Updated: May 16
Pacific CIty, Oregon its know as a great place to fish from a “Dory” boat, and it has always been on my bucket list as a uniquely PNW thing to do. My good friend Mike Laverty is an excellent Dory Boat captain, and he invited me to join him, and two other friends on an early Spring outing for Pacific Ling Cod and Sea Bass.
Mike had called me earlier in the week and said there was a window to launch the Dory later in the week, and I told him I would be there! As I learned, the surf needs to be just right in order to launch a Dory, and when conditions are right, you need to be able to go! I got to Mikes place late the night before, where I joined up with industry legend Rob Husin and extraordinary fisherman Ron Bowman. They had a great dinner of “dinosaur” ribs waiting for me. We ate, got some gear together and hit the rack in anticipation of a great day of fishing.
Early the next morning we headed to the beach at pacific City, with Mike’s Dory boat in tow. We drove right past the Pelican Brewery and onto the beach. Ron, Rob and I jumped out of the truck, and Mike backed it in straight down the beach and into the breakers. This all happened pretty fast, and as usual I was slower than the rest of the crew, so I scrambled to catch up. We turned the boat around in the surf, climbed on board and Mike drove us away from the beach and out into the deeper water. It all happened very fast, and was extremely cool!
Our first task was to bait up the crab pots and drop them. This took about 30 minutes, after which we headed to the fishing grounds.
Our first fishing goal was to get our limit of Ling Cod. Mike drove us to the spot and we all got our rods ready for the first pass. We were fishing 4oz diamond jigs, with an Eagle Claw Treble, with a “Shrimp Fly” tied on about 18” above. it is like a Salt Water “Drop shot” rig.
On the first Pass, Rob, Ron and Mike each caught keeper Lings, so we knew we were off to a good start. I’m pretty sure I snagged up and lost my rig on that first pass. So while I was fumbling around trying to get re-rigged, those guys were bringing in the fish.
Our second pass was even better, I even caught a nice Ling. Ron caught a beautiful Vermillion Fish. It was a gorgeous red color and at least 4 pounds.
We took about four more passes over the spot, and all had our limits - it was an awesome bite. As a side note, one of the Cod we caught was a green color. I am not sure if this is a different species or caused by the food they are eating or something else, but it was very cool - even the meat was green!
After we had our limit of Lings, we set out to get a limit of Sea Bass. We motored to a different area fished lead head jigs with grubs on spinning tackle. I was using a Trokar swim bait head on a Keitech swim bait.
The tide was ripping now so it was harder to make a good drift, but we managed to catch quite a few bass before we called it off. The Trokar swim bait did great! I pinned several nice bass with it. After we got our bass, we headed back to check our crab traps. To our disappointment we only got a couple of keepers, but that is just the way it goes sometimes.
Now we headed back to the beach. The ride was pretty smooth and I was fascinated about how we could just slide right up on the beach in the Dory. As we approached the beach, mike told every one to hold on. We slid smoothly onto the sand and I thought … “wow that was so smooth...amazing” and loosened up my grip on the rail. Just then the boat came to an instant and abrupt halt and I went flying up to the front of the boat. Everyone thought this was pretty funny - and I learned a valuable lesson - don’t let go till the Dory comes to a complete stop!
We loaded up the Dory and headed back to Mike’s house to clean the fish and wash down the boat. Ron did an amazing job of filleting the fish, while Rob and I hosed out the boat. it took about an hour to get it all done, and we all had a beautiful sack of fillets to take home.
Once we got cleaned up and ready to go, we all decided to stop by a great local tavern in Pacific City for a beer. The tavern is called TWIST and it is one of the few places you can get a Russian River - Pliney the Elder IPA - and as a bonus they had a batch of Pliny the Younger too! I have to say these are some of the best IPA’s I have ever had and I strongly recommend you stop by to get one if you ever find yourself in Pacific City Oregon.
It was another great Pacific Northwest experience and a trip that I hope to be able to do again in the near future.
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