Want to be a part of Oregon history? Directly south of Cape Kiwanda, a sandstone outcropping and sand dune that juts out toward the Pacific ocean, the dory boat fleet has been launching directly from the sand for almost 120 years. Anyone who visits the shores of Pacific City in southern Tillamook County can book a fishing charter on one of these humble, marvelous vessels. And the fishing’s not too shabby, either!
A great way to explore Oregon’s delicious wild groundfish (sometimes called bottomfish) in season, plan to catch your limit in rockfish and lingcod, salmon or albacore. Your charter captain may even drop some pots to grab some Dungeness crabs to cook up and enjoy while the crew is fileting your fish back on land. On a calm day, you will get up close and personal to the monumental Haystack Rock just offshore or even a playful gray whale or two, whose spouts can be spotted from the ocean’s surface.
The dory boat is a flat-bottomed, open hull boat, about 20 feet long. These efficient little boats were meant to hold large catches of fish. And the ride is really fun and exhilarating. In Pacific City, dories are launched from the sand into the surf, and after a day of fishing, the boats come into shore by riding the waves like a surfer. Dory fisherman Captain Mark Lytle of Pacific City Fishing likens the home stretch as an enjoyable “rollercoaster ride.”
Since 1959, the town has celebrated the dory fleet with Dory Days, an annual festival in mid-July that includes a competition for decorated dory boats, a parade, and much family fun. If you’re not able to get out fishing and want to try dory-caught groundfish, try the fish and chips at Pacific City’s local favorite Sportsman’s Pub-n-Grub or look for it on menus at fine dining beachside mainstay Meridian Restaurant at the Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa or Riverhouse Nestucca, an upscale casual restaurant that sits on the Nestucca river.