Dock 52 Fiji Way
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Company: Everyone, minus anyone prone to motion sickness
Cost: ~ $64/per adult for a 1/2 day (all inclusive), call for longer trips and other pricing
Quickie: Fresh fish tastes even better when you got up at 6am to catch it. Luckily, if you get obsessed you can go out everyday - MDR runs boats daily (sometimes twice) - even during the week. There's a reason most of these guys have been fishing since they were kids: it's calming, invigorating, marvelous - and absolutely contagious.
OTC Tip: Make friends with Victor Ramirez, and crew tag-along Steve. They will take care of you all day - from baiting your hook(s) to switching out weights - they'll even clean/fillet your catch.
Here's something you don't know about me: one summer while I was in college, I was a fishing guide (and bartender, but I'll save that for another post) at UCLA's alumni summer camp, Bruin Woods. Despite having fly fishing in my blood, there was nothing about me that took easily to the heroic act of gutting over 1000 fish - and while the story has served me well in many areas ever after in my life (job interviews, dates, etc) nonetheless, I haven't been fishing in years.
But as I've mentioned before, I'm at my best near the water. So when the hankering for fish struck me hard last weekend, I decided to look in to it. As happy would have it, I discovered that for a quick trip I didn't have to drive all the way to Lake Arrowhead - and instead could leave port right from local Marina Del Rey.
OTC Tip: Call the day before your desired trip and reserve a spot. You don't need to bring anything aside from yourself, warm clothes, sunglasses, a hat, and cash ($80-$100 to be super safe, especially if you want to buy breakfast or snacks from the galley).
I went for the Sunday morning trip that required me to be at the dock at 7:15am. After getting checked in I purchased my ticket, rod rental and bait, and fishing license. Around 7:45 we pushed off, and stood/sat around as our captain escorted the boat to fishing grounds, and the rest of the deckhands accomplished several activities such as chopping bait, rigging rods, and directing those with seasickness to the bathrooms.
OTC Tip: Some people get seasick, some don't. I didn't - but those who did looked pretty miserable and spent the trip wedged against the deck and the side of the boat. Don't do this to yourself if you get motion sickness - take dramamine.
We spent about three hours "at sea." As my genes would have it, I managed to catch a red snapper and a few mutt rockfish. I'd say about 1/2 of the boat brought home fish - which isn't too shabby.
OTC Tip: Avoid the crowded stern (back) and fish off the bow (front). It's a bit more awkward to stand because it's pointed, but the fewer the lines the better your chance at hook, line, and dinner.
We got back to land around 12:30, and by 1:30 I was sitting down to a lunch of seared snapper and an ice cold beer.
OTC Tip: The closest you can get to wronging your fresh fish is overcooking it - otherwise, slow baking, pan-frying, quick-searing or my favorite, butter-bathing, will deliver wonderfully. If you plan on eating your fish after three days of catching, freeze it.