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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.