By Gene Kira, May 5, 2003, as published in Western Outdoor News:
While skulking around Baja California, Mexico, you really do sometimes encounter unexplainable things that make you blink, including these highlights from my personal list:
1. A very old, small stone shrine about three feet high that glowed in the dark (between San Evaristo and Las Pocitas).
2. A detailed mirage of an entire city skyline, complete with skyscrapers, smoke stacks, suspension bridges, and, I swear, airplanes flying around in it (Islas Encantadas).
3. A smooth, light brown mass about a hundred yards across that rose slowly to the surface of the sea, but sank again before it could be investigated (Santa Rosalia).
But, heck, this is just kid stuff compared to the much better stories that you get from others, such as Spanish gold being found under hermit shacks, visions appearing on moonlit mountain ridges, and one of my all-time favorites, a real live flying saucer that took off from a beach bluff near San Jose del Cabo, back in the days when the Hotel Palmilla was all by itself.
(This flying saucer story is admittedly outrageous--especially when you hear all the fine detail and the names of the people who supposedly saw it--but it happened to a respected sport fishing operator in Baja. To his credit, he refuses to allow his name be used with this story, at least until after he dies or retires!)
Well, last week, another strange Baja story popped up from another sportfishing operator, and this time it was none other than Jonathan Roldan of La Paz' well-known and very reputable sportfishing service, Tail Hunter International.
The highly-experienced Roldan had a really weird story about some very, very strange fish he found at Los Frailes and Ensenada de los Muertos, south of La Paz. As he told it:
"Parked the boat one night in Frailes. Under the lights, hundreds of fish. As thick as Japanese koi. I could net them by threes and fours (and quickly release them).
"They were kind of like perch. We played with them, and just watched, fascinated, for hours.
"The weirdest thing. Their eyes glowed red! Not all of them, and not all the time. I was certain it was from the beams of my flashlights. But they glowed when the lights were off as well!
"It wasn't merely a glow, either. It was as if there was a battery in their little heads.
"When the fish would move off into the darker water, the lights from their eyes were like beams stabbing out of their heads by three or six inches! They were like red headlights on a car moving through fog!"
For the record, Jonathan says the water temperature was 72 degrees, and the red-eye fish were seen on the nights of April 19th and April 20th.
Also, he swears that the strange fish did not, repeat, did not, attempt to communicate with him, and he was drinking only plain water. Upon further prodding, Roldan averred that the red-headlight fish were definitely not ladyfish, which he also caught, and which are also capable of showing bright red eyes, but only from reflected light.
An informal survey has turned up absolutely no other records at all of such glowing red eyes, except for Mark Rayor of East Cape who remembered seeing some eyes like that at a local bar.
This was beginning to look like fodder for a pretty good column, but unfortunately, my efforts to get additional information from Roldan came to an abrupt halt when he suddenly began to suspect the worst: "Ah-ha! I know what you're doing! You're pumping me for information so you can write this up!"
No way, Jonathan. No way. You have a reputation to protect!
SEEING RED--Jonathan Roldan of La Paz' Tail Hunter International sportfishing operation, caught here in his annual Fred Hall Show booth.
(Related La Paz articles and reports may be found at Mexfish.com's main La Paz information page. See weekly fishing news, photos, and reports from the major sportfishing vacation areas of Mexico including the La Paz area in "Mexico Fishing News.")