My pal Christian — an Indiana native and fellow fan of The Deadliest Catch — flew to town last Saturday. His mid-morning arrival left plenty of time for AJ and me to take him out to Wheeler for an afternoon of crabbing on Nehalem Bay.
The happy result: In the three-hour run-up to high tide, we spotted a bald eagle, enjoyed the fall sunshine and pulled in six Dungeness keepers (or, as my brother would say, “sweet, sweet sea meat”).
It’s about a two-hour drive from Portland to Wheeler, which has become one of my favorite spots on the coast, thanks in large part to Jim Neilson, the kind owner of Wheeler Marina. In the years I’ve been going to Wheeler, Jim has freely dispensed encouragement, insider’s tips and straight-shooting assessments of weather and crabbing conditions.
Jim’s boat rentals include all the gear and bait you’ll need. He’ll send you out with a license, and send you home with a great memory — and, with any luck, a few Dungies.
Reservations and conditions: 503.368.5780.
Directions: From Portland, go west on Hwy. 26, then south on either Hwy. 53 (a bit narrow and curvy) or Hwy. 101 (a bit more spectacular, right along the coast).