Jon Tapper brings us this report from the Oregon Coast. Jon, thanks very much for sharing your trip with OregonFlyFishingBlog.
A few years back I was scheduled to join Nate Stansberry in his Boston Whaler to fish for black rockfish along the coast, on assignment for 1859 Magazine. Seas were too rough that day, and I didn’t reach the goal of fly fishing the Oregon saltwater. But intriguing trip reports on the Caddis Fly blog would intermittently roll in…stories of a dory captain out of Pacific City who was piloting fishermen for black rock fish on the fly. With our annual summer family beach trip coming up, I had to get some of that. I gave Jack Harrell a call, and he said he was happy to take me and my son out to show us his coastal waters.
Camping down by Yachats, we hit the road at 6 a.m. and arrived after a lovely morning drive right around 7:30. It was on.
My son Forest takes in Haystack Rock at 7:30 a.m. in PC. What you’re not seeing are the 5 surfers crying into their latte’s because of the non-existent swell.
Jack and his son John arrive and we get ready to launch the dory, The Golden Comet.
OK, so maybe Jay Nicholas took a photo like this…but I couldn’t resist.
Captain Jack Harrell was incredibly generous with his time and knowledge…he really treated us like family.
Launching right off the beach, as dories do, we headed out behind Haystack Rock, turning tight circles around some of the underwater prominences behind it. The fish finder was showing fish between 12 and 75 feet, mostly feeding off large schools of micro shrimp. Small clousers tipped off our leaders, with 18 feet of lead core to get it down. Toss it out, let it sink, and strip retrieve.
Things were slow behind Haystack (although we did see a mola mola and a whale), so we motored through a small rain squall over to Cape Lookout, a promontory that goes 1 mile out into the ocean. Forest quickly channeled The Princess Bride and designated it “The Cliffs of Insanity”.
Cliffs of Insanity indeed! A bit more clump seaweed at this location, and the hookups began to get more frequent. Forest on point…
Jack entertained us with talk of easy limits of 7 rockfish a person, of outfishing gear fisherman, days when the black rockfish roll on the surface and hit your fly before you have a chance to start stripping. Sounds pretty good to me.
Forest and Jeff with a double.
Father-son post-double hook up.
By 12:30 we had 13 fish in the boat and it was lunchtime. We turned it around, and Jack, a former bus driver in the Tillamook Transportation District, turned over the wheel to Forest for a spell. I was stoked for him, it was a great experience to see him pilot the dory back toward PC.
We followed Jack and John back to the shop, where they cleaned our fish and set us up with a gallon bag of filets. Fresh fish tacos here we come!
Back at our beach side camp, dinner preparations were under way.
And yes, they were delicious. If you’re ever in the area, look up Jack and his son John at 1-503-965-7825. They are the real deal.