Custom Scuba’s two boats aren’t typical leisure vessels—they’re inflatable boats, originally designed for Navy SEALS. And like Navy SEALS, the company’s captains use the boats to reach hidden channels and hard-to-access waterways. However, unlike Navy SEALS, their top priority is fun. With more than 10 years of experience each, the two captains helm snorkeling adventures, fishing trips, and sunset cruises that showcase the area’s natural beauty at sites often not visited by other companies. True to its company name, the team also offers scuba classes, teaching basic underwater skills and doling out dive certifications with a teaching motto of never rushing a student and always putting safety first and cannonball competitions last.
The waters around Marina del Rey teem with seasonal gamefish. Beneath the ocean's surface, halibut, sand bass, and barracuda swim from Rocky Point to the Big Kelp Reef. That is, until they cross paths with The Betty-O, Spitfire, or the New Del Mar—the fishing boats of Marina Del Rey Sportfishing's fleet. Aboard these vessels, experienced guides help small and large groups cast lines and pull prize catches from the water.
But sometimes, the ocean's beauty makes anglers put down their fishing poles. Sea lions, dolphins, sea birds, and several whale species also make their home in the water. This diversity of wildlife prompted the owners of Marina Del Rey Sportfishing to start their whale and eco tour, during which sightseers can admire the ocean's majestic creatures and the teams of Aquamen who groom them.
The 65-foot fishing vessel known as the Spitfire nominally calls dock 52 on Fiji Way home. However, between three-quarter day fishing trips, twilight fishing trips, and chartered excursions, it seldom stays moored for long. Most often, it can be found slicing through the waves under the steady hand of its captain, helping up to 80 fisherfolk chase calico bass, rockfish, and perch through the waters. To keep its passengers fueled up enough to reel in the big one, the Spitfire boasts a galley whose chefs serve hot meals, cold beers, and sodas chilled by being used as ice-fishing bait.
Steve Ellis and Ken Lindsay have traveled far and wide to hone their fly-fishing skills—they bring knowledge gained in Belize, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and several US states to their Van Nuys fly-fishing shop, Fishermen’s Spot. For the past four decades, the shop has stocked high-quality fishing gear from makers such as Sage, Simms, Winston, and Abel, as well as vintage equipment such as bamboo rods and ancient flies that still haven't evolved wings. To complement these wares, the shop offers classes that help students master fly-fishing basics, such as casting, selecting tackle and flies, and tying knots.
Captain Frank has navigated Californian waters for more than 30 years, earning his 100-Ton Captain's license in 1980 and consequently became the youngest person to do so at the time. After working for the next 19 years chartering boats and educating students aboard the Channel Islands Marine Floating Lab, he purchased the 85-foot Ranger 85, the very ship he worked on as a teenager. Along with a sister vessel, the Coral Sea, Captain Frank helms his Ranger 85 to carry visitors on scenic tours around Channel Islands National Park and National Marine Sanctuary, allowing them to glimpse rare species of animals and stretches of untamed Californian landscapes. On some trips, passengers may even occasionally spot up to five different types of whales. He also embarks on private charters and bookings for groups or special occasions, such as corporate events or graduation parties for the family harbor seal.
Stationed right on the coast of Redondo Beach, LA Boat Rentals's staff matches its clients with a diverse fleet of aquatic steeds before launching them into the cerulean waters of King Harbor. Voyagers can opt to barrel over waves on a 2007 Sea-Doo GTI jet ski as they zip up and down the scenic California coast without having to rely on a tailwind or a gang of friendly porpoises to power their vessel. Duos can churn saltwater as they glide leisurely across the placid bay in a pedal boat, and lone sea wolves can embark on solo voyages over gentle tides astride a hydrobike. Four Sea-Doo jet ski models round out the formidable armada, allowing renters to speed across liquid blue plains as the fresh Pacific air blows through their hair or loitering graduation tassels.
Though little known to humans outside of Ventura, Hook's Landing's sailors are notoriously feared in the sea world. That's due in large part to their successful fishing charters, on which they bag hundreds of rockfish, dozens of whitefish, and multiple lobsters with a crew of tour-goers.The charter's guests can keep any legal-size lobster, crab, and fish they find in their professional-grade hoop nets. Hook's Landing snaps memorable shots of the day's catches and encourages guests to cook their catch, instead of nailing it to a board and trying to make it sing.