Take special precautions when tying own flies

Kellie Morris with a short striped bass from the surf

The cooler nights are great. Combined with the hot days, that makes for an interesting combo at the beach. I have to keep more clothes in the truck this time of year. The evening cooldown combined with a full day of sun can really wear on you.

Mostly I have been stuck at the shop with a dislocated thumb and trying to make tackle all day. What a fun combination, while watching all my friends fish. Just a few days ago, I healed up enough to actually use a fishing reel. It’s excruciating to reel in a line or cast with this messed-up thumb. You never know how much you need that one digit until you can’t use it.

One of my favorite groups or clubs, the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware, have been tying flies and telling the usual lies during the COVID closure. Love the club. They are a great source of information.

Recently a member pointed out that the UV resins they use for fly tying can be harmful to our skin. The fumes from these resins can create bad skin rashes and even puffy eyes. Wearing gloves, mask and venting your tying area is recommended with the use of these UV resins. When you tie flies randomly here and there, it isn’t as much of an issue. When you are tying daily to occupy your time, the exposure is greater and causes issues.

Another issue pointed out by a member was the UV lights used to cure these resins. If you are on antibiotics, a sunburn or sun poisoning of sorts can happen to your fingers and skin areas exposed to the light. Makes perfect sense. Something we never consider is the effects of some of the chemicals we use in making gear. The UV lights are also very bright with UV radiation and are very bad for your eyes.

Lowell Salzman with a bluefish from the surf in Lewes

The fishing has been great for offshore anglers. Mahi have been the hot catch, and are not that far offshore right now. Lot of warm water out there and fish to boot. Ribbon fish have been hammering rigs and annoying some anglers. Sea bass catches are still abundant, with coolers full hitting the docks. The flounder action offshore has been very good. Tuna, billfish and sharks are producing for the offshore anglers.

The surf has been touch and go with good days and bad. Depends on the time, tide, bait, and if there are fish around. The beaches have been very crowded all summer. Cape Henlopen even closed on a Tuesday for capacity the other day.

Anglers are catching kingfish, spot, croaker, short striped bass, weakfish, bluefish and the occasional pompano but that has been rare. They haven’t made the appearance this year like the past few years. Mullet are running the bays now and cast netters are getting their fill for bait. Stores have fresh mullet now.

Sea robin caught in the surf by Andrew Kassner 

The bluefish bite in the surf has been decent form Delaware to Assateague. Even the inlets and bridges are seeing some decent catches when a school moves through. Nice 20-inch fish perfect for the dinner table. If you haven’t eaten bluefish you should give a fresh catch a try sometime. They are tasty. Spanish mackerel are still here and there at the inlets. Those inlets being Indian River and Ocean City.

Top and bottom rigs with Fishbites, cut bait or bloodworms all producing many of the summer fish catches in the surf. We have seen a few of the oddball catches, sea robins from the surf. Stargazers are hitting more frequently. Lizard fish are around the Inland Bays. We have even seen oyster crackers hitting in the surf near structure.

The summer “weird” fish are showing up more each week. Halfbeaks, constantly mistaken for ballyhoo, are all over the Inland Bays.

Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier anglers have been hammering the spot on most days. Lot of activity in the water, people not just fish. Most of the good fishing is at the end of the pier in the deeper water. The fly anglers will fish the flats in the evenings and produce a mixed bag. It’s much easier to fish when the swimmers and waders have gone for the day.

Rainbow a week ago shot by Matt Trucks near Lewes

Hunters are prepping their areas. Some have been doing this all year long, but many tend to wait until weeks out from the season. Chiggers have been a nightmare in our woods this year. Can’t look at the woods without scratching my legs now. Ticks have been an issue as well. Get the bug juice, or wait for that long winter chill.

Surfers have been digging the storm surges. We have seen a lot this year. Decent waves in warm water make for a fun day.