Well known for surfing and the charter and commercial Dory boat fleet, Pacific City is a hands down favorite for kayak anglers on the Oregon Coast. With summer swells normally from the north, Cape Kiwanda protects the launch site, making the surf quite manageable. Haystack Rock, just about a half mile from launch, gives you excellent fishing and exquisite scenery. Parking can be had right on the beach where you launch, or you can park in the main parking lot if you have concerns getting on and off the beach.
Pacific City is a very popular spot because it’s well protected, and the fishing area is quite broad. Crabbing is quite decent so long as you keep your gear in the sand. Again on the map the best crabbing areas are highlighted in the khaki colored areas. Prime areas for rockfish and lingcod are in green. Cautionary areas are colored yellow, and prohibited areas are in red.
The immediate area around Cape Kiwanda is a protected. You won’t likely be fishing the area anyways as the terrain is quite hazardous. The protected area is all rocky areas around the cape from extreme low tide mark, to high tide mark. So we’re not talking about a whole lot of water, and generally too shallow to worry much about.
Haystack rock is usually the first area anyone starts fishing. There are rock piles and kelp beds surrounding the rock offering a good amount of cover for the fish we’re targeting. Continuing behind the rock for nearly another half mile is a variety of rock piles and crevasses. Don’t over look this area, as there is more cover here than you can imaging, and could easily spend days exploring each hump with your jig.
Running north, past the buoy, is a great reef that runs northwest from the cape. You will undoubtedly see charter boats fishing this area pretty heavily. I like to start on one side of the reef and let the wind or current drift me back over it, working both sides as I go along. There are more rock piles in towards Tierra del Mar (shaded yellow) that will also prove worthwile of exploring.
I shaded the area along Terra del Mar beach yellow because it can be a fairly heavy surf area. If conditions allow, lure or bait fishing for surf perch can prove bountiful, but that’s a whole different topic. The same applies for the area at the bottom. Heavy conditions can apply here thanks to the Nestucca River. I’d imagine it a good area for salmon fishing when they’re running, but, again, that’s a different topic. Don’t overlook areas that I’ve not shaded either. This is fairly flat ground with plenty of flounder.
You probably notice the area I shaded about three miles off the coast. This can be a long haul for many people, but not an area to overlook for the experienced kayak angler. Many large monsters of the deep live here, and you’ll likely be fishing with the big boys. Because of the depth and currents, you’ll be needing bigger gear, running no less than 8oz on the most ideal day.
Hands down one of my favorite things about Pacific City is back in the parking lot when you day of fishing is complete. Pelican Brewing makes its home right here on the beach where you can stare out at Haystack Rock and relive the day’s fishing adventure while enjoying an excellent pint of cool adult beverage made on site. I don’t think I’ve ever passed it up.