TILLAMOOK — For the first time in my 28 years, I seriously considered moving away from Oregon. I love my work, the fishing opportunities found in Oregon during the spring and fall and all the little things Oregonians take for granted like delicious tap water and not having to pump your own gas, but moving has been on my mind.

I looked at wonderful places I’d visited and loved like Flagstaff (Arizona), Boise (Idaho), Salt Lake City (Utah), Nashville (Tennessee), Toronto (Ontario) and Waco (Texas).

But for all the charm and promise these other destinations offer, they were all missing one thing that I just couldn’t live without: the coast.

Coasters

Though 22 states have a true marine coastline, something about the West Coast makes its moniker “The Best Coast” stick.

I’ve been to the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. They’re great, really, but they’re not the Pacific. California has warm, sunny beaches filled with sun-kissed youth. Washington has brooding skies over verdant rainforests filled with every shade of green.

Oregon, beautifully situated between the two, has something else.

From the relatively uncrowded beaches to the fish stocks that haven’t yet been overharvested, Oregon is blessed by its slower pace and relatively small population.

Apart from Portland’s grotesquely overcrowded road systems and precipitously climbing property values, Oregon has enjoyed the pinnacle of human civilization here on the West Coast without the issues California and Washington are fraught with.

Our great state is rivaled only by British Columbia, but will never be bested by BC given the 13 percent Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) Canada applies to almost every purchase.

Yes, we Oregonians have it pretty good.

Fishing

Perhaps the best part of living in Oregon is the fishing. There’s really no shortage of opportunities here.

From soaking bait, spoons or flies for salmon and steelhead in a coastal river to jigging for lingcod and rockfish to braving the frigid surf for surfperch, the Pacific bounty to which we have access is nothing short of excellent.

Sure, it’s not what it once was, but look north or south — it could be a lot worse.

Though May is prime for inland fishes like trout, bass and carp, the Oregon Coast is never a bad play.

Fill a bottle with some delicious water and embrace the coffee or microbrews or farm-to-table food and then smile when your bill doesn’t include sales tax.

Let someone else fill your gas tank while you stare are your phone, throw some rods in the trunk and enjoy what we have before it’s Oregone.

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Read more at caughtovgard.com; Follow on Instagram and Fishbrain @lukeovgard; Contact luke.ovgard@gmail.com.

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