Paper Work

Published on Thursday, 24 April 2014 00:00 - Written by Steve Knight, Outdoor Writer

Preparation is the key to success in all walks of life.Whether it is planning a vacation in work or sports, being prepared helps eliminate any surprises or problems that might crop up.

A friend’s motto is “plan your work and work your plan.” It makes sense.

As the operator of the international fishing tour service Ron Speed Jr., Adventures, Ron Speed Jr. strives to stay ahead of his clients needs. Getting them from the United States to lakes in Mexico or on the Amazon in Brazil he works with a specific travel agency that understands his operation. The former Malakoff resident has a website and newsletter that helps inform fishermen of fishing conditions and what tackle and clothing they will need and even to bring their own shampoo.

At the lakes and on the river he works with, his manager makes certain the camp, staff and guides have what they need — including extra batteries, fuel and a cooler full of refreshments.

The last thing he wants is for a fisherman to come off the water unhappy because something preventable ruined the day.

With a day on the lake that begins at first light, pauses for a two-hour lunch and continues until dark, there is one item that is easily overlooked because it is seldom needed, and often undervalued except when it is needed, and if it isn’t available it can be a show stopper.

Toilet paper.

Yep, that simple roll of fluffy white that is never discussed in public, but for Americans on a fishing trip in Mexico can be an important as a passport.

Recently fishing Lake Picachos, a new Mexican lake located an hour east of Mazatlan in the state of Sinaloa, the issue of toilet paper came up one morning. Being a new operation with locales working as bass fishing guides for the first time, Speed had told the camp manager to make sure every boat had toilet paper. He knew most fishermen didn’t want to make what a run covering several miles back to camp if it could be avoided.

The next morning, feeling gastric distress, Speed put his edict to the test. In Spanglish, he asked our guide, Jesus, if he had any toilet paper onboard. Of course the answer was no. He then asked the guide if he had a cell phone and told him to call back to camp to have some brought to us.

The wait was on. We continued to fish as Speed kept looking over his shoulder waiting on a tender boat to show up with the necessary supplies. After a half-hour it was clear that relief wasn’t on its way.

Sensing the boss was unhappy, the guide rambled something I didn’t understand and quickly got on the phone talking to someone. He then told us the problem would be solved by a short boat ride.

Although Picachos has three villages around its shoreline, they are tiny. None are larger than the smallest development around Lake Palestine. The remainder of the shore is rugged ranch and farmland occupied by the occasional boney cow and burro, and wildlife like iguanas, rattlesnakes and colorful birds.

There was one old rundown camper that was the house for the local fishing co-operative’s tilapia nursery, and that is where the guide took us. The lone worker there had neither outhouse nor toilet paper.

The guide and the worker talked and exchanged a phone number as Speed and I played with Rambo, the camp dog, and waited.

“I could do something else, but I want to see how this plays out,” Speed said with a wry grin.

There was a second phone call and more waiting.

Suddenly, from somewhere off in the distant foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains, we heard an engine racing. As it got closer you could tell it was a four-wheeler and it was in a hurry.

Suddenly a third local came over a hill and down the dirt road in a cloud of dust, sliding to a stop just in front of the pier we had tied to maybe a 30 minutes earlier. The driver, the age of the other two locals, got off and opened a compartment on the front of the four-wheeler pulling out most of a roll of toilet paper. Speed and I could only laugh.

The guide rushed back to the boat with the paper while Speed paid a generous bounty of $20 and two Sprites to our new friends, who thankfully for Speed, were old friends of the guide.

It was obviously the most expensive partial roll of toilet paper in all of Mexico, but cheap considering it was suddenly a commodity.

Have a comment or opinion on this story? Contact outdoor writer Steve Knight by email at outdoor@tylerpaper.com. Follow Steve Knight on Facebook at TylerPaper Outdoors and on Twitter @tyleroutdoor.