Dock Fishing at Marina Del "Ray" 7-26-21

evanluck

Well-known member
#1
My girlfriend and I went to Marina Del Rey Sportfishing Docks to fish the harbor there with live bait. For those of you that don't know, they charge $10 per person for 3 hours of fishing. This price includes live bait. There is very close parking available for $4 per 4 hours. When we started they only had anchovies but halfway through the day they got sardines as well.

We fished for a total of six hours and between the two of us caught 6 bat rays and 1 sting ray. One gentleman who fishes there regularly caught bat rays as well but also caught two halibut (1 keeper, 22") and a keeper sized spotted bay bass. There was also a white sea bass caught by another gentleman who was fly lining a live sardine. Both of us also hooked up multiple times on fish that felt like very big bat rays that we fought briefly but quickly broke off our 20lb flourocarbon leader. We both had our drag set really loose initially and then would tighten it after the hook ups. We want to get better at quickly finding the proper drag setting to give us a chance to fight the larger fish without snapping the line.

I fished one rod with a 1 ounce egg sinker carolina rig with the live bait and the other rod was a 2 hook hi lo with size 6 hooks, a 2 ounce bank sinker and squid and shrimp for bait. The hi lo got the most action. I caught 4 bat rays and 1 sting ray on the hi lo and 1 bat ray on the carolina. We were targeting halibut but did not get any hookups on halibut.

Thinking back, I wish I had spent more time fly lining especially after the live sardines were available. Also would like to find a nice, compact rod holder setup for a flat dock like the one at Marina Del Rey.

All in all, it was a fun experience that both of us thought we would do again. Seems like a nice hybrid between pier fishing and skiff fishing in the harbor. Pay a little money for access to the dock and the opportunity to fish with live bait without having to catch it. Also the young guys who worked there especially early in the day go out of their way to help you. They tied rigs, helped resolve snags, and netted fish for my girl friend when I was unavailable or even before I could get a chance to try to help. That is some pretty good value for $3.33/hour.

pairofbatrays.jpg
 

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#2
Hey that sounds like a unique experience that I'd like to try out thanks for the very informative report.

A few questions: 1) Do you happen to know when they open the dock and parking for fishing (hope early), 2) will my usual pier fishing rods work? I have 7ft and 6 ft 6 inch rods which the 2 oz and 1 oz sinkers (and fly lining) would work for, and 3) Are there even rod holders designed for "no wall" structures like docks (this last one is important for me since I also would like to rest my rods once in a while)?

Bonus question - how did you actually fish 2 rods on the dock simultaneously without a rod holder for one of them?

Sorry for all the questions but I just moved up here from Orange Country and curious to learn about fishing in the West LA area.

Thanks in advance!
 

evanluck

Well-known member
#3
The dock is open from 6AM-4PM. Usual pier rods should work. I’ve been look for a rod holder solution.

They have a cheap metal rod holder that someone jammed into the far corner of the dock. They also have this odd wooden blocked that is fairly heavy and has squared cutouts that go all the way through. Also there are some old metal crab traps on the far corner. I used all three of these but none of them are ideal.

I’m thinking this could work:
https://www.amazon.com/Fish-Deck-Master-Fishing-Holder/dp/B07G9PV32T


Hey that sounds like a unique experience that I'd like to try out thanks for the very informative report.

A few questions: 1) Do you happen to know when they open the dock and parking for fishing (hope early), 2) will my usual pier fishing rods work? I have 7ft and 6 ft 6 inch rods which the 2 oz and 1 oz sinkers (and fly lining) would work for, and 3) Are there even rod holders designed for "no wall" structures like docks (this last one is important for me since I also would like to rest my rods once in a while)?

Bonus question - how did you actually fish 2 rods on the dock simultaneously without a rod holder for one of them?

Sorry for all the questions but I just moved up here from Orange Country and curious to learn about fishing in the West LA area.

Thanks in advance!
 

MisterT

Well-known member
#6
The MDR jetty (the one with the bike path) is not too bad compared to the other jetties I've been on (72nd and Redondo Jetty). Much easier from a safety standpoint. Although I have yet to catch anything on jetties. lol.
 

Makairaa

Well-known member
#8
One other thing about fishing the mdr bait receiver. They limit where you can fish on weekends due to boat traffic. Weekdays are better. I actually prefer anchovies to sardines when fishing the harbor. Try using a carolina rig with an anchovy or sardine. Start at one end of the dock. Cast out and let the bait sink to the bottom. Then very slowly wind it back in dragging the bait across the bottom. When you get straight down let it sit for about 30 seconds. If you get no bites move over a few feet and repeat until you reach the other end of the dock. Then work back. When you get a bite that sits there let the fish eat it for about 15 seconds. Cast back to areas you get bites or catch fish as halibut will group up in holes or around structure.
 

evanluck

Well-known member
#10
One other thing about fishing the mdr bait receiver. They limit where you can fish on weekends due to boat traffic. Weekdays are better. I actually prefer anchovies to sardines when fishing the harbor. Try using a carolina rig with an anchovy or sardine. Start at one end of the dock. Cast out and let the bait sink to the bottom. Then very slowly wind it back in dragging the bait across the bottom. When you get straight down let it sit for about 30 seconds. If you get no bites move over a few feet and repeat until you reach the other end of the dock. Then work back. When you get a bite that sits there let the fish eat it for about 15 seconds. Cast back to areas you get bites or catch fish as halibut will group up in holes or around structure.
Really great tips! I did notice the issue with the boat traffics.
 

evanluck

Well-known member
#12
When I was a kid the pavilion in newport harbor used to have bait receivers and for a fee you could fish there and use their live bait. Spent countless days as a kid fishing that dock.
After going to Marina Del Rey for the first time, I was like, if only this were closer. Having it in Newport would be awesome!
 

Mahigeer

Well-known member
#16
The proper way to set the drag is with a scale. I confess that I have never done it.

If memory serves, you put a luggage scale (there are specialty made scales too) on the main line and pull. Drag is proper when the scale reads %20-25 of the rating of the line.

I have lost several good fish, by being impatient and tightened the drag ever so slightly.
 

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#17
In a perfect world you might use a scale to set a drag but it's not a perfect world and I do not imagine very many people ever set their drag using a scale. Not only that but different lines often do not match their listed line strength (one reason for the occasional tests you see on lines). You set your drag on the cast and if properly set you don't change it (unless perhaps you are in danger of losing your line).
 

Makairaa

Well-known member
#18
When fishing offshore I always use a scale before the trip to set the drugs. I happen to be a bit of a light line nut so every 1/2 lb of drag matters. I have also found from testing my drags how often most people are setting their drags too light when using heavier gear.