners living in Mexico to enjoy virtually all of the rights associated with outright ownership. The Fido Comiso can also be inherited by a pre designated heir. Additionally, foreign corporations can now be legally formed in Mexico without a partner who is a Mexican citizen. This offers a great opportunity to have your company’s name on the actual title, but it is an option that is only available to those who are truly operating a business. In regard to leasing land, Mexican law now only allows leases to run 10 years in length; not less, not more. Remember, all contracts in Mexico must be written in Spanish to be valid. Using a reputable real estate attorney in Tijuana or Ensenada is also highly advised. Just as it is north of the border, caveat emptor is a phrase that is essential to remember when purchasing anything. Thanks for your very valid comments, I hope that my response clarifies the range and limitations of the ethereal microscope that I employed when originally writing the piece. ~ Tom
— March 23, 2012 12:46 p.m.

Rock Fishermen do it with Mussel!

Of course anyone who has lived in California for any length of time knows that I wasn’t referring to taking mussels there within the last lines of my response to your previous comments, but rather, I was alluding to the ‘citation’ oriented mindset of California’s authorities working with the general public out in the field, as opposed to those who perform the very same job in Baja Norte. Once again, irrespective of your quotations, the casual use of a few mussels taken for bait by visiting anglers is not really a burning concern for Conapesca, they fully realize that the practice exists. They are FAR more focused on true threats to the ecosystem by those Mexican nationals fishing commercially who harvest valuable resources like spiny lobster or abalone illegally, out of season or without a valid license and then sell the product on the black market for a lower price. Of course, if you possessed very much knowledge about the way things really work on a day to day basis down here, you would have already known that. By the way, my numerous writings that promote Baja as a great place to travel, recreate, vacation or eventually retire are well known and are very much appreciated by many of those who are in prominent positions within Baja California’s governing body. They fully realize that my work is important, because it offers a viable counterbalance to the negative barrage of comments that generally come from folks such as you.
— March 21, 2012 2:09 p.m.