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Surf Fly Fishing in Delaware

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hey guys,



 



so ive been fly fishing on rivers and streams before, in colorado, but ive started getting an itch to go offshore fly fishing and try fly fishing from the surf. i guess my main question is, does anyone fly fish from the surf in delaware?



 



all info is greatly appreciated.



 



thanks



phill


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Most likely Tarpon1 or Skip S will chime in on this one but just north of you there is a saltwater fly fishing club based in Lewes DE that you should try and get in touch with. So the short answer is Yes there are those who are fly fishing the surf in DE. I used to but I imposed my own moratorium on fly fishing for stripers in our local waters for reason I will keep to myself. I am not sure how many members the DE saltwater fly fishermen currently have but it is a fairly active club. They even hold winter fly tying gatherings every Saturday starting in Jan at the tackle shop next to Irish Eyes in Lewes (forget the name of the shop).

 

Tarpon1 who frequents this board can give you all the info you need...... I am sure he will chime in!

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Phill,there are some here who FF the surf but I rarely do.Im a jetty guy and thats where im comfortable.However,I have been fishing the beach a few times the past month with little results.From the reports I read here im not alone.Its always worth a shot though.A few years ago I did quite good FF the surf but I cant seem to give up the rocks.Most of the club guys fish the flats at Henlopen by the pier.Thats an easy place to wade and the results can be good at times.That said,im hoping some of those Jersey fish hit our beaches and maybe some specks will show up.

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yeh i wasnt trying to just get info on the surf, i guess i was looking at FF anywhere on the coast. you know most of the stuff you hear is about guys FF in streams or on river banks etc.  i just think it would be fun to try some different things, and heavier fly fishing looks like something i would like to try out.  



 



when you say rocks, are you talking about places like the naval jetty, or maybe the jetties at the mouth of the delaware bay?  could you FF aroud IR? 



 



do you want calmer waters?



 



i guess im just going to have a lot of basic, if not stupid questions as ive never done it


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IRI is a very productive spot for fly fishing but it is equally dangerous to fish. You definitely need corkers, a shooting basket, wet gear, a inflatable PFD is advisable, and a plan for handling rogue waves and the landing of the fish in a safe manner. Eventhough I never followed this advise myself I would strongly suggest fishing with a partner at night especially on the outgoing tide. IRI takes fishermens lives every year. But to answer your question Yes IRI is very productive for the well prepared fly angler. Arguably the best 55 square feet of coastal water in DE is at the end of the north jetty.

 

 

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haha i hear ya on the safety matter, ive surfed at indian river inlet since i was 5 years old, and as that may only be 20 years, ive seen some horrific things happen there, and learned a lot of lessons on my own, ive even help save a fisherman who fell off the rocks near the end of the northside jetty, we were surfing and ended up paddling out to get the guy.


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By the rocks I mean the jetty at IRI.Its not hard to FF there but it can be hazardous and there is a learning curve to it.I like to fish moving water as I come from a river wading,smallmouth bass background.But I also spend a considerable amount of time chasing LMB in the local ponds.Right now it just seems that our waters are dead for the most part.Hopefully that will change soon.

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Skip fishes there far more than I did but if I had to give one piece of advise it would be to use flies that breathe and fish them slowly up close around the rocks at night. I liked Tabory Snakefly's specifically there. Depending on the depth of the actively feeding fish I would alter my shooting head types and select the flies deer hair head size to get to the depth and achieve my desired fly action whether down or up on retrieve.

 

But like all fishing there is no one way or fly that works all the time. You have to observe and adjust for the bait, fish, and conditions.

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I've done it over the years visiting in Rehoboth Beach. I've had some success, I wouldn't call it spectacular but I've taken my share of Weaks and Rock. My gear has usually been longer rods (10 - 10.5') with floating lines and flatwings (the typical Kenny Abrahams setup). I've had success on both sides of IRI in the sand (too much trouble and too many cracked body parts for the jetty :) ). Also had luck by googling for structure (I don't want to piss anybody off by saying exactly where) and by the Lewis breakwaters area. All my fishing was at night. If I lived there and could drive the beach, I imagine that there'd be sloughs, bars and holes that I'd know about that I'd fish too. All in all, a very easy bunch of beach to fish and completely deserted at night. Have fun.

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I agree with all the talk about IRI north jetty. The back water of IRI can be decent in early Spring for flounder & small blues as well. Korkers are a must on the jetty, plus a stripping basket. I also recommend having a gaff of some sort. Climbing down into the rocks is dangerous. Plus all the normal safety gear.

 

My question for some of you more experienced guys, what line set-ups are you using. I have been playing with different options, that I'm not real crazy about. This set-up is primarily for jetty fishing the moving water on the inlet side. I have a 10 wt. with running line and a 30' section of T-14 and usually run about a 3'-6' leader. This is a b.... to cast, but sinks like a rock. If I'm fishing the surf side of the jetty I just typically use a sinking line, either 10 or 8 wt. Very curious to hear what others are doing.

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I use a different approach than most. I use 12wt shooting head systems on two hand fly rods from 12' to my beach side 16'er. My reasoning is that I never get blown off the water and ease of blind casting all night long. But that is the best for me but might not suit others. I have been using TH fly rods along saltwater beaches and jetties since the early 90's. It is just my preferred method of fishing. Heck I even used a TH 4wt all year this year in various northern DE freshwater locations.

 

Does one need such equipment? Of course not. I have fished the DE coast many times with a Winston XTR SW 5 wt with great success ( well great for DE waters lets say ;) ). The rod and reel is a personal choice. I do feel the versatility of a shooting head system has some distinct advantages especially for people like me that don't live close to the waters and has to adapt quickly to the conditions that are presented. There are times and conditions that suit all the various types of line from floating to hid fast sinking heads. The key is being observant and adaptable as in all forms of fishing. Don't get locked into just one or two methods.

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I fish an 8wt rod with an intermediate line probably 80% of the time im on the jetty.The other line I use is a sinking shooting head.This set up has served me well for years.I will go up to a 9wt and drop down to a 7wt but my 10wts havent been used in years.A short 4-5 ft leader of 20lb mono works well and allows you to safely drag fish up on the rocks.I dont own a gaff but I do carry a Boga Grip.Makes life much easier.On the flats its a 6wt or 7wt rod with 7wt lines,either a intermediate or a floater

 

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