Saltwater Fly Anglers an excellent club to join

Ethan Rakes holds his bluefish he landed on a fly rod. Submitted photos

Hot summer nights are now on the menu, well for the most part. We have had a few cooler nights, but they have been a reprieve from the hot days.

The beaches are packed on the weekends, everyone is getting those last vacations in before September First gets here, my favorite day. It is when the point opens again in Cape Henlopen State Park and we can fish some of the better cuts and rips on the beach. Jigging and fly fishing for flounder along the bayside beach is good action. The view out there is another bonus.

Fly fishing the flats at Cape Henlopen around the fishing pier has gotten better, according to the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware Club (SFAOD). If you are looking for an excellent fishing club to join, this one is the one hands down. You don’t have to be a fly fisherman to join and eventually you will find yourself wanting to try to master the long wand.

Many of us spinning gear anglers fish with flies. This club is an excellent source to learn how to tie flies, what to catch with them, and all kinds of info. There are a few kids that are members and they do well catching and tying their own flies.

Ethan Rakes has learned the craft of the long wand from his dad and some of his mentors in the SFAOD club. That kid fishes all the time and he catches as well. He gets skunked just like the rest of us, but he does what you need to do, he puts in the time. He has the patience to stand in one spot and try for a single species for hours on end. That is a fisherman.

Matt Adams with a flounder from the flats of Rehoboth Bay.

Recently he and his dad fished the inlet on the fly and Ethan landed a big bluefish on a fly rod. “I am really proud of Ethan Rakes and the fight he put in on that blue. He was using a 7wt fly rod with 25lbs mono tippet in a very heavy tidal current. He did not horse the fish or take too long fighting it [causing a bite thru]. He played the fish perfectly and got a great jump right by the boat. His fish savvy and casting ability have developed so much in the last year.”

The fishing has been getting better each week. However as usual some are catching and some are not — such is the nature of the beast. You have to put in the time when you are out there. Surf fishing is a finicky beast some days. Holding your rod will produce more fish than letting it sit in the sand spike and do the work so to speak. Circle hooks are a must if you are going to bait and wait with a sand spike.

If you are not willing to put in the time you are going to catch less. I get requests all the time to send someone to a “hot” spot so they can catch because they don’t have time to fish. Literally have been told that more than once. That is not fishing.

Surf producing bluefish

The surf is producing some bluefish large and small. We should have more here this time of year but they seem to be further south in larger numbers. Not a surprise considering the water temperatures along the coast in the low 70s. Offshore anglers are hitting blues as by catch targeting flounder, sea bass, weakfish and triggers. There have been a lot of triggers this year on offshore structure. We haven’t seen any at the Fishing piers like last year but they are on the inlet walls at Indian River and Ocean City.

Josh Mattson with a small summer blue from the surf.

The surf is also seeing some nice kingfish on bloodworms, fishbites, and bona fide baits. Top and bottom rigs this time of year and the crabs have been a little annoying. Croaker and spot action has been the best at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier and on the Delaware Bay reef sites.

Flounder action is picking up offshore at the old grounds, B buoy, just to name a few places. Anglers are doing well with limits and larger fish. The Lewes canal has the hot bite for the inland bays area. The bays are doing OK with many throwbacks but the nicer keepers seem to be laying up in the canal. The Cape Henlopen fishing pier has seen some decent keepers amongst the throwbacks. Minnows or gulp drifting is good for the boats. Jigging with gulp, the 6-inch versions, has done the best. Big bait means big fish.

Slot striped bass fishing has been great around the Delaware Bay and her tributaries. The Lewes canal has given up many a keeper this summer slot season. There have been a lot of fish around the outer and inner walls. Action at the Indian River Inlet has been good for shorts and the occasional keeper. Unfortunately the slot season is not legal for the inland bays.

Shad fishing at night at the Indian River Inlet is a lot of fun on ultralight gear or a fly rod.

Offshore action for tuna. mahi, tilefish, swords, and sharks has been good for the anglers finding fish. Fishing has finally picked up across the board for all species. Just a little late this year but that usually means it will last longer into the second summer months.

Tracy Roles with a nice canal flounder.

As the days start to get shorter we will soon be into the fall season. For now it is hot, humid summer days. Good luck out there and we will see you in the sand box … on the weekdays.

Hunters getting shooting lanes open

Hunters have been getting their shooting lanes open on their properties and scouting their leases. Sunday hunting is being discussed at the next Delaware’s Advisory Council on Wildlife and Freshwater Fish. A special meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, in the DNREC Auditorium, 89 Kings Highway, Dover. This is to discuss the recently passed deer hunting legislation. The council is seeking public input on the proposed Sunday deer hunting for state forests and wildlife areas.

You can’t make changes in your legislation if you don’t get involved. I go to a lot of the fishery meetings and am sometimes the only person there with the recreational community. If you want to change the rules or laws in your interest you have to get involved.

Rich King’s outdoors column runs Thursdays in the Delaware State News.

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