Updated: May 22
Earlier this week, I met up with renowned NW fishermen Robert Campbell and Chris Vertopoulos for some bottom fishing with guide Josh Putman in Pacific City, Oregon. I thought we were going to fish for Black Sea Bass, but I soon learned there was much more in store.
I left my house in Camas Washington at 3:00 AM and arrived in Pacific City at 5:30 AM. We had a 6:00 AM rendezvous point at the Pelican Brewery parking lot on the beach in Pacific City. I met up with the guys and we put on our waders, got in Josh’s Suburban and drove down to the beach.
The beach at Pacific City is for Dory boat launching. It is a very cool thing. You back the boat up right into the surf, a couple of guys hang onto it and turn it around so the bow is facing the ocean. The guys then walk the boat out into the surf, and then you start the motor and drive out into the ocean. Its very unique and very efficient! Pacific City is known for its Dory fishing.
We motored out into the ocean and came to and area where Josh knew we could find some black sea bass. It was a very foggy morning, so you could only see a couple of hundred yards in any direction. There was no wind, with only some mild swells. We got out some spinning gear with lead heads and swim baits and as I scanned the area, I saw fish breaking the water all around us. A huge school of Sea Bass were chasing squid on the top of the water! I saw dorsal fins and tails everywhere. It was an amazing sight. Literally every single cast I got several bites. It took me a few casts to figure out the hook set, but once I figured it out, I caught a fish almost every cast. We figured that between the three of us we caught at least 60 rock fish in about 40 minutes. We let the little ones go and kept four each of the bigger fish. Josh only had to move the boat a couple times to reconnect with the school. It was simply amazing to see these fish in such a feeding frenzy. I should have taken some video, but I was too excited about catching fish. When I do this trip again I will bring my topwater bass gear to see what If they will bite it, and will not forget to video it. I can’t stress enough how cool this was, it was simply amazing to see so many fish on top, I will never forget it.
After we had our limit of Rock fish, we moved on to get our Ling Cod limits. We dropped down some herring in 100 feet of water and drifted with the tide. Soon we had boated several nice Ling Cod, along with Yellow Eye, Quill Back, Coppers and other rock fish. We had to release the rock fish since we already had our limit, but we were allowed 2 ling cod a person. We were up 5 Lings and looking for our 6th when a rod went off. It was pulling line so it was either a big ling or a halibut. To our delight it was a 17 pound halibut! Soon after it was boated, we landed our 6th ling and were done….or were we?
Josh, loaded up the gear and cleaned up the boat for the ride home, and then said…ok lets go check the crab pots. I had totally forgotten about the crab pots! We pulled the pots and got our limit of crab to add to our already amazing haul fo seafood.
As a side note, on the way to pull the crab pots Josh noticed something floating in the ocean a couple of hundred yards away. We motored over to it and saw that it was a blue plastic kiddie pool. He pulled it out of the water and put in in his boat. Turns out that the kiddie pool made a great container for the crabs!
After we pulled the pots, we drove back to the beach and Josh made a prefect dory landing on the sand. Josh loaded the boat on the trailer and we headed back to his place to clean the fish and cook the crab.
Josh, did an amazing job of cleaning the fish, and when the crab was done, we ate some straight out of the cooker….best crab I ever had in my life!
At the end of the day I returned home with a trifecta of bottom fish: Halibut, Ling Cod, Black Sea Bass with an added bonus of Dungeness Crab. This was an amazing haul that we will enjoy for a long time. Pacific City Oregon truly is a fishing wonderland!
This is a MUST DO trip if you get the chance, and Josh Putman is an great guide that I plan on going fishing with again, and I highly recommend.
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