They're out there somewhere. White sea bass. Captain Allyn Watson hunts the elusive fish aboard The Dreamer, a 46? vessel that cruises the Pacific at speeds of up to 15 knots. He knows the waters well; after all, it?s that expert knowledge that helped him placed first in Hubbs Sea World Research Foundation's white sea bass competition for seven consecutive years. He's not alone this time, however. Today, Captain Watson?s accompanied by a faithful crew and a group of passengers, each armed with a fishing pole and a hunger for seaward adventure. As they drop anchor in the middle of calm waters, lines fly from all sides of the boat. It?s a bad afternoon to be a sea bass.
Allyn Watson is just one of the independent captains who works out of Pierpoint Landing. There, their eight boats occupy spots at the docks, ready to carry groups on fishing adventures that can last anywhere from a few hours to weeks at a time. Aboard the 75? Toronado, Captain Ray Lagmay and up to 49 passengers take overnight trips to catch barracuda, rockfish, and other targets. Meanwhile, the Southern Cal and its leaders, Captain Ryan and Captain Mitch, snag similar fish during shorter, half-day trips.
Fishing, whale watching, scuba diving?there are lots of reasons to take to the ocean. Whatever your quest, the stalwart captains at South Bay Cruises have a vessel for the occasion. There's the Tern, a crabbing-ready 30-footer with a 25-knot top speed, and the Ahra-Ahn, a long-range explorer that can sleep 32. The Shoreliner is a converted luxury transport that can bear her passengers to Catalina in style, and the Liberty is perfect for harbor cruises, with a capacity for up to 110. On the other end of the spectrum is the sturdy little Meme, small enough for an intimate fishing trip and speedy enough to ding-dong ditch other boats.
Long Beach Sportsfishing's experienced captains cater to anglers looking for a bit of a challenge. In addition to prey such as white fish and calico bass, they also target tougher creatures, such as the toothy, notoriously ill-tempered barracuda. To aid in the hunt, they manage a fleet of five charter-ready vessels. This includes the Eldorado, which takes passengers on overnight trips into the scenic waters of Catalina Island on quests to fill its coolers and round out its fish counts and the Native Sun, which focuses on the local waters of the Southern California coastline. Free parking is available directly adjacent to the dock.
Instructors at Pacific Sailing's ASA-certified sailing school teach a variety of students the basics of navigating coastal waters and instruct students in specialized types of sailing or in the students' greatest areas of interest. Captains lead group and private lessons that cover basic keelboat sailing, basic coastal cruising, bareboat chartering, and coastal navigation?providing the skills necessary to unfurl and tie a sail or navigate using electronics, the light of the stars, and directions from a well-traveled seagull. The instructors conduct their lessons and lead skippered day sails, sunset sails, and overnight trips at the helm of Colgate, Hunter, Catalina, Irwin, and Beneteau sailboats.
First String Sportfishing sails the open seas off of Southern California, taking passengers on both fishing voyages and educational marine tours. Its largest boat, First String, can hold up to 149 people for its whale-watching tours. On board the 93-foot boat, you’ll find two 9-ton fish holds, two radars, a large-screen television, and a dolphin-to-English dictionary. First String Sportfishing’s other boats depart for both Californian and Mexican waters on fishing excursions. These trips typically yield shallow-water rockfish such as Sculpin and Whitefish and larger varieties including yellowtail and barracuda.
The Coast Guard?approved Odyssey treats up to 42 seafarers to three levels of indoor and outdoor seating. Carefully controlled with hydraulic stabilizers and piloted by a certified crew, the 58-foot-long yacht glides through the salty sea air in pursuit of frolicking dolphins or sets off into the sunset. Buffet tables and ice chests help make harbor cruises ideal for parties or company events, whereas fishing excursions facilitate sporty bonding. A big screen TV is on board, along with a full stereo system with karaoke capabilities that blasts tunes, and guests may bring their own MP3 players, food, alcohol, and freshly caught sea-bass pi?atas.