I love taking on new challenges so when my dad was in town visiting from Washington State and said, “I want to go ocean fishing”, well by all means, we were going to go ocean fishing.
The day started at 4am with a drive to Long Beach, CA. to PierPoint Landing from LA. We made it to the pier just in time to get our day license, poles and tackle and not miss the boat. All aboard!!!! It was time to head out to sea. After we left the dock I felt the calm of the morning. The stillness of the ocean, the sounds of the birds, the smell of fish…everything is still asleep.
It didn’t take too long before I started to explore the boat. You could tell instantly who the “real” fishermen were (probably on the boat everyweek) and the ones who were tourists and the ones who fished maybe a few times a year when there buddies were in town.
I found the kitchen (the galley) and was amazed that it was fully stocked. Oh thank God…I found coffee (lots of it) and a freshly made breakfast burrito. Tip: lots of coffee doesn’t sit well in the belly when you are going over big long ocean waves. I wasn’t sure if the boat was moving or the coffee in my stomach.
After about 30 minutes in the ocean we pull up to another boat to stock up with bait. I was amazed at the industrial looking barge and the different containers that the fish (bait) were in. OMG people actually do this for a living. I was trying to get a few pictures of the Asian guys working on the bait boat but to no avail. I was a little too obvious. But visualize this…they have the rubber pants on, cigarette in the mouth, anime hair do’s and the ones that had hats on had the knife hanging from the hat. They definitely looked like they knew what they were doing. The containers were filled with squid and sardines. We filled up our boat and we were on our way heading out deeper into the ocean.
After an hour the captain dropped the anchor and it was time for us to drop our lines. A group of Asians caught a stringray and were surprised when the deckhands said “you have to put it back”. Why we no keep!!! I shouldn’t be surprised but I still found myself laughing. One guy caught a really large crab but the crab let go of the mans line and sunk back down to the bottom of the ocean. Most people were catching red snapper and rock fish. One lucky person caught a baby shark, which the deckhands pulled out of the water and left on the deck. Apparently the shark scares other fish away so the shark was going to stay on deck until we were done fishing. I was so glad to see them put the shark back…I mean…it is shark week on the Discovery channel and I’m feeling quite a bit of empathy for creatures in the sea at this moment.
Everyone caught a fish but me. My dad noticed my lack of enthusiasm when I started thinking it would be more fun to go talk to the people in the kitchen and watch the 6 people throw up that were sea sick then stand on the side of the boat waiting patiently for a fish to nibble on my bait. I had reached exploration mode BUT on the other end of my dads fishing pole was another fish starting to nibble on his bait. My dad said “here, switch me poles’. Wow, my dad is giving me his line. So I started reeling in the fish and out of nowhere comes an ocean duck. It dives under the water like a bullet going 30 mph and beelines it straight for my fish. I’m trying to reel the fish in and the duck is trying to take the fish. All of this is happening under water but close enough to the surface that I can see the entire battle. I become even more determined to win this fight. The duck snaps my fish off the line and swims off underneath the water only to pop up about 10 feet, look back at the boat and eat the fish.
The morning was a blast. We got to meet new people, do some fishing and I got to spend some quality time with my dad doing something he loves to do. I would highly recommend this excursion whether you fish or not. You get to keep what you catch…if it’s fish.
They will put the bait on the hook for you.
They will clean your fish for $1.00 a fish.
They will untangle your line if you smile at them.
They tell you no coolers but everyone had a cooler. A small one!!!
If you have rainboots you should definitely wear them.
Bring some cash. There is no credit card machine on the boat.
WHERE TO GO:
CLICK HERE for the website
200 Aquarium Way, Long Beach
HOW TO COOK THE FISH YOU CATCH:
American Food Journalist Mark Bittman shares 4 fish, 4 ways for 4 people.